Modeling, Simulation, and Operations Analysis in Afghanistan and Iraq

Modeling, Simulation, and Operations Analysis in Afghanistan and Iraq: Operational Vignettes, Lessons Learned, and a Survey of Selected Efforts

Ben Connable
Walter L. Perry
Abby Doll
Natasha Lander
Dan Madden
Copyright Date: 2014
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 168
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  • Book Info
    Modeling, Simulation, and Operations Analysis in Afghanistan and Iraq
    Book Description:

    RAND researchers conducted a lessons learned examination of operations analysis, modeling, and simulation in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Researchers identified ways in which analysts have attempted to support commanders’ decisionmaking and describe a selection of the models and tools they employed.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-8470-5
    Subjects: Technology, History, General Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  4. Figures and Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Summary
    (pp. xi-xvi)
  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  7. Abbreviations
    (pp. xix-xxii)
  8. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-12)

    This report provides research findings intended to identify lessons learned from the use of modeling, simulation, and operations analysis (OA) in support of commanders’ decisions in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF).¹ Our findings contribute to answering three questions:²

    1. How did military and civilian analysts support decisionmaking in these large-scale counterinsurgency (COIN) campaigns?

    2. How effective were these efforts in improving the quality of commanders’ decisions, thereby supporting U.S. strategic goals?

    3. How could modeling, simulations, and OA be improved to better support future COIN and, more broadly, irregular warfare (IW) operations?³

    Modeling, simulation, and OA...

  9. CHAPTER TWO Decision Issues and Analysis in COIN and IW Literature
    (pp. 13-42)

    This chapter provides analysis of selected literature on the use of modeling, simulation, and analysis in COIN and IW. The Bibliography contains the full scope of references identified for this report. Observations and findings in this chapter are derived primarily from the literature review; except where explicitly noted, they do not reflect our overarching research and interviews. These observations and findings are intended to set a baseline for the interview portion of this report. We selected literature from existing RAND reports and databases, from a search of professional journals through subscription services, from recommendations provided by experts we interviewed, and...

  10. CHAPTER THREE Support to Force Protection Decisions
    (pp. 43-58)

    This is the first of four chapters addressing each of the four categories of decisions identified by our inductive analysis of the literature and interview results. This chapter includes a brief description of the first decision category—force protection—followed by a reflection of commanders’ insights, derived from our interviews with commanders at the tactical, operational, and strategic level of command. Next, we include several examples of how analysis and M&S supported the effort to protect the force from IEDs. All of these examples were taken from the analytic support to the JIEDDO from late 2005 through 2008. The Core...

  11. CHAPTER FOUR Support to Logistics Decisions
    (pp. 59-70)

    Several of our interviews and the documents we reviewed consisted of discussions centering on how models, simulation, and analytic methods were used to support logistics decisions. The central themes seemed to be controlling the movement of supplies to include convoy control, trade-offs in lift capability, developing alternative withdrawal schedules from Iraq, location of specialty surgical teams, and identifying medical evacuation requirements in Iraq.

    In general, the use of M&S and analysis to support logistics decisions has been successful. The cases we discuss in this chapter (and others we do not include) are more amenable to traditional operational analysis techniques than...

  12. CHAPTER FIVE Support to Campaign Assessment Decisions
    (pp. 71-90)

    The previous two chapters described ways in which modeling, simulation, and analysis were generally effective in supporting commanders’ key decisions in OIF and OEF. The tangible, often tactical requirements associated with force protection and logistics allowed analysts to identify opportunities to reduce casualties, undermine the insurgents, and improve efficiency by saving time, wear, and cost. Campaign assessment offers few if any opportunities to so clearly link analytic effort with a positive operational or strategic outcome. Interviewees who supported campaign assessment analysis reported the frustrations associated with a poorly defined problem, inadequate data, and a lack of common, validated methods.


  13. CHAPTER SIX Support to Force Structuring
    (pp. 91-110)

    We have noted that IW campaigns tend to be long and ill-structured. They require varying amounts of resources over time, and it is rarely clear at any one time how many people, how much equipment, and how much money is necessary to achieve victory. As campaigns drag on, policymakers are faced with not only minimizing costs, but also sustaining popular support. Vietnam, OIF, and OEF showed that sustaining high concentrations of troops and spending large sums of taxpayer money becomes increasingly difficult over time, particularly since weaknesses in campaign assessment methodology make it so difficult to convey meaningful progress toward...

  14. CHAPTER SEVEN Conclusions, Findings, and Recommendations
    (pp. 111-120)

    There cannot be a complete and accurate accounting of the contributions that modelers, simulations experts, and operations analysts have made to commanders’ decision-making in OIF and OEF. Analysts’ work is done quietly, in small offices, cubicles, and on field desks, and then typically delivered as only one of many contributions to a commander’s overall decision process. Most service members, and even many commanders, are probably unaware of this work or even of the people making these contributions, and very few analyses are ever distributed in publicly available documents. The best evidence of successful analytic support is often anecdotal and idiosyncratic....

  15. APPENDIX Review of Selected Models and Simulations
    (pp. 121-136)
  16. Bibliography
    (pp. 137-168)