Panel at Defense Strategy Institute’s Military Virtual Training & Simulation Summit

Professionals from Orlando’s modeling, simulation and training (MS&T) community gathered at the University of Central Florida’s Fairwinds Alumni Center for the Defense Strategy Institute’s Military Virtual Training & Simulation Summit Feb. 7 and 8.


The summit focused on providing these professionals with a forum to discuss the future of MS&T technologies in preparing warfighters and decision-makers for tomorrow’s conflicts. This gathering also sought to advance the Defense Department’s ability to deliver virtual environments to make training scenarios more realistic to enhance warfighter readiness, improve lethality, and facilitate battlefield cohesion throughout the services at all levels and in all domains.


“We must remain focused on the warfighters – they are the reason we exist, and meeting their needs will always be our most important mission,” said Col. Marcus Reynolds, program manager of the Marine Corps’ Program Manager for Training Systems. “Making advancements in the live virtual constructive (LVC) training environment is critical to preparing not only the Marine Corps, but the joint force and our allied partners as well [because] today’s battlefields take place on multiple domains, including cyber and space, and they are rapidly evolving. Having a shared virtual space that assembles all elements of the fighting force is vital in our fight against near-peer adversaries.”


Over the two days, attendees received insights from senior military, industry and academic leaders through presentations and panel discussions, as well as seeing tech demonstrations at booths in a breakout room separate from the main lecture area.


During the first day, presentations highlighted topics, such as new technologies impacting Army training doctrine, concerns of peer/near-peer competitors, accelerating delivery of training systems to Navy warfighters, AI applications, and LVC environments used in Marine Corps training. On the second day, discussions included the Air Force’s improvements in training, important innovations to facilitate a culture of learning, the human element of decision-making in wargaming, and integrating the Synthetic Training Environment to improve warfighter training and readiness.


Conferences like the Defense Strategy Institute’s summit are helpful, not only to spark conversation within the MS&T space, but as a way to ensure communication through networking and informal conversations in between sessions.


“It’s venues like this that are extremely valuable to ensuring government/industry communication stays open and productive,” said Jude Tomasello, a program manager with the Defense Health Agency. “They help people know that we’re working on new joint services medical training center requirements, and that we are always receptive to industry’s capabilities and input.”


As is typical of the local MS&T community, a willingness to share resources and a spirit of collaboration was a recognized factor by conference participants in the success of Central Florida’s ecosystem.


“Leading academic research centers, such as UCF’s Institute for Simulation and Training, are especially well positioned to help collaborative teams solve complex problems,” said Scott Dillon, associate director of Federal Strategies at the Institute for Simulation & Training. “We not only provide access to cutting-edge research, but we also provide a uniquely unbiased perspective that complements those of our industry and federal partners.”


Reynolds has also noticed the collaborative spirit that pervades the MS&T industry in Central Florida.


“Collaboration is essential, not only to this event, but in all we do,” Reynolds said. “Any time all the services meet with industry partners under one roof, it maximizes time, energy and effort. When we use collaborative efforts to deliver the most capable training systems and devices to warfighters, we increase our efficiency while minimizing cost to the taxpayer.”

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