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Workshop Chair: COL Christopher Hill, Center for Army Analysis

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Terms of Reference WG1 TOR  |  WG2 TOR  | WG3 TOR  |  WG4 TOR |  WG5 TOR



In Aug 2009, GEN Casey convened an Army Executive Level Irregular Warfare Conference “to advance the unity of effort required to counter the irregular threats posed by our 21st century adversaries, ensuring our nation has a versatile, balanced Army expertly prepared for Full Spectrum Operations capable of full integration into our Nation's collective capabilities.” At this conference, the Experimentation and Wargaming (Assessment) working group noted the following imperatives for the Army:

1) Improved analysis and assessment using methods, models and tools based on relevant data.
2) Implementation of a comprehensive, persistent, and clearly articulated IW assessment framework and process.
3) Implementation of a robust and collaborative data strategy and management program.
4) Leaders having realistic expectations of what can be produced from IW analysis and assessment.

The Operations Research (OR) community has been heavily involved in current operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan. There have been many challenges faced by these analysts, but there have also been many techniques and procedures developed to deal with a counter-insurgency (COIN) environment. Since the operation tempo in the region is high, there is rarely an opportunity to discuss and document these new ideas. To prevent valuable experience from being lost, a MORS Special Session was planned to address the challenges of analysis, assessment, and data management in an irregular warfare environment.


Analysis, assessment, and data management are core competencies for operation research analysts. At the Spring MORS Special Session, we addressed these issues and developed recommendations for improving our analysis, assessment, and data management ability. One current need is to review the assessment framework and processes from Iraq and Afghanistan in order to catalog best practices. This process will also help to better identify the data needed for assessments. Armed with a clearer assessment framework and data requirements, the OR community could then work with the operational community to improve the assessment and data management processes in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

One of the largest issues we have in trying to develop assessment strategies is that the objectives are not always clearly articulated, and often there is not a clear path from national interests to those campaign objectives. Similarly, the campaign plan objectives at various levels are often not clearly linked to those of higher headquarters. From these objectives should flow what we do for assessments, but often the reverse is true - we assess what we can and then provide that to senior commanders in lieu of what they might need.

We also need to better educate the operations community so the leaders have realistic expectations of what can be produced from IW analysis and assessment. Commanders need to understand that much of the IW assessment process relies on qualitative data as opposed to the quantitative data often used in assessing conventional campaigns. One potential product of the workshop would be a presentation that clearly outlines the current state of assessment capabilities in an IW environment. The information derived from the presentation could then be shared with Division and Corps commanders to help them better understand the assessment process.
Some additional aspects of the assessment process that are needed by the broader community are software tools used to support the process and methods for displaying the information for a broad number of metrics that provides meaning and insight on objective accomplishment.

Finally, the assessment process involves analysis across multiple lines of operation (security, governance, essential services, economic development, information operations, etc.) and working with coalition partners. One beneficial product would be a community wide campaign plan for IW modeling. The plan would be developed with input from all the relevant stakeholders and designed to answer key commander questions.

Arguable, more data has and will be collected on the present wars in Iraq and Afghanistan than any other war in history. Unfortunately, the data that is collected, stored, and analyzed is not always the right or best data to answer the challenging questions commanders are asking. In many cases, analysts are asked by commanders to provide assessments of the Irregular Warfare (IW) campaign, without having the necessary data. While our analysts do their best with what they have, the OR community could probably do a better job of influencing the whole data management process.

Meeting Objectives:

The purpose of the session was to leverage analysis in support of current operations in order to improve analytic support to the war fighter and to improve irregular warfare analytical capability across the community.


The proposed meeting was a workshop with a combination of invited presentations, contributed presentations, and group discussions. The intent was have the workshop as an open meeting to attract representatives from the academic, military, interagency, and international communities. Specifically, we invited analysts from the interagency (Dept of State, Dept of Justice, Dept of Commerce, etc.) and from our coalition partners. Operations research analysts from the Corps and Divisions could also provide great insights into the current assessment challenges in Iraq and Afghanistan. We hope that by practitioners sharing the current “state of the art” with respect to campaign assessment in an irregular campaign, we can capture many valuable lessons learned over the past eight years of conflict.

Working Group Format:

The event concept is a hybrid of a mini-symposium and workshop focused on – campaign and operational level assessment, analysis of current operations at the strategic, operational, and tactical level, and data and knowledge management.
In order to most efficiently use the attendees’ time, the workshop will be broken down into the five functional working groups and one synthesis working group. Each Working Group will develop individual, more-detailed Terms of Reference specific to the assigned topic.

1. Working Group One: Data and Knowledge Management: One of the fundamental issues faced by any analyst, whether they are acting in support of current planning and operations or in a less immediate operational sense is the availability and quality of data. Knowledge management and data discovery/data mining are integral to the analyst’s work, and these issues are often problematic. Closing the data validation loop—ensuring sharing of the best data available—and exploiting existing data repositories can be extraordinarily difficult. The Charges for this working group include:

• What are some of the historical mistakes & oversights in the area of data and knowledge management and how do we overcome these?
• How are data sources linked and integrated?
• How do we improve the state of data in OEF and OIF?

2. Working Group Two: Campaign Assessment: This working group will examine the issues related to conducting a Campaign Assessment.
• Is there a useful campaign assessment framework?
• What methods of campaign assessment have worked?
• What is the best way to link assessment methodologies among echelons of headquarters?

3. Working Group Three: Operational and Tactical Assessment : This working group will attempt to answer the following questions related to lower level assessment and the challenges associated with collecting valid metrics and indicators.
• What methods have been used in theater to generate metrics that meet the doctrinal intent?
• How was the metric validated as an accurate indicator of a given trend?
• How were the metrics collected and how did you ensure that the data was valid?
• What unique indicators correlated with certain desired effects?
• Describe an effective and efficient method to present metrics and indicators to the commander.

4. Working Group Four: Current Operations Analysis – Tactical Level: This working group will share modeling tools that have been used to support current operations at the tactical level.
• What are the best practices used today?
• What are the models used?
• What are the gaps in modeling capability that are most needed to support the warfighter?

5. Working Group Five: Current Operations Analysis – Strategic and Operational Levels: This working group will share modeling tools that have been used to support current operations at the strategic and operational levels.
• What are the best practices used today?
• What are the models used?
• What are the gaps in modeling capability that are most needed to support the warfighter?

6. Synthesis Working Group: This working group will take the outputs of the 5 functional working groups and create a consolidated summary of the findings and recommendations of each group. The Synthesis Group (SynGrp) will have a member in each working group to identify those nuggets in the papers and discussions that reveal analysis lessons learned. The SynGrp will categorize lessons learned in the following three classes.
• The “Constants” – These are the lessons of analysis that were learned in previous wars and have been re-learned in subsequent contingencies, including the most recent.
• The “Trends” – These are lessons based on observations of something new, at least in emphasis, that promise to extend beyond the present conflicts. Some will reflect advancing technology and others will reflect changes in political or military structures.
• The “Variables” – These are conditional lessons for wars like the present conflicts.


a. Attendees included invited experts from OSD, all Services, the Joint Staff, University Affiliated Research Centers, Federally Funded Research and Development Centers, operational commanders, DoD contractors, Department of Homeland Security, US Northern Command, and others, including representatives from our Allied / Coalition Analytical Communities. Workshop chairs will control membership of their sessions in conjunction with the Organizing Committee.
b. Working Groups (WGs) were led by a Chair and one to three Co-chair. This leadership group was comprised of all MORSians or a combination of MORSians and Subject Matter Experts (SMEs).

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