DOD’s accredited model for survivability, vulnerability and lethality continues to roll out improvements

By Kaylan Hutchison, DEVCOM DAC Strategic CommunicationsJune 15, 2021

Photo illustration of AJEM (Photo Credit: DEVCOM DAC) VIEW ORIGINAL

Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. — The U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Data & Analysis Center, known as DEVCOM DAC, has released the newest version of the DOD’s accredited Joint-Service approved Advanced Joint Effectiveness Model, or AJEM, for ballistic survivability, vulnerability and lethality analysis.

Built on decades of experimentation and methodology development, AJEM is widely used for analyses to support Army, Navy and Air Force system acquisition; weaponeering and collateral damage estimation against personnel, aircraft, ground mobile and small watercraft systems by operational users; and Live Fire Test and Evaluation, or LFT&E, producing results applicable to all phases of weapon system acquisition. Simply put, results from AJEM analyses impact the evaluations of systems that will be fielded and used by the warfighters, ensuring system safety, functionality and effectiveness.

New capabilities of the latest version include assessment of cumulative damage and time/event-based analysis, as well as efficiency changes in the verification and accreditation process.

Photo illustration of AJEM (Photo Credit: DEVCOM DAC) VIEW ORIGINAL

DAC personnel maintain the AJEM model, while developing and validating methodologies for new capabilities. DAC’s AJEM Model Manager, Marianne Kunkel, has been executing AJEM analysis for over 25 years. “We’ve made big strides in working with the other services, building communication and reaching out to help users use the model,” Kunkel said.

AJEM is currently used by over 600 registered DOD personnel in the tri-service community. The model also provides the target vulnerability data that underpins the effectiveness data in Joint Munitions Effectiveness Manuals Weaponeering System used to support current and future operational planning by the Joint Technical Coordinating Group for Munitions Effectiveness, or JTCG/ME.

“On the JTCG/ME side, we typically use AJEM to generate data, primarily for LFT&E, to support weaponeering for the warfighter, as well as a wide variety of acquisition efforts,” said the Navy’s Christopher Glenn, senior lethality engineer.

Glenn notes that there have been strong improvements over time with AJEM’s graphical user interface, ease of use and integration of community feedback. As part of the continuous software development process, a consistent tempo of quarterly releases of AJEM ensures that improved submodels and software change requests are incorporated consistently, guaranteeing a reliable and reputable model.

It’s through meetings with the AJEM Configuration Control Board and the modeling & simulation working group that the analysis community showcases new AJEM features, provides tutorials, shares corrective fixes and prioritizes change requests.

“A big part of the quarterly releases are for methodology improvements for better predictions— like damage accumulation from multiple weapons and new performance features that allow the analysts to better process data and perform their analysis. AJEM is a collection of different modules that have been developed over many years, so it’s important to ensure that there is no incompatibility with the various submodels,” Glenn said.


Whether it’s for design, evaluation, incident recreation or wargaming input, AJEM provides information a warfighter would not have access to without the model. According to April Cortina of DAC’s Soldier and Ground Analysis Division, DAC is working on making the tool more versatile so users can use it with limited data earlier in the design process.

“AJEM guides early concept design, trade studies and analysis of alternatives to support Army leadership as they look to upgrade systems,” said Cortina. “AJEM allows us to guide improvements that need to be made, so we know when these systems are used, they’re the best they can be for our warfighter.”

DAC’s team of developers, analysts, engineers, statisticians and data scientists work closely with AJEM to deliver data and refine processes. Douglas Howle, lead of DAC’s Materiel Software Development Team, recognizes DAC’s expertise and problem-solving skills as vital to AJEM success. “What makes a good analyst is understanding how to use your tools, understanding how the tools work and understanding the phenomenology you’re trying to model or analyze,” Howle said. “What gives us the strength in all three of those areas is our experimental understanding. We’ve done a lot of work to understand the phenomena we’re trying to model, and we understand intimately how the code works and how to properly set it up to conduct analysis.”

AJEM is a continuously growing tool, pivotal in ensuring that new solutions, once modeled in AJEM, can then be played in unit-level models and simulations and beyond.

“As a result of the lessons learned from these models and simulations, we’re helping decision-makers change things,” said Howle. “Whether it’s a warhead or an armor package or helping commanders out in the field to read quick-look reports, we have strong connections to the warfighter.”

The DEVCOM Data & Analysis Center is an element of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command. DEVCOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Futures Command. Visit the DEVCOM website at