Military simulation
Military simulations, also known informally as war games
Military exercise
A military exercise is the employment of military resources in training for military operations, either exploring the effects of warfare or testing strategies without actual combat...

, are simulation
Simulation is the imitation of some real thing available, state of affairs, or process. The act of simulating something generally entails representing certain key characteristics or behaviours of a selected physical or abstract system....

s in which theories of warfare can be tested and refined without the need for actual hostilities. Many professional contemporary analysts object to the term wargames as this is generally taken to be referring to the civilian hobby
A wargame is a strategy game that deals with military operations of various types, real or fictional. Wargaming is the hobby dedicated to the play of such games, which can also be called conflict simulations, or consims for short. When used professionally to study warfare, it is generally known as...

, thus the preference for the term simulation. However historically this name has been used e.g. Strategic War Game of 1905
Strategic War Game of 1905
The Strategic War Game of 1905 was a wargame run by the British General Staff between January and May 1905.The game was umpired by James Grierson an expert on the German Army. There were three sides: Colonel Callwell played the British Commander-in-Chief, William Robertson played the German...


Simulations exist in many different forms, with varying degrees of realism. In recent times, the scope of simulations has widened to include not only military
A military is an organization authorized by its greater society to use lethal force, usually including use of weapons, in defending its country by combating actual or perceived threats. The military may have additional functions of use to its greater society, such as advancing a political agenda e.g...

 but also political and social
The term social refers to a characteristic of living organisms...

 factors, which are seen as inextricably entwined in a realistic warfare model.

Whilst many governments make use of simulation, both individually and collaboratively, little is known about it outside professional circles. Yet modelling is often the means by which governments test and refine their military and political policies. Military simulations are seen as a useful way to develop tactical
Military tactics
Military tactics, the science and art of organizing an army or an air force, are the techniques for using weapons or military units in combination for engaging and defeating an enemy in battle. Changes in philosophy and technology over time have been reflected in changes to military tactics. In...

, strategical
Military strategy
Military strategy is a set of ideas implemented by military organizations to pursue desired strategic goals. Derived from the Greek strategos, strategy when it appeared in use during the 18th century, was seen in its narrow sense as the "art of the general", 'the art of arrangement' of troops...

 and doctrinal
Military doctrine
Military doctrine is the concise expression of how military forces contribute to campaigns, major operations, battles, and engagements.It is a guide to action, not hard and fast rules. Doctrine provides a common frame of reference across the military...

 solutions, but critics argue that the conclusions drawn from such models are inherently flawed, due to the approximate nature of the models used.

The simulation spectrum

The term Military Simulation can be used to cover a wide spectrum of activities, ranging from full scale field exercises
Military exercise
A military exercise is the employment of military resources in training for military operations, either exploring the effects of warfare or testing strategies without actual combat...

, to abstract computerised models that can proceed with little or no human involvement such as the Rand Strategy Assessment Center
Rand Strategy Assessment Center
The RAND Strategy Assessment Center was first conceived in 1979 with the goal of developing “new methods for strategic analysis that combine the best features or war gaming and analytical modeling.” Work began in April 1980. The initial request for the center came from the Department of Defense...


As a general scientific principle, the most reliable data is produced by actual observation and the most reliable theories are based on it. This is also true in military analysis, where analysts look towards live field exercises and trials as providing data that is likely to be realistic (depending on the realism of the exercise) and verifiable (it has been gathered by actual observation). It can be readily discovered, for example, how long it takes to construct a pontoon bridge
Pontoon bridge
A pontoon bridge or floating bridge is a bridge that floats on water and in which barge- or boat-like pontoons support the bridge deck and its dynamic loads. While pontoon bridges are usually temporary structures, some are used for long periods of time...

 under given conditions with given manpower, and this data can then be used to provide norms
Norm (sociology)
Social norms are the accepted behaviors within a society or group. This sociological and social psychological term has been defined as "the rules that a group uses for appropriate and inappropriate values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors. These rules may be explicit or implicit...

 for expected performance under similar conditions in the future, or to refine the bridge-building process. It is true that any form of training can be regarded as a 'simulation' in the strictest sense of the word (inasmuch as it simulates an operational environment); however, many if not most exercises are carried out not to test new ideas or models, but to provide the participants with the skills to operate within existing ones.

Full-scale military exercises, or even smaller scale ones, are not always feasible or even desirable. Availability of resources, including money, is a significant factor — it is an expensive endeavor to release men and materiel
Materiel is a term used in English to refer to the equipment and supplies in military and commercial supply chain management....

 from any standing commitments, transport them to a suitable location, and then cover additional expenses such as Petroleum Oil Lubricants (POL) usage, equipment maintenance, supplies and consumables replenishment and other items. In addition, certain warfare models are not amenable to verification using this realistic method. It would, for example, be impossible to accurately test an attrition
Attrition warfare
Attrition warfare is a military strategy in which a belligerent side attempts to win a war by wearing down its enemy to the point of collapse through continuous losses in personnel and matériel....

 scenario by killing one's own troops.

Moving away from the Field Exercise, it is often more convenient to test a theory by reducing the level of personnel involvement. Map exercises can be conducted involving senior officers and planners, but without the need to physically move around any troops. These retain some human input, and thus can still reflect to some extent the human imponderables that make warfare so challenging to model, with the advantage of reduced costs and increased accessibility. A map exercise can also be conducted with far less forward planning than a full scale deployment, making it an attractive option for more minor simulations that would not merit anything larger, as well as for very major operations where cost, or secrecy, is an issue. (This was true in the planning of OPERATION AI
Attack on Pearl Harbor
The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike conducted by the Imperial Japanese Navy against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on the morning of December 7, 1941...


Increasing the level of abstraction still further, simulation moves towards an environment readily recognised by civilian wargamers
A wargame is a strategy game that deals with military operations of various types, real or fictional. Wargaming is the hobby dedicated to the play of such games, which can also be called conflict simulations, or consims for short. When used professionally to study warfare, it is generally known as...

