Synthetic Training Technologies Gaining Foothold with Military.

Author:Harper, Jon

* As the Army looks for better ways to prepare soldiers for large scale and multi-domain battle against advanced adversaries, service leaders are trying to accelerate the creation of a new synthetic training environment. The initiative, also known as the STE, is seen as the key to survival and victory on tomorrow's battlefields.

As National Defense reported last year when the initiative was unveiled, the STE is expected to harness new gaming technologies and other simulation tools to enhance readiness and create a more widely distributed virtual training architecture.

Army leaders envision a world where troops on training ranges wearing augmented reality goggles or similar equipment, could be connected with other soldiers sitting in simulators or looking at computer screens halfway around the world.

Soldiers conducting live training would be able to observe in real time what other soldiers are doing in a virtual environment, and vice versa, explained Maj. Gen. Maria Gervais, deputy commanding general of U.S. Army Combined Arms Center-Training.

They would all see a common operating picture and be able to train together using "one world terrain" gaming technology, she said in a recent interview with National Defense.

"I want live, virtual and constructive [training environments] all blended so ... we're all seeing the same thing, doing the same thing," she said.

Additionally, units and individual soldiers deployed overseas or at home stations could use synthetic technologies --such as gaming tools and portable simulators--to experience realistic, complex battlefield simulations without having to conduct live training.

Gervais described the new paradigm as a "revolutionary" change in how troops gear up for war.

The project has been gaining steam in recent months. Army leaders are speaking about the STE with a greater sense of urgency, and they are throwing their weight behind the effort.

In an October memo outlining the service's top modernization priorities, Acting Secretary Ryan McCarthy and Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley called for a "rapid expansion" of the service's synthetic training environment to improve soldier lethality.

"Putting this all together, we must improve human performance and decision-making by increasing training and assessment, starting at the soldier level," they said.

"This will require a rapid expansion of our synthetic training environment and deeper distribution of simulations capabilities down to battalion and...

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