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Marksmanship data is a staple of military and law enforcement evaluations. This ubiquitous nature creates a critical need to use all relevant information and to convey outcomes in a meaningful way for the end users. The purpose of this study is to demonstrate how simple simulation techniques can improve interpretations of marksmanship data.Design/methodology/approachThis study uses three simulations to demonstrate the advantages of small arms combat modeling, including (1) the benefits of incorporating a Markov Chain into Monte Carlo shooting simulations; (2) how small arms combat modeling is superior to point-based evaluations; and (3) why continuous-time chains better capture performance than discrete-time chains.FindingsThe proposed method reduces ambiguity in low-accuracy scenarios while also incorporating a more holistic view of performance as outcomes simultaneously incorporate speed and accuracy rather than holding one constant.Practical implicationsThis process determines the probability of winning an engagement against a given opponent while circumventing arbitrary discussions of speed and accuracy trade-offs. Someone wins 70% of combat engagements against a given opponent rather than scoring 15 more points. Moreover, risk exposure is quantified by determining the likely casualties suffered to achieve victory. This combination makes the practical consequences of human performance differences tangible to the end users. Taken together, this approach advances the operations research analyses of squad-level combat engagements.Originality/valueFor more than a century, marksmanship evaluations have used point-based systems to classify shooters. However, these scoring methods were developed for competitive integrity rather than lethality as points do not adequately capture combat capabilities. The proposed method thus represents a major shift in the marksmanship scoring paradigm.
Journal of Defense Analytics and Logistics – Emerald Publishing
Published: Sep 19, 2023
Keywords: Military; Performance; Monte Carlo simulation; Markov chain; Small arms combat
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