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Issue 71 Article
Role of Operations Research and Operational Analysis in NATO

Dr. Altan Özkil – Director, Defence Applications and Research Center, Deputy Director of Civil Aviation School Turkish Panel Member, NATO STO SAS Panel of  Atılım University, Ankara

NATO Summit 2016 was held in Warsaw Poland on 8-9 July 2016. The world is getting more volatile and dangerous in recent years. For this reason, there was a need for NATO to review the security of the North Atlantic Alliance and adopt itself to the new security environment. Three main tasks: collective defense, crisis management and cooperative security still needed to be fulfilled by NATO Nations. NATO leaders made important key decisions to protect citizens of The Alliance and project stability beyond NATO’s borders . These strategic decisions are:
To Enhance NATO’s military presence in the eastern part of the Alliance,
To start training and building the capacities of Iraqi defense and security forces,
To provide direct support for the coalition forces,
To launch a new maritime security operation in the Mediterranean,
To better protect its networks, missions and operations against cyber-attacks by recognizing cyberspace as an operational domain and focusing on cyber defense/resilience training and planning,
To continue to enhance NATO’s resilience and to develop individual and collective capacity to resist any form of armed attack,
To provide information on Initial Operational Capability of the NATO Ballistic Missile Defense System,
To make a long-term commitment to train, advise and assist the Afghan security forces and contribute to their funding through 2020,
To make Ukraine’s defense and security institutions more effective, efficient and accountable,
To increase cooperation with the European Union.
When we consider these strategic decisions, it is very clear that there are a lot of questions that need to be answered before the development of operational and tactical plans and programs can become successful in the fulfilment of these decisions. The sample questions for each decision are presented below.
To Enhance NATO’s military presence in the eastern part of the Alliance,
What type of capabilities does the Alliance need?
How many battalions do we need?
How is the configuration of each of the battalion in terms of nations, type of weapon systems, human resources etc.?
How long is the task duration for each battalion?
How is the command & control structure of NATO’s military presence?
What are the criteria to estimate effectiveness and efficiency?
What is the level of readiness and interoperability?
To start training & building the capacities of Iraqi defense and security forces,
How many Iraqi officers do we plan to train?
Where do we plan to train?
How much does the training cost?
What are the main topics for training?
Who will be responsible and who will be teaching?
What will we do for capacity building?
How do we measure the capacity of defense and security forces?
To provide direct support for the coalition forces,
What type of support do we need to provide?
When do we provide the support?
How long do we provide the support?
Who will be responsible for providing support?
What is the cost of support?
How do we share the cost of support?
To launch a new maritime security operation in the Mediterranean,
What is the concept of maritime security operations?
How do we define the scope of maritime operations?
Who will be responsible?
How long does the new maritime operation will take place?
Which nations from Alliance will participate in the security operation?
To protect better its networks, missions and operations against cyberattacks by recognizing cyberspace as an operational domain and focusing on cyber defense/resilience training and planning,
What are the tools, techniques and methodologies for better protection?
Can we recognize cyber-attacks before they happen?
What are the tools for training and planning of cyber defense?
How do we increase the awareness of people on cyber issues?
How do we train the people?
How much does the training cost?
How do we share the cost of training among the participants?
What are the available and emerging technologies for cyber defense and resilience?
To continue to enhance NATO’s resilience and to develop individual and collective capacity to resist any form of armed attack,
What are the enabler for individual and collective defense?
How do we increase civil preparedness?
What type of actions must be taken into account?
How do we measure capacity?
How do we enhance capacity?
To provide information on Initial Operational Capability of the NATO Ballistic Missile Defense System,
How do we develop an operational concept for missile defense?
What are the requirements for the NATO Ballistic Missile Defense System?
How do we measure the effectiveness of the system?
Where do we need to locate missile, radar and interceptor?
What are the available and emerging technologies for ballistic missile defense?
To make a long- term commitment to train, advise and assist the Afghan security forces and contribute to their funding through 2020,
What do we provide to develop a sustainable Afghanistan?
What type of support needed for Afghan security forces?
What are the topics for training?
How do we prioritize training needs?
What type of tools, methods and methodologies for training?
How much does this support cost?
How do we share the cost?
What are the available and emerging technologies for Afghan security forces?
To make Ukraine’s defense and security institutions more effective, efficient and accountable,
What are the strategic advices to Ukraine’s defense and security institutions?
What type of projects must be developed to counter hybrid warfare?
What are the techniques to deal with improvised explosive devices?
What are the available and emerging technologies?
To increase the cooperation with the European Union.
What are the common cooperation areas?
How do we prioritize these cooperation areas?
What are the ways of cooperation?
