The authors of the Phalanx article then make the snarky statement that:
Combat simulations have been successfully used to replicate historical battles as a demonstration, but this is not a requirement or their primary intended use.
So, they say in three sentences that combat models using human factors are difficult to validate, they then say that physics-based models are validated, and then they say that running a battle through a model is a demonstration. Really?
Does such a demonstration show that the model works or does not work? Does such a demonstration show that they can get a reasonable outcome when using real-world data? The definition of validation that they gave on the first page of their article is:
The process of determining the degree to which a model or simulation with its associated data is an accurate representation of the real world from the perspective of its intended use is referred to as validation.
This is a perfectly good definition of validation. So where does one get that real-world data? If you are using the model to measure combat effects (as opposed to physical affects) then you probably need to validate it to real-world combat data. This means historical combat data, whether it is from 3,400 years ago or 1 second ago. You need to assemble the data from a (preferably recent) combat situation and run it through the model.
This has been done. The Dupuy Institute does not exist in a vacuum. We have assembled four sets of combat data bases for use in validation. They are:
- The Ardennes Campaign Simulation Data Base
- The Kursk Data Base
- The Battle of Britain Data Base
- Our various division-level, battalion-level and company-level engagement database bases.
Now, the reason we have mostly used World War II data is that you can get detailed data from the unit records of both sides. To date….this is not possible for almost any war since 1945. But, if your high-tech model cannot predict lower-tech combat….then you probably also have a problem modeling high-tech combat. So, it is certainly a good starting point.
More to the point, this was work that was funded in part by the Center for Army Analysis, the Deputy Secretary of the Army (Operations Research) and Office of Secretary of Defense, Planning, Analysis and Evaluation. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent developing some of these databases. This was not done just for “demonstration.” This was not done as a hobby. If their sentence was meant to be-little the work of TDI, which is how I do interpret that sentence, then is also belittles the work of CAA, DUSA(OR) and OSD PA&E. I am not sure that is the three author’s intent.