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Plug in and join the war.

Sometimes even really good ideas are hard to sell. Until recently, the really good idea of using digital modeling and simulation technology to accelerate the design, development and test of EW systems has languished. However, intransigence in the acceptance of novel inventions by the Defense Department is not a rare phenomenon.

Consider the case of the breech-loading rifle, documented in a 1953 book by Dr. I.B. Holley entitled Ideas and Weapons. The breech-loading rifle was clearly a revolutionary advancement over the cumbersome and slow muzzle loaders. However, when it was first introduced to the War Department in 1840, the skeptics refused to promote its virtues.

Finally, in 1865, a limited number of the new rifles were furnished to the Union Army, but too late to affect the progress of the war. Confederate General E.P. Alexander stated that had the Union Army employed such weapons early in the conflict, the war would have been shortened by at least two years. But Congress refused to approve funding for the advanced breechloaders -- because adopting them would waste all of the ammunition being stored for the old, outdated muzzle loaders!


It now appears, however, that EW digital modeling and simulation will not suffer the long neglect of the breech-loading rifle. The immense impact that computer-simulation-aided analysis will make on the electronic combat test process has been recognized. It is critical, however, that the next steps taken toward the goal of an accepted EW simulation and modeling process be in the right direction.

I believe that two of the most important steps are:

1) The establishment of a standard, DOD-wide EW modeling and simulation architecture -- with the Joint Modeling and Simulation System (J-MASS) as that standard.

2) The development of necessary protocol and interfaces so that EW simulations all over the world can be linked by SIMNET, which is now called Distributed Interactive Simulation (DIS).

After a somewhat slow start, it is encouraging to witness a ground swell of support for these goals. The following recent events are noteworthy:

1) The Defense Modeling and Simulation Office (DMSO) in the Pentagon evaluated more than 150 proposals and selected further development of DIS and J-MASS as two of its highest priority programs.

2) General Howard Lief, director of the Air Force's new test and evaluation office in the Pentagon, is taking steps to establish a more disciplined EW test and evaluation process:

* Publishing of the new AFR 80-14 on test and evaluation will enforce the establishment of a standard digital simulation architecture to support the EW test process.

* The Systems Program Office will be responsible for the development of avionics digital models, and these models must be compliant with the standard digital simulation architecture. Note that the F-22 program will be the first major program to use J-MASS red and blue models.

3) All science and technology intelligence centers are implementing J-MASS. Future intelligence products will provide J-MASS-compliant digital models of threats.

4) Industry is signing up in large numbers to become J-MASS beta sites (authorized users of J-MASS).

In addition, the recent collection of EW simulation experts at the AOC Northeast Regional Symposium at Niagara Falls, NY, July 21-22, 1992, had much to say concerning EW simulation. The following highlights are pertinent: 1) Tony Grieco, the deputy director, tactical systems (EC) within the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense, revealed that $240 million is in the budget for modeling and simulation. In his opinion, the DOD needs a shift in emphasis from open air ranges to more attention to modeling and simulation. Specifically, digital models have suffered the most from a lack of attention. He recommended placing first priority on developing digital threat models, then developing the EW systems digital models.

2) LTC Steven Overstreet, from the Army's Simulation, Training and Instrumentation Command, focused on the Army's plans to net its facilities using DIS. The goal is to create a "time and space, coherent representation of the battlefield" using DIS to interconnect remotely located test ranges and wargaming simulations. The synthetic battlefield environment encompasses wargames simulations, an electronic battlefield, instrumented ranges and simulator networks that interface for combat development. This also includes virtual prototyping, training and test and evaluation. Colonel Overstreet also stressed the importance of adding electronic combat and |C.sup.3~CM to the simulation network; however, he pointed out the current lack of protocol data units and interface systems needed to put EW in the net.

3) COL Mike Tanksley, from the Joint Staff (J-33), reviewed findings from the latest Joint Chiefs of Staff analysis on lessons learned in Operation Desert Storm. He stated that 80% of the discovered problems could be corrected through improved training. Simulation is being pursued as a major thrust to achieve greatly enhanced training effectiveness. He remarked that the modern training exercises such as Reforger are now basically simulations. The goal of the Joint Warfare Center at Hurlburt Field, FL, is to join the training assets of the Army, Navy and Air Force together using DIS technology. Then anyone in the DIS network could simply "plug in and join the war."


With all the foregoing activity it is clear that digital simulation technology is being embraced as the best way to experiment, test and train on the electronic battlefields of the future. Two of the technological cornerstones that will act as catalysts in this movement are the J-MASS and the DIS.

It is both encouraging and exciting to see government and industry joining in support of these revolutionary ideas. However, we as a community need to ensure that our needs are considered as the DIS network becomes a universal standard. Don't get left behind -- "plug in and join the war."

George Nicholas is president of George Nicholas VII Enterprises Ltd. He is also manager of Dayton operations for Amherst Systems Inc. in Dayton, OH. His career includes posts at the Pentagon and at Wright Labs. He is a member of JED's Editorial Advisory Board.
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Title Annotation:computer simulation games
Author:Nicholas, George
Publication:Journal of Electronic Defense
Date:Sep 1, 1992
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