Getting “Real” about Readiness at SOFIC 2017: VATC Showcases Groundbreaking EPIC Ready™, Hosts Platform’s First User Group

TAMPA, Fla.–Visual Awareness Technologies and Consulting Inc. (VATC), a leader in delivering realistic training environments to government and commercial customers around the world, announced today that it will provide demonstrations of its innovative EPIC Ready platform, and host a small user group reception to discuss the current and future applications of the product at the 2017 Special Operations Forces Industry Conference in Tampa, Fla., May 15-18. At their user group reception, titled “The Map of ThingsTM: Mission Readiness through a Map-Based Data Analytics Platform,” EPIC Ready users are invited to discuss the product’s development and deployment thus far, and operational input into the technology’s future solutions for greater mission readiness. Launched just six months ago at I/ITSEC 2016, EPIC is already having great success in support to many customers across the DoD.

“In today’s ever-changing threat environment, no organization is ever expected or able to act alone in times of crisis. Recognizing the numerous challenges that face the Joint Forces today and in the future, we developed the EPIC Ready platform to bridge critical gaps in training realism and assessment,” said Sara Moola, VATC’s co-founder and CEO. “EPIC Ready seeks to maximize individual and unit mission readiness by exposing all echelons of command to the most realistic training and exercise experience possible, enabling objective and comprehensive exercise performance measurement, and visually representing the multi-dimensional ‘Map of Things’ through EPIC’s high resolution 3D common layered geospatial environment. We’re looking forward to discussing the future of the product, and how we work together for enhancing global mission readiness, with our users at SOFIC.”

EPIC Ready™ is a cloud-based or appliance-delivered platform that was created to improve realism in training, and to distribute exercise performance analytics in both dashboards and map-based presentations. Using a combination of geospatial representation and analytics, replication of realistic human dynamics, and performance-driven metrics, EPIC delivers comprehensive analysis and quantifiable and actionable results available for sharing “Jointly” among defense, intelligence, partner nations and non-governmental organizations. EPIC Ready™ is comprised of three tools combining to generate the most realistic open and distributed enterprise platform ever created. System elements include:

  • Common Database Builder — Provides enhanced command and control (C2) and geospatial visualization, allowing users to build, edit and share 3-D models for a uniform training experience.

  • Digital Media Replicator — Enables participants to engage in the most realistic environments possible by aggregating digital media information to inform intelligence and operations and enhance training and exercise effects.

  • Planning and Analysis System — Improves rapid field review and deepens the combat preparedness assessment by measuring training performance against mission objectives, becoming the first near real-time system to realistically and objectively assess readiness.

The EPIC Ready platform will be demonstrated at SOFIC 2017, May 15-18, in suites 2138/2133 at the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel. To set up a demo, contact Thomas Miller from VATC at tmiller@vatcinc.com. To learn more about VATC, please visit www.vatcinc.com.

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, realistic Distributed Missions Operations (DMO) training environments available. 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.

Sara Moola represented in the Florida High Tech Corridor

ST. PETERSBURG, FL — Ms. Sara Moola, VATC CEO and President, was recently interviewed in the Florida High Tech Corridor Magazine. She was featured in the section titled, “Future Faces of Technology” where they cover the most innovative and ground-breaking figures in the technology space. The article discusses Ms. Sara Moola’s expertise and background in the GIS space and how it has fueled the creation of VATC’s EPIC Ready product, a cloud-based / physical appliance designed to improve realistic training for the warfighter. Its patented technology platform allows for multiple military forces from land, air, or sea to collaborate on the same training exercise providing better training measurements for top level exercise planners to analyze. The Florida High Tech Corridor also produced a video piece covering Ms. Sara Moola and her vision for transforming training for the future warfighter.

The magazine article can be found on page 18 of the publication. VATC in Florida High Tech Corridor.

VATC Awarded Subcontract with CACI to Support Special Operations Forces

TAMPA, Fla.–Visual Awareness Technologies and Consulting Inc. (VATC), a leader in providing global strategies, training and technology for secure operations around the world for the U.S. and its partners, announced today it has been named a first-tier subcontractor to CACI on a Special Operations Forces Planning, Rehearsal and Execution Preparation contract. VATC’s position on the SOFPREP contract, which is valued at $4.2 million annually, will enable the company to support CACI in delivering labor, equipment and materials necessary to support the Program Executive Officer for Special Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Exploitation. VATC will provide geospatial database and system engineers to support geospatial intelligence collection, processing and dissemination for Special Operations Command.

