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As military virtual training becomes a more integral piece of training today’s warfighters, it’s important for experts in academia, defense, and industry to have an opportunity to gather and discuss how to strategically partner and provide the most cutting-edge training technologies. The 2019 Military Virtual Training and Simulation Summit, hosted by the Defense Strategies Institute, is taking place from May 22-23 in Alexandria, VA, to accomplish just that.

To learn more about what to expect at this year’s event, the Modern Military Training team caught up with Steven Flannery, the event’s producer. In our discussion, we touched on challenges facing the virtual training and simulation arena and where the industry is headed as we adopt more virtual solutions in our defense training. Here’s what he had to say:

Modern Military Training (MMT) Editors: What are the key themes for this year’s event? What sessions or talks are you most looking forward to?

Steven Flannery: The theme for the 2019 Military Virtual Training and Simulation Summit is ensuring that America’s Warfighters are prepared for any challenge they may face as we return to a Great Power Competition world. For almost two decades now, U.S. Forces have been involved in mostly counter insurgent operations but now with the re-emergence of Russia and China as threats, the potential battlefield is one that we have not really trained for since the end of the Cold War.

I’m most looking forward to hearing Colonel Driggers, Commander of the 80th Flying Training Wing, speak.  It will be interesting to see how modeling and simulation (M&S) can be used to train not just U.S. forces, but also pilots from our NATO allies.

MMT Editors: What would you say are some of the main challenges in the defense community with regards to M&S adoption?

Flannery: One of the main challenges is the lack of interoperability of the systems. The various branches of the military tend to design their own systems, but when it comes to training for a multi-domain fight everyone needs to be able to pool their resources and know-how together.

Another problem would be the speed at which new training technology is developed. Private Industry moves at a rapid pace and new, better modeling and simulation systems are coming out every day. The military is a reactive organization that can’t move as fast as the private sector and tends to lag behind their capabilities. A key question becomes how do we make sure that soldiers are receiving best training available?

MMT Editors: How are academia, industry, and defense partnering together to overcome those challenges?

Flannery: Academia, industry, and the DoD are working together to develop cutting edge technologies that will enable U.S. forces to be prepared for any challenge they may face. The key effort in the military was the creation of the Synthetic Training Environment (STE) in order to bring together the virtual, constructive, and gaming training environment.

MMT Editors: What are some of the cutting-edge technologies that are surfacing that you think will make the biggest impact on the M&S space?

Flannery: I can think of a couple. The first is One World Terrain – this is the biggest push in the M&S space right now. It will allow U.S. Forces to train in any environment and any terrain. This will increase their readiness while also reducing cost of training. Warfighters can train in a jungle or desert environment while stationed in upstate New York or Alaska. No longer will the military have to spend millions of dollars in transportation and materiel to move soldiers, sailors, and airmen to national training centers.

Another is advanced flight simulator technologies – Virtual flight training allows the services to train pilots faster, safer, and cheaper. Flying virtually allows pilots to make mistakes and not risk injury or damage to expensive aircraft.

The Modern Military Training team is a proud media partner for the 2019 Military Virtual Training and Simulation Summit and looks forward to hearing about the key takeaways from this year’s show and learning more about what the M&S community has to offer in the coming years. You can register to attend this year’s show here.

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