. This type of simulation can be manual, implying no (or very little) computer involvement, computer-assisted, or fully computerised.

Manual simulations have probably been in use in some form since mankind first went to war. Chess
Chess is a two-player board game played on a chessboard, a square-checkered board with 64 squares arranged in an eight-by-eight grid. It is one of the world's most popular games, played by millions of people worldwide at home, in clubs, online, by correspondence, and in tournaments.Each player...

 can be regarded as a form of military simulation (although its precise origins are debated). In more recent times, the forerunner of modern simulations was the Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

n game Kriegspiel
Kriegspiel (wargame)
Kriegsspiel, from the German word for wargame, was a system used for training officers in the Prussian army. The first set of rules was created in 1812 and named Instructions for the Representation of Tactical Maneuvers under the Guise of a Wargame. It was originally produced and developed further...

, which appeared around 1811 and is sometimes credited with the Prussian victory in the Franco-Prussian War
Franco-Prussian War
The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War, often referred to in France as the 1870 War was a conflict between the Second French Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia. Prussia was aided by the North German Confederation, of which it was a member, and the South German states of Baden, Württemberg and...

. It was distributed to each Prussian regiment
A regiment is a major tactical military unit, composed of variable numbers of batteries, squadrons or battalions, commanded by a colonel or lieutenant colonel...

 and they were ordered to play it regularly, prompting a visiting German
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 officer to declare in 1824, "It's not a game at all! It's training for war!" Eventually so many rules sprang up, as each regiment improvised their own variations, two versions came into use. One, known as "rigid Kriegspiel", was played by strict adherence to the lengthy rule book. The other, "free Kriegspiel", was governed by the decisions of human umpires. Each version had its advantages and disadvantages: rigid Kriegspiel contained rules covering most situations, and the rules were derived from historical battles where those same situations had occurred, making the simulation verifiable and rooted in observable data, which some later American models discarded. However, its prescriptive nature acted against any impulse of the participants towards free and creative thinking. Conversely, free Kriegspiel could encourage this type of thinking, as its rules were open to interpretation by umpires and could be adapted during operation. This very interpretation, though, tended to negate the verifiable nature of the simulation, as different umpires might well adjudge the same situation in different ways, especially where there was a lack of historical precedent. In addition, it allowed umpires to weight the outcome, consciously or otherwise.

The above arguments are still cogent in the modern, computer-heavy military simulation environment. There remains a recognised place for umpires as arbiters of a simulation, hence the persistence of manual simulations in war colleges throughout the world. Both computer-assisted and entirely computerised simulations are common as well, with each being used as required by circumstances. The Rand Corporation is one of the best known designers of Military Simulations for the US Government and Air Force, and one of the pioneers of the Political-Military simulation. Their SAFE (Strategic And Force Evaluation) simulation is an example of a manual simulation, with one or more teams of up to ten participants being sequestered in separate rooms and their moves being overseen by an independent director and his staff. Such simulations may be conducted over a few days (thus requiring commitment from the participants): an initial scenario (for example, a conflict breaking out in the Persian Gulf) is presented to the players with appropriate historical, political and military background information. They then have a set amount of time to discuss and formulate a strategy, with input from the directors/umpires (often called Control) as required. Where more than one team is participating, teams may be divided on partisan lines — traditionally Blue and Red are used as designations, with Blue representing the 'home' nation and Red the opposition. In this case, the teams will work against each other, their moves and counter-moves being relayed to their opponents by Control, who will also adjudicate on the results of such moves. At set intervals, Control will declare a change in the scenario, usually of a period of days or weeks, and present the evolving situation to the teams based on their reading of how it might develop as a result of the moves made. For example, Blue Team might decide to respond to the Gulf conflict by moving a carrier battle group
Carrier battle group
A carrier battle group consists of an aircraft carrier and its escorts, together composing the group. The first naval task forces built around carriers appeared just prior to and during World War II. The Imperial Japanese Navy was the first to assemble a large number of carriers into a single...

 into the area whilst simultaneously using diplomatic channels to avert hostilities. Red Team, on the other hand, might decide to offer military aid to one side or another, perhaps seeing an opportunity to gain influence in the region and counter Blue's initiatives. At this point Control could declare a week has now passed, and present an updated scenario to the players: possibly the situation has deteriorated further and Blue must now decide if they wish to pursue the military option, or alternatively tensions might have eased and the onus now lies on Red as to whether to escalate by providing more direct aid to their clients.

Computer-assisted simulations are really just a development of the manual simulation, and again there are different variants on the theme. Sometimes the computer assistance will be nothing more than a database to help umpires keep track of information during a manual simulation. At other times one or other of the teams might be replaced by a computer-simulated opponent (known as an agent or automaton). This can reduce the umpires' role to interpreter of the data produced by the agent, or obviate the need for an umpire altogether. Most commercial wargames designed to run on computers (such as Blitzkrieg
Blitzkrieg (computer game)
Blitzkrieg is a real-time tactics computer game based on the events of World War II. The game allows players to assume the role of commanding officer during the battles of World War II that occurred in Europe and North Africa. Each country has its respective historically correct military units...

, the Total War series and even the Civilization
Civilization (series)
Civilization is a series of turn-based strategy, 4X video games produced by Sid Meier. Basic gameplay functions are similar throughout the series, namely, buiding a civilization on a macro-scale from prehistory up to the near future...

 games) fall into this category.

Where both human teams are replaced by agents, the simulation can be fully computerised and, with minimal supervision, left to run by itself. The main advantage of this is the ready accessibility of the simulation — beyond the time required to program and update the computer models, no special requirements are necessary. A fully computerised simulation can be run at virtually any time and in almost any location, the only equipment needed being a laptop computer. There is no need to juggle schedules to suit busy participants, acquire suitable facilities and arrange for their use, or obtain security clearances. An additional important advantage is its ability to perform many hundreds or even thousands of iterations in the time that it would take a manual simulation to run once. This means statistical information can be gleaned from such a model; outcomes can be quoted in terms of probabilities, and plans developed accordingly.

