4. Warfighting Experimentation
Warfighting experiments are the heart of the Army's warfighting requirements determination process. Progressive and iterative mixes of high fidelity constructive, virtual, and live simulations using real soldiers and units in relevant, tactically competitive scenarios provide Army leaders with future operational capability insights.
This aspect of the new requirements process is often overlooked or misrepresented. "War- fighting experiment" is not a new name for test and evaluation. While testing may occur in an experiment, we conduct experiments to gain understanding about some aspect of future war- fighting, not to just measure the performance of new doctrine, training, leader development, organization, or materiel. Capability insights are "way points" used to plot the Army's future course.
There are a wide variety of warfighting experiments. All begin with formal hypotheses derived from contemporary operational issues, warfighting concepts, or S&T research. The hypotheses may relate to any of the DTLOMS domains. New or changed doctrine, organizations, and materiel generate the majority of experiment hypotheses. However, training, leader development and soldier issues may also drive independent experiments. Regardless of what initiates an experiment, it becomes a training and leader development experience for the entire Army as we experience some aspect of future warfighting.
The principal role of the battle labs is to plan and conduct warfighting experiments. Working with the concept proponent and the TRADOC Analysis Center (TRAC), battle labs develop hypotheses and then prepare detailed experiment plans that describe objectives, measures of performance, measures of effectiveness, participants, milestones, data collection, and resources. This is a change from the last three years when battle labs were much more involved with other aspects of requirements determination.
TRAC, assisted by other organizations as needed, analyzes the results of every experiment. TRAC analyses, and recommendations from actual experiment participants, form the basis for the final experiment report. The experiment proponent can choose to discard the hypotheses in their current form, continue to experiment with the same or modified hypothesis, define DTLOMS requirements, or recommend rapid acquisition and fielding.
Depending on the nature of the experiment, the Army's Operational Test and Evaluation Command (OPTEC) may also be involved with the experiment design and execution. When possible, this facilitates concurrent statutory test and evaluation which potentially reduces fielding times.
There are two main categories of warfighting experiments -- concept experiments and advanced warfighting experiments (AWE). The overwhelming majority are concept experiments pertaining to individual operations or branches. They are the means to "model-experiment-model" possible requirements and are the building blocks in the "progressive and iterative mix" of simulations. Additionally, they are usually small enough to support the detailed planning and data collection required by the test and evaluation communities. A concept proponent conducts the experiment or requests a battle lab to sponsor it. They either resource it in-house or request resources from the TRADOC DCSCD Concept Experimentation Program (CEP).
Experiments that are focused on a major increase to warfighting capability across multiple branches are part of the AWE program. Any of the concept proponents recommends the experiment, the TRADOC Commander sponsors it, and the Chief of Staff, Army, approves and resources it. (See Figure II-5.)
|Figure II-5. Warfighting Experiments|
Today, most warfighting experiments employ live simulations--soldiers and units in field environments. However, live simulations are very expensive, and if they involve new materiel may occur late in the materiel development cycle. Future warfighting experiments will use a comprehensive suite of reconfigurable simulators and simulations in addition to live simulations.
Distributed interactive simulations (DIS) connected by the Defense Simulations Inter- net (DSI) will create a synthetic theater of war (STOW) that enables Army leaders to quickly model, evaluate, and change different requirements from any of the DTLOMS domains. Thus, future warfighting experiments will leverage relatively low-cost models to explore requirements across the DTLOMS spectrum, reserving expensive field exercises for the final defining event in the requirements determination process.
Warfighting experiments provide the Army an unsurpassed means to understand future warfighting requirements. Planned and executed with the entire combined arms team and appropriate other service elements, warfighting experiments open "windows to the future." Understanding the costs and benefits of change across the force and in all domains allows us to "maintain the edge" and conserve resources at the same time.