Professionals from the modeling, simulation and training (MS&T) industry convened at Central Florida Tech Grove for the Combined Professional Associations Group’s (CPAG) annual Defense Forum breakfast in Orlando, Florida, on Jan. 19.

 

CPAG seeks to help coordinate activities and facilitate synergies between various defense organizations and agencies in Central Florida’s modeling, simulation, and training (MS&T) community.

 

Senior leaders representing Team Orlando’s military services participated in a panel that briefed CPAG breakfast attendees on the state of their individual commands, addressed current events relevant to the MS&T industry, and answered questions in a brief Q&A session. Outside of significant MS&T conferences, CPAG’s annual breakfast is one of the rare times when these senior leaders appear together to speak. Retired Navy Capt. Tim Hill, Central Florida Navy League president, moderated the discussion.

 

Marine Col. Marcus Reynolds, program manager for the Marine Corps’ Program Manager Training Systems, spoke first, describing his organization’s acquisition authorities. He went on to describe the collaboration in which his agency’s aviation arm participated with Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division (NAWCTSD).

 

“As we move forward with our live-virtual-constructive training environment, we’ll start blending more and more because we have to bring [several] capabilities, as it’s no longer just land systems, but it’s also aviation systems,” Reynold said. “We’re lucky to be here with NAWCTSD to work these things together because this a wickedly hard problem, bringing aviation systems to work with ground systems.”

 

Air Force Col. Timothy Beers, Air Force Agency for Modeling and Simulation (AFAMS) commander, set his agency apart from its sister services by clarifying that AFAMS was not an acquisition organization.

 

“My mission is to champion concepts, develop capabilities, foster collaboration, drive modernization, and conduct studies analysis – so how do I do that if I’m not within the acquisition community?” Beers said. “We do it through thought leadership, being advocates for warfighters, [industry organizations] and academia, and through being connective tissue. We’re not very deep, but we try to get everywhere, we hear people’s problems and stories, and we do a pretty good job at matchmaking.”

 

Beers went on to say that AFAMS’ priority was understanding the needs of the warfighter by considering concurrency (training devices matching what students will use in the real world), fidelity (the student training environment realistically matching the real world), and interoperability (personnel being able to meaningfully interact with others).

 

Navy Capt. Tim “Rook” James, NAWCTSD and Naval Support Activity Orlando commanding officer, addressed what his organization needed from the entire training ecosystem going forward, emphasizing NAWCTSD’s focus on the warfighter and the need for speed in innovation, commenting that “the status quo is a losing proposition.”

 

“The evolution of our profession is speeding up and changing faster than bureaucracy can keep up with,” James said. “We’re always looking for innovation and ways of doing things differently [to support our vision of] accelerating warfighter readiness through training solutions… The future of success will be iteration speed, not material acquisition speed, and that will come down to training and the training infrastructure that’s out there.”

 

As James showed a global map of Navy training locations, he discussed the Navy’s ability to push out training updates to simulation classrooms worldwide as soon as processes could be brought up to speed to match infrastructure. He also said that the Navy was beginning to put simulators and classrooms on floating platforms (ships), described how the challenges of doing so had become less technical and more bureaucratic, and how he was overcoming those concerns.



Karen D. H. Saunders, SES, the senior leader for the Army’s Program Executive Office Simulation, Training and Instrumentation, began by citing Army Chief of Staff Gen. Randy George’s emphasis on digital transformation in its modernization efforts.

 

“The focus this year is on setting up the Army’s data strategy and implementation, as well as looking at how we’re going to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) tools and test AI systems,” Saunders said.

 

She also updated the audience on ASA(ALT)’s announcement of standing up a contracting center of excellence. Saunders said its goal was to improve contract writing and have contracts implemented to better help software developers, program managers and industry partners develop in a truly agile manner and not have contract vehicles timed out.

 

After the panel members had their individual time taking the floor, they addressed questions from the audience on how they hoped industry would further develop artificial intelligence, and longstanding challenges their organizations are still working to resolve.

 

Click here to see the presenters’ PowerPoint slides from this year’s breakfast.

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