Training event links IT with military, international partners

Defense Modeling, Simulation, and Analysis

In the Defense Department’s latest homeland defense simulation, a dirty bomb explodes in Baltimore Harbor, setting off a chain of events that endangers the National Capital Region. DOD demonstrated its planned response to this scenario in a training event that used information technology to link several military components and international partners.

The Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) led the demonstration, called the Joint Virtual Training Special Event. The scenario was played out on the floor of the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference, held in Orlando, Fla., this week.

Other participants included the Naval Sea Systems Command, the Space and Missile Defense Command, Air Forces Northern, and teams from Australia and Sweden.

In the scenario, the dirty bomb explosion leads to intelligence about threats emerging from Australia and the fictional country of Bogaland. Two ships are taken down in those countries, but a third is heading for Washington, D.C. It fires two missiles at the capital as the Navy approaches it. Navy Aegis ships shoot down the missiles while Army and Air Force units move to defend the city.

The goal of this event is to train leaders and organizations to work with multinational and interagency partners, JFCOM officials said. Sweden contributed a counterterrorism quick-reaction team and integrated its military simulation with JFCOM’s tactical simulation model.

The event used nine separate simulation technologies, including live, virtual, and constructive naval and air models. Live simulations involve real people using real equipment. In virtual training, real people operate inside computer simulations. Constructive training involves simulated entities in simulated environments.

“This is all geared toward the common purpose of improving the joint training capabilities to the warfighter,” said Maj. Gen. Jason Kamiya, commander of JFCOM’s Joint Warfighting Center.

Modeling and simulation companies have begun making their simulators interoperable, said Greg Knapp, JFCOM’s Joint National Training Capability program manager.

“We’re just beginning to get to the point where we can accelerate into meeting the new warfighting challenge of the current environment,” he said.

That current environment DOD operates in is the urban setting, said Tony Cerri, JFCOM’s Experiment Engineering Department lead. Therefore, JFCOM is focusing on simulating the nonmilitary elements of the urban environment, he said.

DOD’s term for nonkinetic factors in simulations is PMESII, which stands for political, military, economic, social, information and infrastructure.

Earlier this year, JFCOM held the Urban Resolve 2015 set of experiments, which attempted to model PMESII factors. The simulation took place in a virtual environment designed to represent Baghdad, 10 years in the future.

It used the Synthetic Environment for Analysis and Simulation (SEAS), developed by a team at Purdue University.

Experts praise the effort to model nonkinetic factors as necessary for planning military operations in civilian areas. But critics doubt the ability to model human behavior and warn against relying on this still-new capability.

SEAS is useful, but DOD wants more options to deal with PMESII in modeling and simulation. “We need to inculcate in industry and our partners the need to get that kind of stuff in multiple systems and multiple venues,” Cerri said.

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