The 2012 Symposium of the NATO Modelling & Simulation Group (NMSG) was held in Kista, located just outside Stockholm in Sweden’s Silicon Valley.
The topic of the symposium – “Transforming Defence through Modelling and Simulation – Opportunities and Challenges” – addressed the need for specialisation and prioritisation, more specifically the search for multinational solutions to NATO’s security challenges, which was introduced under the term “Smart Defence” by the NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen in February 2011.
The Technical Committee, co-chaired by Dr Hans Jense from NATO’s Communications and Information Agency (NCIA) and Dr Farshad Moradi from the FOI, the Swedish Defence Research Agency, had selected 26 papers to be presented at the conference.
“Some presentations took a very pragmatic approach to Defence M&S,” noted Lt Col Dr Francisco J. Gómez-Ramos, the newly appointed Head of the Modelling & Simulation Coordination Office (MSCO). “The majority of presentations addressed fulfilling operational requirements and were well-adapted to the current budget profile, offering numerous opportunities for collaboration,” he added.
In addition to the specialist presentation, there were two keynotes. Col Ronny Modigs, Assistant Head, Policy and Plans Department of the Swedish Armed Forces Defence Staff, reported on the ongoing and far-reaching transformation of the Swedish Armed Forces. “M& is a powerful and cost-effective resource in this endeavour,” said the Colonel. He went on to say that M&S supports capabilities throughout their entire lifecycle and that the M&S knowledge base is applied to almost everything.
In the second keynote, Stefan Sandberg, from PITCH Technologies, and Ulf Jinnestrand, from 4C Strategies reflected on “A Future Interoperable Training Capability Business Model”. This in particular involves the ability to reuse technology between systems and from other markets, for example, gaming, they told listeners. In such a model, existing technology enables previously unimaginable functionalit y to be utilised in mass produced devices. To connect these devices, use is made of new innovative services that are appearing all over the internet, thus avoiding the constant need to reinvest in new software and hardware.
It was not entirely clear whether this was the 30th or already the 31st symposium. That did not matter, however, since attendance figures show that the event has lost nothing of its appeal given that a total of 115 participants from 21 nations attended. Apart from the Swedish host, the 12 visitors from the United States represented the next largest group. This must surely have pleased the new Chairman of the NSMG, Jesse J. Citizen, Director of the US DoD Modeling and Simulation Coordination Office (M&SCO).
Some attendees came from as far afield as Australia and New Zealand. Next year they will not have so far to travel, as the MSG-111 Multi Workshop will be held on 17/18 October 2013 in Sydney, Australia.
A New Structure
On 1 July, the NATO Research & Technology Agency (RTA) became the NATO Science & Technology Organisation (STO). This change occurred to strengthen the objective of the NATO Research and Technology Agency to directly support operational needs and demands. The new organisation is composed of three bodies in three different locations: The Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS) at NATO HQ (Brussels); the Collaborative Support Office (CSO) in the former RTA facilities in Neuilly-sur-Seine, close to Paris; and the CMRE (former NURC transferred from ACT), in La Spezia, Italy. The 1st Business Meeting of the new STB (S&T Board) was held in Norfolk last September. The Modelling and Simulation Coordination Office (MSCO), the permanent support body of the NMSG, has now been integrated into the CSO. No changes are expected in normal NMSG working procedures. The formats for business meetings (BMs), working groups (WGs) and “tool boxes” remain unchanged, as was observed during the last NMSG BM and MSG-094 Conference in Kista, Sweden last October and in preparation for the October 2013 NMSG activities in Sydney, Australia. –Lt Col (SpAr) Dr Francisco J. Gómez-Ramos, Head Modelling & Simulation Coordination Office