The Ukraine-Russia war and other fast-moving global events are compelling the US and its allies and partners to continue investments in learning technologies across their training enterprises – and concurrently strengthen their live training programs.
Western militaries are making wise investments in learning technologies across their defense training and education portfolios. Learners are completing lesson scenarios faster and more efficiently as they use ever-more-capable flight training devices and other virtual systems and content, such as virtual reality head-mounted devices. As constructive simulation also matures, human performance teams and their service training counterparts are eyeing enablers beyond the virtual and constructive domains.
While military simulation and training industry teams are beginning to bring to bear big data into training activities, they are picking up the pace on how to best use artificial intelligence to help train operators in the air, land, sea, space and cyber domains.
The technology continuum continues to evolve yet further, with the metaverse being one of several other emerging enablers that have the potential to further improve the readiness of individuals, units and staffs. Military departments must continue to advance their programs and systems in the virtual and constructive domains. At the same time, a confluence of events is doing nothing less than forcing the Pentagon and other nations’ defense headquarters to bolster their investments in, and fielding of, live training capabilities.
The major forcing function to which the US DoD and its partners are responding is the Ukraine-Russia war. One emerging task at hand is for defense-industry teams to also focus on strengthening the “L” piece of the LVC training construct.
The 2023 Live Training Domain
Live training is a multi-faceted enterprise.
In one instance, training ranges must be kept relevant and able to meet 2023-era and beyond threat environment challenges. Indeed, last December the Pentagon announced the US would provide Ukrainian soldiers with combined arms and joint maneuver training.
With the proliferation of weapons platforms and weapons systems being delivered to Ukraine, military-industry teams must also focus on training Ukrainian and other future nation’s military forces on the operations and upkeep of this materiel.
In one of many cases of the frenetic pace of completed and planned weapons transfers, the US is sending one Patriot air defense battery and associated munitions to Ukraine. Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force BG Pat Ryder said, “Training for Ukrainian forces on the Patriot air defense system… will prepare approximately 90 to 100 Ukrainian soldiers to operate, maintain and sustain the defensive system over a training course expected to last several months.” Prospective maintenance personnel and other crew members will literally learn skills by hands-on training – with some scrapped knuckles and dirty nails along the way.
Beyond Ukraine, the US continues to identify China as a peer competitor in and beyond the Western Pacific. To that end, US combatant commanders and their diplomatic counterparts are relying on expanded DoD bi-and multi-lateral training engagements with partners and allies to enhance interoperability among the military forces and another opportunity to solidify alliances in the region.
Committing to Robust Live Training
The Biden administration is due to deliver its fiscal year 2024 Pentagon budget to the US Congress soon. The document should outline how DoD will invest in training ranges, and other programs and systems through the future years defense program. Also starting this month, combatant commanders and other senior Pentagon leaders will begin outlining their plans for engagement with allies and friends, and other topics during the annual Spring Congressional testimony season.