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Breaking Down the Jargon: A Beginner's Guide to Military Simulation Terminology

Breaking Down the Jargon: A Beginner's Guide to Military Simulation Terminology


Well, well, well, look who's here! You've ventured into the realm of military simulations, and you're probably feeling a little lost with all those TLA's (the letter acronyms) flying around. Don't you worry, my friend! We're here to help you navigate this maze of jargon and make sense of it all. Welcome to Breaking Down the Jargon: A Beginner's Guide to Military Simulation Terminology.

N.B. This is designed to be a living document so please remember to bookmark this page and if it's missing something you're looking for then please do email contact@warfighterpodcast.com to ask for it to be added! (We're also looking for contributors if you'd like to support this initiative.  😎👍.

A Military Simulations 101

So, what exactly is a military simulation? In a nutshell, it's a virtual or live exercise that replicates real-world military scenarios to train soldiers, develop strategies, and test equipment. But, as you'll soon find out, there's a whole lot more to it than meets the eye.

Types of Military Simulations

  1. Live Simulations: These exercises involve real people operating actual equipment in controlled environments. Think of it as a high-stakes game of laser tag, but with tanks, fighter jets, and soldiers.

  2. Virtual Simulations: These bad boys use computer-generated environments to simulate military scenarios. From VR headsets to fully immersive simulators, virtual simulations help soldiers polish their skills without the risks of live exercises.

  3. Constructive Simulations: This type of simulation is all about strategy and planning. Commanders and staff officers use computer programs to develop and analyse tactics and operational plans.

Now that you've got the gist of military simulations, let's dive into the nitty-gritty and break down some of the most common terms you'll come across.

Breaking Down the Jargon: A Beginner's Guide to Military Simulation Terminology

Blue Force and Red Force

No, we're not talking about rival sports teams here. In military simulations, Blue Force refers to the "good guys", while Red Force represents the "bad guys" (i.e., the opposing force). Sometimes, you'll also hear about White Force, which acts as a neutral party or referees during an exercise.

MILES (Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System)

Picture this: You're in a 'real' exercise, and you need a way to keep track of who's been "hit" and who's still an active combatant. Enter MILES. This system uses lasers and sensors to simulate gunfire and assess damage during training exercises. It's like a high-tech version of paintball... or Laser Quest... but way cooler.

Synthetic Training Environment (STE) - Please note there are numerous names for this.

When it comes to virtual simulations, the Synthetic Training Environment is where the magic happens. It's a fully immersive, computer-generated world that simulates real-world environments and situations for training purposes.

Distributed Interactive Simulation (DIS)

Ever wondered how different military units across the globe can train together without being physically present? That's where DIS comes in. This networked simulation system allows participants to engage in large-scale exercises remotely.

After-Action Review (AAR)

You know what they say: "You learn more from failure than from success." That's the whole point of AAR. After a simulation, participants gather to discuss what went well, what went wrong, and how to improve for next time.

High-Level Architecture (HLA) Podcast Episode 

HLA is a software framework that enables multiple simulation systems to interact and exchange information with one another. It's like a universal translator, allowing different simulations to "speak the same language" and work together seamlessly. Want to learn more about HLA? Then have a listen to Ep 16 of the Warfighter Podcast: "The Thing About HLA" with Björn Möller.

Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C4ISR)

This mouthful of an acronym represents the various components that help military forces collect, analyze, and act on information during operations. C4ISR plays a crucial role in military simulations, ensuring that troops and equipment are in sync and working efficiently.

Full Mission Simulator (FMS)

An FMS is a top-of-the-line simulator that replicates every aspect of a specific mission or vehicle, such as a fighter jet or tank. These sophisticated machines offer realistic training environments for pilots, tank crews, and other military personnel.

Role-Playing Simulation (RPS)

RPS is a type of constructive simulation in which participants take on different roles to simulate real-world scenarios. This hands-on approach helps military personnel develop interpersonal skills, decision-making abilities, and a deeper understanding of the complexities of conflict.

Live, Virtual, and Constructive (LVC) Training

LVC training is the integration of live, virtual, and constructive simulations to create a comprehensive training experience. This approach combines the best of all worlds, enabling military personnel to hone their skills across multiple dimensions of warfare.

Scenario Generation

In military simulations, scenario generation is the process of creating realistic, dynamic situations for training purposes. These scenarios are designed to challenge participants and test their decision-making, adaptability, and situational awareness.

Force-on-Force (FoF)

FoF refers to live exercises where two or more opposing forces engage in simulated combat. These exercises aim to replicate the chaos and uncertainty of real-world conflicts, allowing troops to gain valuable experience in a controlled environment.

Tactical Engagement Simulation (TES)

TES is a type of military simulation that focuses on individual and small-unit tactics. Participants engage in realistic scenarios designed to hone their skills and teamwork, such as clearing buildings, patrolling, and responding to ambushes.

Exercise Control (EXCON)

EXCON is the team responsible for managing, directing, and overseeing military exercises and simulations. They ensure that the exercise runs smoothly, stays on track, and meets its training objectives.

Observer-Trainer (OT)

OTs are experienced military personnel who monitor participants during simulations and provide feedback, guidance, and coaching. They play a crucial role in helping troops learn from their experiences and improve their performance.

Computer-Assisted Exercise (CAX)

CAX is a type of constructive simulation that uses computer software to model and analyse military operations. Participants input commands and decisions into the software, which then simulates the outcomes based on various factors, such as terrain, weather, and enemy actions.

Mission Rehearsal Exercise (MRE)

MREs are large-scale, highly realistic simulations designed to prepare troops for upcoming deployments or missions. They replicate the challenges and complexities of real-world operations, allowing military personnel to practice their skills and develop confidence in their abilities.

Final Thoughts:

There you have it, Warfighters – a beginner's guide to military simulation terminology, broken down and simplified just for you. Now you can hold your own in conversations about Blue Force and Red Force, impress your friends with your knowledge of HLA, and navigate the world of military simulations like a pro. So go forth, and conquer the jargon! With Breaking Down the Jargon: A Beginner's Guide to Military Simulation Terminology under your belt, you're well on your way to becoming a military simulation aficionado. 🤓.