“VATC is honored to have this opportunity to continue and expand our services to the SOFPREP program,” said Sara Moola, VATC’s co-founder and CEO. “Together with CACI, we have supported SOFPREP for the last five years and now can continue to combine our strengths to help provide a greater array of services and solutions in geospatial intelligence to Special Operations Forces.”

The SOFPREP program produces and maintains 3D visualization databases and enhanced geospatial data for simulated training for Special Operations Forces. This SOFPREP contract with CACI is renewable for the base of the award, plus three years.

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

For over 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.

SOF WOLF to Host Fifth Annual Gold Star Leadership Camp

TAMPA, Fla. & PARK CITY, Utah–Special Operations Forces Warrior Outdoor Leadership for the Future (SOF WOLF) announced today that it has opened registration for its fifth annual Gold Star Leadership Camp, a week-long program that will be held June 7-13, 2017, in Park City, Utah, to give children of fallen Special Operations Forces an opportunity to connect and learn about leadership, life and career building skills within a community of peers. SOF WOLF is actively recruiting first-time and returning Gold Star students to attend the camp, the cost of which is fully sponsored through SOF WOLF.

“Special Operators are some of the greatest heroes our country has, and our goal since founding SOF WOLF has always been to bring personal and professional opportunities to the Gold Star families that fallen warriors leave behind,” said Sara Moola, co-founder of SOF WOLF. “We’re humbled and grateful to be continuing our program this summer in Park City, and are looking forward to welcoming a new group of students and mentors to the WOLF family.”

At SOF WOLF camps, participants are paired with professional mentors who come from a variety of backgrounds, including business owners, athletes and community leaders. With the mentors’ assistance, students work on their resumes, search for internships and develop other professional skills. At the same time, the camp agenda includes fun teambuilding outdoor activities, including aerial ski jumping, hiking, rock climbing, horseback riding, mountain biking and zip lining. This year, participants will be taken into the Moab Desert on a challenging expeditionary excursion where they will engage in rafting, rock-climbing, survival training and much more. Following the camp, many participants keep in contact with their mentors, begin internships with the connections that they have made and continue on to greater success.

SOF WOLF is an initiative founded and funded by Sara Moola and Mike Vaughn, co-founders and owners of Visual Awareness Technologies and Consulting (VATC), a Tampa-based defense and intelligence contractor serving Special Operations and Defense forces, among other agencies and customers. For more information, please visit www.vatcinc.com.

To apply to participate in this year’s SOF WOLF camp as a student or mentor, please visit www.sofwolf.org/apply. Parties interested in donating to the cause may do so at www.sofwolf.org/support.

About VATC

For over 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.

With New Office Open, VATC Turns Training Expertise into Technology Product

Contractor Visual Awareness Technologies and Consulting, which has long specialized in military training, has opened a new division in Florida and is selling its first product.

The company's new division, based in St. Petersburg, is focused on applied research and technology. The first product released through this division is known as EPIC Ready and is meant to bolster the realism of training and quantify readiness.

Sara Moola, VATC's chief executive, told Inside Defense the company has sought to marry the expertise of its workforce with technology. About 90 percent of the company's employees previously served in the military or worked for government agencies.

The EPIC system incorporates a common database builder, which provides command and control and geospatial visualization; a digital media replicator, which aggregates media information; and a planning and analysis system, which measures performance against objectives.

In an interview with Inside Defense, Mike Vaughn, the company's chief operations officer, said the new product "opens doors" for VATC.

"There's a requirement across a lot of different areas in government, and you could even push this out into the commercial sector," he said, noting the product is relevant for any industry that must prepare for risk.

By Marjorie Censer  

February 7, 2017 at 11:54 AM

Source: https://insidedefense.com/insider/new-office-open-vatc-turns-training-expertise-technology-product

With new office open, VATC turns training expertise into technology product

Contractor Visual Awareness Technologies and Consulting, which has long specialized in military training, has opened a new division in Florida and is selling its first product.

The company's new division, based in St. Petersburg, is focused on applied research and technology. The first product released through this division is known as EPIC Ready and is meant to bolster the realism of training and quantify readiness.

Sara Moola, VATC's chief executive, told Inside Defense the company has sought to marry the expertise of its workforce with technology. About 90 percent of the company's employees previously served in the military or worked for government agencies.

The EPIC system incorporates a common database builder, which provides command and control and geospatial visualization; a digital media replicator, which aggregates media information; and a planning and analysis system, which measures performance against objectives.

In an interview with Inside Defense, Mike Vaughn, the company's chief operations officer, said the new product "opens doors" for VATC.

"There's a requirement across a lot of different areas in government, and you could even push this out into the commercial sector," he said, noting the product is relevant for any industry that must prepare for risk.