Removing the human element entirely means the results of the simulation are only as good as the model itself. Validation thus becomes extremely significant — data must be correct, and must be handled correctly by the model: the modeller's assumptions ("rules") must adequately reflect reality, or the results will be nonsense. Various mathematical formulae have been devised over the years to attempt to predict everything from the effect of casualties on morale to the speed of movement of an army in difficult terrain. One of the best known is the Lanchester Square Law
Lanchester's laws
Lanchester's laws are mathematical formulae for calculating the relative strengths of a predator/prey pair. This article is concerned with military forces....

 formulated by the British engineer Frederick Lanchester
Frederick Lanchester
Frederick William Lanchester, Hon FRAeS was an English polymath and engineer who made important contributions to automotive engineering, aerodynamics and co-invented the field of operations research....

 in 1914. He expressed the fighting strength of a (then) modern force as proportional to the square of its numerical strength multiplied by the fighting value of its individual units. The Lanchester Law is often known as the attrition model, as it can be applied to show the balance between opposing forces as one side or the other loses numerical strength.

Heuristic or stochastic?

Another method of categorising military simulations is to divide them into two broad areas.

Heuristic refers to experience-based techniques for problem solving, learning, and discovery. Heuristic methods are used to speed up the process of finding a satisfactory solution, where an exhaustive search is impractical...

 simulations are those that are run with the intention of stimulating research and problem solving; they are not necessarily expected to provide empirical
The word empirical denotes information gained by means of observation or experimentation. Empirical data are data produced by an experiment or observation....


Stochastic refers to systems whose behaviour is intrinsically non-deterministic. A stochastic process is one whose behavior is non-deterministic, in that a system's subsequent state is determined both by the process's predictable actions and by a random element. However, according to M. Kac and E...

 simulations are those that involve, at least to some extent, an element of chance.

Most military simulations fall somewhere in between these two definitions, although manual simulations lend themselves more to the heuristic approach and computerised ones to the stochastic.

Manual simulations, as described above, are often run to explore a 'what if?' scenario and take place as much to provide the participants with some insight into decision-making processes and crisis management
Crisis management
Crisis management is the process by which an organization deals with a major event that threatens to harm the organization, its stakeholders, or the general public. The study of crisis management originated with the large scale industrial and environmental disasters in the 1980's.Shrivastava, P....

 as to provide concrete conclusions. Indeed, such simulations do not even require a conclusion; once a set number of moves has been made and the time allotted has run out, the scenario will finish regardless of whether the original situation has been resolved or not.

Computerised simulations can readily incorporate chance in the form of some sort of randomised element, and can be run many times to provide outcomes in terms of probabilities. In such situations, it sometimes happens that the unusual results are of more interest than the expected ones. For example, if a simulation modelling an invasion of nation A by nation B was put through one hundred iterations to determine the likely depth of penetration into A's territory by B's forces after four weeks, an average
Arithmetic mean
In mathematics and statistics, the arithmetic mean, often referred to as simply the mean or average when the context is clear, is a method to derive the central tendency of a sample space...

 result could be calculated. Examining those results, it might be found that the average penetration was around fifty kilometres — however, there would also be outlying results on the ends of the probability curve. At one end, it could be that the FEBA is found to have hardly moved at all; at the other, penetration could be hundreds of kilometres instead of tens. The analyst would then examine these outliers to determine why this was the case. In the first instance, it might be found that the computer model's random number generator had delivered results such that A's divisional artillery
Originally applied to any group of infantry primarily armed with projectile weapons, artillery has over time become limited in meaning to refer only to those engines of war that operate by projection of munitions far beyond the range of effect of personal weapons...

 was much more effective than normal. In the second, it might be that the model generated a spell of particularly bad weather that kept A's air force grounded. This analysis can then be used to make recommendations: perhaps to look at ways in which artillery can be made more effective, or to invest in more all-weather fighter and ground-attack aircraft.

Political-military simulations

Since Carl von Clausewitz
Carl von Clausewitz
Carl Philipp Gottfried von Clausewitz was a Prussian soldier and German military theorist who stressed the moral and political aspects of war...

' famous declaration that war is merely a continuation of Politics by other means, military planners have attempted to integrate political goals with military goals in their planning with varying degrees of commitment. Post World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, political-military simulation in the West, initially almost exclusively concerned with the rise of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 as a superpower, has more recently focused on the global 'war on terror
War on Terror
The War on Terror is a term commonly applied to an international military campaign led by the United States and the United Kingdom with the support of other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation as well as non-NATO countries...

'. It became apparent that in order to model an ideologically motivated enemy in general (and asymmetric warfare
Asymmetric warfare
Asymmetric warfare is war between belligerents whose relative military power differs significantly, or whose strategy or tactics differ significantly....

 in particular), political factors had to be taken into account any realistic strategic
Military strategy
Military strategy is a set of ideas implemented by military organizations to pursue desired strategic goals. Derived from the Greek strategos, strategy when it appeared in use during the 18th century, was seen in its narrow sense as the "art of the general", 'the art of arrangement' of troops...


This differed markedly with the traditional approach to military simulations. Kriegspiel was concerned only with the movement and engagement of military forces, and the simulations that followed were similarly focused in their approach. Following the Prussian success in 1866 against Austria at Sadowa
Battle of Königgrätz
The Battle of Königgrätz , also known as the Battle of Sadowa, Sadová, or Hradec Králové, was the decisive battle of the Austro-Prussian War, in which the Kingdom of Prussia defeated the Austrian Empire...

, the Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

ns, French
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, Italians
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, Japanese
Empire of Japan
The Empire of Japan is the name of the state of Japan that existed from the Meiji Restoration on 3 January 1868 to the enactment of the post-World War II Constitution of...

 and Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

ns all began to make use of wargaming as a training tool. The United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 was relatively late to adopt the trend, but by 1889 wargaming was firmly embedded in the culture of the US Navy (with the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 as the projected adversary).

