Army training takes new realities into account

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Army training takes new realities into account

Ministry of Defense Photo

With an updated field manual, an influx of new weapons systems, and the tactics used in Ukraine changing the nature of warfare, army training is becoming increasingly complicated.

The service refined its evolution toward multi-domain operations and large-scale combat with the release of “Field Manual 3.0 Operations” at the Army’s biggest conference of the year in Washington, DC in October.

It has called for multi-domain operations against peer competitors – which can challenge service on land, sea, air, cyberspace and the electronic spectrum – to be the centerpiece of its combat concept through 2030. .

Army Chief of Staff General James McConville said in a keynote address to the conference that the doctrine “recognizes that the Army will be tested in all areas – in the air, on the ground, sea, space and cyber – and that the future army must be prepared to fight in several fields at the same time.

Brig. General Thomas Feltey, Commandant of the Army Armor School at the Army Maneuver Center of Excellence, said: “There is going to be a cascading effect across all institutions because now we have to start operationalize this new doctrine.

For those who have listened to Army leaders over the past five years, the new doctrine should come as no surprise.

“You have an ever-changing operating environment,” Feltey said during a panel at the Association of the United States Army’s annual conference. “Everyone can see it. If you read the news, you see that things are changing. Part of the character of war is a little different now than it was, and it continues to change.

Additionally, with Army Futures Command’s efforts to modernize the service’s technology, new weapons systems will be pouring into the forces.

The command has committed to deploying 23 new weapon systems by fiscal year 2024.

Things like the next-gen squad weapon are already in the works and will require updated training, Feltey noted.

Brig. Gen. Curtis Taylor, commanding general of the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., said, “We need to think about how the NTC evolves now in light of the changing character of warfare that we see and who are in Ukraine and Nogorno-Karabakh,” he added.

Azerbaijan and Armenia disputed Nogorno-Karabakh in September 2020, and clashes erupted again in September this year.

The Army Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, is the service organization tasked with gathering “lessons learned” from the war in Ukraine and disseminating them to the entire force. It also produced the updated version of FM 3.0 Operations.

The new doctrine defines multi-domain operations as “the combined arms employment of joint and army capabilities to create and exploit relative advantages that achieve objectives, defeat enemy forces, and consolidate gains on behalf of of joint force commanders”.

The new doctrine also emphasizes the concept of a “transparent battlefield,” which assumes the enemy knows exactly where U.S. forces are and what they are doing.

The service must operate in an era of persistent aerial surveillance from space-based remote sensing satellites or unmanned aerial vehicles.

“We bring the transparent battlefield to life at the National Training Center,” Feltey said.

This transparency is a two-way street. The military uses electronic warfare to find, repair and destroy enemy forces. During a recent nine-day exercise, soldiers destroyed 54 command posts operated by blue forces, he said.

The two conflicts in Europe have shown the usefulness of small kamikaze drones which can serve both as surveillance platforms and munitions.

The training center recently held an exercise in which a swarm of 40 drones attacked a defensive position, he said.

Brig. Gen. David Gardner, commanding general of the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana, said soldiers must be trained to operate in transparent, crowded, degraded, no-go zone battlefields.

For example, if their GPS is denied, how do they “downgrade” to analog systems or other precision navigation and timing devices.

“We must pursue realistic training devices that determine training outcomes to counter this environment, fight in this environment, and succeed on the modern battlefield,” he said.

Gen. Gary Brito, commanding general of Training and Doctrine Command, said in a statement, “The TRADOC team is committed to building the Army of 2030 down to the soldier level through training, l education and the exercise of our fundamental operational doctrine”.

To ensure readiness and increase understanding of new operations doctrine, the Army will use mobile training teams to present the revised FM 3.0 to leaders responsible for professional military training in combat and task force training centers. Subject matter experts are also developing a series of training materials and presentations designed to increase unit support, according to an Army statement.

Meanwhile, the military faces other training deadlines. The Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training, and Instrumentation owns two of the 24 technologies the service has committed to fielding by 2024 and supports a third under PEO Soldier.

Karen Saunders, head of PEO STRI, said in an email that these programs, which will be part of the larger synthetic training environment, are on track.

“As the Army’s primary training modernization initiative, the Synthetic Training Environment brings together live, virtual, constructive, and game-based training environments, which will also eventually include interoperability with intelligence components and cyber…and replicates the challenges of combat training across multiple domains,” she said.

One of the technologies underpinning the synthetic training environment is the One World Terrain database which will allow simulator programmers to add up-to-date 3D images of every part of the planet to render rehearsals. more realistic training. Its open architecture software will reproduce the terrestrial, maritime, urban, rural and cyber environment.

Saunders said the first iteration of the database — a minimum viable capacity version — will go live in the spring of 2023. It will then be updated on an annual basis.

The second technology under the Army’s self-imposed deadline is the Squad Immersive Visual Trainer, part of the Integrated Virtual Augmentation System, which falls under PEO Soldier.

It’s a head-up display that soldiers wear in the field that uses augmented reality to overlay information. The Squad Immersive Visual Trainer will use this system for training and leverage the One World Terrain database. Both are on track to meet the 2024 deadline, Saunders said.

PEO STRI is also working on the Synthetic Training Environment-Live Training Environment as its primary simulator, and earlier this year Army leaders challenged to deliver it two years earlier in 2024. .

This simulator will integrate the One World Terrain database and the Squad Immersive Visual Trainer into its system.

To meet the challenge of meeting technological advancements by fiscal year 2024, the office has established an STRI Agile Acquisition Response Team testbed alongside Operational Test Command at Fort Hood, Texas, said Saunders.

“Through a series of soldier touchpoints, the test bed evaluated technologies through direct fire, indirect fire…all supporting an evaluation of a field delivery to the Joint Readiness Training Center during fiscal year 2024,” she said.

The army has a vision and a strategy to prepare the force for multi-domain operations,” she said.

“This is a global solution, which is codified in the army’s modernization strategy. Within the training pillar, the synthetic training environment is central to this vision as it will fundamentally modernize the way we train. It is designed to improve the lethality and trainability of soldiers and units by creating challenging, realistic, iterative and complex training to the point where the unit commander needs it,” she said. .

Col. Scott Woodward, deputy commander of the Combined Arms Center-Training, one of the intended end users for the synthetic training environment, said he works closely with the cross-functional team for the synthetic training environment. synthetic training and Army Futures Command to ensure that all of these technologies and concepts come together and integrate.

“But remember, we’re talking 2030 here. This stuff won’t be ready tomorrow,” he said.

Additionally, the military needs to upgrade its ranges to accommodate new doctrine and technology, Scott said. The center plans to upgrade and modernize its facilities for home training and construction ranges for multi-domain operations.

He is currently designing ranges to accommodate the next-gen squad weapon.

High-tech moving targets will be part of the upgraded ranges. They incorporate electronic and thermal signatures to reproduce different vehicles. By changing the configuration of the “multispectral targets”, the range can reproduce eight different vehicles, he added.

New combat vehicles will be among the technologies that soldiers will have to train on in the years to come.

Four of the Army’s major ground vehicle modernization programs are advancing in fiscal year 2023, senior Army officials said at the conference.

The Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle, Optional Crewed Combat Vehicle, Mobile Protected Firepower, and Robotic Combat Vehicle are all entering new stages of development or fielding.


Topics: Army News, Training and Simulation

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Richard V. Johnson