VATC’s Maxwell Finalist for Tampa Bay Business Journal CFO of the Year

TAMPA — Rita Maxwell, Vice President of Finance and Accounting for Visual Awareness Technologies and Consulting, Inc., has been recognized as a finalist in the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s CFO of the Year Awards. The awards recognize extraordinary finance professionals in the Tampa area.

“We’re thrilled that Rita has been recognized for her incredible financial acumen, professionalism and service to the community,” said Sara Moola, co-founder and CEO of VATC. “We know we are lucky to have her on our team, and we are excited to share in her success.”

In addition to her role at VATC, where she is responsible for overseeing finance and accounting for a rapidly growing, multimillion dollar global company, Rita is Treasurer on the Board of Directors of the Tampa Bay Chapter of Women in Defense, and has previously served on the Board of Directors of the Upper Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce. She is heavily involved in the Tampa community, and has financial officer experience in defense, private sector companies and public governments, including serving as Controller of the Lighting Systems Business Segment at Goodrich Aerospace, and as the former Assistant Finance Director for the City of Safety Harbor, Fla.

The final winner of the CFO of the Year Awards will be announced on Thursday, Feb. 2 from 11:15 AM to 1:30 PM at the Bryan Glazer Family JCC. The awards are sponsored by BB&TCBIZ MHM and Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick.

Faces of Technology: Preparing the Nation’s Protectors

Sara Moola will never forget 2003. At a conference in Tampa, the geospatial information systems expert crossed paths with Mike Vaughn, a veteran and contractor with more than 20 years of experience in military special operations. Their shared passion to make a difference would become the foundation for a successful business partnership and, two years later, a successful marriage.   

“We started the company because of a vision and a passion for this,” said Moola, CEO of Visual Awareness Technologies and Consulting Inc. (VATC).  

VATC provides cutting-edge tools for simulation and training, intelligence, research and human performance.  Its patented technology platform allows multiple military forces from land, air and sea to collaborate on the same training exercise.  One of its latest developments, Digital Media Replicator, integrates simulated data from news, blogs and social media to replicate the real-time data soldiers review and respond to on deployment.  VATC’s unique platform also enables mission planners to determine the allocation of resources for a simulation.  Their decisions are measured during the training exercise and evaluated post-training.   

“We’ve been researching, developing and testing this for quite a few years, but not until recently had we developed a testable solution that’s now productized and will be coming out at I/ITSEC in Orlando,” Moola said, referring to the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference, the world’s largest modeling, simulation and training conference hosted annually in Orlando. 

Geospatial data, one of the foundational elements of VATC’s technology, is driven by Moola’s expertise.  She was first introduced to a GIS laboratory while working for an environmental management firm. The technology inspired her to complete a master’s degree in GIS at Clark University and, later, she transitioned into GIS roles for military intelligence.   

Moola oversees more than 150 employees at VATC’s 36 locations worldwide, including its headquarters in Tampa, which were established to serve the local military presence at MacDill Air Force Base and to facilitate collaboration with research partners in Orlando. The region’s capacity for research and development is a primary reason Moola believes defense partners should look to Florida for innovation. 

“The technology corridor is so powerful in two areas:  Orlando, which is our military research arm, and Tampa, which has Special Operations Command and Central Command,” Moola explained.   

She and Vaughn are committed to serving the region’s large defense community. Ninety percent of VATC’s employees are veterans and the couple has established a charitable leadership program for children of fallen Special Operations Forces. 

“The long game is important to us and the difference we make in the operational environment is important to us,” said Moola. “I enjoy seeing the commitment of our employees to our customers and knowing we’re making a difference.”

Find the original story here: https://floridahightech.com/preparing-the-nations-protectors/

Get Ready: VATC to Launch Innovative EPIC Ready™ Platform at I/ITSEC 2016

November 22, 2016 08:35 AM Eastern Standard Time

TAMPA, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–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, today announced it will unveil a new technology solution for mission readiness — EPIC Ready™ — at booth No. 2348 at the 2016 Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference in Orlando, Florida, Nov. 28-Dec. 2. Built on decades of technical expertise and tactical experience from geospatial experts and in-field operators, EPIC Ready™ will launch as the first comprehensive, product-based training solution of its kind able to quantify mission readiness and meet the interoperability, security and preparedness needs of the modern military.

.@GoVATC announces launch of innovative EPIC Ready platform designed to transform mission readiness at #IITSEC2016.

