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Bottom-Up Review: Analysis of DOD War Game to Test Key Assumptions (Letter Report, 06/21/96, GAO/NSIAD-96-170)

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the the Department of
Defense's (DOD) Nimble Dancer war game, a simulation designed to assess
U.S. forces' ability to fight and win two nearly simultaneous major
regional conflicts (MRC), focusing on whether the methodology, scope,
and results were reasonable.
GAO found that: (1) DOD may have overstated the effectiveness of Nimble
Dancer in testing the Bottom-Up Review's basic assumptions of fighting
two simultaneous MRC; (2) Nimble Dancer promoted interaction among DOD
organizations and identified some critical issues for meeting the
two-MRC requirement, but it used many of the same favorable assumptions
used in Bottom-Up Review guidance; (3) Nimble Dancer's testing of some
key assumptions was limited, since DOD did not consider the sensitivity
of some of these assumptions; (4) Nimble Dancer included favorable
assumptions on the mobilization of reserve forces, amount of separation
time between MRC, amount of warning time before an attack, activation of
the civil reserve air fleet, and geographic location of conflict end
states; (5) during Nimble Dancer, DOD did not adequately address the
2001-2005 time frame, fully examine the impact of chemical warfare or
extraction of forces from peace operations, or conduct detailed analyses
of the sufficiency of support forces, intelligence capabilities, and
enhanced combat brigades; (6) because DOD limited sensitivity analysis
of certain key assumptions, it could not analyze how U.S. forces would
fare in the two-MRC requirement under more adverse circumstances; and
(7) although military judgment is necessary when analyzing war
scenarios, DOD often relied heavily and sometimes exclusively on
military judgment to reach conclusions when supporting data were not
--------------------------- Indexing Terms -----------------------------
     TITLE:  Bottom-Up Review: Analysis of DOD War Game to Test Key 
      DATE:  06/21/96
   SUBJECT:  Defense capabilities
             Defense contingency planning
             Computer modeling
             Combat readiness
             Military operations
             Military research
             Strategic planning
             Military systems analysis
IDENTIFIER:  DOD Nimble Dancer Exercise
             DOD Bottom-Up Review

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