Future Joint Simulation System Integrates Training Processes

June 2000
By Col. Keith J. Wagner, USAF

Next-generation technology advances collaboration to support joint and coalition military missions.

The U.S. Defense Department is developing a new simulation environment to provide readily available, operationally valid, computer-assisted instruction for commanders in chief. Known as the joint simulation system, the assemblage will train the commanders, their components and commands, other joint organizations, and the services and agencies in computer-assisted joint exercises. The system will offer a realistic environment to train subordinate warfighting commanders and develop doctrine and tactics. In addition, it will help commanders formulate and assess operational plans, conduct mission rehearsals, define operational requirements and provide operational input to the acquisition process.

The joint simulation system, or JSIMS, is a single, seamlessly integrated joint synthetic battlespace that provides a common environmental and operational picture of the battle area, an effective combat adjudication process, and a robust after-action review capability. Objects can be composed to create a simulation to support joint or service or agency training, mission rehearsal or educational objectives. Instructors will be able to tailor a simulation environment to meet requirements derived from mission analysis using the universal joint task list and appropriate service task lists under the conditions and to the standards set by the commander.

This approach takes advantage of technological advances in modeling and simulation that provide greater opportunities to conduct more effective and realistic training for improving readiness at lower costs. Constrained budgets compel the military services to seek affordable, results-oriented approaches to training and readiness. JSIMS’ operational requirements and performance parameters are organized by three key attributes: tailorability, composability and efficiency.

The system will improve efficiency by incorporating tools and automated routines that facilitate responsive design, planning, preparation processes for training events, event execution, and a timely and relevant after-action review. It will reduce training support requirements by decreasing the number of personnel required to operate the system and control the simulation, while expanding the current capabilities of legacy systems.

The technology will furnish multiple-level simulations that interconnect globally, creating a training superhighway between U.S. forces in every theater, allowing units to operate, interact and train together in real time. By providing state-of-the-art simulations of the integrated joint battlespace, JSIMS supports the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s Joint Vision 2010.

At maturity, the technology will allow globally dispersed forces—including deployed U.S. forces, research and development test facilities and ranges, defense educational institutions, Reserve components, U.S. government agencies, allies and multinational forces—to participate simultaneously in multiechelon, simulation-assisted training events.

The commanders in chief (CINCs) and services historically developed modeling and simulation systems independently without any intent of interoperability. Current simulation systems, such as the U.S. Army corps battle simulation, the U.S. Air Force air warfare simulation, the U.S. Navy research, evaluation and systems analysis system, and the U.S. Marine Corps Marine air-ground task force tactical warfare simulation, were developed with emphasis on key capabilities that mirror service warfare domains. The goal of these service simulations was to create virtual battlespaces that reflect service-unique training needs.

Military leaders agree that today’s joint doctrine dictates that U.S. military operations will be conducted jointly, not by services fighting alone, and that U.S. forces will succeed on the basis of unified action. Consequently, training simulations are required that reflect this joint doctrine. Since no appropriate joint operational-level training simulation existed, the current legacy service simulations were brought together in a confederation. The aggregate-level simulation-protocol mechanism linked these simulations, and the result was the joint training confederation.

The aggregate-level simulation protocol was a significant step toward interoperability, especially for simulation models never intended to work together. However, because these simulations were not designed for interoperability, serious gaps and shortfalls exist in the joint training confederation that training specialists believe hinder the effectiveness and usability of the confederation.

JSIMS will replace these legacy models. By using the latest software development techniques, the new system will allow the Defense Department to retire confederation simulations, which are expensive to maintain, run on numerous configurations and are written in incompatible, archaic software languages. The evolution from service-oriented training models to a seamless joint simulation will also reduce the training modeling and simulation infrastructure.

To achieve the JSIMS vision, a partnership was established among the services, agencies and CINCs. These executive agents define JSIMS requirements through the Joint Warfighting Center, Suffolk, Virginia. The program executive office in Orlando, Florida, oversees development of the system. The program manager is responsible for developing the system’s joint software and working with the alliance partners to ensure that the overall program stays on track and is integrated successfully.

The program’s partners include the Joint Staff J-7 Directorate; the offices of the Army warfighter simulation (WARSIM 2000) and WARSIM intelligence model; the Air Force national air and space model; the National Reconnaissance Office national simulation system; the Defense Intelligence Agency object-oriented modeling of intelligence operations; the Defense Modeling and Simulation Office run-time infrastructure development agent; the National Security Agency Joint Signal Simulation Office; the Navy JSIMS Maritime Program Office; the Marine Corps; and the joint development agent.

