Make your Systems Work Together

Evolution of NATO standards for federated simulation

Abstract: NATO and the Nations regularly use distributed simulation based on the High Level Architecture (HLA) interoperability standard. The current release is IEEE 1516-2010. In the NATO context, several official documents are available to standardize the use of HLA across NATO Nations:
• STANAG-4603 describing the HLA standard.
• STANREC-4800 describing the NATO Education Training Network (NETN) Federation Object Model and the associated Federation Architecture and FOM Design (FAFD).


The NATO Modelling and Simulation Group (NMSG) has a close relationship and a Technical Agreement with the Simulation Interoperability Standards Organization (SISO) with respect to Simulation Interoperability Standards and has provided significant input to SISO standards development over the last years. E.g. NMSG Task Groups MSG-068 and MSG-106 provided significant input on the modularization of RPR-FOM v2.0, and other Task Groups have provided significant input on C-BML, MSDL and UCATT SISO standards. NATO is also a user of SISO developed standards including IEEE 1516 (HLA) series of standards which is covered in STANAG 4603.


SISO and NATO standards have successfully been applied in developing Federated Simulations to support Education, Training, Exercise and Evaluation. For example, the Swedish Viking Exercises are based on Federated Simulation using STANAG 4603 and NETN FAFD. Other NMSG Task Groups apply the SISO and NATO standards to support different aspects of M&S, e.g. Task Group MSG-147 is developing NETN FAFD FOM modules for Crisis Management and Disaster Response, MSG-164 is developing the concept of Modeling & Simulation as a Service (MSaaS) to manage Federated Simulation etc.


There is a continued need for NATO to experiment with, update and further evolve NATO Standards for Federated Simulation to meet new and evolving simulation interoperability requirements and to harmonize with new and evolving SISO standards.

The objective of the recently (2018) started Task Group MSG-163 similarly named “Evolution of NATO Standards for Federated Simulation” is to further evolve the NATO standards for Federated Simulation. This includes:
• An update of the NATO NETN FOM modules and associated Federation Architecture.
• An update of the NATO reference documents regarding HLA (STANAG, STANREC and AMSP, etc.).

• The definition and implementation of a NATO Certification Service for simulator system interoperability.
• The improvement of the NATO HLA Certification Service. This service covers process, organization and a supporting open source tool (Integration, Verification and Certification Tool, IVCT).
This paper provides an overview of Task Group MSG-163 and presents the preliminary results.

Authors: Björn Löfstrand, Reinhard Herzog, Tobias Kuhn, Horst Behner, Tom van den Berg
Publication: Evolution of NATO standards for federated simulation. SISO-20W-025. Simulation Innovation Workshop, Simulation Interoperability Standards Organizations. Orlando, Florida, February 2020.

Download the full paper (pdf)