Recently, the Air Force Association held its annual Air, Space and Cyber Conference, an event that brings together both military and industry leaders to discuss the current state of the U.S.’s air defense strategies. With over 9,000 attendees and 31 speaking sessions, there were many takeaways around the challenges that airborne warfighters face and the technology they have at their disposal to alleviate these challenges.
Modern Military Training had the opportunity to take a closer look at how the Air Force is driving innovation in the training realm for warfighters and how technology is making the training process more effective. Here are some of our favorite insights from the show:
Impending Technological Shift
The way warfighters operate both in and out of theater is constantly in flux. General David Goldfein brought attention to this sentiment in his Air Force Update when he stated, “The nature of warfare actually doesn’t change. It’s still a very human activity. But the characteristics of war do change, because the ways of war change.”
This ideology brings attention to the fact that our military today has become far more dependent on connectivity abilities as well as other technological advances like AI and data analytics. Gen. Goldfein also explained in his Air Force Update that the way we approach military offerings today goes something like this: “Does it connect? Good. Can it share? Even better.” That increasing connectivity ability is what keeps warfighters informed and agile in theater.
More Intuitive Training Approaches
But what does that boosted technological dependence mean for training programs? In a session hosted by Lieutenant General Darryl Roberson titled “Continuum of Learning,” we learned that better technology more on par with the sophisticated options in the private sector is driving more comprehensive and effective training programs from the very beginning of an airman’s career.
Lt. Gen. Roberson noted that thanks to blended learning programs, which implement both distance and in-residence training, airmen are able to train more extensively from their home base. That means the training process is less disruptive to their command as well as saves as much as $200 million per year according to Lt. Gen. Roberson.
This improved training approach also allows for more tailored and individualized learning programs that are able to pinpoint problem areas for specific service members, thanks to the advent of artificial intelligence (AI).
“As you go through these [training] courses, the system is able to assess what you’re really learning quickly and what you’ve learned and don’t need repeated anymore and those things that you’re a little bit more trouble with,” stated Lt. Gen. Roberson. “This is interactive. This is individualized. This is learning how you’re doing. And it’s maximizing the learning that you’re going to be able to do.”
Building on the necessity for more complex and higher-end technological solutions necessary to effective training programs, Cubic CEO Brad Feldmann explained how the integration of cloud technology has alleviated several logistical challenges with the training process.
“By putting [content] in the cloud, you solve all kinds of problems with configuration management and ensuring you keep the training up to the latest standards. It’s much easier to get at, so I think cloud computing is absolutely critical to the training process.” That integration makes training systems as nimble and accurate as possible for our warfighters.
A Resulting Cultural Change
With a more learner-centric training approach as well as a military that is more receptive to private sector approaches, today’s warfighters have leaders and programs that are ensuring their success and ensuring our military advantage across the globe.
Because military leaders are leveraging private sector technology more willingly, the priority of innovation is quickly taking the place of tradition. It’s no longer about “how things were always done.” It’s about listening to individual needs of our troops in order to train them in the most effective way possible and embracing the technologies that power that goal.
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