Political-military simulations take a different approach to their purely military counterparts. Since they are largely concerned with policy issues rather than battlefield performance, they tend to be less prescriptive in their operation. However, various mathematical techniques have arisen in an attempt to bring rigor to the modeling process. One of these techniques is known as game theory
Game theory
Game theory is a mathematical method for analyzing calculated circumstances, such as in games, where a person’s success is based upon the choices of others...

 — a commonly-used method is that of non-zero-sum analysis, in which score tables are drawn up to enable selection of a decision such that a favorable outcome is produced regardless of the opponent's decision.

It was not until 1954 that the first modern political-military simulation appeared (although the Germans had modeled a Polish invasion of Germany in 1929 that could be fairly labeled political-military), and it was the United States that would elevate simulation to a tool of statecraft. The impetus was US concern about the burgeoning nuclear arms race
Nuclear arms race
The nuclear arms race was a competition for supremacy in nuclear warfare between the United States, the Soviet Union, and their respective allies during the Cold War...

 (the Soviet Union exploded its first nuclear weapon in 1949, and by 1955 had developed their first true 'H' bomb). A permanent gaming facility was created in The Pentagon
The Pentagon
The Pentagon is the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense, located in Arlington County, Virginia. As a symbol of the U.S. military, "the Pentagon" is often used metonymically to refer to the Department of Defense rather than the building itself.Designed by the American architect...

 and various professional analysts brought in to run it, including the social scientist Herbert Goldhamer, economist Andrew Marshall
Andrew Marshall (foreign policy strategist)
Andrew W. Marshall is the director of the United States Department of Defense's Office of Net Assessment. Appointed to the position in 1973 by United States President Richard Nixon, Marshall has been re-appointed by every president that followed....

 and MIT professor Lincoln P Bloomfield
CASCON is a conflict analysis system developed at MIT under the direction of Professor Lincoln P. Bloomfield.- External links :*...


Notable US political-military simulations run since World War II include the aforementioned SAFE, STRAW (Strategic Air War) and COW (Cold War). The typical political-military simulation is a manual or computer-assisted heuristic-type model, and many research organizations and think-tanks
Think tank
A think tank is an organization that conducts research and engages in advocacy in areas such as social policy, political strategy, economics, military, and technology issues. Most think tanks are non-profit organizations, which some countries such as the United States and Canada provide with tax...

 throughout the world are involved in providing this service to governments. During the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

, the Rand Corporation and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, amongst others, ran simulations for the Pentagon that included modeling the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

, the fall of the Shah of Iran
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
Mohammad Rezā Shāh Pahlavi, Shah of Iran, Shah of Persia , ruled Iran from 16 September 1941 until his overthrow by the Iranian Revolution on 11 February 1979...

, the rise of pro-communist regimes in South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

, tensions between India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 and China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, and various potential flashpoints in Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

 and South-East Asia. Both MIT and Rand remain heavily involved in US military simulation, along with institutions such as Harvard, Stanford, and the National Defense University
National Defense University
The National Defense University is an institution of higher education funded by the United States Department of Defense, intended to facilitate high-level training, education, and the development of national security strategy. It is chartered by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, with Navy Vice Admiral...

. Other nations have their equivalent organizations, such as Cranfield Institute
Cranfield University
Cranfield University is a British postgraduate university based on two campuses, with a research-oriented focus. The main campus is at Cranfield, Bedfordshire and the second is the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom based at Shrivenham, Oxfordshire. The main campus is unique in the United...

's Defense Academy (formerly the Royal Military College of Science) in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...


Participants in the Pentagon simulations were sometimes of very high rank, including members of Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 and White House
White House
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...

 insiders as well as senior military officers. The identity of many of the participants remains secret even today. It is a tradition in US simulations (and those run by many other nations) that participants are guaranteed anonymity. The main reason for this is that occasionally they may take on a role or express an opinion that is at odds with their professional or public stance (for example portraying a fundamentalist
Fundamentalism is strict adherence to specific theological doctrines usually understood as a reaction against Modernist theology. The term "fundamentalism" was originally coined by its supporters to describe a specific package of theological beliefs that developed into a movement within the...

 terrorist or advocating hawkish military action), and thus could harm their reputation or career if their in-game persona became widely known. It is also traditional that in-game roles are played by participants of an equivalent rank in real life, although this is not a hard-and-fast rule and often disregarded. Whilst the major purpose of a political-military simulation is to provide insights that can be applied to real-world situations, it is very difficult to point to a particular decision as arising from a certain simulation — especially as the simulations themselves are usually classified for years, and even when released into the public domain are sometimes heavily censored. This is not only due to the unwritten policy of non-attribution, but to avoid disclosing sensitive information to a potential adversary. This has been true within the simulation environment itself as well — former US president Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

 was a keen visitor to simulations conducted in the 1980s, but as an observer only. An official explained: "No president should ever disclose his hand, not even in a war game".

Political-military simulations remain in widespread use today: modern simulations are concerned not with a potential war between superpowers, but more with international cooperation, the rise of global terrorism
Terrorism is the systematic use of terror, especially as a means of coercion. In the international community, however, terrorism has no universally agreed, legally binding, criminal law definition...

 and smaller brushfire
Military operations other than war
Military Operations Other Than War focus on deterring war, resolving conflict, promoting peace, and supporting civil authorities in response to domestic crises. The phrase and acronym was coined by the United States military during the 1990s, but it has since fallen out of use. The UK military...

 conflicts such as those in Kosovo
2004 unrest in Kosovo
Violent unrest in Kosovo, which at the time was under United Nations administration, broke out on 17 March 2004. Kosovo Albanians, numbering over 50,000, took part in widescale attacks on the Serbian people, compared by the then Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Koštunica to ethnic cleansing but not...