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“VATC’s four decades of operational experience make us uniquely positioned to understand the budgetary, interoperability and readiness challenges that our customers face,” said Sara Moola, co-founder and CEO of VATC. “We developed EPIC Ready™ to close the gaps in currently available training with a system that maximizes individual and force mission readiness through a measurable, realistic exercise experience. With EPIC Ready™, our Armed Forces can get the sophisticated preparation necessary for combat in an increasingly complex world.”

EPIC Ready™ is a cloud-based or appliance-delivered platform that creates fully integrated training experiences. Using a combination of geospatial analytics, human dynamics factors and performance-driven metrics, the platform provides a common operational environment, realistic training effects and quantifiable results. EPIC Ready™ is made up of three pieces that combine to generate the most realistic Distributed Mission Operations environments ever created. These pieces include:

  • Common Database Builder — Provides enhanced command and control (C2) and geospatial visualization, allowing users to build, edit and share 3-D models for a uniform training experience.

  • Digital Media Replicator — Enables participants to engage in the most realistic environments possible by aggregating digital media information to inform intelligence and operations and enhance training and exercise effects.

  • Planning and Analysis System  Improves rapid field review 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™ for the first time in I/ITSEC Booth No. 2348, which it will share with Bohemia Interactive Simulations to showcase the companies’ complementary visions for improving the virtual battlespace. To schedule a personal or group demonstration at the show, please contact Thomas Miller at tmiller@vatcinc.com.

For more information about VATC, please visit www.vatcinc.com.

About VATC

For over 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’s Maxwell to Speak at Deltek Insight 2016

WASHINGTON – Rita Maxwell, Director of Finance and Accounting for Visual Awareness Technologies and Consulting, Inc., will speak at the Deltek Insight 2016 Conference, the annual meeting of Deltek customers in the government contracting and professional service industries. At Deltek Insight, Rita will present alongside Joe Graziano, Senior Systems Consultant from NeoSystems, on small business best practices for switching to Deltek’s fully integrated, cloud-based financial management systems. Her presentation will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 15 at 11:25 a.m.

Deltek Insight 2016 will be held at the National Harbor in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 14-17, 2016. For more information about the conference, visit http://www.deltekinsight.com/

VATC is a leader in providing global strategies, training and technology for secure operations around the world for the U.S. and its partners. For more information about VATC, visit us at www.vatcinc.com

VATC Opens New Division in St. Petersburg Dedicated to Applied Research and Technology

TAMPA, Fla. – Visual Awareness Technologies and Consulting Inc. (VATC), a leader in providing global strategies, training and technology for secure operations around the world for the U.S. and its partners, announced today that it has opened a new division and office dedicated to applied research and technology in St. Petersburg, Fla. VATC’s new tech incubator will serve as a hub of innovation to support the development of technology solutions to serve the interoperability and mission readiness needs of customers throughout military, intelligence and law enforcement communities.

“This new office opening is representative of VATC’s present growth and vision,” said VATC Co-founder and Chief Operations Officer Mike Vaughn. “As mission environments become more complex, technology must enable realistic training conditions in a rapidly changing environment. This new division will allow VATC to create innovative, top-of-the-line technology that keeps our clients the best prepared in the world.”

VATC’s new division will be led by Shands Pickett, Vice President of Applied Research and Technology and a subject-matter expert in intelligence services, mission-readiness and technology engineering. The team will include technology engineers and developers with experience in the Department of Defense and intelligence communities. Products being developed by the operation include a digital media replicator to simulate web content for exercises, a CDB Builder to compile multi-dimensional geospatial data, and a forthcoming planning and analysis system to track and visualize training task competition.

“Our new office opening represents a unique approach to developing software and technology for defense environments,” said Pickett. “Other contractors answer government requirements by asking software engineers, who have likely never served or gained experience within these specialized communities, to develop code and create products that often don’t achieve government’s intended effects. At VATC, we’re able to leverage our Special Operations experience working at the tactical and operational levels in active theaters around the world to develop technology solutions that start with the service member.”

VATC’s headquarters will remain in Tampa, Fla., where the company employs dozens of experts in training and exercise, intelligence services and human performance to support Special Operations, conventional and partner nations’ forces.

At the 2016 Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) on Nov. 28-Dec. 2 in Orlando, Fla., VATC will officially launch the first product of the new division, an innovative technology platform that will be the first of its kind to offer a full lifecycle of solutions for live, virtual, constructive and gaming (LVCG) forces training.