Of course, there is an inevitable need of science and technology to answer all these questions properly. In NATO, S&T is defined as the selective and rigorous generation and application of state-of-the-art, validated knowledge for defense and security purposes. S&T activities embrace scientific research, technology development, transition, application and field-testing, experimentation and a range of related scientific activities that include systems engineering, operational research and analysis, synthesis, integration and validation of knowledge derived through the scientific method .The NATO Science and Technology Organization (STO) acts as NATO’s principal organization for science and technology research today. Science and technology activities started as Advisory Group for Aerospace Research and Development (AGARD) in 1952 as it is shown in Figure-1. Dr. Theodore Von Kármán is considered to be one of the greatest aeronautical scientists of the twentieth century. He was over 70 years old when he founded AGARD in 1952 and for more than ten years he personally guided and inspired all those who were associated with AGARD. Defense Research Groups on different issues was set up and started to research in 1967. There was a big change in 1998. NATO Research and Technology Organization (RTO) was formed by six main panels and one group.
NATO Undersea Research Center (NURC), located in La Spezia, Italy, were organizing and conducting scientific research and technology development on maritime domain, delivering innovative solutions to address the Alliance’s defense and security needs. The STO was created through the amalgamation of the Research and Technology Organization (RTO) and the NATO Undersea Research Center (NURC). STO was formed by a three-phased implementation process. In the first phase (rationalization), NATO Science and Technology Strategy, the production of the Center for Maritime Research and Experimentation (CMRE) Business Plan and the delivery of the study pertaining to the Operational Research and Analysis (ORA) function were prepared. The transition of the CMRE to its new business model, the implementation of the NATO S&T Strategy and the realization of the decisions pertaining to the Operations Research and Analysis (ORA) function was accomplished in the second phase (implementation). The optimization of the measures of the rationalization and the implementation of the decisions pertaining to a further consolidation study was accomplished in the final phase. The mission of STO is to help position both national and NATO science and technology investments as a strategic enabler of the knowledge and technology advantage for the defense and security posture of NATO Allies and its partners. The organization chart of STO is presented as it is shown in Figure-2.STO has been working with close links with Military Committee and Conference National Armaments Directors (CNAD) under North Atlantic Council. The CNAD is the senior NATO committee responsible for promoting the cooperation between countries in the armaments field.
STO is composed of a Science and Technology Board (STB), Scientific and Technical Committees and three Executive Bodies; the Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS), the Collaboration Support Office (CSO), and the Center for Maritime Research and Experimentation (CMRE) . The Chief Scientist is the chairman of the STB and the senior science advisor to the North Atlantic Council. The executive and administrative support to NATO’s collaborative science and technology activities will be delivered by the Collaboration Support Office (CSO). The scientific and technical committees, composed of members from national and NATO bodies, will continue to direct and execute NATO’s collaborative science and technology activities. These collaborative science and technology activities are accomplished in 3 different levels. The 1st Level is STB. The STB consists of three selected (Ministry of Defense, Armed Forces and University) and one appointed members (National Coordinator) from each nation. The National Coordinator for STO activities in Turkey is from the Turkish Ministry of Defense. The panels and group activities are 2nd Level activities. Members for panels and group also consist of three selected (Ministry of Defense, Armed Forces and University) members. The main task is the coordination of research activities among NATO and NATO nations. The names of the panels and the groups are listed below:
Applied Vehicle Technology (AVT),
Human Factors and Medicine (HFM),
Information Systems Technology (IST),
Systems Studies and Analysis (SAS),
Systems Concepts and Integration (SCI),
Sensors and Electronics Technology (SET),
NATO Modelling and Simulation Group (NMSG).
The SAS Panel is responsible and the main owner of operations research/operational analysis studies in NATO. Operational analysis is the development and application of mathematical models, statistical analyses, simulations, analytical reasoning, analytics and common sense to the understanding and improvement of real-world operations. Just as important, it is a way of thinking and applying a technical and rational process to understand problems, choices, outcomes, and risk. Operations research marks its origins as a discipline from the combined efforts of scientists to help tackle their countries’ operational and tactical issues during World War II. Today operational research and operational analysis has been applied at every level of decision making, from international policy creation to routing of search assets for downed submarines. The main approaches in Operations Research and Operational Analysis are analytics and assessments, probability and statistics, optimization, simulation, decision trees, influence diagramming and branch graphing, morphological analysis and data visualization .
The mission of the SAS Panel is to conduct studies and analyses of an operational and technological nature, and to promote the exchange and development of methods and tools for operational analysis as applied to defense problems. The main research activities of SAS Panel are as follows:
Evaluating S&T linkages between technology and operations,
Providing analysis & recommendations to enhance operational effectiveness & cost of forces and systems,
Developing methods (tools) to enable scientific support for decision making.
If you recall the questions that I developed after Warsaw Summit’s key decisions, most of them can easily be answered by using Operations Research and Operational Analysis tools, techniques and methods.
