At a time when the Army is shrinking and financial resources are becoming scarce, the service is hoping to field a new system that will merge live and virtual training into a seamless environment.
The future holistic training environment will cut down costs, hardware and the number of contractors needed to execute training scenarios, according to a presentation given by Brig. Gen. Joseph Martin, deputy commanding general of the Combined Arms Center-Training at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, during an industry forum at Fort Eustis, Virginia. The Army expects to field it by fiscal year 2022, with full deployment in 2025.
In the next decade, the Army will become leaner and more expeditionary, Martin said. Training and education materials need to become easier to use and to deploy at installations around the globe.
The idea behind the environment is a scalable, open architecture system that incorporates future training programs and supports ground, air, sea, cyber and space scenarios, said Col. John Janiszewski, director of the National Simulation Center.
“It will collapse constructive, virtual and gaming capabilities into one synthetic environment that can be coupled with live training,” Janiszewski said. “It will allow commanders to incorporate the plan, prepare, execute and assess steps of unit training management into multi-echelon training exercises.”
One of the Army’s priorities for the new system is to integrate augmented reality technologies that allow a soldier to become immersed in a digital scenario, he said.
Augmented reality will help the service reduce hardware, Janiszewski said. Instead of having to practice tactics in an expensive live war game set in a mock village, a soldier could put on virtual reality headgear and run scenarios in a smaller space without the need for a lot of brick-and-mortar training equipment.
Advancing artificial intelligence will also be pivotal in making the system as complex and uncertain as an actual operating environment, he said. Creating avatars with sophisticated facial expressions that behave realistically would allow soldiers to practice advanced decision-making and cultural awareness. It would also reduce the need for human role players during training events.
A multilingual capability is desired so that partner nations use the system alongside U.S. troops, Janiszewski’s presentation stated.Credit: A soldier trains on the aviation combined arms tactical trainer. (Army photo)