Since the inception of the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) there have been a multitude of comparison studies done in an attempt to evaluate the effectiveness and relative sizes of complementary, and sometimes competitive, laser weapon systems. It became more and more apparent that what the systems analyst needed was not only a fast, but a cost effective way to perform high-level trade studies. In the present investigation, a general procedure is presented for the development of PC-based algorithmic systems models for laser systems. This procedure points out all of the major issues that should be addressed in the design and development of such a model. Issues addressed include defining the problem to be modeled, defining a strategy for development, and finally, effective use of the model once developed. Being a general procedure, it will allow a systems analyst to develop a model to meet specific needs. To illustrate this method of model development, a description of the Strategic Defense Simulation - Design To (SDS-DT) model developed and used by Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) is presented. SDS-DT is a menu-driven, fast executing, PC-based program that can be used to either calculate performance, weight, volume, and cost values for a particular design or, alternatively, to run parametrics on particular system parameters to perhaps optimize a design.