The 15th annual NATO Operations Research & Analysis Conference – co-sponsored by NATO Headquarters Supreme Allied Commander Transformation and the NATO Science and Technology Organization – kicked off October 18, 2021 with a conference theme of ‘Decision Advantage in The Information Age’. Participants and presenters discussed the streams of Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning, Decision Analysis, Strategic Analysis, Big Data / Advanced Analytics, Operations Research & Analysis Methods, Modelling & Simulation, and Wargaming & Operations Assessment. Participants also received Operations Research-related training on Continuous Learning & Delivering, and on Data Science & Machine Learning.
NATO Chief Scientist Dr. Bryan Wells, from NATO’s Science and Technology Organization, virtually welcomed over 200 delegates from NATO and Partnership for Peace nations, as well as Science and Technology Organization’s Enhanced Opportunity Partners Australia, Finland, Japan and Sweden. He stressed the critical role of the NATO Science and Technology and the innovation community, praising its evidence-based methods and creativity in helping to support Alliance decision making. Due to its virtual format, the conference reached a wider audience and included a greater diversity of presentations.
Dr. Natalie M. Scala presented her research work in elections security that earned a University System of Maryland Board of Regents Award for Excellence in Public Service, the system’s highest faculty honor. An associate professor and director of the graduate programs in supply chain management in the College of Business and Economics at Towson University, her primary research is in decision analysis, with foci on military applications and cybersecurity. Specific projects include army unit readiness, risk in voting systems, cybersecurity metrics and best practices, naval sea basing, nuclear power plants, and workforce planning.
Brigadier General Poul Primdahl, Allied Command Transformation Assistant Chief of Staff Requirements opened Day 2, stressing the importance of data literacy and continuing innovation in NATO. Then Mr. Hagai Rossman of the Weizmann Institute of Science presented his research on the collection and analysis of critical data related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, conducting daily symptom surveys, and constructing hospitalization and mortality models and real-time assessment of vaccine effectiveness at the national level – working closely with government and health policy makers in Israel and collaborating with scientists across the globe.
As part of the continuous development of the NATO Operations Research & Analysis Community of Interest, the event brought together the analysis community from NATO commands and agencies, national defense analysis and research organizations, Centres of Excellence, academia, and industry to discuss a wide range of topics related to examples and technical developments.