I/ITSEC is the largest modeling, simulation and training (MS&T) conference in the world, and this annual event is especially significant for the MS&T community concentrated in Central Florida. This year’s conference will take place at the Orange County Convention Center immediately after the Thanksgiving holiday from Nov. 28 to Dec. 2, 2022.
Robb said he estimates over 17,000 participants at this year’s conference, which represents a return to pre-COVID attendance after the pandemic hurt I/ITSEC’s numbers in recent years due to health concerns and restrictions on international travel.
“The show floor sold out in September, and that’s the first time that’s ever happened,” Robb said. “Everybody’s all in and they’re coming in droves.”
This year will feature the Space Force’s debut appearance at the conference, as well as significant, high-level representation from the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, and Congressional delegations.
“For potential attendees, I ask you to look through the online guides and plan your show,” Robb said. “[I/ITSEC] is so rich this year with 43 special events, 131 papers and 30 tutorials. There’s just a lot out there and you’re going to want to see everything.”
Ryan highlighted the “fireside chat” appearances scheduled for high-level leadership, including Air Force Gen. David Allvin, vice chief of staff of the Air Force; and Air Force Maj. Gen. Shawn Bratton, the first commander of the Space Force’s Space Training and Readiness Command.
“We’ll also have the Innovation Match Game again this year,” Ryan said. “We’ll try to find folks who can tap into SBIR/STTR [Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer]-type activities, maybe kick off some technology push areas, and you’ll hear from my team with an acquisition update on what [the Air Force is] looking for in training capabilities and devices in the future.”
Bishop said the Army is going through a transition phase focusing on its modernization and readiness priorities, and I/ITSEC gives his organization the opportunity to talk to professionals about the technology they’re working on, and the capabilities PEO STRI needs. He emphasized that the Army of 2030 would be soldier-focused, agile and win with its partners as it continues its organizational transformation, largely demonstrated in the realignment of its program management offices, its contracting execution, and use of technology. Bishop encouraged this year’s I/ITSEC attendees to talk to PEO STRI representatives to develop opportunities for collaboration across the educational and industrial sectors.
“We’re going to have a number of our synthetic environment capabilities out on the floor with our Squad Immersive Virtual Trainer,” Bishop said. “We’ll also have a lot of Synthetic Training Environment Live activities [and you’ll] see a lot of [training devices for] mortars, mines, grenades, Stingers, and the Reconfigurable Virtual Collective Trainer. We’ll have items in two or three locations and the Persistent Cyber Training Environment will also be doing its Cyber Challenge this year, which was very successful last year.”
Covelli addressed this year’s theme of “It’s Time to ACTT,” which means “Accelerate Change by Transforming Training,” and its alignment with NAWCTSD’s collective vision of “accelerating warfighter readiness through training solutions” to outpace adversaries. He said the Navy would have several senior leaders attending this year’s conference, to include Vice Admiral Francis Morley, principal military deputy in the Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Research, Development and Acquisition) office, who is speaking on a senior leader panel. Covelli also mentioned two flag panels, one that will focus on aviation, and the other will discuss resolving gaps between high-performing and low-performing teams.
“We’ve also expanded our special events to have a second Navy program brief that will address the F-35 program office, the littoral combat ship, the new Constellation frigate, and the Navy’s virtual training environment, which is the Naval Enterprise Tactical Training Network,” Covelli said. “Finally, we’re doing something new this year [regarding] contracting and solving some hard problems… We’re going to put an OTA out and we released a call for white papers that overlaps with I/ITSEC.”
Covelli said this would give the Navy “three big wins” by 1) rapidly getting capability to the fleet by using the OTA, 2) giving the Navy access to nontraditional performers, and 3) it would enable the Navy to leverage I/ITSEC to the fullest.
Reynolds began by acknowledging training and its central role in countering near-peer threats. He also announced a larger participation from the Marine Corps’ Training and Education Command at this year’s I/ITSEC, and that the Corps’ booth would be looking at emerging efforts, unawarded contacts, and technology that would help the Marines’ training efforts.
“We’ll have the commanding general for the education command, Lt. Gen. Kevin Iiams, who will be on the three-star panel and the Indo-Pacific Command panel,” Reynolds said. “I’ll be participating on a wargaming panel… and Brig. Gen. David Walsh [commander of Marine Corps Systems Command], will also be in attendance. This year should be a very exciting year for the Marine Corps and we’re looking forward to engagement with industry.”
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