Beginning in 1966 the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) started out as the Naval Training Device Center/Industry Conference, and by 1997, it expanded and adjusted to the yearly modeling, simulation, and training conference that it is today. Around this time every year, government, industry, and academia all convene in Orlando, FL for the world’s largest modeling and simulation event. The event is always jam packed with peer-reviewed paper presentations, tutorials, workshops, exhibits, serious games competition, and even STEM events for teachers and secondary students. The National Training and Simulation Association (NTSA), which is an affiliate subsidiary of the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) organizes this yearly event, but of course, it’s 2020. So, everyone pivoted and this year, and brought vIITSEC to its vendors and attendees, with a fitting theme: The Future is Now.
Conference attendees can access all exhibition materials, and sponsors like Lockheed, Boeing, Booz Allen, SAIC, and L3Harris are all in attendance. Of course attendees can even enter the Booz Allen sponsored game room, as the site was designed for maximum interaction. All content will be available to participants for the next few months for on demand viewing.
IITSEC Reconfigures to VIITSEC in 2020
RADM James Robb, President of the National Training and Simulation Association states that since warfighters don’t get the year off due to the pandemic, neither should the I/ITSEC mission, making the virtual model a must have instead of a nice to have.
“It’s been quite a year,” observes RADM Robb. “In a COVID year, all the services are ‘all in’ and they have consistently ‘gone the extra mile’ to make this happen. It’s been an exceptional response from all those folks and I think it makes clear that training and simulation education are important to them as well.“
Bob Kleinhample, Vice President, Training Solutions at SAIC kicked off the event, welcoming the virtual crowd and displaying the virtual capabilities that the modeling, simulation, and training world has to offer.
Virtual Environment Delivers VIITSEC Theme: The Future is Now
Referencing the well known phrase “If you want peace, prepare for war,” the conference kicked off with an in depth look at the desire for peace at home, and what that takes to prepare warfighters and educate the next generation, further highlighting the relevancy of the conference theme. As we all sit at home watching the conference virtually due to a virus that entered the world this time last year, the future truly is now. How do we innovate today for the missions of the future?
Words cannot even express how moving Col Greg Gadson’s description of his near death roadside bomb experience in 2007, as well as his heart of a soldier, his team player mentality, and his drive for meeting tomorrow’s challenges. He cites the need for innovation at the creation, design, and development stages today. Col Gadson highlights the value of the people behind the innovation, and the need for teamwork in national security.
Conference Highlights on Day 1
- SAIC CEO Nazzic Keen highlighted the changing dynamics in the workforce, and she promoted the value of technology as the future of training and simulation in order to continue to grow in capabilities.
- Honorable Alan Shaffer, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment emphasized that we need to maximize the use of existing commercial products and tools and reconfigure to support DoD needs – a sentiment that has been shared regularly. Since great power competition is a key threat outlined in the National Defense Strategy, the defense community needs to continually strive to improve in order to not only keep up but rise above. The impact of intellectual theft by China leaves a mark on U.S. national security.
- General John Murray, Commanding General at the Army Futures Command confirmed that the ability to operate “at the edge” all comes down to hiring and retaining the right talent.
- VADM Mike Moran, Principal Military Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition said that we can’t afford to continue to operate in former ways, so the time to make changes is now. Training is the key to driving readiness and maintaining proficiency, and it’s about getting it to the warfighter when and where they need it. Simulation environment brings the complex world to warfighters and helps them navigate the varied scenarios that they will face. Complex and costly systems need simulation and advanced training efforts, so advanced training that is interoperable is critical.
- Major General Maria Gervais, Director, Synthetic Training Environment Cross Functional Team points out that access to information remains a hot commodity. Disinformation sows the seeds of distrust, so it’s important to train to get after this threat. Managing data is a key, and the modeling and simulation community is driving the future from the middle.
- Brigadier General Traci Kueker-Murphy, Mobilization Assistant to the Director of Integrated Air, Space, Cyberspace and Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance Operations states, “Our safety and security depends on a stable space domain. It’s like building a spaceship from an airline while it’s in flight.” It takes everyone working together to achieve space goals. Innovation is a key driver in future success, and visualization tools will help the Space Force to win when deterrence fails. Readiness is key, and simulation and virtual training tools deliver what’s needed for the warfighter.