As part of system development, many industries, including the automobile industry, make substantial use of modeling and simulation to help understand system performance. Modeling and simulation (sometimes referred to here as simulation) are currently used for a number of applications in the Department of Defense, notably for training users of new systems and to help support arguments presented in the analysis of alternatives (formerly cost and operational effectiveness analyses) to justify going ahead with system development. Its success in similar applications in industry, and its cost, safety, and environmental advantages over operational testing, have raised interest in the use of modeling and simulation in operational testing and evaluation (where it enjoys the same advantages).
The use of simulation to augment operational test design and evaluation (and other related purposes such as to provide insight into data collection) has been strongly advocated by DoD officials. Although a number of workshops have been devoted to the use of simulation for assisting in the operational test and evaluation of defense systems, the precise extent to which simulation can be of assistance for
various purposes, such as aiding in operational test design, or supplementing information for operational test evaluation, remains unclear. Great care is needed to ensure that the information provided by modeling and simulation is useful since the uncritical use of modeling and simulation could result in the advancement of ineffective or unreliable systems to full-rate production, or, conversely, the delay or return to development of good systems.