, Bosnia, Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone Civil War
The Sierra Leone Civil War began on 23 March 1991 when the Revolutionary United Front , with support from the special forces of Charles Taylor’s National Patriotic Front of Liberia , intervened in Sierra Leone in an attempt to overthrow the Joseph Momoh government...

 and the Sudan
Darfur conflict
The Darfur Conflict was a guerrilla conflict or civil war centered on the Darfur region of Sudan. It began in February 2003 when the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army and Justice and Equality Movement groups in Darfur took up arms, accusing the Sudanese government of oppressing non-Arab Sudanese in...

. An example is the MNE (Multinational Experiment) series of simulations that have been run from the Atatürk Wargaming, Simulation and Culture Center in Istanbul
Istanbul , historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople , is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul metropolitan province had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010, which is 18% of Turkey's population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe after London and...

 over recent years. The latest, MNE 4, took place in early 2006. MNE includes participants from Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

, France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

, the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, and is designed to explore the use of diplomatic, economic and military power in the global arena.

Simulation and reality

Ideally military simulations should be as realistic as possible — that is, designed in such a way as to provide measurable, repeatable results that can be confirmed by observation of real-world events. This is especially true for simulations that are stochastic in nature, as they are used in a manner that is intended to produce useful, predictive outcomes. Any user of simulations must always bear in mind that they are, however, only an approximation
An approximation is a representation of something that is not exact, but still close enough to be useful. Although approximation is most often applied to numbers, it is also frequently applied to such things as mathematical functions, shapes, and physical laws.Approximations may be used because...

of reality, and hence only as accurate as the model itself.


In the context of simulation, validation is the process of determining the degree to which the intended simulation accurately represents the real world. A model is tested by supplying it with historical data and comparing its output to the known historical result. If a model can reliably reproduce known results, and if estimates of the intended simulation's accuracy are acceptable, the model may be useful for providing predictive outputs (within a reasonable degree of uncertainty).

Developing realistic models has proven to be somewhat easier in naval simulations than on land. One of the pioneers of naval simulations, Fletcher Pratt
Fletcher Pratt
Murray Fletcher Pratt was an American writer of science fiction, fantasy and history, particularly noted for his works on naval history and on the American Civil War.- Life and work :...

, designed his "Naval War Game" in the late 1930s, and was able to validate his model almost immediately by applying it to the encounter between the German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee and three British cruisers in the Battle of the River Plate
Battle of the River Plate
The Battle of the River Plate was the first naval battle in the Second World War. The German pocket battleship had been commerce raiding since the start of the war in September 1939...

 off Montevideo
Montevideo is the largest city, the capital, and the chief port of Uruguay. The settlement was established in 1726 by Bruno Mauricio de Zabala, as a strategic move amidst a Spanish-Portuguese dispute over the platine region, and as a counter to the Portuguese colony at Colonia del Sacramento...

 in 1939. Rated on thickness of armour and gunpower, Graf Spee should have been more than a match for the lighter cruisers, but Pratt's formula correctly predicted the ensuing British victory.

In contrast, many modern operations research models have proven unable to reproduce historical results when they are subjected to the validation process; the Atlas model, for instance, in 1971 was shown to be incapable of achieving more than a 68% correspondence with historical results. Trevor Dupuy, a prominent American historian and military analyst known for airing often controversial views, has said that "many OR analysts and planners are convinced that neither history nor data from past wars has any relevance". In Numbers, Predictions, and War, he implies a model that cannot even reproduce a known outcome is little more than a whimsy, with no basis in reality.

Historically, there have even been a few rare occasions where a simulation was being tested as it was being carried out. One notable such occurrence was just before the famous Ardennes
Battle of the Bulge
The Battle of the Bulge was a major German offensive , launched toward the end of World War II through the densely forested Ardennes mountain region of Wallonia in Belgium, hence its French name , and France and...

 offensive in World War II, when the Germans attacked allied forces during a period of bad weather in the winter of 1944, hoping to reach the port of Antwerp and force the Allies to sue for peace. According to German General
A general officer is an officer of high military rank, usually in the army, and in some nations, the air force. The term is widely used by many nations of the world, and when a country uses a different term, there is an equivalent title given....

Friedrich J Fangor, the staff of Fifth Panzerarmee had met in November to game defensive strategies against a simulated American attack. They had no sooner begun the exercise than reports began arriving of a strong American attack in the Hűrtgen
Battle of Hurtgen Forest
The Battle of Hürtgen Forest is the name given to the series of fierce battles fought between U.S. and German forces during World War II in the Hürtgen Forest, which became the longest battle on German ground during World War II, and the longest single battle the U.S. Army has ever fought...

 area — exactly the area they were gaming on their map table. Generalfeldmarschall
Field Marshal
Field Marshal is a military rank. Traditionally, it is the highest military rank in an army.-Etymology:The origin of the rank of field marshal dates to the early Middle Ages, originally meaning the keeper of the king's horses , from the time of the early Frankish kings.-Usage and hierarchical...

 Walther Model ordered the participants (apart from those commanders whose units were actually under attack) to continue playing, using the messages they were receiving from the front as game moves. For the next few hours simulation and reality ran hand-in-hand: when the officers at the game table decided that the situation warranted commitment of reserves, the commander of the 116th Panzer Division was able to turn from the table and issue as operational orders those moves they had just been gaming. The division was mobilised in the shortest possible time, and the American attack was repulsed.

Validation is a particular issue with political-military simulations, since much of the data produced is subjective
Subjectivity refers to the subject and his or her perspective, feelings, beliefs, and desires. In philosophy, the term is usually contrasted with objectivity.-Qualia:...

. One controversial doctrine that arose from early post-WWII simulations was that of signalling — the idea that by making certain moves, it is possible to send a message to your opponent about your intentions: for example, by conspicuously conducting field exercises near a disputed border, a nation indicates its readiness to respond to any hostile incursions. This was fine in theory, and formed the basis of East-West interaction for much of the cold war, but was also problematic and dogged by criticism. An instance of the doctrine's shortcomings can be seen in the bombing offensives conducted by the United States during the Vietnam War. US commanders decided, largely as a result of their Sigma simulations, to carry out a limited bombing campaign against selected industrial targets in North Vietnam
North Vietnam
The Democratic Republic of Vietnam , was a communist state that ruled the northern half of Vietnam from 1954 until 1976 following the Geneva Conference and laid claim to all of Vietnam from 1945 to 1954 during the First Indochina War, during which they controlled pockets of territory throughout...

