Despite a wealth of contracts, MacDill struggles to find matches of competency and security clearances

Initiatives are underway to reduce the compliance costs and the psychological barriers of federal contracting. But opportunities from MacDill abound — especially in a Tampa Bay defense business community that likes to compete and cooperate.

Read more at: https://www.bizjournals.com/tampabay/news/2019/07/12/despite-a-wealth-of-contracts-macdill-struggles-to.html

Firm aims to grab market share behind new software patents

Visual Awareness Technologies & Consulting could be on the verge of a major breakthrough.

by: Brian Hartz Tampa Bay Editor

Although she was born at Fort Bragg, Sara Moola never served in the military. But a new software product made by her company, Tampa-based Visual Awareness Technologies & Consulting, could improve the effectiveness of U.S. armed forces worldwide.

VATC, which also has offices in St. Petersburg, recently received two patents for the software. It's called EPIC Ready, a cloud-based, Software-as-a-Service platform that allows users to collaboratively assess mission readiness.

“It’s more of a gestalt approach. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Sara Moola, co-founder of Visual Awareness Technologies & Consulting

Moola, 50, says EPIC could also be a useful tool for private-sector clients like mining and telecom companies that need to develop and test plans to protect strategic, high-value assets. But in an industry dominated by giant defense contractors like Boeing, Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, how will VATC, with just 200 employees, break through?

“It’s hard to compete with the traditional system integrators,” Moola says, using an industry term for firms that do big business with the U.S. Department of Defense. “They usually corner the market because they have the right contacts, the right connections and the money to get in front of the customer.”

Moola has fought back with her hiring strategy. She and her co-founder and husband, Mike Vaughn, go out of their way to hire veterans — particularly men and women who’ve been members of U.S. special operations forces, such as the Green Berets and Navy SEALs, as well as former employees of intelligence agencies like the CIA.

Some 80% of VATC’s workforce is veterans, Moola says. “They have the knowledge of lessons learned in the field to apply to our training scenarios.”

Although ex-warriors program and deploy EPIC, and current warriors are intended customers, Moola says the ultimate objective of EPIC Ready is peace. EPIC Ready improves mission effectiveness because of the three-tiered approach that sets it apart from competing products in the marketplace.

First is EPIC Builder, a program that allows users to create ultra-realistic geospatial environments. That’s Moola’s specialty, having trained in geographic information systems mapping — a high-tech, data-centric approach to organizing, visualizing and assessing an environment.

The second part is EPIC Media, a threat-assessment tool that lets users monitor social media and internet chatter that could point to a possible attack.

“The media piece is critical because nothing just happens on the ground anymore,” Moola says. “You can determine a threat well beforehand, via the internet, and you can determine what the response is to your action in the field — was it negatively or positively received?”

That’s an area where Moola sees private-sector marketing potential. EPIC Media can collect what’s known as open-source intelligence, publicly available data that can be useful for security and cybersecurity purposes.

The third leg is EPIC Plan, the program that brings all the inputs together and allows leaders to plan, execute and assess a scenario.

“By integrating all three, it’s more of a gestalt approach,” Moola says. “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

VATC has been first to market with this kind of holistic approach to cloud-based, collaborative mission and exercise training — hence, the patents, Moola says. And because it’s a subscription-based SaaS platform, EPIC Ready generates a wide range of steady fees for VATC. Depending on the size and needs of the customer, Moola says EPIC can cost anywhere from a few hundred to a quarter of a million dollars. (She declines to disclose specific firm revenue figures, citing privately held VATC’s recent introduction of EPIC Ready.)

VATC, founded in 2003, also handles more conventional services for the DoD. A prime example is Emerald Warrior, an annual U.S. Special Operations Command exercise focused on irregular warfare tactics. Emerald Warrior training scenarios, which take 12 months to plan, can involve coordination of up to 2,500 military units.

Emerald Warrior represents one of VATC’s two major contracts with the U.S. Special Operations Command. It also makes money from a handful of other deals, such as a $99.7 million Air Force contract, awarded in 2015, that VATC shared with six other companies.

Although it might not be the primary revenue driver, Moola expects EPIC Ready, with its appeal to the private sector, to be a big part of the company’s future, particularly if she can find investors to come onboard.

“Not just from a monetary perspective, but investors who can open doors,” she says. “Vertical-specific investors who can really leverage this technology.”

Source: https://www.businessobserverfl.com/article/firm-aims-to-grab-market-share-behind-new-software-patents

Aechelon Technology Selects VATC's EPIC Builder for Primary 3D Terrain Tool

TAMPA, Fla., May 31, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Visual Awareness Technologies and Consulting's (VATC®) EPIC Builder product has been selected by Aechelon Technology as their primary Common Database (CDB) 3D terrain creation tool. 

EPIC Builder provides enhanced geospatial visualization technology for Command and Control (C2) as well as modeling and simulation. These elements with the EPIC Ready® suite allow users to build, edit and share 3D models for a uniform training experience.

