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Special submission from FLETC
Daniel Balash, Information Technology Project Manager, led the integrated project team that developed, procured, installed, and tested the Virtual Firing Ranges at FLETC, an accomplishment that earned him the prestigious 2016 Federal 100 Award this past spring. The Fed 100 Awards recognize government and industry leaders who have gone above and beyond their daily responsibilities and have made a difference in the way technology is bought, managed, or used.
Bringing virtual firearms training to the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC) was a cross-organizational effort. In addition to the transformative efforts of FLETC’s training staff, personnel throughout the organization made significant contributions in bringing the benefits of this technology to FLETC and its students.
In his role as Project Manager, Balash was responsible for the cradle to grave development and implementation of the Virtual Firing Ranges into FLETC training, resulting in the revolution of firearms training at FLETC. Besides freeing up time on live-fire ranges and increasing students’ opportunities to practice, the virtual ranges also cut ammunition usage, lower maintenance costs, and have a lesser impact on the environment.
Balash’s team overcame decades of institutional cultural bias in favor of students training only with live fire. His passion for technology and belief in this new learning methodology enabled him to become a passionate advocate for the virtual ranges. Balash conducted group and one-on-one capability demonstrations to create a trusting partnership between technology and instructional delivery. The resultant capability is now a fixture in FLETC’s basic training, as students attending FLETC’s three flagship basic training programs received training on the Virtual Firing Ranges as part of their basic marksmanship curriculum. Thousands of students have now successfully completed basic marksmanship training using virtual firing ranges in combination with live fire.
While Balash received the well-deserved Fed 100 Award, he is quick to acknowledge that integrating virtual firearms into FLETC training was a true team effort, one that leveraged the relationship and skills from Team Orlando partners. FLETC’s experience with integrating virtual firearms training demonstrates the enormous power of collaboration among diverse professionals in using new technology to improve how we train law enforcement personnel.
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