171002ora01 400The 11th NATO Operations Research and Analysis Conference was held in London, 2-3 Oct 2017.

Hosted by the UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory and co-sponsored by NATO's Allied Command Transformation and the Science and Technology Organization, the conference brought together the Analysis community of NATO and the nations to exchange views on “Enhanced Decision Making”, the conference theme.

Welcomed by Mr Rob Solly, Division Head Analysis in the UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory where he leads a team of around 600 analysts, about 120 participants listened to 30 presentations.

Amongst them, keynotes by the NATO Chief Scientist Dr. Tom Killion; Dr. David Alberts, who formerly directed the United States Command and Control Research Program and published studies like “Power to the Edge” and “Netcentric Warfare”, and leading NATO studies on Command and Control Agility and Command and Control Maturity; Lieutenant General Tim Radford, the Commander of the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps; and Mr. Alan Shaffer, the NATO Collaboration Support Office Director.

The format of the conference allowed for training on Social Network Analysis, Problem Structuring and Future Assessments. The initial challenge came from Brigadier General Henrik Sommer in his welcome address for the Operations Research and Analysis community to be relevant in studying current NATO issues of Deterrence and Defence.

171002ora logoLieutenant General Radford’s speech was littered with anecdotes of the usefulness of his Operational Analysis Branch within the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps Headquarters, but also during his deployments in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Kosovo. He remarked that he is working with eight other NATO Force Structure Headquarters to ensure that they understand the need for them to establish Operational Analysis Branches inside their Headquarters.

Mr Alan Shaffer equaled the Operations Research and Analysis to Intelligence as the Operational Analyst’s primary task is to provide the Commander with information and data that support his decision making. According to him many challenges are left for the Operations Research and Analysis scientist: in modelling Electronic Warfare, in provision of analysis for Anti-Access/Area Denial, in understanding Cyber Operations, and in conducting simulations for Logistics.

The final message to the conference participants was to sell Operations Research and Analysis better: the good stories about the application of Operations Research and Analysis are abundant, but not necessarily known to the operators.