Behaviour in simulated combat – Adaptation and response to complex systems factors


  1. Sprague, K.
  2. Dobias, P.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Centre for Operational Research and Analysis, Ottawa ON (CAN);Operational Research Div, Ottawa ONT (CAN) Land Force Operational Research Team
Tactical combat has been demonstrated to exhibit properties of complex adaptive systems (CAS). In some cases, CAS dynamics can lead to large-scale (possibly catastrophic) impacts that are not in line with expectations under traditional thinking. In this paper, recognizing and exercising some degree of influence over combat CAS dynamics is investigated. In particular, we discuss approaches to selectively “drive” a conflict towards more favourable regions of the available phase space. The issue is addressed at the fundamental level of entity behaviour and interaction. Two key factors for consideration towards such a goal are 1) optimization of combatant behaviour and 2) awareness of and response to complexity within the system. A set of complex systems measures of effectiveness (CMOEs) appropriate to combat, drawn from various complex systems factors available in literature, are proposed and investigated. These measures provide a window into the dynamical progression of a combat CAS, while behaviour modifications offer the means to adapt to its changing conditions. The interplay between the two factors comprises the underlying theme of this paper. Candidate CMOEs discussed include: the fractal dimension, Shannon entropy (two forms: Carvalho-Rodrigues and spatial entropy), the Hurst coefficient, the self-similarity parameter, and symmetropy. Simulations are used to illustrate how a CAS mindset and adaptive behaviour can be leveraged to improve (simulated) mission results. CM

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Report Number
DRDC-CORA-TM-2008-044 — Technical Memorandum
Date of publication
01 Nov 2008
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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