By Terri Bernhardt

On March 19, the Naval Support Activity played host to representatives from the Army, Navy, local community leaders, industry and media to honor the spirit of partnership, and a strong heritage of delivering superior training systems to America’s warfighters. Navy Captain Harry Robinson, Commanding Officer of the Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division (NAWCTSD) and Dr. Jim Blake, U.S. Army, SES, Program Executive Officer for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation (PEO STRI) and Orange County Commissioner Bill Segal, proudly spoke during the service’ 60th anniversary celebration.

“From the early days of the Link trainer to the wonders of today’s wireless mannequins, common driver trainers, IED trainers, MILES and the advent of geometric pairing to conduct non-line of sight engagements, translator trainers, battle staff simulations and a hologram depicting terrain in three dimensions, it is important to remember it started with a simple agreement to work together.”, stated Dr. Blake.

The agreement, formally signed by the Secretaries of the Army and Navy on March 20, 1950 still has
relevance today as the PEO STRI and NAWCTSD continue to collaborate on training and simulation systems that train our service members. The early simulation systems (or training devices, as they were referred to in the early years) were rudimentary, but they were the catalysts that set in motion the very sophisticated systems we have today. The systems touch every Soldier, Sailor, Airman and Marine – and
every member of the military who deploys trains on a simulation/training system that resulted from this early agreement.

For Central Florida, the 60-year agreement has strong economic impacts, resulting in thousands of jobs. In just the last ten years, the military simulation commands’ annual contract awards have increased to well over $3 billion. Over the last 20 years, the Team Orlando government partners have grown to include Marine Corps; Air Force, Coast Guard; Office of the Secretary of Defense, Joint Advanced Distributed Learning Co-Lab; the Defense Acquisition University; Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, …60 years of cooperation – a catalyst for strong partnership – good jobs – and most importantly training systems that are saving lives and bringing America’s sons and daughters home from war.

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