About Visual Awareness Technologies and Consulting Inc. (VATC)

VATC is a leader in providing global strategies, training and technology for secure operations around the world for the U.S. and its partners. From locations around the world, VATC works closely with customers in defense, intelligence and related domains to provide management consulting, joint training solutions, information technology and engineering support at program, operations and technical levels. For more information, visit us at www.vatcinc.com, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Defense tech security firm to hire more than 50 amid opening new St. Petersburg 'incubator'

ST. PETERSBURG — Visual Awareness Technologies and Consulting, a Tampa-based defense security firm, plans to hire more than 50 additional employees amid opening a new "tech incubator" in downtown St. Petersburg.

VATC, which employs more than 200 people in Tampa and in satellite offices around the world, is basing the incubator in the newly renovated First Central Tower, the former Florida Federal headquarters.

The company said the St. Petersburg operation will serve as a "hub of innovation" for developing technology solutions to help its customers in the military, intelligence and law enforcement sectors.

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"This new office opening is representative of VATC's present growth and vision," company co-founder and chief operations officer Mike Vaughn said in a statement.

"As mission environments become more complex, technology must enable realistic training conditions in a rapidly changing environment. This new division will allow VATC to create innovative, top-of-the-line technology that keeps our clients the best prepared in the world."

Heading the new division will be Shands Pickett, vice president of Applied Research and Technology. His team will include technology engineers and developers with experience in the Department of Defense and intelligence communities.

As with past expansions, VATC expects to hire many local veterans for open positions.

For information about job openings at the company, visit vatcinc.com/careers/.

VATC’s 50 Percent Growth Fuels New Offices, Expanded Leadership Team

TAMPA, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Visual Awareness Technologies and Consulting Inc. (VATC), a leader in providing global strategies, training and technology for secure operations around the world for the U.S. and its partners, announced today that it is expanding its leadership team and opening new offices along the East Coast, including locations in St. Petersburg, Fla., near Camp Lejeune, N.C. and in Washington, D.C. These developments were fueled by a period of record growth for the company, which has experienced a 50 percent increase in new business with the federal government over the same period last year.

“VATC is growing and we are putting additional leadership in place to secure a foundation to support continued expansion,” said VATC Co-founder and President Sara Moola. “As our national defense faces increasingly challenging and ever-changing field conditions, special operations forces must be equipped with the most state-of-the-art, mission-ready tools. Growing VATC’s leadership and geographic footprint allows us to continue to meet those needs and effectively support an even broader customer base.”
Over the past three months, VATC has opened new offices in St. Petersburg and near Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. This December, the company will also establish a presence in Washington, D.C. These moves will be used to support VATC’s existing customers in those locations, including special operations forces from several branches of the military, the Department of Homeland Security and others. The new offices will be led and staffed by an expanded leadership team of subject matter experts in intelligence services, applied research and technology and mission-readiness, including:

  • Jason Fulford, Vice President of Bids and Proposals, who will serve as the primary technical researcher and manager of new business proposals

  • Rita Maxwell, Director of Finance and Accounting, who ensures appropriate compliance and reporting on company financials

  • Thomas Miller, Marketing Manager, who will be responsible for developing, implementing and executing strategic marketing initiatives to attract new customers

  • Dennis Pannell, Vice President of Corporate Strategy, who will oversee strategic engagement and development for current and future business

  • Shands Pickett, Vice President of Applied Research and Technology, who will lead the St. Petersburg office in continued development of VATC’s EPIC platform

  • Chad Ritchie, Director of Intelligence Services, who will be responsible for business development and management in intelligence and technology

These changes will enable VATC’s team of special operations experts to bring a depth of experience, insight and understanding to more customers throughout the defense and intelligence communities to ensure mission success for all of the United States’ defense forces.

VATC is a leader in providing global strategies, training and technology for secure operations around the world for the U.S. and its partners. From locations around the world, VATC works closely with customers in defense, intelligence and related domains to provide management consulting, joint training solutions, information technology and engineering support at program, operations and technical levels. For more information, visit us at www.vatcinc.comFacebook and LinkedIn.

DHS Awards Potential $1.5B PACTS II Non-IT Services Contract Vehicle

The Department of Homeland Security has awarded 30 companies spots on a potential five-year, $1.5 billion contract vehicle for program management, administrative, operations and technical support services.

PACTS II is a set-aside program for service-disabled, veteran-owned small businesses and designed to help DHS accomplish mission objectives and cross-organizational missions through non-information technology services, according to a FedBizOpps summary.

Twelve of the winning vendors can vie for program management and technical support task orders under functional category one of the indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract while the remaining 18 can compete for administrative and operations services orders under functional category two.