"Aechelon has a successful track record supporting US Special Operations Forces (SOF) modeling and simulation needs; given VATC's support of SOF Planning, Rehearsal, and Execution Preparation (SOFPREP) group our Builder tool was the best choice for Aechelon," said VATC CEO Sara Moola.  

Aechelon Technology is the nation's leader in real-time 3D computer graphics applications, geo-specific databases and devices employed in pilot, sensor and weapon training, mission rehearsal, command and control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and ground stations for the US Government, US Allied Forces and Government Prime Contractors. Aechelon Technology's proven product line features image and data generators, data centers, world-wide geo-specific multi-spectral databases as well as custom database large scale production, program management and integration services.

EPIC Builder is one of EPIC Ready's three applications which works in tandem to generate the realistic distributed mission operations environments, focusing on transforming mission readiness for Conventional and Special Operations Forces Integration, Interoperability, and Interdependence (CF-SOF I3). EPIC Ready is the first product-based training solution that combines geospatial analytics, human dynamics factors and data-driven performance analysis to create the most realistic and effective warfighter experience possible.

Using Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) standards, EPIC Builder fills a critical gap in the management and deployment of 3D geographic information. Providing data interoperability using the OGC Common Database (CDB) standard supports the training simulations community. EPIC Builder efficiently translates a large variety of commonly used open, commercial and proprietary data formats into CDB format for use in a single simulator or across a network of simulators.

VATC will demo EPIC Builder at GEOINT 2019 from June 2-5 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, TX, Booth No. 1731. To schedule a demonstration at the show, please contact Brooks Davis at bdavis@vatcinc.com.  

For more information about EPIC Ready and VATC, please visit www.epicready.com and www.vatcinc.com

About VATC
For 16 years, VATC has combined its joint training experience, innovative engineering talent and intelligence expertise to pioneer the development of the most advanced Distributed Missions Operations (DMO) training environments available anywhere in the world. Combining the latest open geospatial data standards with an integrated suite of innovative DMO training solutions, VATC offers a legacy of proven performance, leading subject-matter expertise and the most innovative technological solutions to the modern military's growing challenges. 

About GEOINT
Hosted and produced by the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF), the annual GEOINT Symposium is the nation's largest gathering of industry, academia and government to include Defense, Intelligence and Homeland Security Communities as well as commercial, Federal/Civil, State and Local geospatial intelligence stakeholders. The event annually attracts more than 4,000 attendees from all over the world, features more than 250 exhibiting organizations, offers 50 hours of training sessions and countless opportunities to learn, exchange ideas and network.

VATC's EPIC Ready® Software Suite Wins 2019 TechConnect Innovation Award

TAMPA, Fla., May 22, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Yesterday Visual Awareness Technologies & Consulting's (VATC™) EPIC Ready patented software program was recognized as a winner of the 2019 TechConnect Innovation Award. The TechConnect Innovation Awards identify the top 15 percent of submitted technologies as ranked by the TechConnect Corporate and Investment Partner Committee.

"We are thrilled to have received this prestigious honor. EPIC Ready will strongly and strategically prepare our armed forces for combat in today's day and age. This measurable and realistic war gaming tool will transform mission readiness and will bridge gaps in training effectiveness," said VATC CEO Sara Moola.

Innovation rankings for these awards are based on the positive impact the submitted technologies will have on specific industry sectors. Innovations are submitted from global academic technology transfer offices, early-stage companies, small business innovative research (SBIR) awardees and government and corporate research laboratories.

With years of subject matter expertise, VATC and EPIC Ready, co-founded by Moola and President Mike Vaughn, have dedicated their careers to support Conventional Force and Special Operations Interdependence (CF-SOF 13). Using a combination of geospatial analytics, human dynamics factors and performance-driven metrics and quantifiable results, EPIC Ready creates tactical, simulated and augmented 3D world terrain environments, ultimately supporting warfighter needs in an ever-evolving world.

VATC is currently conducting demonstrations of EPIC Ready at SOFIC 2019 today and tomorrow at The TampaConvention Center, Booth #251.

Additionally, VATC will be exhibiting at the TechConnect World Innovation Conference and Expo from June 17-19 in Boston, Booth No. 41T. To schedule a demonstration at the show, please contact Brooks Davis at bdavis@vatcinc.com.  

For more information about EPIC Ready and/or VATC, please visit www.vatcinc.com/epic-ready.

About VATC
For 16 years, VATC has combined its joint training experience, innovative engineering talent and intelligence expertise to pioneer the development of the most advanced Distributed Missions Operations (DMO) training environments available anywhere in the world. Combining the latest open geospatial data standards with an integrated suite of innovative DMO training solutions, VATC offers a legacy of proven performance, leading subject-matter expertise and the most innovative technological solutions to the modern military's growing challenges.

