By Terri M. Bernhardt
Seven hundred people gathered for the annual Training & Simulation Industry Symposium (TSIS) to learn first-hand the latest requirements for training and simulation products and services being procured by the Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force. With Sequestration and a Continuing Resolution looming, TSIS provided a perfect opportunity for the Services to update industry on what lies ahead.
During the two day event, the TSIS audience learned about the current and near-term opportunities, followed by question and answer sessions. In addition, acquisition strategies, timelines and funding information were provided along with the appropriate point of contact information. “TSIS presented excellent opportunities to network and interact with the procurement officials from the Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force,” said Mike Genetti, President, Central Florida Chapter National Defense Industrial Association (CFL NDIA). “TSIS has plenty of break time purposely built into the agenda to allow for side-bar meetings and to discuss teaming opportunities.”
Highlights for TSIS this year included a venue change to the Rosen Shingle Creek where the Central Florida Chapter of AAAA Scholarship Golf Tournament and AUSA Sunshine Chapter Army Birthday Ball were also held. “The Rosen Shingle Creek location was ideal for TSIS and we look forward to coming back,” said Genetti. “The layout at Shingle Creek was a nice change. The break area was spacious allowing for plenty of room for professional networking. Additionally, the conference space easily accommodated all attendees with room for expansion. ”
The Navy kicked off the event with NAWTSD Deputy Tech Director Rob Matthews providing an overview of the challenges and opportunities facing the Navy. The NAWCTSD directors presented the planned opportunities for Aviation, Surface & Expeditionary, Undersea, Cross Warfare and International programs. Maureen Burgundy-Wilhelm, Director, Research and Technology Programs, NAWCTSD, briefed the simulation and training Science and Technology initiatives and how small business can use the BAA and STTR processes. The key areas for research include: Live, Virtual & Constructive (LVC) Training Fidelity, Unmanned Systems (UxS) Methodology, Medical M&S for Training, Physiological/Neurophysiological Assessment to Improve Training and Virtual Environments & Technologies for Training.
Something new and unique that took place this year was that the Air Force attended via video conference. This is probably going to be the trend,” said Paul Bernhardt, Consultant, Cybernet. “With travel restrictions and budget cuts, video conferencing is much more affordable and it seems pretty effective. TSIS is the best opportunity industry has to meet with the many Government customers at the same time. This is particularly important for small businesses.”
Dan Torgler, Deputy Program Manager, PM TRASYS, gave a brief overview of the programs they have. “Dan always does a good job of being straight forward and to the point, said Bernhardt. “He did an excellent job going through their programs.”
Ivan Martinez, Associate Division Chief, Simulation and Training Technology Center (STTC) closed out day one with STTC’s opportunities, highlighting the upcoming STES IDIQ with a draft RFP in 4th quarter of 2013. Martinez stated the key three technical areas of focus are Advanced Simulation Research, Medical Simulation Research and Squad & Small Team Research (SSTR).
The second day of TSIS focused on presentations by the Army’s Program Executive Office for Simulation Training and Instrumentation (PEO STRI) leadership, beginning with Program Executive Officer for PEO STRI, Dr. Jim Blake, who set the conditions for the presentations by emphasizing the budgetary constraints facing the Army while still needing to provide our soldiers with the best training products. Scott Pulford, Strategic Integrator, Business Operations Office / Assistant Program Executive Officer for Customer Support, went over the acquisition opportunities and the need for product improvement.
Rob Miller, Chief Systems Engineer and Director of Engineering, presented the six key technology areas for PEO STRI: High fidelity “pattern of life” modeling, Common and realistic virtual life form representations and behaviors, Physics based dynamic thermal representation, Modeling of obscurants/illuminations and their impacts on sensors, Radio communications and network modeling, Weather and atmospheric simulation for real time training systems and Cyber Warfare Modeling in Constructive Simulation.
The afternoon session consisted of presentations by each of the individual program managers introducing their opportunities. “TSIS was the last official event brief for Colonel Flanagan (PM TRADE) before his retirement,” said Joe O’Connell, VP Business Development, ECS. “COL Flanagan’s briefings on their collaboration with the Marine Corps were excellent.”
Mike Genetti closed TSIS with positive remarks. He emphasized the importance of filling out the survey so that they can keep on doing what works well while continuing to improve TSIS. “I look forward to the survey results because with feedback, we will find out what is important to the attendees, what is of great value to them.”
TSIS 2014 will be held June 11-12, and all presentations from 2013 are available online through the respective organizations’ website.