The awardees for FC1 are:

  • Agile Homeland Security Group

  • Archimedes Global

  • Flatter & Associates

  • gTANGIBLE

  • Harkcon

  • Integrated Finance and Accounting Solutions

  • ITility

  • Management and Technical Services Alliance JV

  • Old Dominion Strategies

  • Pathfinder Consultants

  • ScaVet Technologies

  • Strategic Operational Solutions

FC2 awardees include:

  • Aktarius

  • Analytic Strategies

  • APG TECHNOLOGIES

  • Information Technology Coalition

  • Interior Systems, doing business as ISI Professional Services

  • Lukos-VATC JV

  • MIRACORP

  • ProTech Services Alliance USA

  • Sciolex

  • Strategic Alliance Business Group JV

  • Systems Kinetics Integration

  • Szanca Solutions

  • TechOp Solutions International

  • The Reger Group

  • TMC-TeleSolv

  • Totally Joined For Achieving Collaborative Techniques

  • Vision Centric

  • X Corp Solutions

VATC Presenting at the 5th Annual Cross-Cultural Decision-making (CCDM) Conference

Tampa, FL – The Cross-Cultural Decision-Making (CCDM) conference examines human cognition and its interplay with various cultural constructs, such as geographical, historical, sociological, and organizational cultures. This conference invites researchers, scholars, and industry practitioners from diverse backgrounds, including sociology, linguistics, business, military science, psychology, human factors, neuroscience, and education. Together, through multidisciplinary collaboration, the CCDM Conference seeks to understand the impact of culture on people’s cognition and behavior.

VATC’s presentation, “Integrating Realistic Socio-cultural Dynamics into Military Training,” occurs on Saturday, July 30th at 4:00 PM in the Foreign Relations group.

The full program details are located on the CCDM website.

VATC to Attend 2016 SOFIC

TAMPA, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Visual Awareness Technologies and Consulting Inc. (VATC), a leader in providing global strategies, training and technology for secure operations around the world for the U.S. and its partners, announced today that it will be offering exclusive demos of its Synthetic Information Training Environment Platform (SITREP) May 24-26 at SOFIC 2016, the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference held in Tampa, Florida. SITREP is a secure and fully operational social media platform to support simulated intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance for special operations and joint training environments.

.@GoVATC to demo #SITREP technology at #SOFIC2016. Contact sitrep@vatcinc.com to schedule your demo.

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“We’re excited to attend SOFIC and meet with SOF leaders to demonstrate our innovative VATC technology platform, which truly builds on the conference theme, ‘Evolving the Network to Counter Emerging Threats,’” said VATC Co-founder and President Sara Moola. “SITREP gives our Special Operations and joint forces an unparalleled training environment to manage and analyze realistic and responsive operational environment data in near-real time. By offering a sophisticated and secure social platform to Special Operations forces, we can harness the power of technology to create training environments and activities that are the most advanced, realistic and relevant available today.”

SITREP is the result of VATC expertise gained over a decade serving special operations divisions within the U.S. military through a wide range of organizations and in theater. SITREP’s system architecture has been specially designed to overlay with technology systems used within special operations forces’ institutions for realistic and dynamic mission planning and rehearsal to support mission success.

Unlike any online training platform ever developed and deployed for the military, SITREP addresses critical gaps in training models, facilitates situational awareness through case studies and allows trainees to see the ripple effects of their operations reflected live and on social media. SITREP includes realistic scenario variables, open source media, integration with nonmilitary partners and an easy-to-use analytical tool kit to assess mission-specific objectives.

SITREP is already in use with VATC customers in forward environments, and has recently been featured in articles in leading defense industry media.

VATC will be demonstrating SITREP at SOFIC 2016, a conference that brings together government, academia and Special Operations industry stakeholders to discuss the best support and innovations for U.S. Special Operations forces and their allies. Interested parties who would like to schedule their own private SITREP demonstration should contact sitrep@vatcinc.com.

About Visual Awareness Technologies and Consulting Inc. (VATC)

VATC is a leader in providing global strategies, training and technology for secure operations around the world for the U.S. and its partners. From locations around the world, VATC works closely with customers in defense, intelligence and related domains to provide management consulting, joint training solutions, information technology and engineering support at program, operations and technical levels. For more information, visit us at www.vatcinc.comFacebook and LinkedIn.

VATC Awarded New GSA Schedule Contracts

TAMPA, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Visual Awareness Technologies and Consulting Inc. (VATC), a leader in providing global strategies, training and technology for secure operations around the world for the U.S. and its partners, announced today it has been selected to be a prime contractor authorized to participate on the IT Schedule 70 IDIQ and Law Enforcement and Security Training Schedule 84 IDIQ by the U.S. General Services Administration, the procurement arm of the federal government.

