Chapter IV. Technology Development
Army Science and Technology Master Plan (ASTMP 1997)


1. Scope

The Army Modeling and Simulation (M&S) technology program is focused on technology development in the three management domains: (1) Training, Exercise, and Military Operations (TEMO); (2) Advanced Concepts and Requirements Generation (ACR); and (3) Research, Development, and Acquisition (RDA). The first domain addresses the Army operational requirements to support Force XXI and beyond and other simulation applications, where interoperable, distributed simulations—live, constructive, and virtual—at geographically separated locations are connected to form highly realistic synthetic environments. The other two domains are concerned with the Army institutional requirements to develop, generate, project, and sustain the force. Complex and dynamic problems of requirements definition and analysis, science and technology, acquisition and prototyping, test and evaluation, production and logistics, training and readiness, and military operations must be simulated in the scale and resolution essential for the battlespace faster than real time.

M&S technology development is carried out throughout almost all budget activities, making a distinction of efforts by program elements dubious. Hence, this chapter focuses on those M&S technology developments that are customarily associated with 6.2 activities, but may not necessarily be carried out under 6.2 category funding.

2. Rationale

The Army Science Board 1991 Study on Army Simulation Strategy unequivocally conveyed the reality: "Increased automation of our forces and materiel, including its acquisition and operational utilization, provides the highest payoff potential as a force multiplier to offset the ongoing force reduction."

To optimally exploit the opportunities offered by the emerging automation technologies, the Army Science Board put forward the concept of the Electronic Battlefield (EBF). This concept has been adopted by the Army. The long-term objective of the EBF concept is to develop and implement a single, comprehensive system of synthetic environments for operational and technical simulation that can support combat development, system acquisition, developmental and operational test and evaluation, logistics, training, mission planning and rehearsal in Army specific and joint operations.

The near-term priority—establishment of the simulation infrastructure—is currently being addressed by the Army Digitization Office and the Force XXI initiative. To ensure timely M&S support, the Army has streamlined its M&S management by establishing the Army M&S General Officers Steering Committee co-chaired by the VCSA and AAE, the Army M&S Executive Council co-chaired by the DCSOPS and DUSA(OR), and the Model and Simulation Office. The latter oversees all major Army M&S activities through the three management domains.

3. Management Domains

The majority of M&S technology base developments support multiple domains. To captivate the Army M&S management structure but avoid repeating common technology developments at multiple places, the capability requirements to be provided by the technology base are summarized in the individual management domains, and the S&T programs that are needed to attain these capabilities on a timely basis are described in the M&S subareas of the Defense Technology Area Plan (DTAP) Information Systems and Technology area.

a. Training, Exercise, and Military Operations

Army M&S technology development in support of the Force XXI Combined Arms Training Strategy (CATS) is the responsibility of STRICOM and is discussed in Chapter VI. Technologies must be provided that will enable substantially expanded use of simulators and simulations to train the soldier in a seamless synthetic environment as part of crew drills, routine deployment exercises, and live fire exercises.

Army M&S technology base development in support of military operations is coordinated by CECOM. Technologies must be advanced that provide faster than real time interactive, predictive, continuous running simulations in support of dynamic automated planning and execution control systems to increase the tempo of operations of the integrated force and enable the most efficient use of all resources—mobility, power projection, operations, and people. The following elements are key: (1) a flexible, secure, and situation-dependent interaction of the users with the synthetic environment, supported by intelligent systems that emulate human-like thought processes, learn, and adapt to user needs and make optimal use of commercial operating systems, network protocols, and programming languages; (2) multimedia knowledge sharing and management throughout the operational hierarchy, including situational awareness and resource databases; and (3) an open-ended design of the dynamic planning and execution control system architecture.

b. Advanced Concept and Requirements Generation

Army S&T in this domain mainly supports brigade and below echelon aspects of the tactical force and materiel modernization requirement analyses, while technology development in support for strategic, operational, and upper echelon tactical force analyses is addressed by DARPA. M&S technologies must be advanced that will foster the realistic simulation of structure, employment and tactics, dynamics, and performance of organizational and materiel unit building blocks in a combined arms environment with the level of details and fidelity, the parameter variations, and the statistical accuracy specified by analysis and concept definition requirements and within the action/response times of the interacting live simulation constituency.

c. Research, Development, and Acquisition

This domain provides the technology base for the two preceding domains and the acquisition of materiel. For the latter, technologies have to be advanced that will enable the embedment of the total technology development and materiel acquisition process, from cradle to grave, in a system of networked synthetic environments that can seamlessly be linked with each other and the other domains. This includes technology base development, concept formulation and evaluation, ATD, DEMVAL, EMD, production, upgrade, DEMIL, and associated processes such as T&E, OT&E, logistics support assessment, cost estimation, performance and cost trade-offs, scheduling, cost and progress monitoring, and program management.

