By Dolly Rairigh Glass
U.S. Senator Bill Nelson visited with National Center for Simulation President and CEO, Lt. Gen. (Ret) Tom Baptiste, during his visit in March to Cole Engineering Services to tour the facility and learn more about the Orlando-based company that was recently awarded a contract for the Air Force Modeling and Simulation Training Toolkit program.
Nelson, a former Columbia space shuttle astronaut, has been a longtime supporter of the Modeling, Simulation and Training industry in Central Florida, and is currently the senior most member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, which has jurisdiction over a broad range of issues from transportation to the Internet to the nation’s space program.
Nelson said when companies like Cole Engineering Services are awarded large contracts, it’s very significant because there are always attempts by other places in the United States to take away the simulation activity that is so concentrated in Orlando.
“We have all four branches of the military here, including the Coast Guard as the fifth,” Nelson said. “Why simulation?” he asked. “Because simulation is so real. You can train the warfighter much more economically and efficiently before they ever go into the battlefield; before they ever crawl into the cockpit; before they ever get on the submarine; before they ever do whatever is their military occupation specialty. You can train them.
“Training is done in very realistic time simulations so that when we go out and do live fire exercises, they can do the simulations and the live fire exercises at the same time and coordinate them,” Nelson said. “It’s a major step forward in our ability to train the warfighter so they are best equipped and best trained once they go into battle.”
“When we have the opportunity to share the impact and importance of what is taking place here in the Central Florida community, it’s always a good day,” said Baptiste. “I briefed Senator Nelson on the most recent news about the purchase of the Partnership 4 Building by UCF to help get our Team Orlando personnel out of rented space. We also discussed the plans moving forward to secure more space, and that once Team Orlando personnel relocate, their cost of rent in Orlando will be reduced by nearly 80 percent.”