Sea Service Leaders Discuss LVC, Ranges, Training Priorities

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Marty Kauchak, Halldale Group Editor, and Rick Adams, MS&T Editor, monitored the I/ITSEC opening session keynotes.

Business development teams and other stakeholders from the US Navy and US Marine Corps training and education enterprises have a treasure trove of content to sift through following the conference keynote comments from Admiral Mike Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations, and General David Berger, Commandant of the Marine Corps. The two Service leaders provided the imperatives to quickly and efficiently improve the quality and scope of their Service members’ training and education processes.

In a “fireside-like chat” with Rear Admiral (ret.) Jim Robb, NTSA President, the two commanders first set the stage by emphasizing their rapidly evolving warfighting concepts, doctrine and strategies include: conducting integrated, distributed joint operations in a contested environment across vast ocean domains. To that end, the CNO and Commandant offered the first use case for LVC – to allow the Services to scale, test and mature concepts and sharpen operational skills.

Gilday called attention to the two Services accumulating a year of lessons learned from joint exercises of increasing rigor, to include an LVC-enabled global exercise with five fleets and 30,000 sailors and marines. “We need a continuous, real-time, feedback loop to help us get better” in these events, the CNO said and then emphasized, “We also need the training continuum to have physics-based performance against emerging, asymmetric threats and contestants.”

Of added significance, the call for more attention to human performance in training emerged several times in the keynote comments. The CNO called the oft-cited mantra of training being “reps and sets”, as nothing less than a “bumper sticker,” and told the approximate 1,800 attendees the Navy needs to better develop proficiency at the individual level, which includes establishing the sailor’s deficiencies and correcting them.

The commandant said training must move forward with urgency, and can no longer have a comfortable, deliberate pace. To that end he said the training enterprise must advance beyond its current ranking of “3 or 4” in-service priorities and “get to the front of the line,” when weapons platforms and systems are acquired. And in another challenge to industry that was repeated several times, Berger said, the Marines must do a better job in “learning how do you think, how our own leaders are going to think, and whether they are able to out-think an adversary.” Berger added this training must be completed in an LVC construct.

In a theme heard at earlier I/ITSECs, Berger said it is vital the US Navy and Coast Guard and Marine Corps move beyond proprietary training systems, “to allow us to train together against asymmetric threats. We must fuse and link together our training systems and go farther – to include our allies and partners, the Japan Self Defense Force, the Australian military and others in an LVC environment. We need your [industry’s] help!”

In another requirements-based case to strengthen investments in LVC, the CNO and Commandant both spoke to the Services’ “training range problem.” Beyond F-35s and other weapons platforms and systems outgrowing current range footprints, there is the need to train as forces will operate – against asymmetric threats which cannot adequately be represented and delivered within current physical range architectures.

Berger further noted the importance to accelerate learning, to evolve beyond the block instruction concept where individuals report for class together, attend the same courses and graduate the same day. “We must go at the speed of the individual, not the lowest level denominator,” he implored. To that end he also spoke to the necessity to incentivize people to learn faster and obtain more knowledge. “We must use technologies on this journey,” he added.

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