2019 TechConnect Innovation Awardee

TechConnect World, June 17-19 2019, Boston, MA

 Geoanalytics Platform for Special Operations Mission Readiness

Organization: EPIC Ready

Congratulations!  Geoanalytics Platform for Special Operations Mission Readiness is recognized as a 2019 TechConnect Innovation Awardee at next month's TechConnect World Conference in Boston, MA.

You received this Award because it placed in the top 15% of submitted technologies as ranked by the TechConnect Corporate & Investment Partner Committee.  TechConnect Innovation Awardees are listed on our Awards page: 

https://techconnectworld.com/World2019/participate/innovation/awards.html

VATC awarded U.S. Patents for EPIC Ready® on display at SOFIC 2019

TAMPA, Fla., May 20, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Visual Awareness Technologies & Consulting's (VATC®) CEO Sara Moolaannounced today the veteran system integrator was recently awarded U.S. Patents 10,204,527 and 10,186,164 to support their cloud- based EPIC Ready Platform. The innovative platform leverages these patents for systems and methods for objectively assessing mission readiness.

"VATC's decades of operational experience make us uniquely positioned to understand the readiness, interoperability and return on investment challenges that our customers face," said Moola. 

VATC and EPIC Ready, co-founded by Moola and COO Mike Vaughn, have spent the past 16 years with an experienced team supporting Conventional Force and Special Operations Integration, Interoperability, and Interdependence (CF-SOF 13). Their efforts seek to innovate and bridge gaps in interoperability and integration, providing support in war gaming exercises, intelligence and global operations.

After years of research and development, two patents, and fielded version to both the cloud and appliance-delivered platform, EPIC Ready is prepared to demonstrate our cutting edge technology at SOFIC 2019. Leveraging gaming engines like Unity, this open architecture platform is built to support warfighter exercise for both online and offline rehearsal needs in dynamic and complex global operations. The open standards are ideal to develop and distribute 3D Common Synthetic Environments (CSE) in real-time, provide realistic replicated human dynamics factors, and capture performance-driven metrics with quantifiable results.

"We developed EPIC Ready to close the gaps between exercise and operations. Through measurable and realistic war gaming experience, EPIC Ready is transforming mission readiness for our Armed Forces to be prepared for any conflict," said Vaughn. 

EPIC Ready's suite of applications work in tandem to generate the most realistic Distributed Mission Operations environments and reduce risks for the war fighter. This suite includes:

Builder — Provides enhanced geospatial visualization technology for Command and Control (C2), allowing users to build, edit and share 3D models for a uniform training experience.

Media — Enables participants to engage in the most realistic environments possible by aggregating open source intelligence (OSINT) information to inform intelligence and operations while enhancing training and exercise effects.

Plan — Improves the planning and execution process and deepens the combat preparedness assessment by measuring training performance against mission objectives, becoming the first real-time system to quantify mission readiness.

VATC will demo EPIC Ready at SOFIC 2019 from May 20-23 at The Tampa Convention Center, Booth No. 251. To schedule a demonstration at the show, please contact Brooks Davis at bdavis@vatcinc.com.  

For more information about EPIC Ready and/or VATC, please visit  www.epicready.com and www.vatcinc.com

About VATC 
For 16 years, VATC has combined its joint training experience, innovative engineering talent and intelligence expertise to pioneer the development of the most advanced Distributed Missions Operations (DMO) training environments available anywhere in the world. Combining the latest open geospatial data standards with an integrated suite of innovative DMO training solutions, VATC offers a legacy of proven performance, leading subject-matter expertise and the most innovative technological solutions to the modern military's growing challenges.

About SOFIC 
The Special Operations Forces Industry Conference (SOFIC) is the premier conference for the SOF community to interact with industry and to collaborate on the challenges, initiatives, and way-ahead in delivering the most cutting-edge capabilities into the hands of SOF operators.  

URL: www.vatcinc.com/epic-ready

VATC Supports Intelligence Training at Camp Bullis

TAMPA, Fla. (May 6, 2019) – This April, Visual Awareness Technologies and Consulting, Inc. (VATC™), a leader in delivering advanced Distributed Missions Operations training environments to government and commercial customers around the world, was awarded a contract to support the training of the 163rd Military Intelligence Battalion (MI BN) at Camp Bullis in San Antonio, TX.

Support consisted of VATC’s HUMINT professionals role-playing simulated targeted individuals in addition to coaching and mentoring 163rd MI BN HUMINT Soldiers.

VATC Chief Operating Officer (COO) Tim Creighton said, “Because VATC has such a large pool of dedicated role players, we were able to rapidly fill this requirement with seasoned professionals who take pride in mentoring younger service members and contributing to a unit’s readiness.”

The 163rd MI BN, subordinate unit of the 504th MI Brigade at Fort Hood, specializes in expeditionary intelligence operations. Unit personnel must be prepared to conduct Human Intelligence (HUMINT) interrogation and detainee operations within both non-permissive and semi-permissive environments.

