Challenge: Two separate, but related, challenges and projects involved the independent verification and validation (IV&V) of aspects of SIMulation NETwork (SIMNET) system. The first challenge occurred when the US Army was presented with the Defense Advanced Projects Agency (DARPA) developed SIMNET system. As the Army was expected to use and pay for the system, it was interested in determining the system's validity. DSRD was asked to perform IV&V on the system. At the time, no records of IV&V being performed on a combat model could be found. Thus DSRD both defined and executed the concept, described in SIMNET IV&V.
The second challenge occurred when the Army wanted to test the concept of expanding SIMNET training from battalion training to division level training. DSRD performed IV&V on the effectiveness of the training in the training exercise named WAREX 3-90. This challenge is discussed here.
Accomplishment: In this project, DSRD found the obvious - that SIMNET did a poor job of training in those areas for which it had not been designed, such as Division Chemical Officer. Otherwise, the training was well received and had indications of effectiveness.
Technologies Employed: This project represents one of the limited number of IV&V activities ever performed on combat models and one of the earliest. It helps define the meaning of IV&V of a combat model and represents standards for future projects in the Distributed Interactive Simulation (DIS) arena.
The ultimate test of a training system is whether the system trains better than an alternate system or no system. Testing this was impractical so an alternate methodology was selected, polling of experts. Two groups of experts were selected: outside observers of the exercise and participants of the exercise. The participants were considered experts for two reasons: (1) as experienced military personnel, they were familiar with actual operating conditions, procedures and problems, and (2) having completed a training exercise using the Joint Exercise Simulation System (JESS) two weeks previously, they were familiar with an alternative computer-aided training methodology.
The data were collected through a custom-designed questionnaire, with both Likert-type scale responses and free form written responses. The results were analyzed for statistical significance to ensure that numerical differences were not interpreted as real differences where not warranted.
Background: This project was sponsored by the Army Combined Arms Combat Development Activity (CACDA), Future Battle Laboratory, Fort Leavenworth, KS. CACDA was responsible for SIMNET's use.
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