Ryan D. McCarthy, the 33rd Under Secretary of the Army, took time out from his busy schedule to visit the Synthetic Training Environment Cross Functional Team (STE/CFT) at the Combined Arms Center Training Facility (CAC-TIF), National Simulation Center (NSC), Thursday, February 22 at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. McCarthy’s visit was a part of a larger trip, which included briefings from other U.S. Army Combined Arms Center organizations and initiatives.
McCarthy — accompanied by Lt. Gen. Michael Lundy, commanding general of the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center (CAC) — made the trip to discuss the work of the Synthetic Training Environment Cross Functional Team (STE/CFT), learn their needs, view demonstrations of the innovative capabilities they are developing with industry partners, to share his insights based on the Army point of view and discuss how he can mitigate constraints they may be experiencing.
The CFTs are a vital part of the push toward Army Modernization. A new Modernization Command would be made up of CTFs, which would be led by a director and report directly to McCarthy and the vice chief of staff of the Army. Their mission would be to improve the quality and speed of delivery of new materiel and capabilities to the Force.
The first demonstration McCarthy received was the efforts of the One World Terrain (OWT) Team and their work to provide Army units with the ability to select and use any piece of global terrain for simulations based training. This isn’t about any one program: According to McCarthy, “It’s stepping back and looking at a common architecture, as opposed to particular issues with hardware (or) software.”
The OWT effort also plans to provide units with the ability to create home station virtual terrain through the use of commercially available drones and software to map and virtualize a portion of their local training area specific to their needs and training objectives, and to share them with other units.
McCarthy also saw the virtual collective trainers that leverage software to allow reconfigurable replication of various vehicle platforms and weapons systems rather than current non-reconfigurable material mock ups that are much more expensive to develop and sustain.
McCarthy was also interested in how the CAC-TIF Team has been experimenting toward an innovative, streamlined requirements development process that involves Army partners, Industry partners, Soldiers, and academia much earlier and often that ultimately shaves years off of the requirements development/fielding process and delivers better training capabilities into the hands of Soldiers/units and at dramatically lower cost. “How do we get better, and how do we get faster? We’re trying to reduce the number of layers.” McCarthy said.
The STE/CFT is focused on not only improving training, but in developing new processes that get the best training systems to the field as quickly as possible.
According to Major General Maria Gervais, director of the Synthetic Training Environment Cross Functional Team, “We want our Soldiers to enter into a synthetic training environment that immerses them in diverse, complex operational environments that replicate where they will fight, who they will fight, [and] the terrain they will fight on. The STE will provide the warfighter the repetitions necessary to rapidly acquire and master the individual through BCT collective skills necessary to train [and] win in multi-domain battle.”