.@GoVATC newly authorized by the #GSA as prime contractor to participate in 70 IDIQ and 88 IDIQ.

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“These new GSA contracts will significantly streamline the ability of federal customers to purchase VATC’s advanced operations training support and innovative geospatially enhanced technology solutions,” said VATC co-founder and president Sara Moola. “Our team of Special Forces operations experts brings a depth of experience, insight and understanding to customer engagements, and we look forward to working further with more customers throughout the defense and intelligence communities to ensure mission success.”

Under IT Schedule 70, VATC customers can procure services such as resources and facilities management, database planning and design, systems analysis and design, programming, conversion and implementation support, network services, and project and data management. The IT Schedule 70 is the largest, most widely used acquisition vehicle in the U.S. government.

Through Schedule 84, VATC can provide a wide range of operations training services and support, including high-performance and defensive/offensive driving training, weapons training, surveillance and surveillance detection training and tactical training in realistic physical environments. VATC is one of only 52 contractors awarded this Special Service Item requirement.

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

VATC is a leader in providing global strategies, training and technology for secure operations around the world for the U.S. and its partners. From locations around the world, VATC works closely with customers in defense, intelligence and related domains to provide management consulting, joint training solutions, information technology and engineering support at program, operations and technical levels. For more information, visit us at www.vatcinc.comFacebook and LinkedIn.

Special Operators Seek New Social Media Tools

As terrorist organizations such as the Islamic State embrace social media, government entities are seeking to exploit open-source information to improve their own operational tactics.


U.S. Special Operations Command is researching how it can use social media to mine critical intelligence data, said Army Gen. Joseph Votel, who at the time was serving as the commander of SOCOM.

“SOCOM is currently carrying out a series of technology demonstrations to assess innovative tools designed to detect previously unseen patterns in complex social media data; integrate and visualize vast information; and allow warfighters to sense, understand and respond to changes in the information environment in real time,” he said during a hearing before the House Armed Services Committee in March.

Additionally, the command could also use social media to attempt to undermine the Islamic State’s propaganda, he said.

“The ability to conduct effective messaging, as well as counter-messaging, will only grow in importance, given the evolving nature of conflicts,” he said.

Industry is ready to help SOCOM better sift through social media posts to distill nuggets of information, said M. Shands Pickett, director of applied research and technology at Visual Awareness Technologies and Consulting Inc., a Tampa, Florida-based small business that focuses on training and operational solutions for special operations forces and other government organizations.

Social media offers the military, and particularly SOCOM, a way to gauge how certain operations affect a local population, he said.

“What we saw throughout conventional forces, special operations forces and partner forces [in Afghanistan] is an inability to really understand how their operations were having an effect on the local population,” he said.

During conventional operations, it is obvious when a military has won — tanks leave and soldiers surrender, he said. But “when you’re operating in a … counterinsurgency environment or in a irregular warfare environment … the only way you know that is if the local population thinks that you’ve won … because they are determinant of your victory.

“With the proliferation of cell phones, even in areas like Afghanistan, you can get a pretty good sense of what people think about what you’re doing,” he said.

Earlier this year, VATC launched a special operations variant of its simulated intelligence training environment platform, or SITREP, to help SOCOM train its intelligence officers. The system works by pulling information from social media websites such as Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, and overlaying it with simulated operations.

“You’re seeing all this data … of whether you are achieving the right effects or not achieving those effects, and then it allows you to attenuate your operations in order to improve,” he said.

VATC can simulate a number of target areas around the world, including in Asia, South America and Africa. It also pulls information from social media platforms that are frequently used in certain regions. For example, in China a website known as Weibo is popular.

An intelligence officer can pull up SITREP on a non-classified Internet protocol router network and “it will bring up what looks like Twitter except for it’s the scenario Twitter,” he said. It’s mixed with a synthetic environment that draws on real-world events “plus our scenario variables that we introduce. So it’s realistic for the analyst. … It’s not hokey.”

For example, in one case study, special operators go into a village and conduct a direct action mission and detain a target. The program tells the users whether or not the locals in that area are supportive of this person based on social media data and what the effects of removing him would be.

The company has met with Special Operations Command and Naval Special Warfare Command to discuss the product, Pickett said.

SITREP was originally developed for the Joint Multiple National Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany, he said. It has been used in exercises since 2013. Because it was created to work alongside partner nations, it can be translated into languages such as French, Spanish and Serbian.

During the summer of 2015, VATC began work on developing a SOF variant. There is an “order of magnitude difference, because with a conventional force training audience you’re focused on … the basics and you’re getting an intel captain who may or may not have ever deployed,” he said. “Working for a SOCOM audience, the customer is a lot more demanding in terms of the level of fidelity that we produce and also the level of realism that we can replicate.”