Observation coaching (OC) was an added task for VATC personnel. Due to the level of experience and expertise provided by VATC contractors, it was requested that the contractors provided feedback and critiques by filling out Daily Interrogation Performance Reports (DIPR).

“Unlike our experienced contractors, many of the MI soldiers did not possess real-world interrogation experience. Passing this knowledge onto young soldiers is invaluable and critical to the battalion’s expeditionary intelligence readiness,” said VATC CEO Sara Moola.

The exercise was informative and helped prepare soldiers within the 163rd MI BN’s HUMINT Collection Team (HCT), Operational Management Team (OMT) and HUMINT Operations Section to execute their deployed missions. The training exercise ran from April 6-14, 2019.  

For over a decade, VATC has been supporting Special Operations Forces, Conventional Forces, Partner Nation units, as well as DHS organizations with role player exercise support. VATC remains dedicated towards providing innovative solutions that improve mission readiness, deliver actionable intelligence and enhance performance.

To learn more about VATC, please visit http://www.vatcinc.com/.

About VATC

For 16 years, VATC has combined its joint training experience, innovative engineering talent and intelligence expertise to pioneer the development of the most advanced Distributed Missions Operations (DMO) training environments available anywhere in the world. Combining the latest open geospatial data standards with an integrated suite of innovative DMO training solutions, VATC offers a legacy of proven performance, leading subject-matter expertise and the most innovative technological solutions to the modern military’s growing challenges.

VATC Awarded U.S. Navy NxG Training Services Contract

TAMPA, Fla., January 8, 2019 – Visual Awareness Technologies and Consulting Inc. (VATC), a leader in delivering military operational support and realistic training environments to government and commercial customers around the world, announced today that it has been awarded the Seaport Next Generation (SeaPort-NxG) Services Contract by U.S. Navy Systems Command.  SeaPort is the Navy’s electronic platform for acquiring support services in 23 functional areas. The contract’s focus will be to improve the Navy’s training and training assistance strategies in the areas of Engineering, Financial Management, and Program Management.

 

“We’re honored to have been awarded this contract as well as the opportunity to work with the U.S. Navy Contracting Command,” said Sara Moola, President and CEO of VATC.“ We look forward to collaborating with the Navy to enhance the tactical and strategic skillsets of the U.S. military and its allies.”

 

The SeaPort-NxG Services Contract is a multiple award contract that will enable VATC to provide security cooperation and domestic operations training, services, and operations and maintenance to the Navy, together with other non-standard training aids.

 

Services will be performed throughout the CONUS and OCONUS, including Alaska, Hawaii, and U.S. territories and districts.

 

About Visual Awareness Technologies and Consulting, Inc. (VATC) 

 

For more than a decade, Visual Awareness Technologies and Consulting Inc. (VATC) has combined its joint training experience, innovative engineering talent and intelligence expertise to pioneer the development of the most advanced Distributed Missions Operations (DMO) training environments available anywhere in the world. Combining the latest open geospatial data standards with an integrated suite of innovative DMO training solutions, VATC offers a legacy of proven performance, leading subject-matter expertise and the most innovative technological solutions to the modern military’s growing challenges. Our expansive support now spans across all branches of the military to include SOF components – in every theater.  Our patented technology now integrates the planning, rehearsal and joint training exercises and assessments in a map based, distributed and extensible wargaming environment.  For more information, visit us at www.vatcinc.com, or on FacebookLinkedIn andTwitter.

VATC Co-Founder and COO Mike Vaughn to Speak at YPO SEC Chapter Learning Event

MIAMI BEACH, Fla., Sept. 26, 2018 – Visual Awareness Technologies and Consulting Inc. (VATC), a leader in delivering military operational support and realistic training environments to government and commercial customers around the world, announced today that its co-founder and COO, Mike Vaughn, will be speaking at the YPO SEC Chapter Learning Event on Sept. 27 in Miami Beach, Florida. Vaughn’s session will explore the idea that “success is a myth”, along with other concepts around success and its process.

“This is a great opportunity for open dialogue surrounding the idea of success and what success means to different people,” said Vaughn. “My goal is to not only touch on the myths and misconceptions of success, but to get people thinking about the importance of knowing one’s own definition of success and why that is an intricate part of achieving it. I hope to capture my own experience with chasing success, and what it might take to get there, so that people can use the experience as a tool to accomplish their own goals.”

Hosted by the YPO Southeast US Regional Chapter, this event is a global platform for chief executives to engage, learn and grow. YPO members harness the knowledge, influence and trust of the world’s most influential and innovative business leaders to inspire business, personal, family and community impact. Today, YPO empowers more than 25,000 members in more than 130 countries, diversified among industries and types of businesses. Altogether, YPO member-run companies employ 16 million people and generate USD6 trillion in annual revenues.

