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Simulation center retools for Objective Force Warrior

Beginning this fall, the Integrated Unit Simulation System (IUSS) at the U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center (Natick) will emerge with an innovative architecture bringing groundbreaking modeling and analysis capabilities to help the Army transform to the Objective Force.

“We’re doing things never done before. We’re out there on the forefront in human behavior representation,” said Dale Malabarba, Modeling and Analysis Team leader.

Simulation Chart

The IUSS is a constructive force-on-force model for assessing the combat worth of systems and subsystems for both individual and small unit dismounted warriors in high-resolution combat operations.

For more than a decade, analysts have used the IUSS, which has a computer-based software that gives analysts the primary capability to model lethality and survivability, and a more limited capability to model command, control and communications; mobility; sustainability and Military Operations in Urban Terrain. It is acknowledged as the optimal tool for highly detailed research, development and acquisition analyses of individual warrior systems.

On their own
IUSS will soon boast advanced cognitive models that will allow computer-generated forces, within combat vignettes developed by the analyst, to behave more like real soldiers. They will move, shoot and communicate more independently than ever before. Also, they will sense their environment around them, drawing critical cues from visual and auditory algorithms, and then make decisions based on their perceived ground truth.

Current combat simulations have to be mostly scripted. Analysts predetermine the path computer-generated forces must take to their objective and “hardwire” certain tasks to be performed along the way. The new IUSS will enable the forces to operate autonomously and choose their path and actions based on a dynamic battlefield, said Malabarba.

The newest IUSS will also have a simple-to-operate graphical user interface, a cutting-edge 3-D viewer, enhanced and destructible terrain, and improved lighting and weather conditions.

Accomplishing this feat takes a team of people that extends beyond the Soldier Systems Center. Industry partners, such as Simulation Technologies, Inc. and Charles River Analytics, are leading the charge in making IUSS a “thinking machine” with a robust plug-and-play backbone that will accept improved computer code as it becomes available.

Advanced cognitive models
Advanced cognitive models will allow computer-generated forces, within combat vignettes developed by the analyst, to behave more like real soldiers.

Government partners, such as the Army Materiel Systems Analysis Activity and the Army Research Laboratory, are assisting the Modeling and Analysis Team by collecting, identifying and prioritizing significant human performance data that accurately represent soldiers in MOUT and other close combat situations.

Costs vs. benefits
“We have significant data gaps for basic human performance and human factors. For instance, we don’t know the process of acquiring a target in urban combat,” Malabarba said.

Driving a shift in the modeling and analysis community is the Army’s concept for the future battlefield that features sensors and advanced communications. Air, ground and body sensors will channel information into the command and control post, be translated and then relayed back to the warriors in the field.

“We have a soldier, a squad on the ground. What are we going to tell them? What’s the most effective way to do that?” Malabarba said. “What we’re trying to get to is a system that takes in variables we haven’t been able to consider previously.”

Another problem the Modeling and Analysis Team is studying is balanced selection. Soldiers have a wide range of choices of what to bring and how to pack it on a mission.

“Right now, it looks like the platoon sergeant determines what to bring, but it would be nice to have some quantitative data to say what’s best under different situations,” Malabarba said.

Modeling and analysis is also helpful in finding out the cost vs. benefits of a soldier item and assist product managers in developing standards for varying capability levels. For instance, with body armor, simulation trials could span from the soldier wearing no armor to full plating. Maybe a design with minimal coverage is all that is needed if the soldier is going to see the enemy first given improved sensor technology, but a soldier’s comfort level and mobility also need to be considered.

Simulated building clearing
Simulation improvements will better represent soldiers in MOUT and other close combat situations.

“Just because you could doesn’t mean you should,” Malabarba said. “I want to choose something that improves performance in real conditions.”

The Modeling and Analysis Team also supports the Department of Defense Combat Feeding Program with the Dynamic Nutrition Model and Ration Selection Program, and is developing the Integrated Casualty Estimation Methodology with the Army Materiel Systems Analysis Activity to help build better weapons and protection against weapons.

Global reach
The IUSS uses these tools as a measure of performance, and more importantly, effectiveness. Malabarba also intends on leveraging the work being done in Australia, Canada, Netherlands and United Kingdom toward the goal of designing the optimal soldier platform.

“Foreign armies have their own version of Land Warrior and Objective Force Warrior. They are asking the same questions and share a common set problems,” Malabarba said. “The re-architecture will enable us to share the work and benefits.”

For product managers, team leaders, and other potential customers, the Modeling and Analysis Team is available to provide expert assessment of their items for specific areas. “We can take a problem and run it through our models to see how best to solve it,” Malabarba said. “We’re here to support the product manager, passing along information to our clients like a contractor.”

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