USAICoE drives learning to tactical edge
December 13, 2012
Fort Huachuca, AZ. - A collaborative effort to fundamentally redesign institutional training is underway, and the U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence, or USAICoE, Fort Huachuca, is playing a critical role.
The commanding general of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, Fort Eustis, Va., is giving USAICoE his nod of approval for its implementation of the Army Learning Model, or ALM.
While recently visiting Fort Huachuca, Gen. Robert Cone received briefings from several USAICoE organizations including the Learning Innovation Office.
Maj. Gen. Gregg Potter, commanding general of USAICoE and Fort Huachuca, discussed the school's transformation to facilitated, peer-based learning.
"It is our intent to design and develop relevant formal and informal distributed learning content that captures the imagination of the new generation of warfighters and builds upon their operational experiences," Potter said. "Delivery is also key. Content must be easily discoverable, accessible, playable and trackable."
Cone told Intelligence Center leadership he is impressed with the school's curriculum which is not only technology-rich and platform agnostic, but also instructionally-sound.
"We need to capture best practices such as these, pull them into TRADOC headquarters and propagate them to our schools and centers, ensuring commonality and sharing," he said.
Potter agreed, adding the way ahead for ALM is through standardization.
"To effectively and efficiently train the Army of 2020 as a superior fighting force, we must build around a base capability and then resource it across TRADOC," he said. "This will require leveraging existing resources and identifying new ones."
Col. Jeff Jennings, deputy commander of Training, USAICoE, elaborated that institutionalizing the capability makes sense, especially in an era of declining resources where TRADOC schools are being asked to do more with less.
"We all would be best served in establishing a central repository to harmonize intelligence requirements and three-letter agencies," Jennings said.
According to Potter, the initiative will require a degree of governance and oversight to be successful.
"It will call for establishing, for lack of a better term, a configuration and control board not only for the course being developed, but for other courses and CoEs," he said.
Lt. Gen. David Halverson, deputy commanding general of TRADOC, also visited USAICoE and shared his thoughts on how the initiative should be structured with regard to manpower.
"From a matrix perspective, we should design this with a blending of green suits, Department of the Army civilians and in-house contract support," Halverson said.
In recent years, the Army has relied on outside contract companies to develop interactive multimedia instruction, gaming and distributed learning.
Jennings stated leveraging an in-house capability and working within a community of interest allows the government to be more efficient.
"Contract companies will build the greatest training tool in the world," he said. "The only catch -- you must use their proprietary software and pay associated licensing fees, which aren't cheap."
Jennings added that maintaining and updating course material developed by outside contractors presents its own set of challenges.
"It's not always feasible to return to the same contractor who developed the first iteration, so a new contract must be established for a new developer," he said. "The new developer typically builds to a slightly different standard, resulting in a completely different product that does not fit well with products already built. This approach adds costs to IMI development in the out-years."
The LIO offers USAICoE an in-house capability to develop, maintain and update courseware in a cost-effective and efficient manner.
Leanne Rutherford is director of LIO, which plays a key role in the school's implementation of ALM.
"The Learning Innovation Office is the pulse, if you will, for transforming the center and school to a learner-centric institution through different learning strategies," Rutherford said.
LIO's core competency is instructional design, the systematic process that combines educational theory and training development to accomplish a desired learning outcome.
During their respective briefings, Cone and Halverson met LIO instructional designers and developers and viewed the Collection Asset Management Simulator, or CAMS, the organization's latest product release.
CAMS is an Afghanistan-based simulation that consists of two products, Operation Kanjhar Strike and Operation Kanjhar Storm.
TRADOC leadership also viewed a demonstration of the Intelligence Combat Training Center's Information Collection Guide. LIO developed the guide as an interactive encyclopedia for student use during training.