VATC Promotes Tim Creighton to Vice President of Operations

TAMPA, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Visual Awareness Technologies and Consulting Inc., a leader in delivering military operational support and realistic training environments to government and commercial customers around the world, has announced that its former program manager, Tim Creighton, has been promoted to vice president of operations.

We’re proud to announce that our former Program Manager, Tim Creighton, has been #promoted to #VP of Operations

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“We’re very excited for Tim to be transitioning into this new role,” said Sara Moola, president and CEO of VATC. “Tim has proven himself as a key member of the operations team and the overall company. His background and experience will continue to greatly assist our work and services moving forward.”

Tim’s primary responsibilities will be to provide direction to the company’s operational activities, lead and manage company functions, maintain a cohesive team structure, and maximize growth and profitability while upholding VATC’s high level of customer satisfaction.

Before joining VATC as a program manager, Creighton served 28 years in the U.S. Army, first in infantry and then in Special Forces. His most recent past assignment was as chief, Joint Exercise Branch in U.S. Special Operations Command, where he created and is the original plank owner of the biennial International Special Operations Demonstration that takes place in downtown Tampa, Florida. Creighton’s broad range of military experience has provided the company with keen insight into the demands of the industry as well as of VATC’s customers.

Creighton attended Rhode Island College, where he received a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He also holds a master’s degree in business management from Webster University.

About Visual Awareness Technologies and Consulting Inc.

For more than a decade, Visual Awareness Technologies and Consulting Inc. (VATC) has combined its joint training experience, innovative engineering talent and intelligence expertise to pioneer the development of the most advanced Distributed Missions Operations (DMO) training environments available anywhere in the world. Combining the latest open geospatial data standards with an integrated suite of innovative DMO training solutions, VATC offers a legacy of proven performance, leading subject-matter expertise and the most innovative technological solutions to the modern military’s growing challenges. For more information, visit us at www.vatcinc.com or on FacebookLinkedIn and Twitter.

VATC Opens New Office Location in Orlando

TAMPA, Fla. - Visual Awareness Technologies and Consulting Inc., a leader in delivering military operational support and realistic training environments to government and commercial customers around the world, announced today it will be opening a new office location in Orlando, Florida, on Aug. 1, in the Central Florida Research Park.

“We’re very excited to be opening our new office location in Orlando and expanding our presence in Florida,” said Sara Moola, president and CEO of VATC. “Our recent U.S. Army Enterprise Training Service Contract win, in partnership with Lukos LLC, helped drive our decision to open this new location to accommodate our continued growth and future business development in the area of training services and support.”

VATC’s new office space is located at 12424 Research Pky, Orlando, Florida, 32826.

“We’re excited to be working alongside VATC in its new Orlando location following our recent joint venture contract win to support the U.S. Army and its training services,” said Garth Arevalo, CEO of Lukos LLC. “I’m looking forward to our teams working together to support the Army in a space that invites collaboration and teamwork.”

Real estate brokerage services for the deal were provided by UCF Business Incubator - Central Florida Research Park.

About Visual Awareness Technologies and Consulting, Inc. (VATC)

For more than a decade, Visual Awareness Technologies and Consulting Inc. (VATC) has combined its joint training experience, innovative engineering talent and intelligence expertise to pioneer the development of the most advanced Distributed Missions Operations (DMO) training environments available anywhere in the world. Combining the latest open geospatial data standards with an integrated suite of innovative DMO training solutions, VATC offers a legacy of proven performance, leading subject-matter expertise and the most innovative technological solutions to the modern military’s growing challenges. For more information, visit us at www.vatcinc.com, or on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Source: https://www.orlandosentinel.com/business/os-cfb-defense-contractor-vats-20180801-story.html

SOFWOLF Launches 2018 Place-Based Education and Leadership Program for Gold Star Sons and Daughters

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. - Special Operations Forces Warrior Outdoor Leadership for the Future, or SOFWOLF, a nonprofit organization offering college and career outdoor leadership opportunities for teenagers of the fallen special operations forces community, announced it is hosting its 2018 Warrior Outdoor Leadership for the Future program this week in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, in partnership with Teton Science School. The leadership program, which runs July 14-21, provides students with backcountry hiking and canoeing, resume and career development, navigation skills, and mentoring.

“We look forward to welcoming new students to the SOFWOLF family and providing them with an educational, physical and mentally invigorating experience,” said Sara Moola, co-founder of SOFWOLF. “It is our honor and privilege to continue to serve family members of fallen special operations forces.”

The theme of this year’s SOFWOLF program is True Grit. The program differs from conventional text- and classroom-based education in that it recognizes the students’ local community as one of the primary resources for learning. During this place-based education program, students work with members of both SOFWOLF and Teton Science School to connect their classroom and field experience with a three-day backcountry leadership program in Grand Teton National Park.

Following the educational program, many participants keep in contact with their mentors, begin internships with those they have connected with and continue on to greater success. High school and college credits are available if coordinated in advance with the students and their respective schools.

