Army spearheads digital forces
- By George I. Seffers
- Jul 10, 2000
The Army is equipping its first digitized division, the 4th Infantry
Division in Fort Hood, Texas, with critical battlefield awareness software
and Spearhead, a commercial tank combat computer game.
The software, Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below (FBCB2), is at
the heart of the Army's effort to digitize its forces and provide soldiers
with vital battlefield information, especially the location of friendly
and enemy forces.
It is designed for use on the battlefield and displays data with icons on a
computerized map of the battlefield. Spearhead has 3-D graphics that enable
players to act as platoon leaders with the Army's 3rd Armored Division.
That division, formerly known as the Spearhead Division, no longer exists.
The Army's Simulation, Training and Instrumentation Command (Stricom)
has combined the two software packages so that soldiers can train on the
FBCB2 software before using it in the field and to keep their skills sharp
for the future. The service expects to complete fielding the combined package
at Fort Hood within 60 days and eventually will equip the remaining force
with FBCB2, according to a Stricom spokesman.
"The beauty of this is that instead of having to pick up and go through
[an FBCB2] manual page by page, you can actually create in a low-cost environment
a scenario that will stress your digital skills, your ability to create
and send the appropriate digital messages based on this unfolding scenario,"
the spokesman said.
Army trainers teaching troops to use the FBCB2 software can use the combined
package to change terrain, threat, time of day or atmospheric conditions.
In addition, individual soldiers, squads or platoons can train interactively
from remote locations.