4. Technology Subareas

M&S is an information technology subarea: Information is used to generate new knowledge from available knowledge via modeling and simulating logical interrelations. This is manifested in the 1996 DoD Defense Technology Area Plan (DTAP) where Decision Making, Modeling and Simulation, Information Management and Distribution, Seamless Communications, and Computing and Software Technology comprise one technology area—Information Systems and technology (IST). To provide ASTMP-to-DTAP connectivity, the M&S structure of the DTAP-IST—Simulation Interconnection, Information, Representation, and Interface—is maintained and interrelated to the ASTMP technology areas.

a. Simulation Interconnection

This subarea is concerned with the architectural design, protocols and standards, multilevel security, survivability, interoperability among simulations at different levels of resolution, and common services (application gateways, databases, time and workload management, servers, and translators) to conduct collaborative simulations over the information network. The Army mainly relies on DARPA and on private enterprise for technology advancements. Army M&S S&T programs on information network architecture and infrastructure for distributed M&S are delineated in Sections G, Command, Control, and Communications, and H, Computing and Software.

Goals and Time Frames

The goal is to provide interoperability for on-demand synthetic environments. This includes a high level architecture (HLA) which governs the synergistic formation and evolution of individual simulation infrastructures—live, constructive, virtual—and the systems and subsystems and simulation management. The architecture must enable a user friendly, intelligent, object-oriented, graphical environment. A prototype HLA should evolve within the next 2 years, giving impetus to the development of cost-effective methods for VV&A and ensuring military utility of the evolving HLA and the networked synthetic environments by 2005. Network accessibility and portability of existing data bases across all environmental domains and automatic multilevel exchange of multimedia information should become available by the end of this decade. Very large scale distributed simulation with adaptive, dynamic network resource allocation and distributed multimedia knowledge sharing at all classification levels will be possible for all three domains by the end of the next decade.

The Army, through STRICOM, has DoD responsibility for DIS standards and protocols and, thus, plays a major part in their development. Until the DoD synthetic environment technical reference model becomes available (FY00), building blocks will rely on DIS-based protocols between simulation infrastructures to supply the functional network control and management. DIS-related programs are contained in Chapter VI.

Major Technical Challenges

Algorithms, models, and associated software, and even data bases, lack DIS connectivity and real-time information processing capability, and the needed HLA is still evolving. The unavailability of mathematical algorithms to automate the conversion of discipline-specific simulation systems and subsystems for use in synthetic environments on a heterogeneous communications and computation network is a technical barrier.

b. Simulation Information

This subarea addresses modeling of mission space, mission tasks, strategy, tactics, intelligent systems emulating human decision making processes, and optimal resource utilization.

Mission planning, rehearsal, and execution control management.

These tasks are inherently scenario-dependent, multistep, multifaceted, hierarchical processes involving complex evaluations at different information aggregate levels. Current planning capability is cumbersome, manpower intensive, time consuming, and judgmental. The infrastructure to support rapid automated mission planning, simulation-embedded mission rehearsal, and real-time simulation-aided execution management aids is evolving through the digitization of the battlespace. Missing are the computational methods, artificial intelligence algorithms, architecture, logical relations, and associated software that are necessary for the formulation and evaluation of scenario-dependent, complex military situations in the context of higher level command and control instructions and within the operational tempo. While DARPA is the major player in advancing technologies for simulation-based tactical decision making, Army S&T concentrates on their application and filling the gaps.

Goals and Time Frame

The long-term goal of this subarea is to provide the synthetic environments for automation-assisted C2 throughout the evolving C4I infrastructure. While near-term emphasis is on information overload reduction, mid-term emphasis is on mission and route planning for lower echelon assets and the aggregation of the individual plans into integrated company and battalion level plans. This also includes mission sustainment (e.g., logistics, maintenance and repair, soldier services).

Computer Generated Forces (CGF) requires the representation of human (soldier) behaviors for the realistic simulation of system performance. Individual soldiers, groups of soldiers (units/crews), single weapons platforms, and units of platforms must be simulated as aggregated and disaggregated entities. The goal is to represent adaptive, interactive, "intelligent" behaviors of soldiers, units, platforms and smart weapons in variable scale realistic synthetic environments. The primary development and application of CGF for the Army is promulgated in the evolution of Modular Semi-Automated Forces (ModSAF) through the cooperative efforts of AMC and ARPA. Ongoing Army S&T includes modeling of systems and subsystems in computer software, interaction among the models and with other components of the simulation environment, and integration to support near- and mid-term operational requirements.