“Since 2012, SOFWOLF has been providing educational, career building and leadership support to my fellow special operations families,” said Mike Vaughn, special operations veteran and co-founder of SOFWOLF. “We would like to invite all gold star families of similar ages to join us in 2019!”

This year, all SOFWOLF graduates are eligible for a one-year academic scholarship to Admiral Farragut Military Academy for the 2018 or 2019 school year. Learn more about the scholarship opportunity at https://bit.ly/2L51DZg.

To learn more about SOFWOLF, visit http://www.sofwolf.org/.

About SOFWOLF

SOFWOLF is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that offers a college and career outdoor leadership program for the teenagers of the fallen Special Operations Forces (SOF) community, which includes Air Force Commandos, Green Berets, Navy SEALS and Marine Special Operators. The mission expands beyond being a summer camp. SOFWOLF provides the opportunity for these teens to participate in outdoor leadership, team-building activities, career mentoring, resume-building, community outreach, and networking for internships. For more information, visit us at http://www.sofwolf.org/.

VATC Awarded U.S. Army Enterprise Training Service Contract

TAMPA, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Visual Awareness Technologies and Consulting Inc. (VATC), a leader in delivering military operational support and realistic training environments to government and commercial customers around the world, announced today that as a member of Lukos-VATC JV III, LLC, it has been awarded the Enterprise Training Service Contract by the U.S. Army Contracting Command – Orlando, with the Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation.

We’re excited to have been awarded the Enterprise Training Service Contract in partnership with Lukos LLC to support the @USArmy in improving its training and training assistance for our soldiers and allies.

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“We’re honored to have been awarded this contract as well as the opportunity to work with the U.S. Army Contracting Command,” said Sara Moola, president and CEO of VATC. “We look forward to collaborating with the Army and our partners at Lukos to enhance the tactical and strategic skillsets of the U.S. military and its allies.”

The Enterprise Training Services Contract is a multiple award contract that will enable VATC to provide security cooperation and domestic operations training, services, and operations and maintenance to the Army, together with other non-standard training aids.

The contract’s focus will be to improve the Army’s training and training assistance strategies, including areas such as:

  • Peacekeeping and natural disaster response and assistance

  • Medical/first responder

  • Combined arms

  • Aviation

  • Institutional training (classroom or field) at partner nation military academies

Services will be performed throughout the CONUS and OCONUS, including Alaska, Hawaii, and U.S. territories and districts.

About Visual Awareness Technologies and Consulting, Inc. (VATC)

For more than a decade, Visual Awareness Technologies and Consulting Inc. (VATC) has combined its joint training experience, innovative engineering talent and intelligence expertise to pioneer the development of the most advanced Distributed Missions Operations (DMO) training environments available anywhere in the world. Combining the latest open geospatial data standards with an integrated suite of innovative DMO training solutions, VATC offers a legacy of proven performance, leading subject-matter expertise and the most innovative technological solutions to the modern military’s growing challenges. For more information, visit us at www.vatcinc.com, or on FacebookLinkedIn and Twitter.

Admiral Farragut Academy to Offer $48,800 Scholarship in Partnership with SOFWOLF

TAMPA, Fla. - Special Operations Forces Warrior Outdoor Leadership for the Future, a nonprofit organization based in Tampa, Florida, offering college and career outdoor leadership opportunities for teenagers of fallen members of the Special Operations Forces community, announced today its partnership with Admiral Farragut Academy to offer a full-year scholarship valued at $48,800 to a SOFWOLF student with outstanding academic, personal and leadership qualifications.

“This is a remarkable opportunity to support a SOFWOLF student in a way that could change their life for the better,” said Sara Moola, co-founder of SOFWOLF. “This partnership with AFA is proof of what is possible when a community comes together.”

AFA is a college-prep military academy based in St. Petersburg, Florida, serving students in grades pre-K-12. With a math and science core curriculum, AFA emphasizes outdoor leadership skills, including sailing, aviation, team sports and more. Its upper school, which starts in eighth grade, is also known worldwide for its boarding program and its naval science program’s military structure. Recent graduates of AFA have continued their educational studies at prestigious private universities, including Stanford, Princeton and Duke.

“We’re excited to be partnering with SOFWOLF on this initiative,” said Tony Sloan, chief development officer for AFA. “We admire the work they’ve done to help teens of Special Operations Forces warriors whom we have lost, and we look forward to welcoming a deserving student to AFA.”

To learn more about SOFWOLF, visit www.sofwolf.org.

About SOFWOLF

SOFWOLF is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that offers a college and career outdoor leadership program for the teenagers of the fallen Special Operations Forces community, which includes Air Force Commandos, Green Berets, Navy SEALS and Marine Special Operators. The mission expands beyond being a summer camp. SOFWOLF provides the opportunity for these teens to participate in outdoor leadership, team-building activities, career mentoring, resume-building, community outreach and networking for internships. For more information, visit us at www.sofwolf.org.

