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Tango2Bravo said:I've participated in a number of major exercises (two BTEs, two MAPLE RESOLVES, UNIFIED RESOLVE, many staff college exercises) over the past two decades as a member of the primary training audience, as an OCT, Directing Staff, as a member of the OPFOR and as a member of the Validation team ... I guess I'm seeing something different than you are....
..brigade-level CAX with a constructive simulation, though, is a much more awkward beast than the squadron-level virtual sim I went through. Resetting a one hour discrete battle at squadron level is very different than a Bde CAX. The aims are also different. You can confirm the ability of a HQ to plan, issue orders, coordinate preparations and C2 the battle without letting the Sim take over. In a capability development experiment, though, you might let the Sim run free while remaining cognisant that constructive sims have real limitations at replicating tactical results.
In general terms I agree with you. This is why formation HQ trg has to be carefully planned to permit these resets and AARs. I have seen an entire HQ ordered to re-do an activity. It was a PITA for them but the OCE directed it, and they needed it as they were heading off to fight in Afgh. But the OCE and Ex Dir have to factor this in to te plan for the ex, or (IMHO) the learning value for the PTA gets reduced. As you obviously know, a good AAR is not a rehearsed victory parade. Nobody is that good.
I should be careful not to seem to suggest that we let the Sim system "take over": I have never seen that done and I probably wouldn't advocate it. Formation HQ trg can be supported by a digital Sim (or not...it can work without also...) but the Sim has a proper role and place just like all the other aspects of simulation (roleplayers, simulated media, synthetic documents, synthetic data/imagery and the EXCON structure). The main value of a digital Sim at Fmn HQ level is that it can provide ground truth to keep the PTA honest and make them deal with the many aspects of operations at that level which sometimes get forgotten or put into the "too hard to worry about" category.