By Mrs. Michelle Milliner (RDECOM)March 2, 2011
ORLANDO -- The Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ray Smith Simulation and Training Technology Center, an organization of the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, hosted Lt. Gen. Markku Koli, Chief of Defence Command, Finnish Defence Forces.
Gen. Cartwright, Vice Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, invited his counterpart to visit various installations with a goal of further garnering the relationship between the U.S. and Finland.
During the weeklong whirlwind tour, Koli visited STTC along with the United States Air Force Warfare Center, Headquarters United States Special Operations Command, Headquarters United States Central Command, Headquarters United States Cyber Command and the Pentagon.
In 1998, then Maj. Koli, first visited the Simulation, Training and Instrumentation Command's Technology Development Center that would later become the STTC and part of the U.S. Army's Research, Development and Engineering Command. At the time, he was so impressed with what he saw that upon his return to Finland he leveraged his experience here to benchmark Finland's training program.
According to Col. David Royal, Air Force Attache to Finland, Koli specifically requested to visit the STTC. "He wanted to see how much had changed in the last 13 years."
Col. Craig Langhauser, commander, STTC, gave Koli a brief overview on the strategic research areas and goals of the center. He explained the significant training changes and challenges over the past decade and how the STTC is researching innovative training methods to better prepare Warfighters around the world.
Dr. Robert Sottilare, chief technology officer, STTC discussed his team's progress in the area of intelligent tutoring. In the future, intelligent tutors will be able to pace learning based on subtle user indicators, such as furrowed brows depicting confusion or wandering eyes suggesting boredom.
"Everybody should be interested in how people learn" said Koli. "This is really wonderful stuff, there are many applications, education, business...."
While touring the labs at the STTC, Koli participated in technology demonstrations that included dismounted Soldier training environments, mobile apps for training, virtual world research and the latest in medical training, including synthetic tissue research.
At the conclusion of the visit, Koli said he had no specific goals when he came here except to leverage ideas on the use of modeling and simulation for training. "I have often referred to this area [Orlando] as the Silicon Valley of Florida. What you do here is just wonderful. Knowledge is going to be the key to the future...it is universal," said Koli.