DOI: 10.1177/15485129241233608 ISSN: 1548-5129

Applying complex adaptive systems research results to combat simulations of the generation-after-next

Matthew T K Koehler, Jose L Bricio-Neto, Ernest H Page, Andreas Tolk
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Modeling and Simulation

Combat has seen fundamental changes over the past century—with new domains of warfighting (e.g., cyber, space); the introduction of nuclear and precision weapons; ubiquitous, all source intelligence; mixes of national, coalition, and private forces operating; and numerous other examples. Over this same period, combat simulations, and the attendant training, experimentation, and analyses they support, have increased in scale, scope, and resolution. But with respect to their fundamental effectiveness, have they substantively moved beyond the foundation created by Lanchester in the early 20th century? Differential equations of mean field approximations have been complemented by discrete-event simulations at many scales; however, the underlying conceptual framework of force-on-force conflict and tightly constrained, potentially fragile, service-specific command and control remains. In this position paper, we argue that new conceptualizations, better aligned with the modern warfighting landscape, are needed across all applications of military modeling. We examine the potential role of complex adaptive systems in this endeavor.

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