Marty Kauchak, MS&T Editor, remotely joined the Sept. 21 Central Florida Tech Grove-hosted event “Roundtable with the PMs” featuring Colonel Marcus Reynolds, Program Manager for Training Systems (PM TRASYS) and his staff. As connectivity permitted, MS&T gained insights on important developments across the US Marine Corps training portfolio.
To set the stage, PM TRASY is helping to provide training support for the Marine Corps’ pivot to more fully support missions and operations in the Indo-Pacific theatre. At the same time, this team Orlando member is helping to upgrade service-wide learning (training and education) as part of Force Design 2030.
Extracts of the afternoon’s PM TRASYS outreach program follow.
Expanding Outreach to Industry
While some simulation and training industry members rightfully point out US DoD acquisition process shortfalls, this Orlando-based outreach event supports the author’s contention that the “left side,” or early part, of a defense program, product or service’s life cycle is solid – and indeed, strengthening. In this US DoD S&T command’s latest outreach effort to the broader S&T community, Col. Reynolds and his team addressed several random issues across the Marine Corps training enterprise in response to questions from on-site event attendees and remotely-located viewers.
The PM indicated early-on his command remains available, and encourages, visits as staff schedules permit, with S&T industry and academia members. Individuals seeking PM TRASYS meetings are encouraged to initially contact the command through the this organizational email.
Contract specialists remain a linchpin in DoD acquisition programs. To that end, the PM noted these acquisition professionals are in short supply at his command, and indeed, its senior command (MARCORSYSCOM) and other US DoD organizations. While PM TRASYS considers workarounds, including the use of other contract specialists from other Team Orlando commands, the colonel noted impediments to this strategy: each service’s regulations differ and it simply takes time to recruit, train and qualify these professionals. To that end, the Marine Corps and the other services are expanding their efforts to recruit and retain contract specialists.
Lt. Col Rory Herman, PdM Range Training Systems, noted major challenges to solidifying the range infrastructure on Guam include regulatory, in particular. environmental. Beyond those regulatory matters, industry will have opportunities to help the service enhance the sustainability of the Military Operations on Urbanized Terrain facility – located in a jungle – on the island.
Left: Col. Marcus Renolds, Marine Corps Systems Command’s Program Manager for Training Systems (PM TRASYS). Image credit: US Marine Corps.
Col. Reynolds then spoke to the broader topic of the S&T requirements and opportunities being generated by the service’s redeployment and deployment moves to support the US’s strategy pivot to the Indo-Pacific. To that end, these altering force activities will in some cases, “drive requirements for us to put more capability in LVC-TE [LVC-Training Environment] simulators for those Marines who will be staying in the region.” One such nascent project will support Marines at Camp Fuji, Japan.
On the topic of LVC-TE, the command also sees near-term topics of interest requiring solutions, for fires trainers and underlying gateways within the broad training environment construct.
PM TRASYS maintains an active “cross-talk” dialogue – from the action-officer level up through the PM – with S&T counterparts from the US Army and other services. While the Army’s evolving Synthetic Training Environment is one mutual topic of interest, the dialogue also includes S&T for range technology, live fires, electronic warfare and other missions.
The Marine Corps reportedly has all the required live-fire shoot houses on its allowance tables. In another possible opportunity for the S&T community, the service is at the point where it will need to start replacing legacy-era facilities, for example, at a MOUT facility in Okinawa.
Col. Renolds also pointed out the majority of the service’s programs “are trying to get [materiel] into the hands of our partners, so we can train together in more exercises.” The PM encouraged industry S&T team to further discuss this topic with MARCOSYSCOM’s International Programs Office.
And in another lead for new business development personnel, PM TRASYS offered that USMC training requirements for all Marine specialties, units and other categories are available through Training and Education Command.
Call to Further Engage at 2023 I/ITSEC
With the clock ticking down to this year’s I/ITSEC, the PM encouraged S&T companies to engage with his team at the conference, and even invite PM TRASYS staff to visit company booths on the conference hall floor – but to do so soon!