The STO Panels organize several types of technical activities . These include, Task Groups (RTG), Symposia (RSY), Specialists’ Meetings (RSM), Workshops (RWS), Lecture Series (RLS), Collaborative Demonstrations of Technology (CDT), Long-term Scientific Studies (LTSS), Military Application Studies (MAS), Technical Courses (RTC) and Specialist Teams (ST). Technical groups under the SAS Panel publish their technical reports after they complete the research. Technical reports are the main product of the research team. Some of the selected published technical reports are as follows :
NATO Code of Best Practice for Command and Control Assessment,
Cost Structure and Life Cycle Costs for Military,
Non-Lethal Weapons Effectiveness Assessment,
Information Operations – Analysis Support and Capability Requirements,
Assessment of Possible Disruptive Technologies for Defense and Security,
Computer Based Decision Support Tool for Helicopter Mission Planning in Disaster Relief and Military Operations (Turkey was leading country of the research team and the team was led by Prof. Dr. Gülay Barbarasoğlu),
NATO Human Resources (Manpower) Management (Turkey was a leading country of the research team and team was led by Col. Dr. Altan Özkil),
Power and Energy in Military Operations,
Planning, Decision Support, Knowledge Development and Systems Analysis: A Technology Roadmap,
Judgement-Based Operational Analysis in Defense Decision Making-Analyst-Oriented Volume: Code of Best Practice for ‘Soft’ Operational Analysis,
Operational Analysis (OA) Support to NATO Operations.
The current research activities of the SAS Panel can be reached from the STO website . The SAS Panel held their semi-annual business meeting from 19-21 Oct in Norfolk, Virginia, USA. The 2016 Autumn Panel Business Meeting (PBM) was held at HQ SACT and hosted by the Allied Command Transformation (ACT). At the last PBM, the panel endorsed five new research task groups (RTG), one research workshop (RWS) and approved three exploratory teams (ET) to move forward.
The names of these groups with the lead nation/NATO organization in parenthesis are as follows:
RTG on Gamification of Cyber Defense/Resilience (TUR)
RTG on Course of Action Analysis in the 21st Century (CAN/NCIA)
RWS on Threshold Concepts for and by Smaller Forces (EST/SWE)
RTG on Models and Tools for Logistics Analysis (SWE)
RTG on Assessment/Analysis Support to Facilitate the Introduction of Non-Lethal Weapons (NLW) by Addressing Line of Development Obstacles (USA)
RTG on Modeling the Transformation of Resource Inputs into Defense Outputs and Outcomes (CAN)
ET on Developing a Standard for Reporting Forecasted Attrition in Military Personnel Planning (CAN)
ET on Structural Analytic Wargaming Techniques (ACT)
ET on Directed Energy Weapons Concepts and Employment (NLD)
RTG on Gamification of Cyber Defense/Resilience will be led by Levent Berke Çaplı from Turkey. Canada, Estonia, Germany, The Netherlands, Slovenia, United States of America and Allied Command Transformation are planning to participate in this research group. The main objective of this research group is to effectively enhance information security and cyber defense education and training through the use of serious gaming and gamification approaches. If you would like to join this research team, you need to get coordination with the Turkish Ministry of Defense .
The NATO 10th Annual Operations Research and Operational Analysis (OR&A) Conference was held 17-18 October at Strategic Allied Command Transformation (SACT) Headquarters. The aim of the conference is to coordinate and improve the contributions of Operations Research and Analysis to NATO operations and capability development. Reviewing the various ways that OR&A is currently contributing to NATO operations and capability, discussing challenges, best practices, external insights and potential improvements and determining how to improve synergy, cohesion and coordination between OR&A within NATO commands and force structure and the nations are the objectives for this conference.
The conference was a success with 24 presentations, 3 workshops and 3 keynote presentations. There were over 100 participants from the NATO OR&A community of interest. The overall theme of the conference was “How does analysis help the Alliance think differently”. The participants discussed the answers to the following questions during the conference under this theme .
The role of OR&A in the contemporary/future security environment?
How can our models deal with changing technologies?
How can we determine the impact of future command and control, warfighting and logistics concepts, and biomedical, cyber and autonomous technologies and systems?
The deliberations will encourage in depth consideration about how we can deal with these challenges, how we can formulate the right questions, and what the future requirements of decision-makers in NATO will be.
The presentations were sub-divided into different topic areas such as Innovation in OR&A, Data-Mission Oriented, OR&A for Future Capabilities, Techniques in OR&A, Analysis for strategies, OR&A in Force and Defense Planning, Preparedness and Readiness, Optimization and Cost Analysis. The paper from Turkey named “Serious Game for Small Unit Counter Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) Awareness Training ” was presented at the conference.
Operations research and operational analysis are very important not only for NATO bodies but also all nations. There is a clear need to enhance and strengthen our headquarters, institutions, organizations and manpower in terms of operations research and operational analysis. Because there will be always need to provide decision support to decision makers.
February 26 2017
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