Industry Developing New Social Media Simulation Tools for Military Analysts

As Black Hawk helicopters transported Navy SEALs to Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in 2011, an IT consultant working late into the evening heard the spinning of the aircrafts’ rotors.

To hear choppers flying at that hour of the night was unusual, so he went to Twitter to share his thoughts: “Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event),” he said from his handle @ReallyVirtual. A few minutes later he fired off another tweet, “Go away helicopter ­— before I take out my giant swatter.”

Sohaib Athar was unknowingly live-tweeting a covert raid to take down one of the most sought-after terrorists in the world.

Since then, social media has only become more intermingled with military operations. Not only can average citizens tweet about them in real time, but military analysts can now also use platforms such as Twitter to find nuggets of information about persons of interest, or gauge the political temperature of a region. To meet that demand, industry is developing new training software to help analysts better comb through piles of data taken from websites like Facebook and Reddit.

One such system is SimulationDeck, a software platform developed by Nusura, a Denver-based technology company. The system is able to replicate traditional media such as radio, television and newspapers, along with web platforms including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

“We talk about it a lot as the internet in a box,” said Mark Amann, Nusura’s CEO. “We took a lot of the common social media [websites] and emerging digital technologies and put them in a hardened and private place online.”

Organizations can practice using social media for crisis response and military and intelligence operations, he said.

SimulationDeck has its own versions of popular websites. Instead of Facebook, it has SimBook. Instead of Twitter, it has BleatDeck, he said.

Nusura is able to replicate social media posts from real-world events to help train users. One example could be the Petya/NotPetya ransomware virus that struck earlier this year, or the Arab Spring, Amann said.

The company works with the U.S. military, the Department of Homeland Security and state and local emergency management agencies, he added. Nusura has participated in two exercises with U.S. Southern Command, including Integrated Advance 2017, and a mass migration exercise in 2017 with the government of Panama called Panamax.

Nusura is able to create new content or pull in real posts from the internet, he said.

“Where we’re going in the future is to be able to dynamically pull real-world content” into SimulationDeck, he said. “There are a lot of challenges that we have to confront to … [do that] because much of our customer base, from DoD to DHS, to civilian state and local agencies, have significant concerns about personally identifiable information.”

The company must scrub personal information from posts before they can be used. That takes a lot of man-hours, he said. It hopes to create an automated solution soon. 
Cubic Global Defense, working under a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency contract, has also developed a platform that can be used to train military analysts, said Michal Simek, senior program director at Cubic’s subsidiary Intific.

The social media analytic replication toolkit, or SMART, is primarily operated on the Amazon cloud server and is offered as a service, he said. That allows the company to continuously update the system with new tools.

It replicates social media websites such as Twitter and Facebook and others like Craigslist. There are plans to eventually include Instagram and the messaging app WhatsApp, Simek noted. 
“It’s starting to replicate more and more sites,” he said.

The company uses the product primarily to assist customers with exercises, he added.

 

VATC’s digital media replicator is used during a recent military exercise. (VATC)

“When an exercise is about to go forward, … we do a scrape of the internet data which we then anonymize,” he said. “We don’t actually take people’s names and put them out there for people to train with.”

Cubic then securely creates a custom “sandbox” for each exercise and generates a script that helps the user train for a certain objective, Simek said.
Users can then scour SMART to find out what caused a particular event to happen, he said.

“It’s not as simple as doing a search and going, ‘Oh yeah, here’s the thing that caused the event,’” he said. “You actually have to use the tools that you use as an analyst in the military.”
Cubic has secured multiple contracts with the Pentagon for the system, but Simek declined to discuss specific details. The company is pursuing opportunities with Australia, the United Kingdom and Singapore, he noted.

VATC, a Tampa, Florida-based defense company, is also in the social media training business. Its digital media replicator system, under its EPIC Ready line of products, doesn’t simulate social media, but replicates it, said Sara Moola, the company’s CEO.

VATC’s vision “is to actually replicate, not simulate … the operational environment as much as possible for the operator in the training and exercise environment,” she said. The company takes real information from a certain area and injects that into its system, she added.

“That means that if you want to train in an area in Africa, you can actually extract that specific area of interest and have that … feed going into the exercise, which is in a closed environment,” she said.

The system is platform-agnostic and can be used on a laptop or a tablet, she added.

The digital media replicator was recently used during the Flintlock 2017 exercise in Africa. The event brought together 2,000 military personnel from 24 African and Western nations.

VATC used its system in Chad, where it took a set of Twitter feeds and injected it with information about a person of interest, said Tony Perez, director of VATC’s EPIC division.

If “the person they are looking for is named Fred Martinez, we’ll inject tidbits” of information about him into the system, he said. That could include the name of his wife or family members, or information about his property such as a boat. “Then we put those out there so the intel units can look and … use that as training and try to find that needle in the haystack, so to speak,” he said.

