IITSEC 2020 – A Virtual Conference for a Virtual World


Recognizing the importance of collaboration among the modeling, simulation, and training industry, IITSEC 2020 went virtual. While many missed seeing friends and fellow industry professionals in-person, the conference offered the same level of professional networking along with the impressive slate of industry speakers and panelists focused on the theme “The Future is Now.”

While the Modern Integrated Warfare team was not on the show floor this year, we’ve prepared a list of the biggest moments from the conference here:

In a stellar conversation on the ongoing modernization effort by the U.S. Army, this panel showed that the future of training is in synthetic environments. Army Futures Command along with their industry partners are uniquely positioned to try out new forms of simulation training given the ongoing pandemic. The main takeaways from this panel were the future is here, and it is virtual.

Joint All-Domain Warfare is critical to the Department of Defense and the National Defense Strategy. Enabling warfighters to train to fight across a connected, multi-domain environment is a key trend that the industry is working to address. Brett Telford, Marine Corps Modeling and Simulation Office, highlights the need to further the growing trend of unified standards. As the armed services begin to explore further cooperation, integrating training and simulation technology now will pay dividends in the not-so-distant future.

COVID-19 has disrupted more than just conferences. The very nature of training and simulation, not to mention the entire defense industry, has been upended by the ongoing practices to mitigate the impact of the disease. As the new normal has stabilized and the industry prepares to move forward, the Honorable James Geurts, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, raised an excellent point.

The nature of having to rework how the military and their industry partners coordinate has required ingenuity, creativity, and adaptation, all of which Geurts highlights as virtues. Calling the industry to action, Geurts encourages everyone to maintain the ongoing push and to not lose sight of the gains made. Geurts’ sentiments were shared by all the other panelists and among the attendees.

Col. John Kurian, Senior Materiel Leader, Simulators Division of the U.S. Air Force, who recently spoke to the Modern Integrated Warfare editors about the future of connected, secure, and effective military training, shared more of his thoughts on the trajectory of the industry going forward. Col. Kurian, joined by members of the industry and armed services, dissected the current trends in the industry.

Col. Kurian highlighted the evolving expectations of warfighters as combat now takes place across multiple domains, and what that means for training. As military leaders begin to coordinate more with each other, the industry must prepare to offer the highest quality training possible.

vIITSEC wouldn’t be complete without highlighting the innovations from the industry. On the virtual show floor, exhibitors showcased the most important advancements in technology and discussed how to bring them to the warfighter faster. Next-generation combat readiness training solutions were unveiled on the exhibit floor with a focus on training realism, efficacy, and “training as you fight.”

There was so much more that happened at virtual IITSEC; in case you missed anything, all recorded content will be available for up to three months. You can access those recordings here.