. The intention was to signal to the North Vietnamese high command that, whilst the United States was clearly capable of destroying a much greater proportion of their infrastructure, this was in the nature of a warning to scale down involvement in the South 'or else'. Unfortunately, as an anonymous analyst said of the offensive (which failed in its political aims), "they either didn't understand, or did understand but didn't care." It was pointed out by critics that, since both Red and Blue teams in Sigma were played by Americans — with common language, training, thought processes and background — it was relatively easy for signals sent by one team to be understood by the other. Those signals, however, did not seem to translate well across the cultural divide.

Problems of simulation

Many of the criticisms directed towards military simulations derive from an incorrect application of them as a predictive and analytical tool. The outcome supplied by a model relies to a greater or lesser extent on human interpretation and therefore should not be regarded as providing a 'gospel' truth. However, whilst this is generally understood by most game theorists and analysts, it can be tempting for a layman — for example, a politician who needs to present a 'black and white' situation to his electorate — to settle on an interpretation that supports his preconceived position. Tom Clancy
Tom Clancy
Thomas Leo "Tom" Clancy, Jr. is an American author, best known for his technically detailed espionage, military science, and techno thriller storylines set during and in the aftermath of the Cold War, along with video games on which he did not work, but which bear his name for licensing and...

, in his novel Red Storm Rising
Red Storm Rising
Red Storm Rising is a 1986 techno-thriller novel by Tom Clancy and Larry Bond about a Third World War in Europe between NATO and Warsaw Pact forces, set around the mid-1980s...

, illustrated this problem when one of his characters, attempting to persuade the Soviet Politburo
Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
The Politburo , known as the Presidium from 1952 to 1966, functioned as the central policymaking and governing body of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.-Duties and responsibilities:The...

 that the political risks of war with NATO were acceptable, used as evidence the results of a simulation carried out to model just such an event. It is revealed in the text that there were in fact three sets of results from the simulation; a best-, intermediate- and worst-case outcome. The advocate of war chose to present only the best-case outcome, thus distorting the results to support his case.
Although fictional, the above scenario may however have been based on fact. The Japan
Empire of Japan
The Empire of Japan is the name of the state of Japan that existed from the Meiji Restoration on 3 January 1868 to the enactment of the post-World War II Constitution of...

ese extensively wargamed their planned expansion during World War II, but map exercises conducted before the Pacific War
Pacific War
The Pacific War, also sometimes called the Asia-Pacific War refers broadly to the parts of World War II that took place in the Pacific Ocean, its islands, and in East Asia, then called the Far East...

 were frequently stopped short of a conclusion where Japan was defeated. One often-cited example prior to Midway
Battle of Midway
The Battle of Midway is widely regarded as the most important naval battle of the Pacific Campaign of World War II. Between 4 and 7 June 1942, approximately one month after the Battle of the Coral Sea and six months after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States Navy decisively defeated...

 had the umpires magically resurrecting a Japanese carrier sunk during a map exercise, although Professor Robert Rubel argues in the Naval War College Review
Naval War College Review
The Naval War College Review is a quarterly peer-reviewed academic journal published by the United States Navy's Naval War College. It covers public policy matters of interest to the maritime services and was established in 1948....

their decision was justified in this case given improbable rolls of the dice. Given the historical outcome, it is evident the dice rolls were not so improbable, after all. There were however equally illustrative fundamental problems with other areas of the simulation, mainly relating to a Japanese unwillingness to consider their position should the element of surprise, on which the operation depended, be lost.

Tweaking simulations to make results conform with current political or military thinking is a recurring problem. In US Naval exercises in the 1980s, it was informally understood no high-value units such as aircraft carriers were allowed to be sunk, as naval policy at the time concentrated its tactical
Military tactics
Military tactics, the science and art of organizing an army or an air force, are the techniques for using weapons or military units in combination for engaging and defeating an enemy in battle. Changes in philosophy and technology over time have been reflected in changes to military tactics. In...

 interest on such units. The outcome of one of the largest ever NATO exercises, Ocean Venture-81, in which around 300 naval vessels, including two carrier battle groups, were adjudged to have successfully traversed the Atlantic and reached the Norwegian Sea
Norwegian Sea
The Norwegian Sea is a marginal sea in the North Atlantic Ocean, northwest of Norway. It is located between the North Sea and the Greenland Sea and adjoins the North Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Barents Sea to the northeast. In the southwest, it is separated from the Atlantic Ocean by a...

 despite the existence of a (real) 380-strong Soviet submarine fleet as well as their (simulated) Red Team opposition, was publicly questioned in Proceedings
Proceedings (magazine)
Proceedings is a monthly magazine published by the United States Naval Institute since 1874. The 96-page publication features articles about Naval and Military matters written by active and retired military personnel plus renowned authors and scholars of their subject.-External links:* * ** by...

, the professional journal of the US Naval Institute. The US Navy managed to get the article classified, and it remains secret to this day, but the article's author and chief analyst of Ocean Venture-81, Lieutenant Commander
Lieutenant Commander
Lieutenant Commander is a commissioned officer rank in many navies. The rank is superior to a lieutenant and subordinate to a commander...

 Dean L. Knuth, has since claimed two Blue aircraft carriers were successfully attacked and sunk by Red forces.

