The Future Immersive Training Environment transitions to the Army and Marine Corps after technological demonstrations showcase value to joint warfighters’ training and mission readiness.
By Navy MC2 (SW/AW) Amanda Dunford
(NORFOLK, Va. – Ju1y 27, 2011) – A U.S. Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM) joint capability technology demonstration (JCTD) recently concluded and is starting to transition to service programs of record.
The OSD Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Rapid Fielding Office-sponsored Future Immersive Training Environment (FITE) JCTD featured virtual and mixed-reality based training that was tested by Marines and soldiers during two spirals of demonstrations that occurred at Camp Lejeune, N.C.; Camp Pendleton, Calif.; and Fort Benning, Ga., challenging their decision making skills during realistic, mission-intensive scenarios.
The JCTD featured two development spirals, with significant technology and cognitive science capabilities brought to bear, to allow participants and their squads to focus on decision-making in complex operational environments. The teams went through multiple scenarios, with role players, animatronics, videos, sound effects, smells and realistic environments challenging their senses. Observers watched every movement conducted by the teams and afterwards reviewed them with the Marines and soldiers.
“We embedded scenarios with decision themes into FITE that were brought to life through an immersive virtual world,” said Jay Reist, FITE JCTD operational manager. “One of the key attributes of that technology was an enhanced after-action review capability that provided the mentor, teacher and trainer the ability to focus in and replay key events that took place within the training scenarios themselves to create a mental model for applying that learning.”
“What we found out from situational judgment tests was that the FITE experience enhanced their decision making capabilities as individuals, teams and leaders,” he continued. “So we didn’t just have a system that we thought we could feel good about that made a difference, we actually measured and assessed it.”
The FITE JCTD provided technology prototypes to the services for use in their programs of record, Reist explained.
“We believe that we achieved what it was we were after -- emphasis on small unit complex decision-making, integrating emergent technology to support learning, and a significant focus on the sensemaking skills necessary to be successful in complex and unknown situations," Reist said.
As part of the JCTD, USJFCOM collaborated with all the military services, the Joint Staff, the Office of Naval Research, U.S. Special Operations Command, the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization, industry partners and academia.
“JCTDs are about teaming with the combatant commands, services, agencies and international partners under the leadership of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering in order to speed capabilities to our warfighters” said Jim Clark, USJFCOM’s JCTD program manager.
The Program Executive Office Simulation, Training and Instrumentation Office, which is the FITE JCTD transition manager, is working with the services going forward to integrate FITE's capabilities into their programs of record.