I/ITSEC 2016: A solution to the readiness crisis?
For years militaries around the world have been on a quest to properly quantify readiness and what it means for the effectiveness of a force when it eventually deploys to combat zones. Readiness, and the US military’s perceived lack of it, was even a hot topic during the 2016 presidential election campaign.
One company at I/ITSEC 2016 thinks it might have a solution, with a planning and analysis system (PAS) that can support a commander’s readiness assessment. It can identify where troops, or training as a whole, needs improvements and provides planners at all levels with unit performance data to ensure all-important readiness.
The PAS forms part of a wider product from Florida-based company Visual Awareness Technologies and Consulting (VATC) called Epic Ready. Not only does the newly-launched product feature PAS, it also comes with a digital media replicator (DMR) and a common database builder (CDB) to support training and exercises.
‘Epic is really a platform that’s designed for being able to provide realistic variables into training environments,’ said Mike Vaughn, the COO and co-founder of VATC. ‘It can also do objective analysis so we can quantify and measure what the performance is.’
Importantly, mission planners and commanders will be able to learn and apply lessons from past training exercises.
‘One of the critical factors under the planning and analysis system in Epic is that you can say, “well we didn’t get enough money for an accurate opposing force”, and the tools allow you to actually project that and to use it as a justification for whatever is needed for better training,’ explained Vaughn.
The CDB, which was developed to support US Special Operations Command (SOCOM), will provide C2 and a commanders’ readiness assessment with geospatial visualisation. ‘The common database allows you to conduct live, virtual and constructive in a common environment for training, where all the data is the same regardless of what system it goes into.’
VATC has also partnered with Bohemia Interactive Simulations to provide a more realistic environment for the training.
‘The geospatial environment is the base, and the most important, and then on top of that we put digital media replication,’ he added. ‘We want their critical thinking to be based off of a realistic operational environment.’
The DMR simulates ‘a holistic information environment’ and presents trainees with live and simulated data from public sources including news sites, blogs and social media such as Twitter. This can reflect population dynamics and inform intelligence operations to enhance the exercise experience.
VATC has leveraged its experience in working with international militaries and providing support to large joint training exercises, including Emerald Warrior, an annual exercise run by Air Force Special Operations Command focusing on irregular warfare and honing the skills of special operations forces.
‘We provide the subject matter expertise to be able to build and execute realistic military training,’ said Vaughn. ‘The company is really focused on being a mission readiness company…our whole goal is to get to a point where they train like they fight and fight like they train.’