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No matter how many times you JCATs it, nothing can simulate what happens to a Brigade when it's lead Battle Group has fought to establish a bridgehead and one must pass the next one through.
This is a common accusation against simulation: the Brits advanced it to us to explain why they were still using live troops in the field to exercise formation HQs (a practice we hopefully stopped some time ago). It says more about the user than about the sim system.
This accusation is only true if you decide at the outset that in your simulation exercise you aren't going to present the training audience with any nasty problems. If you want to design and conduct a simex that runs like a cloth model weith no hiccups: fill your boots.
This, IMHO, is a misuse of simulation systems' great capability to replicate complex, dynamic problems in a way that we could probably never afford to do, then to go back and repeat it, review it, and, if needed "do over" until we work out a useful solution. Believe me, using the array of sim systems we have readily available in the Army today (if we use them properly) we can throw in any problem we want, and stress an HQ to the breaking point (or break it).
A well-designed and run digital simulated environment by itself can't make people cold, hungry, frightened and wet, but it can most definitely make them confused, tired and stressed. In terms of training the HQ as a thinking, planning and coordinating machine, JCATS, VBS, Simspeak, role players, simulated media broadcasts, etc, etc when used in concert can produce results on HQs that are at least as demanding as anything you could reproduce in the field, and probably moreso.