Former Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Jonathan Greenert, often asked, “Are we ready to fight tonight?”, because you never know where the next fight’s going to break out, shared Wes Naylor, former Commanding Officer of the Naval Air Warfare Center, Training Systems Division, in a recent conversation with Modern Military Training (MMT).
As Naylor pointed out, it is of vital importance for troops to be fully prepared for theater.
“In the past, you were kind of restricted in how you trained,” said Naylor. “But if you are training in the live, virtual and constructive (LVC) world, you can train on short order for whatever contingency you want before you get there. LVC offers more flexibility than we have ever had before to tailor training on a moment’s notice before you go out the door.”
MMT spoke with Naylor, who is now the president and managing partner of the Coe and Naylor Group, a consulting firm that deals with training, modeling and simulation and assists with bringing clients together with government needs, about LVC and his experience at the Navy’s only warfare center devoted specifically to the science of learning and training.
Here’s what he had to say:
MMT: Why do you think LVC is a necessity for military training today?
Naylor: One fundamental reason is the cost burdens that are imposed to do large-scale exercises. These have, in many ways, become unacceptable to not only the United States Navy, but also to the United States Department of Defense (DoD). We simply don’t have the capability to practice high-end tactical skills with lots of aggressor aircraft or putting lots of ships underway, so we need to come up with a way that we can train our troops to the same level of fidelity and have them face the same – or even more complex – simulations of what they will face in the real world in the virtual environment. LVC offers the best way for us to exercise this capability. So, cost and asset availability are primary drivers behind the demand for LVC.
Also, frankly, we have some military capabilities coming with our latest generation technology that we don’t want other people to see. We want to be able to practice the use of that technology in a closed environment, so that we can develop new techniques and new tactics that we might have to use without other people knowing what those capabilities are. The LVC spectrum provides us the perfect environment in which to do that – to train across the country or across the world as well as within the DoD and with coalition and foreign partners to practice things we might not want everyone to see us practicing together.
MMT: What are some of the other drivers behind the increase in the use of LVC?
Naylor: Another important factor pushing LVC forward is that the quality of simulations has improved dramatically over the past five to 10 years. We are able to put different platforms from different areas together to gain training advantages that we would normally not get to do, except for maybe once or twice in a workup cycle. The more that we can give our warriors high-end, multi-platform training opportunities earlier in their training cycle, the more prepared they will be to face complex scenarios when they get out in the fleet.
We just don’t have the time to go out on deployment and take a month or two to spool up. You have to be ready to fight when you get there. Doing pre-training in a more robust LVC environment helps to ensure that our warfighters are ready to go when they get there, not forcing them to have a “familiarization” and follow-on training once they get into theater.
Want to learn more from Wes Naylor? In our next post, Naylor will share how acquisition policy and procedures can stand in the way of ensuring that our troops are “ready to fight tonight.”