The company can also input positive messages into the system, Perez added.

During the exercise, the U.S. Agency for International Development “wanted us to [send] positive tweets out,” he said. “They wanted actually to put tweets out that say, ‘Hey, we’re delivering … water out to these folks, and we want people to know that we are doing a good thing for the public.’”

The system was able to create chatter about the deliveries, he said.

Mike Vaughn, VATC’s chief operating officer, noted that the company would use its system at eight large exercises and numerous smaller events in 2018.

This type of technology will only become more popular as time goes on, Amann said.

“We’ve barely cracked the surface,” he said. Data found on social media can be used for a variety of missions including psychological operations, intelligence gathering and public affairs, Amann added.

“It has myriad applications, and I think people are seeing now — especially [with] everything from the Arab Spring through Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria — how important this information is,” he said.

Without systems such as SimulationDeck or other social media replicating software, military analysts will not be able to realistically train for certain situations, he said.
Paul Scharre, director of the Technology and National Security Program at the Center for a New American Security, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, said social media is increasingly becoming an important component of warfare.

“There is this whole new information landscape that is layered on top of the physical world that we need to be paying attention to,” he said. “It’s vital for information about what’s happening among the population, but also for information that others might have about U.S. troops.”

The military must be able to monitor websites to see if something is trending that might be harmful to a mission so they can respond in a timely fashion, he said.

The Defense Department needs to invest more funds into tools and platforms that can help military officials monitor social media and also understand its implications, but the Pentagon’s antiquated acquisition process is an obstacle to that, Scharre said. The Army, in particular, has struggled in this regard, he said.

VATC honored with 2017 TechConnect Defense Innovation Award for EPIC Ready

TAMPA, Fla., Oct. 6, 2017 – Visual Awareness Technologies and Consulting Inc. (VATC), a leader in delivering advanced Distributed Missions Operations training environments to government and commercial customers around the world, announced today that they have received the 2017 TechConnect Defense Innovation Award for EPIC Ready™ at the Defense Innovation Summit (DITAC) in Tampa, Florida.

“Tony Perez and his team have worked tirelessly creating the newest EPIC Ready features,” said Sara Moola, CEO and co-founder of VATC. “The incredible team has dedicated themselves to ensuring that EPIC Ready is a top tier mission readiness technology. It’s an incredible honor that their hard work has been recognized from the defense community for being such an important innovation supporting our nation’s forces.”

EPIC Ready is a breakthrough technology platform designed to quickly and cost effectively create a fully integrated training experience that blends realistic replication of Human Dynamics, a 3D common data visual environment, and quantifiable and objective assessment of performance. Proven in demanding special operations, joint, and conventional force training environments, as well as support to Geospatial database development, EPIC Ready is the first product-based training solution that combines geospatial analytics, human dynamics factors, and data-driven performance analysis to create the most realistic and effective warfighter experience possible. Learn more about EPIC Ready at www.vatcinc.com/epic-ready.

The Defense Innovation Summit (DITAC) in collaboration with NSTXL presents a new innovation acceleration model made to rapidly prospect, vet and fund state-of-the-art technologies in alignment with war-fighter needs. The TechConnect Defense Innovation Award is presented to companies whose technology placed in the top 15 percent of all submissions.

About Visual Awareness Technologies and Consulting, Inc. (VATC) 

For more than a decade, Visual Awareness Technologies and Consulting Inc. (VATC) has combined its joint training experience, innovative engineering talent and intelligence expertise to pioneer the development of the most advanced Distributed Missions Operations (DMO) training environments available anywhere in the world. Combining the latest open geospatial data standards with an integrated suite of innovative DMO training solutions, VATC offers a legacy of proven performance, leading subject-matter expertise and the most innovative technological solutions to the modern military’s growing challenges. For more information, visit us at www.vatcinc.com, or on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

SWMS B SOF Language, Regional Expertise, and Culture (LREC) Analytic Support

The Lukos-VATC Joint Venture was awarded a Task Order under the SOCOM WIDE MISSION SUPPORT Group B contract to support Special Operations Forces Language Office (SOFLO) and SOF Components’ ongoing requirement for analyzing class and cohort level data and providing actionable recommendations to optimize outcomes and programs, providing analyses of selected issues impacting SOF LREC capability, analyzing the relevant Government/DoD/Service/USSOCOM/Service SOF Component policies, and making recommendations to optimize SOF LREC capability through policy initiatives.

LV JV will collect data, applying academically sound, state of the art institutional and organizational methodologies and principles to produce technical reports, formative (during) and summative (at the end of training) assessments, executive summaries, white papers, and other analytic information to facilitate improved Government decision making.  Tasks may be at the team or class level, cohort level, organizational level or higher.  Tasks may be joint or Service specific. Policy issues addressed may pertain to a high level DoD policy or to a single Service SOF Component.