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U.S. Navy surface forces train both at sea and on shore, but seem to prefer at-sea training in practice. A number of exercises could be conducted in port using various forms of simulation, possibly at lower cost. Others--civil aviation, commercial shipping, and other nations' navies--have taken significant advantage of technological improvements in simulation. To help the Navy assess more simulation could reduce the need for training at sea yet still maintain or improve proficiency and readiness, RAND undertook an assessment of how the Navy currently uses simulation, comparing how other organizations use it and examining the relationship between types of exercises and where they are conducted and completed. The authors offer ways to take advantage of the benefits of simulation, including optimal use of underway training time, whether to increase the use of virtual and live simulation in surface force training, what mission areas and kinds of exercises might be appropriate for increasing the use of simulation, and strategies for purchasing and implementing simulators.

The research described in this report was sponsored by the United States Navy. The research was conducted in RAND's National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center supported by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the unified commands, and the defense agencies.

This report is part of the RAND monograph report series. The monograph/report was a product of RAND from 1993 to 2003. RAND monograph/reports presented major research findings that addressed the challenges facing the public and private sectors. They included executive summaries, technical documentation, and synthesis pieces.

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