DAHLGREN, Va. — The Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren (NSWCDD) and Carderock (NSWCCD) Divisions collaborated with the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) and the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) to bring force analysis capabilities to both warfare centers. In support of naval requirements, both warfare centers were able to build upon existing capabilities using the Synthetic Theater Operations Research Model (STORM) system.
The STORM system was utilized to develop the ability to conduct higher-level, fleet focused, force analysis.
Isel Caro – branch head for the Force Analysis and Strategic Studies Branch at NSWCDD – acted as the project lead for the STORM team for Dahlgren. “Development of a government led, surface fleet focused, force analysis capability was a joint effort between NSWCDD and NSWCCD. Based upon resource availability, NSWCCD led modeling and Concept of Operations development efforts. Dahlgren provided program leadership and led the analysis effort,” Caro said.
In support of the Future Surface Combatant Force (FSCF) studies, targeted through 2045, and the Navy Capabilities-Based Assessments Integration Process (NCIP) program, the mission for the STORM campaign is to train analysts and modelers to become more proficient and experienced in using the model system. According to Caro, “FSCF was reliant on contractor provided, surface-focused, force analysis that was not transparent and had limitations in its ability to provide insights at multiple security levels. NSWCDD and NSWCCD have built a government team capable of meeting FSCF and NCIP force analysis requirements.”
Collaborative efforts included the Naval Undersea Warfare Center’s support of the STORM campaign. “The NUWC was integral to the team’s understanding of the Anti-Submarine Warfare mission model data and worked with our team to calibrate and validate airborne weapons systems,” said Caro.
Both STORM teams also worked in partnership with NAVAIR, which provided extensive knowledge in using the STORM model and sharing elemental best practices for training and proficiency developments.
“Prior to beginning this effort, neither NSWCDD nor NSWCCD had force analysis experience. We coordinated efforts with the NAVAIR NCIP STORM Team for one of our analysts from Dahlgren and one from Carderock to complete a three-month detail, going through their training programs to build proficiency,” said Caro.
Caro discussed the roles of the analysts and modelers that formed the STORM teams. “Our analysts performed measures to ensure that the model works. They were looking at the output of each different mission area and in combination with each other to draw conclusions and gain insight into the best configurations and platforms and the best ways to be able to operate.”
As a key system modeler – personnel responsible for STORM software application on the team – the role entailed inputting platforms, sensors, and weapons systems into the model. Caro explained, “After the modelers had completed this stage, they built the logic behind it for force-on-force engagement, ship movements, logistics interactions and different mission areas.”
“These quantitative assessments provide essential information as to which programs should be invested in to maintain sea control and sea power,” said Caro.
The opportunities to build proficiency for both STORM teams were impacted by the pandemic as well. Training with the NAVAIR NCIP STORM Team was essential for the modelers to become fully prepared to lead the capability development for Dahlgren and Carderock.
The acting project lead for the STORM team at Carderock is Eric Jimenez, branch head for the Design Integration Branch of the Future Concepts and Design Integration Division. He discussed the roles of the top modelers on the Carderock team and their successful execution of the training they received. Jimenez said, “One of our key modelers returned from the three-month rotation at NAVAIR to support the air execution planning side of the model. Surface to air missiles are modeled as air assets, and so there’s a great deal that goes into writing command and control scripture code to ensure the effects are what you want.”
Jimenez attributes the team’s accomplishment to integrating an efficient STORM system at Carderock, stating, “Our team’s modelers were an integral part in bringing that knowledge back and providing instruction for the rest of the team. Another key modeler dug deep into understanding how to model surface asset ships, understanding how to essentially, dynamically capture things that you would see in a war fight scenario, that includes logistics, rearming our bases, rearming at sea, ship the ship interactions, sub on ship interaction.”
While the Carderock team had the opportunity to work with the NAVAIR NCIP team, the Dahlgren team was prevented from doing so. Due to COVID restrictions, the team from Dahlgren had to overcome the dilemma of a canceled detail, which resulted in the absence of a proficient modeler on the team.
The Dahlgren team’s innovative thinking contributed to finding an acceptable solution to this issue.
“In order to address not having a proficient and experienced modeler available on staff, the Dahlgren STORM team identified an existing U.S. Marine Corps STORM contract and was able to establish a sub-contract with a STORM system developer to train the modelers and analysts at both warfare centers,” said Caro.
Jimenez also expressed the issue of cross collaboration during the pandemic, stating, “It’s normally difficult enough when you’re embarking on a project of this complexity and trying to establish the foundation and infrastructure to create a seamless communication path between two teams. COVID only exacerbated that effort in the beginning.”
Despite the pandemic, the Dahlgren and the Carderock teams were able to fully integrate seven analysts and modelers in six months, rather than the 12-18 months usually allotted for training, due to the ingenuity and perseverance of the team members.
During the beginning stages of the campaign, an issue arose regarding the lack of software and hardware availability. The STORM team partnered with NSWCDD Command IT services to produce hosting capabilities for multiple users instead of purchasing new computers, saving thousands of dollars in hardware costs.
The team also had to adjust their accessibility of classified technology due to the pandemic and on-site restrictions. “To mitigate the impact, the STORM team worked with NSWCDD Command IT services to establish an unclassified STORM Virtual Private Network accessible by URDTE laptop computers from home. Virtual training was coordinated through a contractor, enabling the team to continue to train safely during maximum telework. Based upon the unique approach, slip in schedule was minimized and the team was able to fully meet project milestones,” said Caro.
The ability to effectively overcome difficult challenges and unpredictable setbacks was attributed to the innovation, dedication and flexibility exhibited by both STORM teams.
The STORM teams’ efforts and analytical results will be presented to the Chief of Naval Operations as well as other senior leadership in expanding future investments to support the FSCF analysis campaign.
The continued collaborative efforts from the STORM teams at NSWCD Dahlgren and NSWC Carderock, along with support from multiple warfare centers and contractor partnerships, are driving mission analysis development and providing the platform for cutting edge advances.
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