Military Training Technology
MT2 2010 Volume: 15 Issue: 4 (July)
Editor’s note: MT2 invited Jim Slavin, director, Joint Training Counter-IED Operations Integration Center, to provide a state-of-the-art perspective of C-IED training, and industry leaders to tell us how their teams are meeting the director’s assessment.
Director, Joint Training Counter-IED
Operations Integration Center
The rapid rate of change in the fight against IEDs and their networks requires quick responses by servicemen and women in theater and a similar commitment by those charged with developing their training. By harnessing existing and emerging technologies, the Joint Training Counter-IED Operations Integration Center, or JTCOIC, partners with other defense organizations and industry to create live and virtual training that replicates the depth of the operational environment (OE). While each training domain has its own set of successes and challenges, JTCOIC is set to blur the lines between the two and bring training into a whole new dimension.
For live training, great progress has been made in accurately replicating the depth of the data environment in which servicemembers fight. The “Training Brain” bends an area’s operational data, including its IED networks, and overlays it on a particular training site. For virtual training the JTCOIC uses real IED event data to identify a new IED or enemy technique, and within four days creates and uploads an event visualization and gaming scenario for use by U.S. and coalition forces.
These training successes came about not because they were specifically tasked, but by asking the question, “How can we use this data for training?” Taking it a step further, virtual and live training will soon collide as units prepare to “deploy” in operationally accurate environments that exist only in a virtual world.
As digital natives, many of today’s servicemembers play massive multiplayer online games (MMOG), such as World of Warcraft or Everquest. If Sergeant Adams can log on to a computer, and as an avatar explore the land of Azeroth with other players, why can’t the same Sergeant Adams log on to a JTCOIC MMOG with data obtained from Afghanistan and complete specific missions to prepare for his future OE before deploying?
The range of potential missions the JTCOIC envisions is as simple as, if an individual doesn’t drink enough water he could become a heat casualty, thus making other missions harder to accomplish; interacting with a village elder in order to identify a local IED network; an interactive scenario in which those who’ve just returned from Afghanistan virtually walk their replacements through their future area of operation.
JTCOIC’s industry partnerships will be vital to creating ways to understand the IED challenge and to push the live and virtual training domains further than ever before.
Army Capabilities Manager, Raydon
Since 9/11, Raydon has been the largest supplier of high-fidelity homestation virtual reality training equipment for wheeled vehicles. We have seen the demand for rapid changes grow with adapting enemy tactics—particularly IEDs—evolving missions and priorities, changes to vehicles and components, and new virtual and gaming technologies. High-fidelity training calls for physically correct tactile interfaces. This is critical because the real equipment is not available until units deploy. High-fidelity training equipment has unique challenges to maintaining a brisk pace. The higher the level of immersion of warfighter, the more sensitive we must become to human factors such as frame rate and transport delay to minimize motion sickness associated with simulation adaptation syndrome.
The business methods had to evolve to allow the government and Raydon to innovate and collaborate, fast. The culmination of these market pressures has been the Route Clearance Training Services (RCTS) Program. RCTS employs an equipment based service model where we supply highly qualified instructors and equipment. PEO-STRI, Maneuver Center (Fort Leonard Wood), the Counter Explosives Hazard Center and PM Assured Mobility structured the program into incremental services buys with configuration and software improvements. Since the award, the program team has collaborated to field three major configurations and releases, reflecting changes in enemy tactics, missions, equipment and lessons learned. A fourth is scheduled at the end of July 2010.
As a team, Raydon and the government are constantly pressing the cycle time envelope. A key component of RCTS is the ability of the instructor to adapt training on site with doctrine. This tiered approach to adaptation has driven rapid changes into high-fidelity simulation faster than any prior program, and trained tens of thousands of warfighters.
Senior Business Manager, Raytheon Technical Services
Company and Training Lead, Raytheon’s IED Task Force
Raytheon is significantly involved in developing innovative technological solutions for troops heading into Iraq and Afghanistan where they face an IED threat. Working in coordination with our military, we determined that most units face training gaps in the period just prior to deployment. Competing demands, resource constraints and the integration of new personnel challenge leaders to accomplish pre-deployment tasks to an acceptable standard of performance. We believe that using cuttingedge commercial off-the-shelf simulation and gaming technology can significantly mitigate this training challenge. Partnering with Motion Reality Inc., a state-of-the-art virtual reality simulation company with superb credentials in the entertainment industry, and BreakAway, a leading developer of digital gaming for commercial and military customers, we believe Raytheon brings the best and most relevant virtual training platform that immerses individuals, units and staffs into a realistic combat environment when and where it counts— before their deployment to war. Using COTS components, such as an effects-based PC gaming technology capable of being used within a single system or between remote facilities via a network connection, our portable virtual immersive and operational environment solution allows for easy and cost-effective integration of near realtime lessons learned and rapidly changing requirements in irregular warfare tactics, the physical environment and wide-ranging threats. We continually work to enable our nation’s military to maximize constrained budgets and calendars and add value to help ensure today’s technologically-advanced military has realistically tailored live and virtual training experiences to help combat the IED menace.
Founding Partner, RL Leaders
As Mr. Slavin notes, the services have been highly successful in replicating real-world environments in live training to “train as you fight.” However, there has historically been a significant gap between the live experience and the capabilities of virtual systems.
RL Leaders focuses on closing this gap— providing warfighters with environments that are as close to reality as possible. Leaders does this in an unusual way, bringing the tools, talents and technology of the entertainment industry to meet these challenges. The entertainment industry is the acknowledged leader in providing totally realistic and engaging environments that provide the opportunity to integrate learning and emotional engagement into complex situations.
The complexity of contemporary conflict requires even greater specificity and realism. Nowhere is this more urgent than confronting the IED threat. Training warfighters for preparedness (the crux of the mission) requires immediacy and adaptability, and acute visualization.
Immediacy and adaptability—training can often be generic; preparedness cannot. The warfighter must train in an accurate replication of the current operational environment that provides adaptability to the changing TTPs of the enemy. Acute visualization—prepared
ness must present the soldier with a complete representation of the in-theater environment. With continuing improvements in computer capabilities and high resolution visuals, IED training simulations can have the capability to visualize real-world observables and signatures, from the most prominent to most subtle.
We agree with Mr. Slavin—the more we can fuse virtual and live training, the more units can prepare to deploy in operationally accurate environments, the more safe and effective our warfighters will become. Editor’s note: David Wertheimer contributed to this insight.
Program Manager, SAIC JIEDDO
“SAIC brings a comprehensive perspective to the complexities of C-IED training that has been informed by our support of the JIEDDO since 2005,” said SAIC JIEDDO Program Manager Lindsey Arnold. “Our C-IED training work with the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) Engineer Training Center of Excellence and emerging technology-based training in other areas, including simulation systems, has enhanced this perspective.”
The JTCOIC executes JIEDDO’s “Train the Force” Line of Operation (LOO). SAIC’s understanding of this LOO and how it relates to JIEDDO’s other LOOs like “Defeat the Device” helps us assess JTCOIC’s training needs based on the wider C-IED fight. This allows SAIC to augment our commitment by considering emerging solutions that bridge traditional technology and non-technology training distinctions.
SAIC demonstrated an example of emerging training solutions at the ITEC 2010 where, for the first time, three simulation platforms were integrated in an interactive checkpoint training scenario to reproduce challenges and decision-making at military checkpoints. The demonstration featured SAIC’s Online Interactive Virtual Environment (OLIVE) software platform, the Common Driver Trainer/MRAP variant, and the U.S. Army’s One Semi-Automated Forces. OLIVE is an enterprise grade software platform that enables users to deploy their own persistent, secure 3-D virtual worlds for collaboration, training, mission rehearsal and operations. The realistic level of detail capable within OLIVE can effectively replicate complex theater operations, helping provide warfighters with the training they need.
“OLIVE can incorporate lessons learned from SAIC’s ongoing, ‘live’ C-IED training, like the importance of wideranging situational awareness to successful counter-IED operations,” said Arnold. “Capturing this awareness, which is complicated by changing enemy approaches, and integrating it into warfighter training is a challenge—a challenge that technologies like OLIVE can help address today.” ♦