Live Rehearsal
  • Field Drills. Simulation was originally just a series of weapon and tactics drills conducted by soldiers to familiarize them with the basics of combat. Centuries ago such training was reserved for the noblemen and was not "wasted" on common soldiers. However, as weapons became more complex, the necessity for training with them grew. 
  • Live Training. Today we expect world class performance from our armed forces. One of the method used to achieve this is training, exercises, and live simulation. These exercises are conducted with real equipment that has been modified to perform non-lethal engagements against mock opposing forces. 
Virtual Reality
  • Immersive Worlds. Digital recreations of the battlefield provide the terrain over which virtual combat is fought. VR was originally one of the fantasy toys of the entertainment industry. It has become an essential tool for training combat pilots, vehicle crews, and individual soldiers. 
  • Virtual Simulators. The flight simulator dome is the most common image of this form of simulation. However, similar and more advanced technologies are used to train tank crews, helicopter pilots, infantrymen, and remotely piloted reconnaissance drones. The physical shells, image generators, optics, and computer used in these systems use the latest technologies available and push the state-of-the-art to its limits. 
  • Wargaming.  Military schools and colleges have used board wargames for centuries to instill the lessons of command and control into their leaders. These cardboard tools have evolved into advanced computer simulations that create a digital combat environment at a higher level of abstraction than virtual simulators. 
  • Constructive Simulation. Simulations appropriate for command and staff training must view the objects and events on the battlefield from a different level of fidelity. Commanders are concerned with the movement of large units over periods of hours and days. Constructive simulation create aggregate representations of military units, events, and the environment.
Systems Analysis
  • Operations Research. During World War II British scientists created a new discipline known as Operations Research (OR). The military applications of this were used to design new weapons, counter the effects of enemy weapons, and evaluate the effectiveness of combat tactics. The Allied and Axis powers used these techniques to gain an advantage over the other. Today OR is still used extensively to direct decisions on system design and force structure. 
  • The New Math. Traditional OR is accompanied by techniques like Game Theory, Monte Carlo Theory, Lanchester Theory, Mathematical Programming, and a host of others that aid in analyzing problems of a military nature. 
  • Distributed Simulation. As simulations have proliferated it has been desirable and essential to join them into a consistent virtual environment. Distributed simulation allows multiple systems from around the world to participate in a single analytical or training event. 
  • Standardization. Simulations were initially joined by ad hoc methods, creating a terrible NxN problem. Standard methods of interoperability have been developed under acronyms like DIS, GDS, ALSP, and HLA. These standards allow diverse simulations to communicate by learning a common language, rather than any systems specific language. 
  • C4I Connectivity. Simulations are just one of the digital systems in the military arsenal. As the military becomes more "digitized" we find the opportunity for connecting simulations directly to the tools used to command and control real warfare. Interfaces between simulations and C4I systems during training are able to stimulate soldiers in must more realistic ways than could be done before. 
Discrete Event Simulation
  • Manufacturing. Though discrete event simulation is a generic label for an mechanism of operating simulation, it is also the general rubric for a family of techniques and tools used to represent manufacturing and communications problems. The techniques developed by the "DES community" have been at the heart of systems analysis since its inception. These are becoming more prominent in all forms of military simulation. 
  • Parallel Simulation. The DES community was the first to study the problems of synchronizing multiple simulation executables running in a parallel computer or across a distributed network. Time and event management techniques from this research have become an essential part of simulation interoperability in recent years. 
  • Boardgames. In 1958 Charles Roberts invented the first board wargame and set a pattern for an entire industry that was to follow. These games infiltrated military colleges in addition to spawning a vibrant commercial industry. The techniques used to simplify for the gaming environment are also used in serious analytical and training simulations.
  • Arcade Games. These beeping, blinking, money machines sprung up all over the country. They indoctrinated an entire generation into the social power of the computer. Games like Battlezone were also the inspiration for networked tank trainers. But more importantly, they were the forerunners of PC computer games. 
  • Computer Games. The arrival of the PC and its installation into millions of households created the inevitable billion dollar industry of computer games. Many of these embody the concept of warfare. In fact, some directly incorporate military technology. Today computer games rival military simulations in their level of detail and richness of experience.