Written by Ellis Pines – May 27, 2021
Defense leaders are anticipating a dramatically sped-up future battlefield: Technically astute near-peer adversaries in a “conventional confrontation,” colored by lightning-fast streams of information and cyberattacks; the persistence of long-term strategic competition without distinct winners and losers, testing resolve and stamina; cooperative partnerships with friendly forces, representing different approaches; and multi-domain operations that simultaneously connect the soldier with sea, air, space and cyberspace.
In this new world, characterized by unprecedented speed and streaming inputs, the soldier must focus, keep calm and achieve the mission. The demand for training is absolutely critical.
On April 19, 2021, Australia Chief of Army Lieutenant General Rick Burr, AO, DSC, MVO, defined these challenges ahead: “Technology, the environment and demographics are interacting with changes in the behavior of states and groups. These changes are accelerating, and armies must be ready to operate across the spectrum of cooperation, competition and conflict, in all domains, up close and at distance. This environment is what our Army calls Accelerated Warfare. In Accelerated Warfare, we know our Army will be expected to be more responsive, and do more things in more places, more of the time, and always as part of the joint force.”
He called the current defense strategy “an Army in motion, an Army that balances and transitions between the present and future in individuals, teams, concepts and equipment. We call this balance ready now and future ready.”
Then he noted that while maturing technologies are essential to acceleration, training people is crucial to making it work: “… Sustaining and maintaining a technological edge over potential adversaries is becoming more challenging. Where we can maintain an edge is in the large scale integration, synchronization and coordinated employment of new technology, coupled with superior training and decision-making. This is why people must be at the center of our efforts. Technology is not an advantage in itself. People get technology to work and keep it working in dirty, austere and contested land environments …” (Emphasis supplied)
Training for Accelerated Warfare: Be smart. Be accurate. Be very fast.
A year earlier, addressing the graduates of the Royal Military Academy Duntroon (RMC-D), Lieutenant General Burr encouraged new officers to prepare for the changes they will encounter: “We are ready for a future defined by accelerating and converging change, across military operating domains, sectors of society and the global system. Our concept of Accelerated Warfare aptly describes these realities. Our ability to succeed in this rapidly changing environment requires an operating system that can operate at speed and scale.”
For soldiers, accelerated warfare translates into heightened situation awareness as well as fast and precise responses to threats, from anywhere at any time. Preparation requires honing the ability to respond physically and mentally in seconds … or less. For decision-making and marksmanship, virtual simulation is clearly a cost-effective, flexible tool for creating optimal alertness and kinetic skills.
However, the simulation must depict immersive realism through three-dimensional targets, relevant scenarios, high-fidelity ballistics that accurately reflect and track the path of ammunition, sound effects and many other features. Finally, the system must have a proven track record with rigorous military training programs. Only then can trainers be assured that they are readying troops for the kind of action they can expect.
The FATS® 180MIL: An example of proven, advanced simulation for the emerging environment
To help troops stand up to the dynamics of future warfare, the 180° high-definition projection and 5.1 surround sound increase the realism of training, heightening awareness and proper use of force responses. It literally immerses trainees in the action, facing realistic pressures displayed on three ultra-short-throw projection screens. Since the screens surround trainees in a 180-degree virtual environment, threats swiftly swarm from any angle, catching them unaware and building survival skills. With the induced stress, they discover that maintaining situation awareness demands the utmost concentration.
When trainees exercise their firepower, the system uses the same high-fidelity ballistic engine validated by the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps and other military customers. The system meets military requirements for accurate ballistic characteristics in flight and enforcement of proper fundamentals of marksmanship. Soldiers have the further advantage of using untethered BlueFire®9mm Browning Mk3 pistol and EF88 assault rifle simulated weapons.
Trainers can also configure the screens into a flat surface in order to support traditional marksmanship training range simulation.
Courseware and hostile fire: Upping the pressure and measuring the physiological response
InVeris simulation courseware provides a safe way to improve skills in collective as well as individual training sessions. Courseware is available for judgmental and marksmanship, including qualification courses for the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy, military police and all-defense applications. You can also accompany scenarios with an optional Hostile Fire System, firing foam pellets and forcing trainees to use cover.
Also optional are advanced biometric devices, supported by the FATS 180MIL, to capture a trainee’s heart and respiratory rate in real time. This data can also be replayed in the analysis and after action review.
Adapting to the speed of machines: “Own the time”
Lieutenant General Burr’s published statement on Accelerated Warfare concludes, “Put together, the geopolitical context, changing threat, disruptive technologies and domain integration mean that we must prepare for an accelerating environment. Future warfare, in certain parts, will be fought at the speed of machines with success belonging to the side who can adapt the fastest. Future advantage will lie with the side who can ‘own the time’ and best prepare the environment.”