A Look into the Army’s Emerging Training Technologies

Within the military, it is important for units to conduct regular training exercises in a number of venues to be prepared for contingency operations. However, with the rise in operational tempo over the last ten years, it has become increasingly difficult for small unit leaders to create authentic, realistic training events due to the time and effort needed to replicate the stress of the modern battlefield. Many of the training exercises used to prepare today’s forces are prebuilt scenario’s specifically targeting doctrine or standard operating procedures. However, as one would expect, this method does not adequately reflect the stress of the battlefield or provide the realistic, immersive environment required.

In response, the U.S. Army recently conducted an experiment in order to determine if the technology currently used by operating forces provided the realism and fidelity to accurately reflect the stresses of the modern battlefield for small units. The study, labeled, The Squad Overmatch Study, was designed specifically to identify the capability gaps that exist in current technologies. Cognitive Performance Group, in partnership with The Mitre Corporation, developed a series of training scenarios to test the ability of current technologies to replicate real world tactical operations. The scenarios were conducted using gaming, virtual, and live technologies in a “graduated exposure” method, letting one technology set the stage for the next. At each stage, the technology currently under acquisition was used. For instance, gaming scenarios were build in Virtual Battlespace 3 (VBS3), virtual scenarios used the Dismounted Soldier Training System (DSTS), and live scenarios used augmented live ranges built for Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT).

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After the soldiers were exposed to the current capabilities in the Army’s inventory, they were then provided a second example of the scenario in “enhanced technologies” to determine if the capabilities of the enhanced technologies provided more realism and depth. While the results of the study are still unpublished, we hypothesize that the enhanced capabilities presented at each stage will allow soldiers to identify advanced situational awareness cues more readily, and the technologies will more accurately reflect the stresses of combat. More information about the Squad Overmatch Study can be obtained by contacting PEO STRI.

Stay tuned on the CogBlog for future details, results, and application of this applied research.
Photo credit: http://science.dodlive.mil/2013/03/13/virtual-gaming-military-training/

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Cognitive Performance Group, LLC is a woman-owned small business with offices in Orlando, Florida, and Cleveland, Ohio. It was founded by Dr. Karol G. Ross, Jennifer K. Phillips, and William A. Ross. The three CPG Principals developed the concept for a company to support cognitive performance improvement in industry and government. (more...)

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