Army rolls out new apps for MilGaming portal

UrbanSim to help improve battle command for complex counterinsurgency operations

As the fight goes virtual, so do the latest efforts in military training.

The Army Combined Arms Center-Training’s National Simulation Center and the Army Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation (PEO-STRI) are launching a suite of new PC-based virtual training applications through their MilGaming portal. The goal: mastering the art of battle command in the complex terrain of modern combat.

At the forefront of the new MilGaming launch is the release of the latest version of VirtualBattlespace 2 training platform, as well as the upcoming April 2011 launch of UrbanSim, which will focus on leadership and situational awareness in counterinsurgency operations.

“Think SimCity for battalion commanders,” said Michael Barnett, chief engineer for the MilGaming Portal.

The portal itself also contains a number of other capabilities, including a social media element, said Leslie Dubow, PEO-STRI project director for the Army’s Games for Training program.

“From the portal, users can download software, games, updates, patches; they can get peer tech support and share best practices. There are areas for news, events and places to sign up for training. MilGaming is really being used to exchange information,” Dubow said. “This is a website that connects military services with the best training games.”

There is also a Moral Combat application for ethical training and a game that simulates unmanned aerial vehicle operation and imagery analysis, Barnett said.

Roughly 12,000 users have taken advantage of the portal, which can be accessed with a Defense Department common access card, according to Dubow.

The training games focus on developing tactics, techniques and procedures and decision-making skills, through a lens of Southwest Asian operations, Barnett said.

The games result from a variety of collaborations, according to Dubow and Barnett. For example, UrbanSim is being developed in conjunction with the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies, which works on several high-tech military training programs.

“We’re working with academia and subject matter experts to produce training for warrior skills, soft skills, negotiation and decision-making capabilities,” Barnett said. “It’s all about how you put it all together and orchestrate with all the tools you have to be successful.”

About the Author

Amber Corrin is a staff writer covering military networks for Defense Systems.

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