Measuring combat effectiveness

FFI-Report 2022

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Per-Idar Evensen Marius Halsør Ulf Peter Hoppe Dan Helge Bentsen
Much of the work we do at the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (Forsvarets forskningsinstitutt – FFI) is related to developing and testing solutions (concepts, technologies, etc.) that might increase combat effectiveness. But what is really meant by combat effectiveness, which factors affect combat effectiveness, and how can combat effectiveness be quantified and measured? These are the three main questions we address in this report. There is no precise and unambiguous definition of combat effectiveness. However, combat effectiveness can in general be said to be a measure of a combat system’s ability to solve a given task or mission, or a measure of how well a combat system solves a given task or mission. In this context, a combat system can for example be a weapon system, a group of fighting entities, a force structure element, or a force structure. Generally, there are mainly two directions regarding which factors that are important for combat effectiveness. The first direction looks at combat effectiveness mainly as a result of human factors. The other direction has a more holistic view of combat effectiveness and is concerned with all factors that can possibly affect the course of a battle, including both human and material resources, environment, and task or mission. In this report, we will follow the holistic view of combat effectiveness. Measuring and analyzing combat effectiveness is a complex and challenging task. Data from realworld warfare are often scarce, and it is of course not possible to experiment with warfare in the real world. Modelling and simulation (M&S) is therefore essential for experimenting with different weapon systems and force structure elements. Combat models, however, are simplifications and will never represent all aspects of reality. Simulation of modern combat with sufficient realism is very challenging, especially when it comes to human factors. What we are mainly interested in, is to assess and compare the relative combat effectiveness of different combat systems executing the same task or mission against the same enemy. To estimate the relative combat effectiveness between two or more combat systems is something that usually can be done, with sufficient confidence, by using simulations and simulationsupported wargames. In this report we first describe the background for this work. Then, we give an introduction to modelling and simulation (M&S) of combat. After this, we discuss what combat effectiveness means from a system-theoretic perspective, present some definitions of combat effectiveness, and discuss the factors that can affect combat effectiveness. Moreover, we describe and discuss some of the approaches for quantifying and measuring combat effectiveness that have been suggested in the literature. Finally, we discuss how we use simulations and simulation-supported wargames to assess and compare the relative combat effectiveness of different combat systems.

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