There have been many charges over the years of computerised models, too, being unrealistic and slanted towards a particular outcome. Critics point to the case of military contractors, seeking to sell a weapons system. For obvious reasons of cost, weapons systems (such as an air-to-air missile system for use by fighter aircraft) are extensively modelled on computer. Without testing of their own, a potential buyer must rely to a large extent on the manufacturer's own model. This might well indicate a very effective system, with a high kill probability (Pk
Probability of kill
Computer games, simulations, models, and operations research programs often require a mechanism to determine statistically whether the engagement between a weapon and a target resulted in a kill, or the probability of kill...

). However, it may be the model was configured to show the weapons system under ideal conditions, and its actual operational effectiveness will be somewhat less than stated. The US Air Force quoted their AIM-9 Sidewinder
AIM-9 Sidewinder
The AIM-9 Sidewinder is a heat-seeking, short-range, air-to-air missile carried mostly by fighter aircraft and recently, certain gunship helicopters. The missile entered service with United States Air Force in the early 1950s, and variants and upgrades remain in active service with many air forces...

 missile as having a Pk of 0.98 (it will successfully destroy 98% of targets it is fired at). In operational use during the Falklands War
Falklands War
The Falklands War , also called the Falklands Conflict or Falklands Crisis, was fought in 1982 between Argentina and the United Kingdom over the disputed Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands...

 in 1982, the British recorded its actual Pk as 0.78.

Another factor that can render a model invalid is human error. One notorious example was the US Air Force's Advanced Penetration Model, which due to a programming error made US bombers invulnerable to enemy air defences by inadvertently altering their latitude
In geography, the latitude of a location on the Earth is the angular distance of that location south or north of the Equator. The latitude is an angle, and is usually measured in degrees . The equator has a latitude of 0°, the North pole has a latitude of 90° north , and the South pole has a...

 or longitude
Longitude is a geographic coordinate that specifies the east-west position of a point on the Earth's surface. It is an angular measurement, usually expressed in degrees, minutes and seconds, and denoted by the Greek letter lambda ....

 when checking their location for a missile impact. This had the effect of 'teleporting
Teleportation is the fictional or imagined process by which matter is instantaneously transferred from one place to another.Teleportation may also refer to:*Quantum teleportation, a method of transmitting quantum data...

' the bomber, at the instant of impact, hundreds or even thousands of miles away, causing the missile to miss. Furthermore, this error went unnoticed for a number of years. Other unrealistic models have had battleships consistently steaming at seventy knots (twice their top speed), an entire tank army halted by a border police detachment, and attrition levels 50% higher than the numbers each force began with.

Issues of enemy technical capability and military philosophy will also affect any model used. Whilst a modeller with sufficiently high security clearance and access to the relevant data can expect to create a reasonably accurate picture of his own nation's military capacity, creating a similarly detailed picture for a potential adversary may be extremely difficult. Military information, from technical specifications of weapons systems to tactical doctrine, is high on the list of any nation's most closely guarded secrets. However, the difficulty of discovering the unknown, when it is at least known that it exists, seems trivial compared to discovering the unguessed. As Len Deighton
Len Deighton
Leonard Cyril Deighton is a British military historian, cookery writer, and novelist. He is perhaps most famous for his spy novel The IPCRESS File, which was made into a film starring Michael Caine....

 famously pointed out in Spy Story, if the enemy has an unanticipated capability (and he almost always does), it may render tactical and strategic assumptions so much nonsense. By its very nature, it is not possible to predict the direction every new advance in technology will take, and previously undreamt-of weapons systems can come as a nasty shock to the unprepared: the British introduction of the tank
A tank is a tracked, armoured fighting vehicle designed for front-line combat which combines operational mobility, tactical offensive, and defensive capabilities...

 during World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 caused panic amongst German soldiers at Cambrai and elsewhere, and the advent of Hitler's vengeance weapons
V-weapons also, known in the original German as Vergeltungswaffen , were a particular set of long range artillery weapons designed for strategic bombing during World War II, particularly terror bombing and/or aerial bombing of cities. They comprised the V-1 flying bomb, the V-2 rocket and the V-3...

, such as the V-1 "flying bomb", caused deep concern amongst Allied
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...

 high command.

Human factors have been a constant thorn in the side of the designers of military simulations — whereas political-military simulations are often required by their nature to grapple with what are referred to by modellers as "squishy"
Fuzzy concept
A fuzzy concept is a concept of which the content, value, or boundaries of application can vary according to context or conditions, instead of being fixed once and for all....

 problems, purely military models often seem to prefer to concentrate on hard numbers. Whilst a warship can be regarded, from the perspective of a model, as a single entity with known parameters (speed, armour, gun power, and the like), land warfare often depends on the actions of small groups or individual soldiers where training, morale
Morale, also known as esprit de corps when discussing the morale of a group, is an intangible term used to describe the capacity of people to maintain belief in an institution or a goal, or even in oneself and others...

, intelligence
Intelligence has been defined in different ways, including the abilities for abstract thought, understanding, communication, reasoning, learning, planning, emotional intelligence and problem solving....

, and personalities (leadership) come into play. For this reason it is more taxing to model — there are many variables that are difficult to formulate. Commercial wargames, both the tabletop and computer variety, often attempt to take these factors into account: in Rome: Total War
Rome: Total War
Rome: Total War is a PC strategy game developed by The Creative Assembly and released on by Activision...

, for example, units will generally rout from the field rather than stay to fight to the last man. One valid criticism of some military simulations is these nebulous human factors are often ignored (partly because they are so hard to model accurately, and partly because no commander likes to acknowledge men under his command may disobey him). In recognition of this shortcoming, military analysts have in the past turned to civilian wargames as being more rigorous, or at least more realistic, in their approach to warfare. In the United States, James F. Dunnigan
Jim Dunnigan
James F. Dunnigan is an author, military-political analyst, Defense and State Department consultant, and wargame designer currently living in New York City, notable for his matter-of-fact approach to military analysis.-Career:...

, a prominent student of warfare and founder of the commercial tabletop wargames publisher Simulations Publications Incorporated
Simulations Publications
Simulations Publications, Inc. was an influential American publisher of board wargames and related magazines, particularly its flagship Strategy & Tactics, in the 1970s and early 1980s...

