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Meeting the NATO M&S Interoperability Challenge

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Author: Huiskamp, W. · Voiculet, A. · Cayirci, E. · Lofstrand, B. · Patel, B. · Khimeche, L. · Heffner, K. · Reus, N.M. de · Igarza, J.L. · Voogd, J. · Roza, M. · Krarup-Hansen, N.
Source:M&S Journal, 2, 9, 16
Identifier: 519792
Keywords: Simulation · Modelling · Simulation · Interoperability · NATO · NMSG · Defence Research · Defence, Safety and Security · Operations Modelling · MSG - Modelling Simulation & Gaming · ELSS - Earth, Life and Social Sciences


The NATO Modelling & Simulation Master Plan (NMSMP) calls for the application of Modelling and Simulation (M&S) in areas that include, but are not limited to: Support to Operations, Capability Development, Mission Rehearsal, Training and Education, and Procurement. Common standards are essential enablers for simulation interoperability and re-use. This includes technical architecture standards (e.g. HLA - the High Level Architecture), data interchange standards (e.g. SEDRIS - Synthetic Environment Data Representation and Interchange Specification) and best practices (e.g. Distributed Simulation Engineering and Exploitation Process - DSEEP). The NATO Modelling and Simulation Group (NMSG) was officially nominated as the Delegated Tasking Authority for M&S standardisation in 2003. NMSG has developed NATO Standard Agreements (STANAG), e.g. HLA and SEDRIS. However, the need was identified to provide and maintain a ‘Standards Profile” of existing or emerging standards for M&S. In cooperation with the NATO Standardization Agency (NSA), the NMSG has determined that an Allied Publication (AP) is the most appropriate document form for a ‘Standards Profile”. In May 2007, the NMSG approved the establishment of the M&S Standards Subgroup (MS3), which is tasked to create and maintain the NATO M&S Standards Profile under the reference "AMSP-01 (Allied M&S Publication)". The AMSP-01 document intends to establish a common understanding of the terminology associated with M&S standardization, produce and maintain the list of existing standards (and promising emerging standards) applicable to the M&S domain and provide recommendations to NMSG and Standards Developing Organizations (SDOs) for new standardization priorities based on the identified areas where additional standards are needed. The MS3 co-ordinates its activities with SDOs, which include SISO (Simulation Interoperability Standards Organization), IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) and ISO (International Standard Organization) and corporate associations (e.g. National Training and Simulation Association (NTSA) and European Training and Simulation Association (ETSA)). The NMSG is also coordinating research and development of new M&S standards through its MSG Task Groups. Prominent examples of recent years are the work done in MSG-068 (NATO Education and Training Network), MSG-048/MSG-085 Coalition Battle Management Language (CBML) and the MSG-073 Generic Methodology for Verification and Validation (GM-VV). This paper will elaborate on the challenges to meet the Alliance’s and the Nation’s M&S interoperability needs. The authors will provide a comprehensive overview of the achieved results and of current activities in which Nations and NATO organisations cooperate under the leadership of the NMSG. The guidelines and standards developed within NMSG and SISO are based on contributions from national experts and should be leveraged nationally also whenever possible to benefit from shared knowledge and improve interoperability.