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Featured Training Effectiveness

With a new year ahead of us, we feel like it is a great time to reach out to our regular contributors and get their perspective on the military training trends and predictions for 2017. Dr. Tom Schnell, who recently provides us with a reflection on how military training and LVC has evolved in 2016, shares with us his perspective on the future or military training and simulation.

Modern Military Training Editors: With the New Year here, what should we expect to see in 2017 in terms of advancements in military training and simulation?

Dr. Tom Schnell: This New Year, I believe we’ll see net-centric training and proliferation of lower-cost simulators.

MMT: What challenges do you expect that industry will face?

Dr. Schnell: Cyber security needs to be taken very seriously in such net-centric training evolutions. We need affordable technology that can be easily deployed to create multiple levels of security (MLS)to create ad-hoc networks of training simulators and training events. The biggest damper to LVC has been in the domain of network security.

MMT: How will these challenges be addressed?

Dr. Schnell: LVC needs to be incorporated into the design of airbase and building infrastructure upgrades to support aircrew readiness. This means high bandwidth MLS capable networks and local high bandwidth, mesh-network capable data links that can support enclaves of Live (L) operations and blend them with Virtual and Constructive (VC) operations.

We should also think about creating a DoD broker entity that can connect assets and training requests in real-time around the clock, with the ease of use similar to Uber or eBay. Training squadrons should be enabled to join into the training federation with a very low cost threshold and every squadron should have no fewer low cost training simulators as they have operationally ready aircraft. Low-cost is the key for that aspect of widespread simulator training. We should clamp down on over specifying simulators for this use. There is value in very high end, centralized simulations but all squadrons cannot afford such capabilities.

Also, as a community that is interested in giving our warfighters the best possible training, we truly need to stand up for the aviators who had their flight hours cut. The DoD should look into ways to stop these cuts and increase the number of flight hours again. There are JO winged aviators who have no jets to fly. This should not happen!

MMT: If you had one prediction for 2017, what would it be?  

Dr. Schnell: 2017 will be the year of big trajectory changes for even better training.


Post Author
Tom “MACH” Schnell is a Professor in Industrial Engineering with a specialization in Human Factors/Ergonomics at the University of Iowa. Tom is the Founder and Director of the Operator Performance Laboratory (OPL) at the Center for Computer Aided Design. Tom has an undergraduate degree in EE and an MS and Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering with a specialization in Human Factors. He is a Commercial pilot, research test pilot, and flight instructor with helicopter, jet, and glider ratings. His total flight time in manned aircraft is 5800 hours. Tom’s research focuses on pilot spatial orientation capability, assessment of operator performance in flight, surface transportation, and airwarfare systems. Tom is a member of several technical societies and committees including the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, Transportation Research Board (TRB), the International Illumination Committee (CIE), and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). He has authored or co-authored over 90 technical papers.