Training & Simulation
Mar 15, 2008

To enhance Canada’s ability to respond to the security and defence challenges that lie ahead, the Canadian Forces must aggressively transform to meet the demands of the rapidly evolving security environment.

The realization of the new vision for the Canadian Forces (CF) will require implementing transformational initiatives that will “demand the Canadian Forces move beyond traditional thinking.”

To support this transformational ­concept, the CF will rely on advanced simulation to develop new capabilities for the evolving operational environment.

With the advent of complex coupled systems and the evolutionary introduction of new technology, the application of Modeling and Simulation (M&S) activities has increased throughout industry, academia and military domains.

M&S has become a key military transformation enabler. As an enabling technology, it has permeated many domains within the Department of National Defence (DND) and the Canadian Forces. The use of M&S provides those within the military domain with a powerful and resource-efficient medium for:

  • Exploration of doctrinal alternatives;
  • Support to operations;
  • Mission rehearsal;
  • Capability management;
  • Alternative and complementary ­operational training;
  • Investigation of leading-edge technologies;
  • Shaping education and training method­ologies; and
  • Effective support of the acquisition process.

To meet the objectives of DND and the CF, the application of M&S must satisfy the criteria of Relevance, Responsive­ness and Effectiveness.

  • Relevance: M&S must be a force enabler in order to provide meaningful results that are credible enough to meet the needs of the user.
  • Responsiveness: M&S must be integrated into the DND/CF culture as an enabling tool in order to realize an economy of effort that will allow components (models, terrain, simulations) and common ­services to be shared and reused within and outside DND in a timely mann
  • Effectiveness: The application of M&S must consider the potential for interoperability with other simulations, thus enhancing existing defence systems and meeting joint and combined needs in a timely and cost effective manner.

With the growing reliance on M&S and synthetic environments within DND, it is increasingly important to ensure that users and decision-makers have a solid understanding of both the fundamentals and applications of M&S, and of current activities and initiatives. The DND Synthetic Environment Coordination Office (SECO) and the Synthetic Environment Working Group (SEWG), in cooperation with ADM(MAT)/DGMSSC/ DMPP, are developing a comprehensive training program to address the increased requirement for M&S training within DND.

The comprehensive training program envisioned has a number of components. The training program begins with Fundamentals of Defence Modeling and Simulation, a 3-day course open to DND/CF personnel requiring a basic understanding of M&S within the context of DND and the Canadian Forces. The second course, Synthetic Environment Based Acquisition is being designed for requirements, procurement, and project management staff. Follow-on, more technically advanced courses in Verification, Validation, and Accredita­tion; High Level Architecture; and other specialist areas are also available.

The courses are similar in concept to those offered by U.S. Department of Defense organizations, but are tailored to DND’s policies and processes, and they are replete with Canadian examples. The first fundamentals pilot course, with students from captain to lieutenant colonel rank, was held in September. The successful conduct of the pilot course has sparked interest for courses to be delivered elsewhere to key groups across the country. DND SECO responded to that need and has conducted a tailored course at Canadian Forces Fleet School, Esquimalt, BC. The students were all petty officers and chief petty officers who were using M&S as an integral part of fleet training.

The Fundamentals of Defence Modeling and Simulation course is an introductory course that provides the student with a general understanding of M&S concepts and terminology, an overview of M&S applications, and it offers insights into potential new DND / CF opportunities. It is presented in a computer lab so that students are able to benefit from multi media course delivery and hands-on experience with computer models and “serious games,” such as Steel Beast.

M&S is already being used throughout Canada’s defence equipment life cycles: from the very earliest identification of requirements; through procurement and project management; to in-­service support; and upgrades and modernization. The Acquisition course is being developed with a two-fold objective: to provide students with an understanding of how M&S can be applied to various acquisition functions; and, probably even more important, to stimulate them to explore the potential use of M&S in new, innovative applications.

In planning support to operations, Canadian military logisticians use the NATO Allied Deployment and Movements System (ADAMS), a decision support system for the assessment planning and coordination of NATO multinational force deployments. By making some minor modifications to ADAMS, DND operations research staff were able to input three years of actual airlift data, e.g. lines of tasking, aircraft types, etc into ADAMS. The ADAMS model was then able to determine the number of C17s that would have been required to meet the CF’s needs for that period. ADAMS did not say that exactly four aircraft would have been required. ADAMS concluded that, in x per cent of the cases, y times out of z, n aircraft would have sufficed. Analysts then took the ADAMS output, factored in aircraft non-availability due to maintenance, repair and overhaul, etc, and concluded that, from an operational requirement perspective, four aircraft was a reasonable number.

One of the major lessons to be learned from the C17 case is that M&S can be effectively used as a decision support tool, but is seldom, if ever, a decision making tool. In the end, some person has to take the M&S results, interpret them, and consider them as inputs into a larger decision making process.

The new Modeling and Simulation courses attempt to go beyond basic concepts and terminology. They will expose students to numerous DND/CF examples. They will explore the potential and the limitations of M&S. In the end, they will provide DND/CF personnel with enhanced knowledge and new tools to help them use that knowledge.
© Frontline Defence 2008