In conclusion, the committee emphasized the need for information sharing and collaboration in the DoD MS&A community. DoD’s current MS&A apparatus is widely distributed across many offices and programs, and the committee strongly suggested that it be consolidated into a single dedicated office. This office would be a natural adjunct to the Modeling and Simulation Coordination Office and would create an intellectual common ground for the military MS&A community necessary for the achievement of all previously listed recommendations.



Instead of fighting nation-states with conventional weapons, today’s U.S. military is increasingly called on to confront insurgents and terrorist networks in highly populated areas, where the attitudes and behaviors of civilian noncombatants are greatly affected by military actions. In order to achieve victory, warfighters must be able to selectively apply combat tactics, administer humanitarian aid, and peacefully mediate conflicts. The Air Force and other military services have a growing need for individual, organizational, and societal (IOS) behavioral models in order to inform the development of doctrine, strategies, and tactics for dealing with adversaries, for use in training and mission rehearsal, and in the analysis of current political and military situations.

The Committee on Organizational Modeling was conceived at the request of the U.S. Air Force to evaluate the current state of the art in the IOS modeling research areas best suited to military applications. In addition, the committee was asked to identify weaknesses in the current DoD computational models of behavior. The committee members would then suggest ways in which these weaknesses might be addressed through the use of other systems and through better collaboration with the social science community, and recommend a roadmap for the research and development of an improved modeling system for the near, mid, and far term.


Human behavioral modeling is a complex science with roots in several disciplines. Rather than having a single correct model, the field encompasses a collection of potentially useful approaches. The committee believes a multilevel modeling approach combining several existing models linked together is the most promising for addressing the complex challenges faced by DoD.

The committee identified five potential problem areas to be considered when developing IOS models:

  • Problems in modeling strategy can arise due to unrealistic expectations about how faithful a model can be to the real world.

  • Standards of verification, validation, and accreditation designed for use with models of physical systems cannot always be usefully applied to behavioral and social models.

  • The scope of the human behavior domain (social, organizational, cultural, or individual) must be appropriately matched to the phenomena being modeled.

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement