Show organizers are excited about the upcoming show as planning is coming together. Managing Editor Jeff Loube offers a preview.
The military simulation and training community will gather again in Orlando, FL. from 30 November to 4 December 2015 at the annual Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference arguably the world's largest and premier modeling, simulation, and training conference.
This year’s theme “Forging the Future Through Innovation” was crafted in recognition of the needs of military leadership to mitigate the impact of budgetary pressures on training choices, respond to changes to mission sets and a concurrent need to do more training at home, and the need to provide training environments for next generation combat systems with capabilities that cannot be exercised in a live environments.
In seeking innovation, I/ITSEC organizers advise they have several “mega-themes” in play. The first is Operation Blended Warrior, which is a large scale LVC network on the exhibit floor. JTIEC Director Kent Gritton is organizing this multi year Special Event with the assistance of NTSA’s Gary Fraas.
According to Gritton, there have been large scale integration events on the show floor in the past, but this one is different and the difference is in what precedes and what follows the event.
“We expend such an enormous amount of time and effort to accomplish these events, but we rarely take note and learn from the challenges encountered to get to that point, and we tend to repeat our inefficiencies over and over again,” Gritton said.
“If we can document the challenges encountered while exploring solutions with industry’s subject matter experts, and publish these to the community-at-large, perhaps a plan to mitigate the challenges can evolve so we can truly advance to the elusive plug-n-play environment.”
With each year, the event will help to start chipping away from a list of nine significant challenges: standards, AAR, cyber, performance measurements, multi-level security/cross domain solution, distributed exercise planning, exercise/network/communication management, presentation environment, and role players.
Gritton noted that one of the more interesting challenges Operation Blended Warrior will explore is the integration of cyber into normal LVC integrated environments, and how cyber would affect typical operators.
“Cyber warfare is a whole new warfare frontier, because from an M&S perspective, it challenges us with many more data sets that need to be properly captured within the simulation,” Gritton said.
Operation Blended Warrior 2015 will feature 15 distinct, 30 minutes vignettes within an overarching humanitarian assistance scenario resulting from a Black Swan environmental event. Different vignettes will be run each of the four days the show floor is open.
Over 30 government and industry partners will be bringing their LVC capabilities into this common environment.
“I couldn’t be happier with the level of cooperation and collegiality experienced with all of our participating companies and organizations”, Gritton said. “The near-term BD (business development) aspects are without question, but their buy-in for the long-term desire to advance integrated LVC into a persistent, consistent environment is making Operation Blended Warrior a journey to remember.”
The second “mega-theme”, as explained by IITSEC 2015 spokesman John Williams, is the Black Swan.
“Our Black Swan theme is another multi-year effort to demonstrate the value of modeling and simulation in the analysis of low probability/high impact scenarios. Assessment and analysis of these game-changing events can only be done in synthetic environments, and we need to showcase how small investments in modeling and simulation analysis in the design phase of projects can have great influence on the quality of life of the general population.”
The Serious Games Showcase and Challenge marks its 10th anniversary at I/ITSEC 2015. Co-founder Gritton notes “There has been exciting growth since our humble beginnings in 2006, and as part of our I/ITSEC participation, we are also hosting a special event focusing on the results and the impact that SGS&C has had over the past 10 years, as well as discussing the potential of serious games for the next 10+ years.”
Gritton highlighted three interesting aspects of this year’s challenge. The special emphasis category this year is Social Media Crowdsourcing for Peer Learning: games that use social media and/or crowdsourcing as a multi-player opportunity for peer learning or distributed problem-solving will be eligible for the Special Emphasis Award. He explained that incorporating the increased use of social media within society to learning through a serious game has incredible potential.
Gritton is also delighted that the Students' Choice award continues to be firmly supported by Orange County Public Schools, and stated, “…through their assistance, we are working with other Central Florida school districts to expand the reach of the games. What is so exciting about this award is that the serious games deemed to have school-appropriate content, will be played and reviewed by thousands of students.”
Finally he noted that with the increasing quantity of quality games being submitted to the Challenge, they have decided to expand the Challenge footprint at I/ITSEC to include more games in the Honorable Mention category with the intent of increasing exposure of quality serious games across the spectrum of stakeholders.
Registration for submissions doesn’t end until late September, however, there are early indications that the previous high mark of 52 submissions will be met or exceeded.
Organizers are optimistic about restoring government attendance and that the attendance lows in 2013 and 2014 were indeed the nadir. Williams noted that they have seen a significant positive change in service support for meaningful conferences and expositions this year. He explained, “The value of one stop shopping for ideas, concepts, leading edge technology and market research has been reinforced by senior leadership on the Hill, at OSD and the Services. … All Services have shown great interest in bringing not only their senior leaders, but also key engineers and planners that we consider the next generation leaders.” Some 258 exhibits are listed (http://exhibits.iitsec.org/2015/public/Exhibitors.aspx?ID=32095&sortMenu=110000) to date (last year’s final total was 394) to provide some of that one stop shopping.
As I/ITSEC moves into the future, Williams identified the principal challenge as accommodating all the change going on in government and industry. He explained, “All the Services are readjusting their mission sets and reorganizing to meet future threats. Industry is working to expand into commercial markets as well as internationally. We want the I/ITSEC conference and show floor to reflect all these changes and are working hard to broaden the base of the conference and exposition.”