Better terror-fighting training through IT

Defense Department officials want to spend $1.3 billion through 2011 to make training more realistic for warfighters battling terrorism, a top DOD training official said today during a luncheon briefing of the Industry Advisory Council.

The new Training Transformation (T2) initiative relies on advanced technologies to make military training and education better, cheaper, faster and more readily available for warfighters. Military officials want personnel to train the way they fight in Iraq and Afghanistan with troops and capabilities from the three services, defense and government agencies and coalition countries, said Dan Gardner, director of readiness and training in the Policy and Program Directorate of the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness.

"We want to put some joint flavor with the training," Gardner said.

For example, Air Force officials installed and operated a mobile threat emitter system at the Army's National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif. This enabled pilots to more closely practice providing air cover and support for soldiers on the ground in conditions similar to those in combat, he said.

T2 has three parts that use information technology to make training more joint, Gardner said. They include:

Joint National Training, which involves including the capabilities of the three services when warfighers train with their units.

Joint Knowledge Development and Distribution, which involves developing online courses so commanders and their staffs can train the way they would lead in combat.

Joint Assessment and Enabling, which involves measuring the effectiveness of joint national training and joint knowledge development and distribution.

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