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Command sims cut through fog of war

168445422_5bb0f6c5a9.jpgFor a couple years now, Iraq-bound soldiers and Marines have benefited from realistic training featuring Arabic-speaking roleplayers, Hollywood special effects and "insurgents" portrayed by highly trained U.S. troops. Now their commanders can get in on the sim-Iraq action with a new digital command and control (C2) architecture at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, La., as I described in a recent National Defense article:

Arguably the most important technology leveraged by deploying units are the digital Army battle command systems that provide leaders at all levels real-time situational awareness on the location of their units to squad level, Brig. Gen. Michael Barbero, Fort Polk commander, said in an interview.Accordingly, JRTC simulates the complex command-and-control setup that underpins operations in Iraq. Patrols sortie from simulated forward operating bases that boast tactical operations centers featuring all the same systems commanders might employ in Iraq.The Army battle command systems are made up of several software packages, each designed for particular missions.
These include, among others:
The maneuver control system, [which] collects real-time battlefield information and displays it graphically. It interfaces with the blue-force tracking system which plots the locations of individual vehicles on a digital map.[And] the battle command and sustainment support system [that] processes logistical, personnel and medical information, generates near real-time reports and updates a combat service support database every three hours. It fuses data from satellites, radio frequency identification tags, interrogators and transponders to track and display the locations of vehicles and cargo.
The C2 architecture facilitates real-time command of forces in the JRTC box. The digital architecture enables Fort Polk training staff to pass down intelligence and orders from simulated division and joint task force headquarters. It also helps simulate operations that cant be conducted live because of range and airspace limitations, as well as shortages of available systems such as bombers and aerial drones.The better your training, the better your results in combat. Now if there were only a simulation for the kinds of cultural encounters that make all the difference in Iraq. Oh wait -- there is!--David Axe
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