Management changes under way for DOD modeling and simulation

Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England has ordered the creation of an executive-level panel to spearhead modeling and simulation (M&S) efforts departmentwide, according to an Aug. 8 DOD directive.

The undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics will lead the new M&S Steering Committee. John Young, who currently fills that position in an acting capacity until confirmed by the Senate, has voiced strong support for modeling efforts, particularly those projects striving to predict sentiments among foreign populations in response to U.S. military actions.

Other key Defense Department officials to be represented on the panel include the undersecretary of Defense for policy, the undersecretary of Defense for personnel and readiness, the director of program analysis and evaluation, and the director of operational test and evaluation, according to England’s directive. The services, the combatant commanders, the Joint Staff and U.S. Joint Forces Command also will send delegates.

According to the document, M&S efforts for particular research areas should be led by DOD M&S coordination agents, as directed by the undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics. These coordination agents are to replace the existing so-called executive agents in the modeling and simulation world, the directive states.

DOD currently uses select offices or one of the military services as executive agents to spearhead initiatives with implications for all branches of the military. The title traditionally brings with it broad influence, and the services often compete to be designated executive agents.

In the M&S realm, five such executive agents exist: the Air Force, the Navy, the undersecretary of Defense for intelligence, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and the assistant to the secretary of Defense for nuclear, chemical biological defense programs, according to the directive. They are in charge of M&S efforts in the domains air and space, the oceans, the ground, intelligence, and defense against weapons of mass destruction, respectively.

A Pentagon spokeswoman did not return a reporter’s request for information about the role of the new coordination agents versus executive agents by press time.

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