Tactical Gaming Teaches Warfighters Real-World Scenarios

Highlight: Tactical Gaming Teaches Warfighters Real-World Scenarios

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A Ukrainian army noncommissioned officer assigned as a simulations instructor at the Yavoriv Combat Training Center takes notes during Virtual Battlespace Simulator 3 familiarization training at the CTC on the International Peacekeeping and Security Center in Western Ukraine, on Sept. 27. U.S. Army personnel from the Joint Multinational Simulation Center are teaching CTC staff how to use the VBS 3 system to improve training for Ukrainian army units that will rotate through the training center. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Anthony Jones, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team

A Ukrainian army noncommissioned officer assigned as a simulations instructor at the Yavoriv Combat Training Center takes notes during Virtual Battlespace Simulator 3 familiarization training at the CTC on the International Peacekeeping and Security Center in Western Ukraine, on Sept. 27. U.S. Army personnel from the Joint Multinational Simulation Center are teaching CTC staff how to use the VBS 3 system to improve training for Ukrainian army units that will rotate through the training center. (Courtesy of the U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Anthony Jones, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team)

Ukrainian army trainers at the Yavoriv Combat Training Center are adding a new tool to their skill set: tactical gaming programming.

A team of instructors from the U.S. Army’s Joint Multinational Simulation Center is at the base in Western Ukraine teaching the CTC’s simulations staff how to build and operate tactical training scenarios using the Virtual Battlespace Simulator 3.

A Ukrainian army officer assigned as a simulations instructor watches as another instructor programs a tactical gaming scenario in the Virtual Battlespace Simulator 3 system during VBS 3 familiarization training at the Yavoriv Combat Training Center on the International Peacekeeping and Security Center in Western Ukraine, on Sept. 27. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Anthony Jones, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team

A Ukrainian army officer assigned as a simulations instructor watches as another instructor programs a tactical gaming scenario in the Virtual Battlespace Simulator 3 system during VBS 3 familiarization training at the Yavoriv Combat Training Center on the International Peacekeeping and Security Center in Western Ukraine, on Sept. 27. (Courtesy of the U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Anthony Jones, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team)

“Tactical gaming is not here to replace boots-on-the-ground training,” said Carl Lester, chief of tactical gaming for the JMSC and one of the instructors teaching the Ukrainian cadre how to use VBS 3. “It is here to facilitate specific training needs.”

The purpose of the training is to ready the CTC’s simulations staff to build realistic scenarios for the soldiers who will take part in 55-day training rotations where they will train on tasks ranging from individual soldier skills to battalion-level maneuvers.

Lester, a former U.S. Army senior noncommissioned officer, said when units go to the field, commanders can lose focus on training objectives when they have to split attention between training, life support and tracking equipment inventory, and simply cannot see how every soldier is reacting under pressure.

“Using tactical gaming – using real-world training objectives and actual Yavoriv terrain, leaders can train their soldiers without the stress of being in the field,” Lester said.

By training in a classroom with the VBS 3 system, commanders are able to see how every soldier performs. The scenario is projected onto a large screen for commanders and trainers to observe while everything is recorded for accurate after action reviews.

“Virtual training gives leadership a better tool to access soldiers,” Lester said. “Commanders can see shortfalls if they can see it in a classroom, where in the real-world field a commander can’t see everything. This gives commanders a God’s-eye view.”

By teaching the CTC staff to build and run scenarios, the team is helping the JMTG-U build the Ukrainian army’s capability to train soldiers.

“This gives them the tools to implement training on their own,” Lester said. “They’re learning to assess warfighters to ensure they are getting the best results of the training.”

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