As the Navy makes progress on its engineering and deployment of ultramodern training environments that merge live, virtual and constructive (LVC) capabilities, senior officials are beginning to recognize an emerging need for a common entity to help monitor and coordinate activities across the expansive system.
Broadly, LVC training combines real-world, in-person elements with virtual reality, simulation and other computer-generated technologies to enable service members to train more like they actually fight for combat of the future.
Over the last decade or so, LVC has evolved from a concept to tangible training options on various bases. Now, Navy leaders are beginning to recognize how they might better link unfolding and upcoming LVC training efforts across their vast enterprise.
“I would say that in an environment that we should be pursuing, you could easily see how you might need some type of operation center to coordinate the timing, tempo and training opportunities available in a broad LVC network,” Rear Adm. Douglas Verissimo, the director of maritime operations for the U.S. Fleet, said Monday at the 2023 Sea-Air-Space conference.
In his view, “in the future, as these networks come together … there’s got to be an operation center that pulls together this joint all-domain, as much as we can piece together” the Navy’s LVC training assets and different teams at bases around the globe.
He said the service also needs a means to better evaluate its training.
“Are they keeping us alive? Are they putting us in more jeopardy? And are we able to win with the tactics, techniques and procedures that we’re developing based on the human capital we have? And where do we need to invest in that human capital to make them more lethal?” Verissimo explained.
Other senior officials on a panel with the rear admiral agreed, including Cdr. Patrick Durnin, who serves as commanding officer of the East Coast strike fighter squadron VFA-81.
“They were just kind of throwing [the idea of a common operations center] out there — but the reality of it is that we need to continue to refine these processes just to make sure that we’re all working on the same playbook” and can ensure everyone who needs to continues to “have a good understanding of exactly how each service is going to provide the best capability that they can to fight,” Durnin told DefenseScoop after the panel.
Despite the capacity limitation and overarching need, enabling a common operations hub for LVC training would be complex — and likely pricey.
Rear Adm. Andrew Loiselle, director of Air Warfare Division, N98, in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, noted that service members with simulators in one part of the nation can connect and engage in training exercises with growlers and teams in another region.
“But just what I need everybody to understand is that when I do that I have chosen to use those simulators up in [one base] to conduct an East Coast training event, and now I’m not training growler aircrew [on that specific base] that day. And so this is a significant capacity piece that we’ve got to be able to forecast and then program for, to make sure we captured all of the training requirements and we’re using the simulators that we own to their best efficacy,” Loiselle explained on the panel.
“Somebody has to be in charge of making a decision as to whether or not our simulator infrastructure is going to support something like, say, large-scale exercise 2023, or they’re going to support local training events — because they can only do one. And so that’s really what [Verissimo’s] talking about. Or, do we build out and spend the money necessary for a system with the capacity to do both? That’s pretty expensive,” he told DefenseScoop after the event.