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    A Peek Behind the Operations Research Desk, Maj. Adams’ Service Through Simulation

    Maj. Mark Adams Receives the 2023 Army Modeling and Simulation Award

    Photo By Spc. Tyler Selige | U.S. Army Maj. Gen. John V. Meyer III, the commanding general of the 1st Infantry...... read more read more



    Story by Spc. Tyler Selige 

    19th Public Affairs Detachment

    FORT RILEY, Kansas -- Formerly a field artillery officer, Maj. Mark Adams entered the ORSA (Operations Research and Systems Analyst) branch in 2019. His work in the field of modeling and simulation analytics would go on to make major impacts throughout tactical decision resourcing within his field.

    Adams grew up in Kirkville, NY. After high school he attended West Point, where he was afforded the opportunity to wrestle on the Division one team. Adams continued to serve his country by commissioning as an artilleryman after college. He deployed to Afghanistan in 2012, Iraq and Kuwait in 2016 to assist with Operation Spartan Shield, and to the EUCOM (United States European Command) AoR (area of responsibility) in 2022.

    “I loved being an artilleryman,” said Adams. “The reason I ultimately made the switch [to ORSA] was because I wanted to have an impact at the highest levels of the Army, through analysis, to ensure future victories.”

    While deployed to the EUCOM AoR with the 1st Infantry Division, he began to develop his own method of modeling analysis, which improved his commander’s tactical decision dominance. Instead of mathematically predicting outcomes, Adams tried a new approach. He studied past historical battles and terrain throughout five different countries, observed outcomes of aviation attack simulations, and applied lessons learned to assess risk outcomes. He used these to show the spectrum of impacts through potential ground force outcomes. This helped him understand risk to force versus risk to mission, and allowed command to make more efficient resourcing decisions.

    “Decision dominance … is the ability for a commander to sense, understand, decide, act, and assess faster and more effectively than any adversary,” said Gen. John Murray, former Army Futures Command chief.

    As one of the 1st Inf. Div.’s ORSAs, Adams uses data analysis to generate a more comprehensive view of intricate military logistics for senior leaders. While in a tactical environment, this view narrows to focus on more singular tasks, such as analysis of enemy and friendly actions, identifying risks and opportunities, and helping to ensure resource use is optimized for the fight ahead. This is all part of a comprehensive team-effort to increase the commanding general’s awareness and enhance his ability to make informed decisions.

    In order to do this, Adams realized he would have to first look into the military’s past successes and failures. He studied Operation Eagle Claw, which was a failed rescue operation to extract more than 50 hostages from the United States Embassy in Tehran, Iran in 1980. Eagle Claw was one of the first modern joint-military operations, and as such it was plagued by deficiencies in mission planning, as well as unexpected weather conditions, which led to a total mission failure that resulted in the loss of eight servicemembers.

    “When the risk to mission is high and outcomes are uncertain, then understanding the resourcing required to ensure the accomplishment of a task is paramount,” said Adams.

    By learning from historical operations and using the tools he was trained with, Adams directly supported his command team in making some major decisions. In doing this, Adams, along with his fellow analysts, supports the Army’s data plan which prioritizes data analytics to out-think and out-pace any adversary. As well as its multi-domain transformation, which is meant to provide the Joint Force with technologies needed to achieve future decision dominance required to win their next big fight.

    “If I can help our commanding general make one decision during Warfighter, or real life, then I have achieved my intent as an ORSA,” said Adams.

    Adams has achieved much during his time in the Army, but he makes it clear the combined effort he sees every day is from the team. It is a clear point of pride for him that the 1st Inf. Div. was the only United States Army Forces Command unit to submit for and receive this award. Humbled and proud to have worked with his fellow analysts, Adams is thankful for the command team that has consistently supported his team and provided them with the time and resources to perform at the highest level.

    Adam’s work with combat and resourcing simulations titled “Deterministic and Stochastic Modeling Analysis in support of Decision Dominance” would earn him the Army Modeling and Simulation award on Jan 25, 2024, at Fort Riley, KS. His goal was to allow the commander to make more informed decisions on the battlefield, with the ultimate goal of saving lives and winning our nation's wars. He has shared his work with various divisions who have gone on to adopt and modify his model to fit their own purposes.

    Currently he is writing a paper detailing how his methods can be used to enhance tactical planning in different levels throughout the United States military. His next upcoming assignment is to the Naval Postgraduate School to earn his PhD in Operations Research.



    Date Taken: 03.27.2024
    Date Posted: 04.02.2024 17:53
    Story ID: 467616
    Location: FORT RILEY, KS, US
    Hometown: KIRKVILLE, NY, US

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