The incredible advances in biosystems technology, AI, and virtual reality have undoubtedly opened up new avenues for more rigorous, effective training that helps warfighters push the boundaries of human performance. The impact of these technologies is, in fact, so profound that such technologies seep into everything that the military does. On August 13th, industry leaders will come together at the 2019 Human Performance and Biosystems Summit to discuss the ongoing evolution in human performance and the impact of these emerging technologies on warfighter performance.
As a media sponsor of the event, Modern Military Training sat down with Cheyenne Ligon, a Defense and Government Program Associate at Defense Strategies Institute, to discuss the upcoming event and what attendees can expect. During our conversation, Ligon gave us some insights into the technologies that industry will be exhibiting at the Summit, and the exciting speakers who will attract an audience .
To find out more, read on below.
Modern Military Training (MMT) Editors: What are some of the key themes being covered at this year’s Human Performance and Biosystems Summit?
Cheyenne Ligon: The summit encompasses themes that fall into the two titular categories: human performance and biosystems. On the human performance, the speakers will discuss everything from physical and mental optimization, injury prevention, and combat casualty care. The biosystems-focused speakers will cover topics including wearable devices and exoskeletons, neurotechnology, biological countermeasures, and genetic engineering.
MMT Editors: Which speaker or panel are you most looking forward to at this year’s event?
Ligon: I’m looking forward to MG Lonnie Hibbard’s talk on the Army’s Holistic Health and Fitness program. The more we understand about the human mind, the more we learn that the warfighter’s performance is not just about their physical capabilities. A holistic approach is necessary—this includes physical fitness, spiritual wellness, balanced nutrition, and cognitive performance.
I’m also very excited to hear from Elsa Kania, a Center for a New American Security Senior Fellow and China researcher. Her talk will focus on Chinese experimentation with the weaponization of biotechnology. I think having an awareness of adversarial capabilities is a major part of this conversation and having her speak will add a necessary depth to the conversation.
MMT Editors: Tell us a bit about the important relationship between the human elements and the hardware/software elements of a military training program.
Ligon: Evolutions in technology have made human-machine interactions an increasingly important part of this field. Technology is part of everything the military does, both in training and on the battlefield. This includes everything from wearable sensors that track the users’ physical or mental state, to neurotechnological devices that can be used to enhance the wearer’s cognitive abilities, to wearable artificial immune systems that protect the warfighter in areas with dangerous endemic diseases.
On the combat casualty care side of things, we’ve also heard a lot about the importance of virtual training capabilities and AI systems in simulating emergency medical situations. Preparing the warfighter for what they could encounter in an operational environment is a key part of human performance enhancement.
MMT Editors: Where do you see military training headed with regards to the integration of new technologies like wearables and cognitive performance tracking?
Ligon: I think we’re moving in the direction of wearables and cognitive performance tracking being ubiquitous in military training. Gathering and analyzing data from the warfighter enables our military to make better, more informed decisions about the user’s cognitive and physical abilities, predict and prevent injury, and ensure training efficiency by tailoring it to the user. While it’s difficult to know how long such a shift will take, the sheer usefulness of this technology ensures it will have an important place in the future of military training.
To find out more about the Human Performance and Biosystems Summit and to register, click here.