Computation-aided operational planning requires algorithms that translate military command and control instructions into computer language, integrate these with battlespace environment, battlespace situation awareness information, and mission specific doctrines. Predictive, networked, simulation-based planning will be possible within the next 15 years.

Computation-aided mission rehearsal requires the same technologies and data bases as mission planning as well as virtual reality. Within the next 15 years, technologies will support implementation of materiel embedded training, where individual units and their aggregates are fully immersed in synthetic environments, with horizontal and vertical synchronization throughout the operational forces partaking in the rehearsal using in-place equipment.

In order to increase automation in operational execution control management, artificial intelligence technologies are needed that speed up and improve decision, command and control, and information flow processes based on situation and resource knowledge. This includes technologies for automated revision of mission and route plans for the fighting units as well as their support, area-controlled, hierarchical information management over combat communications networks, and application-tailored information display and network interface. Near-term emphasis is on providing information management technologies tailored to the needs of the digitized battlefield infrastructure. Model and computation optimization technologies and use of scalable massively parallel processors will enable dynamic, simulation-assisted, C4I node execution control management within the next 10 years, followed 5 years later by adaptive management that is fully coordinated throughout the battlespace.

Major Technical Challenges

Technologies are not yet available to enable fast and situation-adaptive operational planning with optimal use of resources throughout the hierarchical task force structure, including support elements. Of particular challenge are operational rehearsal (and training) of force components in a virtual environment that projects the most likely battlespace situation and operational execution, with intelligent systems-aided command and control oversight. Both must be able to quickly adjust mission plans to changing situations. Algorithms must be advanced for integrating the individual synthetic environments (e.g., for elements of the operating forces and their support) into an aggregate system and for scaling the computer-generated forces and support from entity level through any level of hierarchical echelon, while preserving the dynamics and behavioral aspects of aggregation and disaggregation. Also, realistic/trustworthy accounting and forecasting of the state and ability of human resources—ours as well as foe’s—are necessary. This includes the effect of battlefield stress on human performance and casualty and incapacitation from battlefield hazards.

Materiel Acquisition.

DoD policy requires that all new major system developments be carried out embedded in open architecture simulations, using DoD-specific and COTS engineering, software engineering, and life-cycle management tools to reduce acquisition time and life-cycle cost. M&S science and technology in support of engineering designs and analyses is an intrinsic part of the non-information technology areas and described in that discussion. Development of technologies to integrate individual M&S software for system design and manage the engineering process is mainly commerce driven, with active participation of Army RDECs in their area of acquisition support responsibility.

Goals and Time Frames

The long-term goal is to establish a capability to produce synthetic prototypes of systems with a complete electronic documentation of the products, engineering models, and software tools used, manufacturing and assembling instructions, and performance.

In support of ACR, M&S technologies are being developed that will provide, within the next decade, the capability to remotely access expert repositories at RDECs, Battle Labs, and other organizations including industry; search for and retrieve operational and technical models and data bases pertinent to the concept to be evaluated; and integrate this information, in a synthetic environment, into candidate systems with operational performance and technology exploitation optimized to the available acquisition resources. Rudimental systems are already in place to integrate realistic synthetic system mock-ups (virtual prototypes) into operational simulation environments via DIS.

In the materiel development, engineering, and production area, technologies are required that allow highly automated utilization of engineering models in the design of components and their integration into a system, employing concurrent, automated software configuration management with or without physical simulators in the loop, in support of and tailored to the development of specific materiel or ATDs in both the tactical and the strategic arena. Considerable progress has been made by the Army RDECs, AF Manufacturing Technology Directorate, DARPA, NIST, and other organizations in developing and demonstrating virtual prototyping and manufacturing for application specific problems. These technology advances are now being exploited in various Army simulation and modeling projects to systematically formulate the process of designing and building simulation substructures in a modular fashion with adaptable, flexible interfaces. Emphasis is on simulating the manufacturing process of materials, their machining into components, and their assembly into virtual prototypes. The Army S&T programs in support of this area are detailed in Sections T, Materials, Processes and Structures, and P, Manufacturing Sciences and Technology.

Testing and evaluation of the design and performance of components, subsystems, and systems are an integral part of the materiel acquisition process. Even though physical simulators are increasingly used for components hardware and software in-the-loop testing, the current T&E methodologies are nevertheless labor, time, and cost intensive and do not support the concept of rapidly configurational prototyping through synthetic environments. The Virtual Proving Ground, now in development by TECOM, will increase the synthetic environment capability for components simulation; shortening the human in-the-loop design, test, and fix cycle; and enable networking of T&E, OT&E, and other data bases. Ongoing S&T work supports the development of a flexible open architecture that will seamlessly link constructive, virtual, and live T&E simulations.

