Penny Mason, deputy division chief of the Air Force’s Simulators Division at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, provided updates for her organization to participants at the Training and Simulation Industry Symposium in Orlando, Florida, on June 22, 2023.


Christine Diehl, chief of contracts for Simulators Division, and Heath Morton, training systems tactical advisor, both with the Air Force’s Life Cycle Management Center, also participated in the update.


Mason began by outlining recent successes, crediting the military’s collaboration with industry representatives in the modeling and simulation community.


“I can’t say enough about our industry partners,” Mason said. “We could not do these things without your support.”


Mason next described the Simulators Division’s primary guiding efforts, which were also areas she said her organization needed help from industry in accomplishing:


  1. Implementing Simulator Common Architecture Requirements and Standards (SCARS)
  2. Developing, fielding and sustaining a common synthetic environment (a.k.a. the Joint Simulation Environment)
  3. Increasing the capability and interoperability of distributed training networks
  4. Ensuring sufficient concurrency, fidelity, connectivity and recapitalization of training systems


Mason described the attributes and standards of SCARS, an enterprise solution for legacy and future training systems. She emphasized the contributions she would need from industry, which included common security controls, application certification, as well as development, security, and operations (“DevSecOps”), among other standards.


“Industry has a voice in these standards and can provide input,” Mason said. “That’s where we really need you to come into play here. We’re also looking for opportunities to develop common models.”


Mason updated her audience on the Joint Simulation Environment (JSE), discussed its importance to stakeholders and where they could help, and outlined the program’s core components. Afterwards, Mason discussed challenges faced by both her organization and the Defense Department as a whole, which were mainly budgetary in nature. Mason described possible solutions to counteract the effects of limited resources, specifically emphasizing commonality.


“We’re trying to resolve the near-peer threat, and we can’t do that by doing things in silos,” Mason said. “Common solutions are what we’re looking for. We need to move toward digital materiel management, and cyber and ATOs [are becoming high priority and increasingly important].”


In closing her portion of the update, Mason listed her key takeaways from the update to include, among others, the importance of the SCARS and JSE programs, industry help with end-of-life software, and commonality in solutions.


Diehl and Morton ended the update with the most recent information on the Air Force Training Systems Acquisition (TSA) IV contract and held a Q&A session on other programs for the remainder of the meeting.


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