What if the Martians in H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds had modeled and simulated biological threats before expending an entire fleet to invade Earth? They would’ve saved an entire force that had to travel millions of miles and let pathogens do the work.
Quality modeling, simulation, and analysis (MS&A) produces data-driven knowledge, whether it’s in military operations, finance, or business. But modeling best-case scenarios doesn’t do anyone any favors. Overlooking the mayhem and chaos of real-world situations can be disastrous when they actually occur.
Synthetic environments must account for realistic challenges. In our line of work, C4ISR (command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance) and cyber systems need to be fully vetted under stressful conditions that emulate actual threats and attack situations prior to their acceptance and fielding. MS&A is also important as these systems are rising in complexity alongside the rise of joint all-domain command and control (JADC2) doctrines across the armed forces and combatant commands, connecting sensors, shooters, and data from all domains and platforms.
While quality MS&A takes time, talent, and money, it requires far less time and funding than major system acquisition programs. It can improve our understanding of capability gaps and shortfalls, allow us to investigate new alternatives at relatively low costs, and provide insight into technologies and operating concepts well before significant acquisition resources are committed.