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Using Simulation to Better Inform Decision Making for Warfare Development, Planning, Operations and Assessment

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NATO Modelling and Simulation Group

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Advance Planning, Concept Development, Decision Support, Defence Planning, Experimentation, Operations Planning, Operations Research and Analysis, Synthetic Environments


Among the tools that allow successful representation of dynamic situations in warfighting, Modelling and Simulation (M&S) has advantages over other methods such as wargaming, live exercises, man-in-the-loop experiments and demonstrations. Currently, within the NATO Command Structure, the Joint Warfare Centre (JWC) uses the Joint Theatre Level Simulation (JTLS) and the Joint Force Training Centre (JFTC) uses the Joint Combat And Tactics Simulation (JCATS) for training purposes. However, the simulations are often not used to their full capacity because they are focused on training and exercise objectives. Both NATO centres also use VBS 3 for training as do other scattered NATO commands for training, experimentation, and education. Although M&S has been used within the NATO analytical community in the past, currently it has become uncommon for NATO to use simulation for analysis in warfare development, defence and operations planning. The evolving security environment has revived the need for better understanding of the outcomes of complex situations and this has created new demands on NATO’s M&S capabilities. Some of the most noteworthy characteristics of this evolution are these: • Wargaming. Wargames are analytic events that simulate aspects of warfare at the tactical, operational, or strategic level. They are used to examine warfighting concepts, train and educate commanders and analysts, explore scenarios, and assess how force planning and posture choices affect campaign outcomes. • Advance Planning. The Alliance conducts advance planning for potential situations that may arise. • Operations in a more interconnected world. It is increasingly common for NATO planners to have to consider the entire range of Political, Military, Economic, Social, Information, and Infrastructure (PMESII) means in order to achieve NATO’s goals. • Capabilities-based planning. Through the NATO Defence Planning Process, NATO plans for capabilities which it needs in the medium and long-range future. These capabilities are used to tackle emerging issues, M&S would assist to better understand the complexities and provide insights to planners. • Capability Development. Emerging operational needs translated into capability requirements will need to be assessed on their operational effectiveness and risks, and proposed solutions will need to be analyzed to determine if they meet requirements and are viable and feasible options for further development. • Concept development and experimentation (CD&E). The application of the structure and methods of experimental science to the challenge of developing future military capability. This process can be reinforced by M&S.


• Develop an action plan for NATO to identify solution across the DOTMLPFI spectrum to allow NATO to better support decision making; • Identify what new activities other than training are taking place and need M&S support; • Identify use cases for the use of M&S in support of NATO activities; • Build a catalogue of national/industry assets that can be used to address the new requirements; • Investigate the mechanisms necessary for nations to share their M&S capabilities.


Requirements for different application domains: o Defence Planning o Operations Planning o Decision Support o Warfare Development o Concept Development and Experimentation

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