Marty Kauchak delivers highlights from the 1 December vIITSEC conference session “Forging the Future Training Environment STE CFT”.

MS&T readers are aware of many limitations to current and near-term US Army’s training. Some of the most observed impediments in these training programs include: the inability to accurately replicate EW, cyber, mega cities, dense urban terrains and other attributes of the contemporary operational environment; a proliferation of 2D terrain formats without a baseline 3D terrain format; and a heavy reliance on contractors – and many others.

Accelerating Changes to Army Training

US Army Major General Maria R. Gervais, the Director of her service’s Synthetic Training Environment (STE) Cross Functional Team (CFT), cut to the chase when she told delegates, “We’ve been directed to accelerate rapidly – and expand the virtual simulation capability from battalion down to company level.” Of significance, the STE CFT is also responding to a minor “course correction” from service leadership, to focus on “accelerating changes to live training” – and with good reasons. The general officer reiterated the legacy I-MILES capability can only replicate 60% of brigade combat team weapons’ effects and has other limiting attributes. The CFT’s broad goal is to realistically replicate soldier brigade combat team training at home station, combat training centers and when deployed.

The CFT’s strategy to meet this most recent priority is based on partnerships – with US Army and academia, industry, the other services and US allies and friends. Of significance, the CFT is moving beyond the traditional, linear construct of obtaining and meeting requirements. The CFT’s “tool box” of enablers now includes: industry innovating and collaborating with the STE CFT and sharing investments; using Other Transactional Authority-based contracts; and identifying requirements, upfront, based on emerging commercial technologies (gaming, 5G infrastructure, and others).

Tip of the Iceberg

It’s time for company business development teams and their counterparts in academia to update their list of opportunities associated with US Army STE. Some of the other, more immediate opportunities include; establishing the STE Information System; expanding Reconfigurable Virtual Trainers and strengthening Live-Synthetic Integration. Further, the CFT is looking to optimize many fielded and still evolving commercial applications in its program, to include distance learning, physics-based 3-D terrain and mapping, games and many others.