As the pace of innovation in simulation training only accelerates, it is important for practitioners from across industry, academia, and the military to do what they can to stay abreast of the latest developments in the field. To do otherwise might lead them to miss out on innovations that could more effectively – and efficiently – prepare our warfighters.
September’s Synthetic and Simulation Training Summit could present an ideal opportunity to get that comprehensive update. We spoke to Kevin Steinberger, the Program Director and Senior Conference Producer for IQPC, the conference sponsor, and he reminded us that senior military leadership from across the service branches will attend and deliver firsthand insights into the military’s training priorities.
To learn more about what else we could expect to see and hear at the Summit, we had a further discussion with Mr. Steinberger, and here is what he shared:
Modern Military Training (MMT) Editors: To begin, what are some of the overarching themes that this year’s Synthetic and Simulation Training Summit be built around?
Kevin Steinberger: I think the macro theme is collaboration within the training community across all DoD branches. This is the first year we are bringing in speakers and attendees from Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, Aviation, and Academia. To get a bit more specific with themes, this year we will balance technical sessions around 3D requirements and upcoming training systems with strategic sessions around cross-functional team requirements and culture change.
MMT Editors: There are currently many technological advances and initiatives that are driving the training and simulation field forward. In your mind, what are the most important of these and how will they be included in the Summit?
Steinberger: There are some critical priorities on the rise for military training, and there has been a big focus on fielding the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS), which will ultimately track soldier performance, analyze biometrics, and provide augmented reality. Aside from the IVAS application, a huge focus has been put on developing and designing One World Terrain (OWT), which will also run in conjunction with IVAS. From pinpointing drones, to enhancing satellite pictures, to 3D mapping the entire Earth down to a blade of grass, the OWT priority has been at the forefront of both aviation and ground training.
MMT Editors: Are there certain panels or speakers that you’re most excited about this year? Why will their perspectives be especially useful to attendees?
Steinberger: Tough question, as we have almost a brand-new speaker faculty this year. Aside from Brigadier General Sloane with PEO STRI, I am especially excited to hear from Joe B. Parson Jr. with the STE-CFT, Dr. Christine Covas-Smith of the Air Force Education and Training Command’s Future Learning Environments, and Mr. Eric Seeland with the U.S. Navy Fleet Forces Command. We heard from General Gervais last year, and this year, Mr. Parson will speak as the technical expert from the STE-CFT for enhancing realistic training. Dr. Covas will bring a very unique perspective on the 2030 learning initiatives within AETC to develop total force airmen. Finally, our first-time naval speaker, Mr. Seeland, will speak on the Navy’s way ahead for Live, Virtual and Constructive for Training which is something we have yet to provide at the summit.
MMT Editors: Based on your set of panels, exhibitors, and speakers and what they will be discussing, what do you think will be the military training field’s focus in the coming years?
Steinberger: The focus will be on procurement efforts as we move into FY20 and FY21. We will see a huge cut on research and development, and quite a large spike in the procurement budget for synthetic training solutions, roughly $50+ million. The DoD has built a clear vision of what needs to be done, and it is now time to buy and build.
MMT Editors: What challenges do you think are top of mind for the training and simulation community right now and how is industry working to address them?
Steinberger: You guessed it… a forecasted challenge is technology modernization. The newer and upcoming live, virtual, and constructive implementations and products will need to be interoperable with outdated and/or current platforms. Interoperability of our new solutions with our old systems will bring quite a bit of (solvable) challenges.
To learn more and to register for the Synthetic and Simulation Training Summit, click here.