Army Solicits Industry For Simple, Scalable Training Technologies
Army officials in January laid out a wish list of what they would like to see in future simulation technologies, including straightforward systems that can train entire brigades and require fewer personnel to facilitate exercises.
More details on training, leadership development and education gaps will be forthcoming at a June industry day, said Brig. Gen. Michael Lundy, then the deputy commanding general at the Army Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., during a panel at the Association of the U.S. Army Aviation Symposium and Exposition.
“We’re not asking anybody to come and show us stuff. We’re going to tell you what we need you to do,” he told an audience of defense contractors.
The service is currently rolling out its integrated training environment, which links legacy simulators with other training technologies. The environment allows commanders to conduct complex exercises where troops learning on varied equipment and in different locations are a part of the same scenario. So far, the system has been fielded in five locations, and will eventually be deployed at 17 installations, Lundy said.
The next step will be the creation of a new capability called the future holistic training environment, he said.
“We’re going to go away from having multiple environments — virtual, gaming, constructive — and go to one synthetic environment, make it more low-overhead and integrate the full operations process,” he explained. This new system would allow a commander to “plan, prepare, execute and assess, [and] do everything in respect to training with a common operation picture.”
The Army is currently defining requirements for the future holistic training environment, but officials will share more information during the industry day, Lundy said. The plan is to begin funding research and development in 2017 and start deliveries in 2022.
Current systems are often too complex and require the help of up to 15 contractors to build exercises and run simulations, he said. “That’s a couple million dollars per installation that we’re paying in manpower. We’ve got to reduce.”
Furthermore, most training is concentrated on individual tasks, he said. With the future holistic training environment, the Army plans to create a system where a soldier can receive individualized training at the same time the rest of a brigade conducts large-scale exercises.
“We have got to move away from [a focus on individual training], because really the art is in that collective, multi-echelon combined arms training,” he said.
The Army also has released a sources-sought notice seeking simulation and training technologies for the latest Network Integration Evaluation exercises to be held this fall at Fort Bliss, Texas.
The simulation industry’s participation in those exercises has been low, Lundy said.
“This past NIE, we had a couple training capabilities we demonstrated, but frankly, industry has not taken us up on it. That’s part of the reason why we’re doing this industry day, because we have not received enough interest about bringing training capabilities out.”