BAGHDAD - Iraqi Army officers are studying how to create interactive, digital worlds within software that United States Forces-Iraq instructors and advisors refer to as "the game."
The Joint Training Center at Camp Taji uses C4i Consultants' Military Simulation for its 30-day Military Simulation Operator's Course, which prepares students to work as observer controllers for future MILSIM training exercises.
"[The course] gives these Iraqi Army officers a basic understanding of how to run a MILSIM course," said Sgt. 1st Class Virgil Moore, senior enlisted advisor and noncommissioned officer-in-charge of the Joint Training Center with the Iraq Training and Advisory Mission-Army.
The students learn how to build a simulation and how to run an exercise once it is built into the system, to build the game from start to finish, said Moore, a native of Ashland, Ky.
Prior to the 2010 Parliamentary elections on March 7, the Iraqi Army conducted MILSIM exercises to run senior staff officers through "worst case" scenarios like sabotaged electricity grids, bridge bombings and mass casualties at voting stations.
"The election based scenario was a great success," Moore said. "We identified things for them to improve on, and they secured the polling stations with very few attacks."
MILSIM is similar to the Janus system the U.S. military uses, and it does not require as many contractors or resources, said U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Jesse Barr, Taji Training Center senior enlisted advisor with ITAM-Army.
MILSIM runs in real time.
"They have to compensate and plan for the amount of time it takes to get from point A to point B," said Barr, a native of Hubert Heights, Ohio.
Terrain is built into MILSIM. Operators can input elevation, build friendly and enemy forces, different types of units, mountains, lakes, swamps, civilians, military vehicles, motorcycles, Improvised Explosive Devices, etc.
MILSIM also allows operators to switch fluidly from English to Arabic.
Normally we use the MILSIM to bring in brigade, division and battalion commanders, Moore said. They learn tactical movement to maneuver, how to use their forces, and how to give operations orders. ITAM-Army advisors then conduct an After Action Review to improve future training.
It is important for the Iraqi Army to step into the future with this type of technology, Barr said. MILSIM is resource free, even if the resources aren't there for the Iraqi Army to conduct full-scale exercises, they can continue to train with this system.
MILSIM is a beneficial program that improves the decision making of Iraqi Army security forces, said Iraqi Army Staff Brig. Gen. Jasim Mohammed, an instructor with the Ministry of Defense's War College, National Defense University in Baghdad.
"I understand there is a committee formed in MoD for the purpose of studying all aspects of this program; so, as soon as possible we can purchase a program like this for our units," Jasim said.
The ITAM-Army mission is to train the Iraqi army, Barr said. MILSIM is a primary tool to conduct force on force operations training in order to better protect Iraq's borders.
"Everything that we try to do is to always have the Iraqis out front," Moore said. "In the future, instead of the U.S. actually running the MILSIM training, they will see an Iraqi officer with them who has knowledge of the MILSIM helping conduct the training. The hope is that once we leave they're able to pick it up and conduct training on their own."
Editor's note: Menegay is a member of the Ohio Army National Guard's 196th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment attached to the U.S. Forces-Iraq Deputy Commanding General for Advising and Training Public Affairs Office.