Major Technical Challenges

Apart from technologies for the synthetic operational environments, the development, engineering, and manufacturing M&S technologies and tools used in the acquisition process are basically the same as for similar commercial products. Most of the tools are stand-alone software packages lacking open architecture; hence, software and repository integration into domain-specific synthetic environments and their embedment into an integrated, networked acquisition process and management environment are a tedious and difficult endeavor. The technical simulation models in use today are mainly general scientific and engineering analysis computer programs for application-specific system components and physical processes. The majority lack rapid interconnectivity with each other and with operational M&S and require software reengineering for efficient use on parallel processors. To replace the current prototyping/testing approach with virtual prototyping, and thereby attain the potential large savings in cost and development time, the evolving methodologies—first principle models, performance data/prediction, and system simulation—must first undergo a rigorous VV&A process.

c. Simulation Representation

This subarea is concerned with technologies that will enable, within the time of operational decision cycles, the generation and the realistic, high-fidelity synthetic representation of the prevailing physical environment, natural and man-made (e.g., terrain, hydrography, atmosphere, vegetation, buildings), the materiel and humans operating in it, and their interactions with each other. The M&S programs that comprise the prevailing physical environment and enable its display are described in Sections M, Battlespace Environments, and N, Human-Systems Interface.

Goals and Time Frames

The synthetic physical environment must be accurate, realistic, and capable of rapid updating to provide a sense of normal time flow during a simulation process across a wide variety of M&S systems. By the end of this decade, the fundamental technologies necessary for integrating maps from distributed environmental data bases, information on current weather and from battlefield situation awareness, and simulation-based assessments of tactical movements put forward by C4I node staff into an aggregate dynamic environment and presenting it into mission specific spatiotemporal 3-D scene projection will be developed for virtual sand table applications. Highly interactive, high fidelity environment and force representations will be possible within 15 years. Efforts are underway to automate the generation of electronic environment data bases and to increase their spatial resolution to DTED level II (10m) is in progress. This data base will comprise digital maps for terrain, soils, roads, drainage, foliage and other environment characteristics. High fidelity, full-spectrum weather models for the evolution of the environment and its effect on individual system performance should be realizable within the next decade (FY05). Realistic human/group behavior representation under battlefield conditions will be possible within 10 to 15 years.

Major Technical Challenges.

All sensors, including humans, are impacted by environmental conditions. Unavailability of valid environmental data, in the resolution required for each combat system, is a major barrier to achieve realistic simulation. Multimedia knowledge sharing of environmental information between distributed heterogeneous data bases is still unresolved. The lack of mathematical algorithms and corresponding software to represent a "real" physical environment represents a major barrier. To overcome this barrier we need to reduce time and cost of data base development and harness computational performance for dynamic environmental representation as well as to maintain consistency across models of varying resolution.

The lower echelon combat C4I nodes will be overloaded with information and, thus, may be unable to make all the logical decisions necessary to effectively implement higher echelon command and control. Intelligent systems with automated reasoning emulating the human thought process must be advanced that provide battlefield (human) decision makers, especially in stressful environments, with information that they need when they need it without overwhelming them.

d. Simulation Interface

This subarea addresses the development of technologies that will enable quick and responsive interface between the human and synthetic environments and realistic dynamic representation of systems in synthetic environments and of synthetic forces to the human.

Goals and Time Frames

The goal is to provide the algorithms and associated software that connect the synthetic environment with the machine hardware and firmware that interfaces with the human and will allow the soldier to interact with the machine in human-like fashion and without distracting from the task to be performed. Human-like interface between the synthetic environment and soldiers will be possible within 10 years; full immersion of the soldiers for rehearsal and as part of the operational execution, within 15 years.

Major Technical Challenges

Algorithms are needed to characterize vision and nonvision sensory to support the development of highly flexible and rapidly reconfigurable user interface stations which serve as input and feedback devices to the simulation network. Also, hardware and software are needed for high resolution, real-time scene generation.

A barrier to human-like interface with the synthetic environment is the lack of understanding on how human language interacts with information systems. Connected speech systems with increasing natural language interpretation and voice recognition that can be quickly trained for different voices are appearing. Because of commercial market applicability, industry and dual-use technology advancement programs are already addressing the barrier and will provide the needed speech recognition, parsing, and dialog management technology base, enabling the Army S&T to concentrate on military domain-specific applications.

5. Roadmap of Technology Objectives

The roadmap of technology objectives for the M&S Computer Generated Forces domain is shown in Table IV-U-1 below.

Table IV-U-1. Technical Objectives for Modeling and Simulation

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