 (SPI, now defunct), was brought into the Pentagon's wargaming circle in 1980 to work with Rand and Science Applications Incorporated (SAI) on the development of a more realistic model. The result, known as SAS (Strategic Analysis Simulation), is still being used.

All the above means that models of warfare should be taken for no more than they are: a non-prescriptive attempt to inform the decision-making process. The dangers of treating military simulation as gospel are illustrated in an anecdote circulated at the end of the Vietnam War, which was intensively gamed between 1964 and 1969 (with even President Lyndon Johnson being photographed standing over a wargaming sand table at the time of Khe Sanh
Battle of Khe Sanh
The Battle of Khe Sanh was conducted in northwestern Quang Tri Province, Republic of Vietnam , between 21 January and 9 July 1968 during the Vietnam War...

) in a series of simulations codenamed Sigma. The period was one of great belief in the value of military simulations, riding on the back of the proven success of operations research
Operations research
Operations research is an interdisciplinary mathematical science that focuses on the effective use of technology by organizations...

 (or OR) during World War II and the growing power of computers in handling large amounts of data.

The story concerned a fictional aide in Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

's administration, who, when Nixon took over government in 1969, fed all the data held by the US pertaining to both nations into a computer model — population, gross national product, relative military strength, manufacturing capacity, numbers of tanks, aircraft and the like. The aide then asked the question of the model, "When will we win?" Apparently the computer replied, "You won in 1964!"

Simulated thermonuclear bombing of American cities

During the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

, the Strategic Air Command
Strategic Air Command
The Strategic Air Command was both a Major Command of the United States Air Force and a "specified command" of the United States Department of Defense. SAC was the operational establishment in charge of America's land-based strategic bomber aircraft and land-based intercontinental ballistic...

's 1st Combat Evaluation deployed radar bomb scoring units from Barksdale Air Force Base
Barksdale Air Force Base
Barksdale Air Force Base is a United States Air Force base located approximately east-southeast of Bossier City, Louisiana.The host unit at Barksdale is the 2d Bomb Wing , the oldest Bomb Wing in the Air Force. It is assigned to the Air Force Global Strike Command's Eighth Air Force...

 on board military railroad cars to score simulated thermonuclear bombing of cities
Aerial bombing of cities
A species of strategic bombing, the aerial bombing of cities began in 1915 during World War I, grew to a vast scale in World War II, and continues to the present day. The development of aerial bombardment marked an increased capacity of armed forces to deliver explosive weapons in populated areas...

 in the continental United States.

Military simulation journals

This table lists peer-reviewed
Peer review
Peer review is a process of self-regulation by a profession or a process of evaluation involving qualified individuals within the relevant field. Peer review methods are employed to maintain standards, improve performance and provide credibility...

 research journals that focus on military simulation research and general simulation publications that may include military simulation articles. The table also provides journal impact factors as published by Journal Citation Reports
Journal Citation Reports
Journal Citation Reports is an annual publication by the Healthcare & Science division of Thomson Reuters. It has been integrated with the Web of Knowledge, by Thomson Reuters, and is accessed from the Web of Science to JCR Web. It provides information about academic journals in the sciences and...

. The impact factor
Impact factor
The impact factor, often abbreviated IF, is a measure reflecting the average number of citations to articles published in science and social science journals. It is frequently used as a proxy for the relative importance of a journal within its field, with journals with higher impact factors deemed...

 is the average number of citations per article.
Journal Scope Country 2009 Impact
International Journal of Modelling and Simulation General, Theory Canada Unknown
International Journal of Simulation Modelling General, Application and Theory Austria Unknown
Journal of Defense Modeling and Simulation Military, Application and Theory United States Unknown
Journal of Simulation General, Application and Theory United Kingdom Unknown
Simulation General, Application and Theory United States 0.783 (2008 figure)
Simulation and Gaming General, Application and Theory United States Unknown
Simulation Modelling Practice and Theory General, Theory Netherlands 0.586
Training and Simulation Journal Military, Application United States Unknown
Transactions on Modeling and Computer Simulation General, Computer Simulation Theory United States 1.029

See also

  • Military exercise
    Military exercise
    A military exercise is the employment of military resources in training for military operations, either exploring the effects of warfare or testing strategies without actual combat...

  • Modeling & Simulation
  • Military Operations Research Society
    Military Operations Research Society
    The Military Operations Research Society is a society for professionals active within defense applications of operations research in the United States...

  • Operations Research
    Operations research
    Operations research is an interdisciplinary mathematical science that focuses on the effective use of technology by organizations...

  • Wargaming
    A wargame is a strategy game that deals with military operations of various types, real or fictional. Wargaming is the hobby dedicated to the play of such games, which can also be called conflict simulations, or consims for short. When used professionally to study warfare, it is generally known as...

Further reading

  • Thomas B Allen, War Games: Inside the Secret World of the Men who Play at Annihilation, New York, McGraw Hill, 1987, ISBN 0749300116
  • Trevor N Dupuy, Numbers, Predictions and War: The Use of History To Evaluate and Predict the Outcome of Armed Conflict, Revised Edition, Fairfax VA, Hero Books, 1985, ISBN 0672521318
  • David Halberstam, The Best and the Brightest, Ballantine Books, 1993, ISBN 0449908704
  • Andrew Wilson, The Bomb and the Computer, London, Barrie & Rockliff, Cresset P, 1968, ISBN 0214667278
  • Harry G Summers, On Strategy: A Critical Analysis of the Vietnam War, Presidio Press, 1982, ISBN 0891415637
  • John Bayliss, Strategy in the Contemporary World: An Introduction to Strategic Studies, Oxford University Press, 2002, ISBN 019878273X
  • Carl von Clausewitz, On War, Wordsworth, 1997, ISBN 1853264822
  • Herman Kahn and Irwin Mann, War Gaming, RAND Corporation paper P-1167, 1957
  • Military-entertainment complex / all but war is simulation

External links

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