With the wildly successful first year of Operation Blended Warrior completed, plans are already underway for the 2016 OBW at Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC). Kent Gritton, Joint Training and Integration Evaluation Center director and co-deputy for OBW2016, provided some quick insight into OBW’s accomplishments in 2015 and the outlook for 2016. Gritton said they are still assessing lessons learned and results, and, when completed, more detailed information will be included in various reports and the I/ITSEC paper.
Q&A with Gritton about OBW
10-4: What is a future goal for OBW 2016?
Gritton: We have multiple goals. Our first goal is to build on the success of our 2015 focus areas – principally, standards, cyber, and after action review. Our primary new goals for 2016 include brining in more Live assets and exploring the challenges to incorporation of Multi-Level Security and Cross Domain Solutions. Our intent is to have two separate networks – one for international participants and one for the U.S. This will allow us ITAR security separation when required and a readily available environment to review a cross-domain solution and multi-level security kind of bridge.
10-4: What would this mean to participants?:
Gritton: We haven’t worked out all the details yet, but the basic framework is. to provide blocks of vignettes to our international partners, different blocks of vignettes for our U.S. partners, and then a couple blocks of vignettes to test our multi-level security and cross-domain solutions.
10-4: What is one of the improvements that OBW is striving to reach?
Gritton: As mentioned earlier, our primary new goal is to improve live participation in OBW2016. We need to figure out how to bring people in from outside without having to be on the floor to participate. We are recommending some participants have a booth on the floor, stream their LVC capability in from outside, and then connect their booth into us.
10-4: What were the most popular vignettes for I/ITSEC attendees?
Gritton: The most exciting and most talked about vignettes were the Medevac and the cyber. The vignette blocks averaged about 50 people in attendance. The Tuesday afternoon vignettes, a block that included medevac, cyber, and maritime, received at least 50% more attendees than average for a total of 229 attendees!
10-4: What is the next step?
Gritton: The call for participation in OBW2016 is out and the targeted date for submitting a receipt-of-participation agreement is February 26. The kickoff planning meeting is April 26-28 in Orlando, and much prep work by the IPT will take place between those dates to ensure that we can provide the best information to the participants. Companies interested in participating should have systems and products that would demonstrate well in an integrated LVC environment. Sign up early as we will have a cap on participation.
10-4: What kind of feedback did you receive from the participants?
Gritton: The best kind of news you could hope for – overwhelmingly positive! A common theme in the feedback, and we received a lot, was that participation exceeded their expectations on many levels. But we also received constructive criticism. We’ve taken action to implement as many of those as we can. Some were good suggestions, but are outside of our control or not feasible to implement at this time.