These offices created an alliance of development agents that addressed numerous hurdles from the project’s inception. The Defense Modeling and Simulation Office helped launch JSIMS in 1995 by contributing initial startup funds and has supported the system by providing technical expertise and oversight.

The mission-needs statement defined the several requirements for JSIMS. The system had to incorporate simulations across the range of military operations including land, sea, air, space and special operations. It also had to include associated functions such as logistics, transportation, intelligence, medical, engineering, communications and electronic warfare as well as geospatial, meteorological, oceanographic and environmental factors. The technology also had to encompass simulated social, economic and political factors that affect or are affected by missions across the entire range of military operations.

Another requirement identified in the mission-needs statement was for tailored displays of simulation results on real-world command, control, communications, computers and intelligence (C4I) systems or their emulation for training and exercises or on computer workstations available for analysis. In addition, the ability for support distributed and remote computer processing and training at many dispersed sites and the flexibility to accommodate different levels of warfare for training and exercises were required.

Finally, the statement called for the capability to link live, constructive and virtual forces to form an environment that stimulates users’ C4I systems, an accelerated development of data/knowledge bases, and the creation of semiautonomous forces to reduce exercise overhead and allow for crisis rehearsals.

The joint exercise life cycle is the roadmap for designing, planning, executing and reviewing training exercises. JSIMS provides a suite of life-cycle applications, which, in conjunction with the joint training information management system, facilitates and automates the joint exercise life cycle at every phase. Pre-exercise tools will help facilitate analysis, planning and composition of the CINC exercise scenarios.

During training, exercise control applications will allow JSIMS controllers to modify battlespace elements, collect data for after-action review, and stop and restart the simulation from designated checkpoints. The training audience will interface to the joint synthetic battlespace with their C4I systems. After an exercise, JSIMS will facilitate the rapid production of the after-action report products in distributed and user-friendly formats.

JSIMS version 1.0 is scheduled for delivery to the joint user and the Army in March 2002. Each build culminates in collaborative testing and demonstration events to reduce risk and allow user feedback into the development process.

At initial operational capability, the system will, at a minimum, replace the useful training functionality of the 1998 joint training confederation as defined by the CINCs and services. In addition, it will be consistent with the common joint and services’ task list and conditions contained in the joint training master plan for the U.S. armed forces. Also at this stage, JSIMS will focus on support for training at the strategic-theater and operational levels of war for unified combatant command staffs, joint task force commanders and staff, and joint task force component commanders and staff. The system will present an accredited, interactive joint synthetic battlespace to support joint and service training.

Subsequent versions will supply a comprehensive and accredited joint synthetic battlespace, spanning strategic-national levels down to tactical levels. The JSIMS campaign plan charts a phased deployment with increasing functionality to be added in spiral builds after initial operational capability is achieved.

The system will support all warfare domains in all phases of operations, including mobilization, deployment, employment, sustainment and redeployment as well as professional military and senior officer education.

Today, all nine development partners, in concert with joint and service users, have adjudicated and harmonized the 6,300 JSIMS requirements from more than a dozen source documents. A common requirements trace matrix tracks progress against all requirements across the alliance. A system engineering requirements walk-through resulted in all requirements being allocated to individual development agents, with each requirement sequenced to a software build or version. A system object-oriented analysis has also been completed, which resulted in system use cases and derived requirements.

The JSIMS Build 1 version release milestone was achieved last June. A technical demonstration was conducted at the Joint Warfighting Center’s Joint Training Analysis and Simulation Center. The demonstration met or exceeded all of its objectives. It included the proof-of-concept of the JSIMS high-level design; a successful interface between JSIMS and go-to-war C4I systems; the final, deliverable version of the modeling and simulation resource repository; the progress of the core infrastructure; and partner program mission-space object development progress and adherence to the high-level design.

The Build 2A core infrastructure was delivered in December 1999 by the integration and development contractor. This infrastructure was the operating system of JSIMS and provided data distribution, event tracking, simulation control, interfaces and common services. In January 2000, the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics determined that the internal architecture of JSIMS should be more open and extensible. To that end, the program was directed to use a high-level architectural design, replacing the high-level design, to allow more data to flow across the run-time infrastructure. This will enable JSIMS to federate more easily with other simulations and increase its use potential for the U.S. armed forces and U.S. allies and coalition partners.

Experts in the field believe JSIMS is an ambitious undertaking, requiring significant cooperation among a widespread development and user community. When completed, JSIMS will provide significantly enhanced joint and service training for commanders and their staffs while at the same time reducing the cost of conducting training events.


Col. Keith J. Wagner, USAF, is chief of the Joint Training Branch, Directorate for Operational Plans and Interoperability, J-7, the Joint Staff.

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