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Military Virtual Training & Simulation Summit to Highlight VR in the Armed Forces

An event just outside of the Washington, D.C. area will examine the role that VR can play in military training and ongoing preparedness for combat and noncombat operations.

Thanks to enhancements in VR, military training is quickly reaching a point where it can be done anywhere. The 2019 Military Virtual Training & Simulation Summit, taking place May 22-23 in Alexandria, Virginia, will explore some of the ways that’s happening, as well as what it means for the military and its stakeholders.

The two-day conference will bring together leaders from the U.S. Department of Defense, technology leaders and academics to discuss how VR can streamline the military’s operations.

Preparing for Future Battles

The changing global power structure means that conflicts today look different than they did even 10 or 15 years ago. Above all, the Military Virtual Training & Simulation Summit’s goal is to help military leaders understand that VR and related technologies can help soldiers prepare for modern-day combat.

“The theme for the 2019 summit is ensuring that America’s warfighters are prepared for any challenge they may face,” said conference producer Steven Flannery. “For almost two decades, U.S. forces have been involved in mostly counter insurgent operations. But now with the re-emergence of Russia and China as threats, the potential battlefield is one that we have not really trained for.”

Like a lot of government organizations, the military often struggles to keep pace with changing technology. As a result, the summit will focus on ways that the military can incorporate technology into existing processes.

“Private Industry moves at a rapid pace and new, better modeling and simulation systems are coming out every day,” Flannery said. “The military is a reactive organization. It can’t move as fast as the private sector. A key question becomes how do we make sure that soldiers are receiving the best training available?”

Military Virtual Training & Simulation Summit

Using VR to Simulate Combat

The reason VR is important is because it allows soldiers to simulate combat in remote villages and dense cities without ever having to leave home base. According to Marine Corps Times, former U.S. Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, said every soldier should fight 25 simulated battles before entering live combat.

The conference will cover almost every branch of the U.S. military, along with diplomatic operations like NATO. Other topics on the agenda include cybersecurity and using VR to provide training for military medics.

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“One will be able to train in a jungle or desert environment while stationed in upstate New York or Alaska,” Flannery said. “No longer will the military have to spend millions to move soldiers, sailors and airmen to national training centers.”

Furthermore, Flannery pointed to flight simulator training as a specific example of how VR can prepare soldiers for real-life combat.

“Virtual flight training allows the services to train pilots faster, safer, and cheaper,” Flannery said. “Flying virtually allows pilots to make mistakes and not risk injury or the damage to expensive aircraft.”    

Learn More

Among the most noteworthy speakers at the Military Virtual Training & Simulation Summit are Col Joseph Nolan, deputy director of the U.S. Army Modeling and Simulation Office, as well as Joseph Ranguth, chief of simulations operations at the National Simulation Center.

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To register for the event, hosted by Defense Strategies Institute and taking place at the Mary M. Gates Learning Center, click here.

Jenna Spinelle
the authorJenna Spinelle
Jenna Spinelle is a freelance journalist based in Pennsylvania. She loves learning about new ideas and new technologies and sharing that information with others. She holds a degree in journalism from Penn State University, and currently teaches journalism as an adjunct instructor at the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications. When she's not writing or teaching, you can find her hosting and producing the Democracy Works podcast.