By Evelyn BurnsSeptember 10, 2012
FORT HOOD, TEXAS -- Soldiers of the 1st Cavalry Division today began a field test of an innovative system that harnesses Army training technology in a new way.
The system is called the Integrated Training Environment (ITE), which is the backbone of the Army Training Concept. It is also the key to providing the complex training environments necessary to develop agile, adaptive leaders and versatile units.
For the field test, the ITE links live, virtual and constructive training simulations and simulators to provide the complex conditions found in current and predicted future operational environments--conditions that the Army cannot afford to replicate solely in live training.
The ITE's goals are to save the Army money, save commanders time, develop leaders, improve unit readiness and expand the training area of operations. The ITE also will contribute to readiness as more units focus on conducting higher-level decisive action exercises and other training at home stations.
At Fort Hood, the Army's TRADOC Project Office -- Integrating Architecture (TPO-IA) from Fort Leavenworth, Kan., is conducting the First Use Assessment to determine if the training system is ready for other posts. The field test will involve more than 600 Soldiers from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division and will end Sept. 28.
The important component of the ITE is the Integrating Architecture (IA). The IA is computer software and hardware, linking training systems that initially were not designed to work together.
"The Army had developed stovepipe training systems that worked well independently, but didn't communicate with each other," said Lt. Col. Shane Cipolla, director of the TPO-IA. "Now the IA allows the training systems to work together to provide commanders and staffs with realistic battlefield information on their digital mission command systems (MCS). The IA is the glue that holds the ITE together."
All of the action -- even action in simulations -- will look live on the MCS as commanders and staff members use the information to make decisions.
In live training, Soldiers are wearing Instrumentable-Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System (I-MILES) and a new training enabler that works with I-MILES. It's called the Homestation Instrumentation Training System (HITS).
In virtual training, helicopter crews are in Aviation Combined Arms Tactical Trainer (AVCATT), and tank and infantry fighting vehicle crews are in the Close Combat Tactical Trainer (CCTT).
In constructive training, participants work on PC-like systems, using a computer mouse to move icons that portray units and equipment. The current constructive simulation is the Joint Conflict and Tactical Simulation (JCATS).
The Fort Hood field test will identify issues requiring resolution before the system is fielded to other posts. With each fielding, the Army will address problems, add capabilities, and retrofit systems previously fielded with new capabilities. For example, gaming was not a requirement for the Fort Hood exercise, but will be added to the next increment of the ITE.
The Army plans to provide ITE capabilities to Forts Bliss, Campbell and Drum as well as to units in South Korea during fiscal year 2013. In FY14, the Army projects to provide ITE capabilities to Forts Carson, Riley, and Stewart and to Hawaii.