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Modeling and Simulation Summit: Following through with training transformation

  • Published
  • By Marilyn C. Holliday
  • Air Education and Training Command Public Affairs

The third annual 2024 Department of the Air Force Modeling & Simulation Summit was held at the Grand Hyatt River Walk in San Antonio, Texas, May 7-9, 2024.

The summit was hosted by Richard Tempalski, Department of the Air Force chief modeling and simulation officer, and Lt. Gen. Brian Robinson, commander of Air Education and Training Command.

The goal of the M&S Summit is to gather U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force M&S experts to learn about new M&S initiatives and techniques, network across military services and industry experts, and to hear technological leaders’ perspectives on how M&S can transition more training from the real world to digital, following through with transforming training.

“In answering Gen. (David) Allvin’s call to all Airmen to follow through, we are following through on training transformation across the learning ecosystem – for technical training, flying training, even basic training,” Robinson said. “We are at an inflection point in the DAF and transformation is required.  In an era of Great Power Competition, deterring a war through training is accomplished through demonstrating increased readiness. The modeling and simulation community is a critical component to helping AETC maintain its competitive edge and will be integral to the rapid and accelerated training function of the Air Force, should it find itself in the face of conflict.”

This year’s summit theme, “Training in a Digital World,” highlighted the DAF’s digital training and included 29 exhibitors who showcased the latest technology available. About 900 attendees from across the nation were in attendance to hear from experts and learn more about tools that can be used to address the development of technologies to bring together multi-domain analysis, test, training and processing.

“The Airmen and Guardians we are developing right now will decide the future fight against our adversaries,” Robinson said.  “Panel discussions and breakout sessions provided unique perspectives, cutting-edge tools and innovative techniques to better execute the DAF training transformation for stakeholders, mission owners and ultimately the warfighter.  We must modernize and accelerate change to keep in step with both demand and the fast-paced virtual learning world.”

Senior leaders led six panel discussions, and attendees heard more about: Senior Leaders’ Perspective; Training Modernization; Government and Industry Partnerships, Medical Modeling and Simulation Innovation, Challenges and Ideas from an NCO perspective and M&S Enablers.

“The DAF M&S enterprise includes thousands of employees around 70 organizations, spending about $4 billion per year,” said Tempalski. “Simply stated, Chief Modeling and Simulation Office’s mission identifies enterprise M&S requirements and delivery of advanced M&S capabilities (which includes tools, data, and services) to the warfighter.”

Also in attendance were about 100 high schoolers from the Randolph Field Independent School District and CAST STEM High School, a public high school that partners with Southwest Independent School District. CAST Schools and Palo Alto College prepare students for jobs in engineering, advanced manufacturing and global logistics. Students toured the exhibit hall and heard from Airmen, who told the students more about their Air Force specialties and opportunities in the Air Force.

Senior leaders also took a closer look at technology being used and explored by members, located at Detachment 24 at JBSA-Randolph. Those attending the tour were given a hands-on demonstration of the latest immersive training devices and preview the immersive content being fielded today.

“We have found that the modeling and simulation community continues to impress and mature,” Lt. Col. Steve Briones, Det. 24 commander, said. “The industry’s internal research and development investments made will be the reason that these solutions see the light of day.”

Det. 24 is subordinate to the 19th Air Force commander and is a military and civil partnership forged through industry, academia and government. Members of Det. 24 focus on flying training innovation and advances in rapid prototype development, export technologies and training methods designed to modernize pilot training. Det. 24 has also partnered with the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Royal Air Force on innovation efforts.