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This monograph investigates actions that could be taken by the Department of Defense (DoD) to improve the composability of its future models and simulations.In modeling and simulation, composability is the capability to select and assemble components in various combinations to satisfy specific user requirements meaningfully. Factors that determine what can be composed and the expense and risk of composing various components are examined, and many suggestions are presented on both policies and investments that would enhance prospects for composability. It is concluded that DoD must recognize that models are different from general software components and that model composability needs to be based not simply on software practice, but on the emerging science of modeling and simulation. DoD should also develop and communicate a set of realistic images and expectations, back away from excessive promises, and approach improvement measures as a "system problem" involving actions and investments in multiple areas ranging from science and technology to education and training.

The research described in this report was sponsored by the Defense Modeling and Simulation Office (DMSO). The research was conducted in the RAND National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center supported by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), the Joint Staff, the unified commands, and the defense agencies.

This report is part of the RAND monograph series. RAND monographs present major research findings that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND monographs undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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