More ROTC programs using computer gaming
November 27, 2012
FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. -- The number of ROTC programs using the Army's flagship gaming engine more than doubled this year and looks to increase even more next year.
The engine -- called Virtual Battlespace 2 (VBS2) -- helps prepare Soldiers for numerous warfighting tasks.
This year 16 ROTC programs used VBS2 compared with only six a year ago. The capability gained popularity with the addition of an application for land navigation, said Maj. Craig Porter of TCM Gaming at the National Simulation Center.
"The game allows the cadets to use a compass and map," he said. "It models the Fort Lewis terrain that the cadets visit to test their land navigation skills. It's a great way to learn and prepare."
One Army ROTC program using VBS2 is at Howard University, Washington D.C.
"We use it for land navigation and patrolling," said Lt. Col. Tyra Sellers, professor of military science at the university.
Yet ROTC use of VBS2 is limited.
The software's license restricts installation to only government computers, but ROTC students use educational computers. Sellers said her program has four government computers, leaving 70 ROTC students with limited computer access to VBS2.
A change is in the works at the Army's Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation to make it easier for ROTC programs to get VBS2 licenses.
"We are working on changing the licensing restrictions in the flagship contracting re-competition in progress right now," said Leslie Dubow, project director for Army Games for Training with PEO STRI, Orlando, Fla.
Maj. Porter said the change will increase opportunities for more than 200 ROTC programs to use VBS2. He said VBS2 can train Soldiers on tasks in fires, maneuver, sustainment and other areas.
Given the popularity of gaming technology, it makes sense for the Army to use its capabilities to prepare Soldiers and ROTC cadets.
"It will introduce these future leaders to the training enablers available when they lead and train Soldiers and provide an immersive opportunity to train on basic skills," Dubow said.
To learn more about the Army's gaming technology visit: https://milgaming.army.mil/.
TCM Gaming and National Simulation Center are subordinate organizations of the Combined Arms Center -- Training. CAC-T is responsible for developing and supporting training and leader development throughout the Army.
Its web site is: http://usacac.army.mil/cac2/CAC-T/ Its Facebook page is: http://www.facebook.com/usacactraining and Twitter handle is: @usacactraining