TAB C – Modeling and Simulation

When the Gulf War air campaign was planned and executed, there were several types of combat modeling and simulation tools available to assist the air campaign planners. Regional- or theater-level models (e.g., TACWAR, TAC Thunder, COMBAT IV, etc.) existed that could demonstrate the probable outcomes of force-on-force engagements. Operational-level models (e.g., Suppressor, SWEG, etc.) existed that could show the results of single battles or engagements. Mission-level models (e.g., C3ISIM, ABATAK, etc.) existed that could predict the expected success or failure of specific missions, such as air defense, air base attack, suppression of enemy air defenses, and other missions. Finally, engagement-level models (e.g., WAM, RADGUNS, etc.) existed that could determine the probability of target destruction using specific weapons.

Modeling and simulation capabilities related to chemical and biological warfare were less mature than the combat models, although a variety of tools existed. Some of the chemical and biological warfare models evolved from methodologies designed to model nuclear weapons facilities and power plant accident effects (e.g., MATHEW/ADPIC and SCIPUFF), particularly the spread of nuclear accident debris. Military analysts assumed that the spread of nuclear fallout would be similar to the spread of chemical or biological warfare agent contamination (e.g., dispersed as a result of an explosive event, spread over an area by winds, etc.). The chemical and biological warfare models available before and during the Gulf War included versions of ANBACIS, NUSSE, and VLSTRACK. The MATHEW/APIC model was adapted for use in chemical warfare agent dispersal during the Gulf War period.


Our investigators contacted the following Department of Defense agencies to determine if they had conducted any hazard prediction modeling with respect to attacks on chemical or biological warfare agent facilities.

Aberdeen Proving Ground

The US Army Chemical and Biological Defense Command’s Edgewood Research, Development and Engineering Center is located at the Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. This organization conducted no modeling, simulations, or studies of chemical or biological plumes produced from air attacks against storage facilities.[48]

Air Force Technical Applications Center

Investigators interviewed officers at the Air Force Technical Applications Center (AFTAC) at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida. AFTAC received no requests to perform any studies of the chemical or biological threat as a result of the destruction of a storage facility.[49]

Armstrong Laboratory

Armstrong Laboratories at Wright-Paterson Air Force Base, Ohio, performed no modeling in support of Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm.[50] The chief of the human effectiveness directorate at the laboratory acknowledged that some investigations conducted well before the war had studied the effects of attacking structures and the dangers of potential releases. However, these investigations did not explore such key variables as building configuration, construction materials, attack munitions, and blast effects on agents.[51]

Defense Nuclear Agency

The Defense Nuclear Agency had developed a modeling and simulation architecture built upon existing nuclear hazard prediction and weapons effects models. This architecture enabled them to predict the effects of Iraqi chemical and biological attacks on Coalition forces. Using these tools, the Defense Nuclear Agency developed more than 16,000 templates for postulated Iraqi attacks with chemical/biological warfare agents under a variety of generic meteorological and terrain conditions. A Defense Nuclear Agency contractor also conducted parametric modeling of agent dispersion using a variety of agent quantities under various weather conditions.[52]

Dugway Proving Ground

Just before the start of the ground war in February 1991, Gulf War air planners contacted Dugway Proving Ground about modeling the effects of Iraq’s chemical weapons use against Coalition forces, but because of insufficient time, Dugway did not conduct any modeling. Dugway did not perform any modeling or simulation work prior to or during Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm related to the release of chemical or biological agents caused by air attacks.[53]

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Acting on a request from an unidentified Air Force organization in Saudi Arabia, the 5th Weather Wing contacted the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory for modeling assistance.[54] In response, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory prepared a demonstration of its Mass Consistent Wind Field/Atmospheric Diffusion Particle in Cell (MATHEW/ADPIC) model that is used to simulate dispersion and deposition patterns from nuclear accidents.

The demonstration was intended to show how the model could be used to predict the results of an air attack on Iraqi chemical and biological warfare installations that released agents into the atmosphere.[55] Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory created and used generic input data based on available publications to demonstrate the model’s capabilities.[56] The modeling produced graphs of generic plumes that were not related to any real-world target or geographic location.

Waterways Experiment Station

The US Army Engineers Waterways Experiment Station (WES) in Vicksburg, Mississippi, supported the Army, the Air Force, and the Defense Nuclear Agency before the start of Desert Storm—providing research and development about the ability of air-delivered bombs to penetrate hardened structures. Scientists constructed a 1/3-scale model of an Iraqi bunker for tests designed to measure the damage to equipment and structural components from internal detonations.[57] None of the results of this experiment were available before the start of the air campaign. The technical report for this project was not published until February 1993.[58]

Wright Laboratory

During the Waterways Experiment Station’s 1/3-scale model experiments, other contractors from Wright Laboratory at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, performed experiments to sample the release of simulated agents from the scale-modeled bunker destroyed in the WES experiment.[59] None of the results of this experiment were available before the air campaign ended.

USAF Air and Space Operations (AF/XO)

Investigators made a final effort to screen Air Force headquarters records by submitting a request to the USAF deputy chief of staff for air and space operations to research the planning and modeling of bombing missions against Iraqi chemical and biological targets. The USAF deputy chief of staff for air and space operations did not find any Air Force records about modeling conducted during the air campaign which would predict the effects of releasing chemical or biological warfare agents during the bombing missions.[60]


Our investigation revealed that the following hazard prediction models were available during the Gulf War although their capabilities were relatively limited. Before the Gulf War, there was very little priority given to modeling chemical and biological warfare agent dispersion. As a result, these models were relatively unsophisticated in their capabilities. Since the Gulf War, increased interest and support has resulted in major improvements in their capabilities.

ANBACIS The Automated Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Information System was developed to provide a realistic, real-time chemical and biological downwind hazard prediction capability.[61]

MATHEW/ADPIC The Mass Consistent Wind Field (MATHEW) is a mass-consistent wind field model which provides three-dimensional winds to the Atmospheric Diffusion Particle in Cell (ADPIC) model. ADPIC provides graphical plots of the dispersion and deposition of the substances being evaluated.[62]

NUSSE The Non-Uniform Simple Surface Evaporation (NUSSE) model predicts the hazardous environment created by a single liquid- filled chemical warhead. It calculates the coverage (footprint) of the warhead’s lethal area on the ground by following the transport and diffusion of the agent vapor cloud from release to impact with the ground. NUSSE-4 is the current version.[63]

VLSTRACK The Vapor Liquid Solid Tracking (VLSTRACK) model determines ground deposition, dosage, and concentration from a single chemical release. Deposition is calculated in milligrams per square meter. Dosage is calculated in milligrams per cubic meter of air, normally at a height of two meters above the ground.[64]

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