Kitware, an open-source software company based in Clifton Park, New York, has developed technology that could be used by special operators to analyze images and videos on social media platforms.

“We can detect images or identify images that have military vehicles in them versus images that don’t,” said Anthony Hoogs, senior director of computer vision at the company. “It might be an image of someone smiling at the camera in the foreground but in the background there is a military vehicle. Or it could be soldiers taking pictures of themselves sitting on their tank.”

Using a software system powered by a concept known as deep learning — advanced algorithms that can enable human-level accuracy in data analysis — analysts can quickly sift through large amounts of data, he said. The algorithms can pick up on camouflage paint on vehicles, or even recognize certain sizes and shapes.

“Deep learning has enabled a significant leap forward in accuracy of image understanding, so now it becomes much more conceivable to have automated analysis of just random media content in social media … and get something useful out of it,” he said.

Images and videos make up most of the data on social media platforms but only recently has there been significant steps toward analyzing it, he said.

Images and videos “for the past couple of years have been, really just as far as the algorithms are concerned, mostly black boxes,” he said. “But with better algorithms that have come along lately we can do more and we can tell whether a photo is an indoor scene or an outdoor one [or] has military content.”

The system could help an analyst detect if certain people are involved with terrorist groups, he said.

“Most of the data in social media is not of intelligence value. It’s a classic needle in the haystack problem,” he said. “If you’re asking your analyst to spend his precious time digging through social media to find something, then they have to have a very targeted search. What algorithms can do is a much more broad-based search.”

Images are only one piece of the puzzle, he said.

“We’re offering this imagery and video analysis piece of it. I think what really is required is a complete solution that also looks at the other two main aspects of this — so one is the text, the Twitter messages and so on that people are sending around, and then also there is a third dimension which is the network itself — so social network analysis and … who is friends with who and who is communicating with whom.”

Kitware is looking for partners for that endeavor, but none have materialized so far, he said.

The U.S. State Department has been one of the most high-profile users of social media in its effort to undermine propaganda disseminated by the Islamic State, also known as ISIL or ISIS. In January, the department stood up the Global Engagement Center, which replaces the former Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications. Officials at the CSCC — who would reach out directly to ISIL-affiliated social media users and try to counter their message — was criticized by some as being ineffective and bogged down by bureaucratic red tape.

“This new center will shift our paradigm for countering violent extremist messaging. We will move away from a focus on direct messaging and toward an emphasis on empowering and enabling partners, governmental and non-governmental, across the globe,” said Brett McGurk, special presidential envoy for the global coalition to counter ISIL at State. “We will also plan social media campaigns to provide fact-based content and information (such as testimony from defectors) that undermines ISIL propaganda.”

But Muslim countries will have to take the lead on countering these messages, McGurk said. The United Arab Emirates has been “key” in this effort and recently established the Sawab Center, which he described as a “24/7 counter-messaging platform.”

“I visited the Sawab Center last year and was impressed with the dedication of the young Emirati citizens engaged in this campaign,” he said. The organization has highlighted testimony from Islamic State defectors that is meant to shine a light on the brutal nature of the organization and what it is like to live under its rule.

Malaysia is also setting up a center that will focus on the Asia region, he said.

Jim Phillips, a senior research fellow for Middle Eastern affairs at the Heritage Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, said regional partners are better equipped to handle messaging toward Islamic terrorist organizations.

“It’s very difficult for the U.S. government to counter that kind of ideological and theological propaganda because first of all we are infidels” in ISIL supporters’ eyes, he said. “We don’t really have the standing to provide a damaging critique, so perhaps in some ways it’s best to work through or work with Muslim governments or NGOs or experts that would have a greater facility in zeroing on some of the weaknesses of their theological arguments.”

Successes within the State Department’s new effort can already be seen, McGurk said. “When ISIL was overtaking major cities, it had a successful messaging campaign — and our counter-campaign struggled. That is no longer the case. ISIL is increasingly on the defense. Its spokesman, Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, is no longer touting great victories but rather seeking to explain away defeats. There will be more defeats to come — on the ground and in cyberspace.”

While the group used to claim it had its sight on places such as Rome, for example, it can no longer say that with credibility, McGurk said.

“The messaging gets a lot easier when we are making progress. If you are doing a messaging campaign for the Washington Redskins, it is easier when the team is winning than when the team is losing,” he said.

The State Department is working closely with social media organizations such as Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, he said. Twitter recently closed 125,000 ISIL-affiliated accounts, he added.