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Background

As IT²EC 2020 heads to London the UK continues to invest in its military capabilities and, in the face of modern security threats, is strengthening its civil resilience. In common with many countries these investments are not only in advanced technologies, but also in training those who are to employ these advanced capabilities both individually and collectively. 

The UK’s armed forces, in common with many other armed forces around the world emphasise that all current and future uses of military force will be conducted as joint operations, and more often than not in close collaboration with other international partners. The glue that binds individual domains or environments is provided by the joint enablers, and over-arching capabilities including training and education. Many of these capabilities in the realm of digital information are relatively new and untested. The technology is both a key enabler and a potential vulnerability.  

Conference Pillars

The conference features three concurrent conference streams. Click here to learn more.

A complex landscape

The challenge of delivering defence and security that today’s armed forces and their civil counterparts face is to deliver individual excellence within joint, combined and inter-agency frameworks that are likely to become ever more complex. This requires education and training at the individual level to impart knowledge and skills; and the ability to experiment and rehearse to develop and enhance collective excellence. The blending of digital technology with more traditional methods offers exciting solutions to this constantly evolving need. There are many lessons to be shared and many ideas to be discussed among the armed forces and civil responders of different nations, researchers, and industry in order for the training community to make progress. IT²EC 2020 is shaping its agenda around this exchange of ideas and experiences to deliver better solutions to the end users by providing a platform to outline their needs and by exploring the opportunities new technologies and methods offer to address those needs.

The Royal Navy, British Army, Royal Air Force and the Joint Forces Command have all announced their intentions to change significant aspects of their approach to training and its supporting infrastructure. The RN is undertaking a major realignment of its training resources under “Project Selborne”. The RAF has announced that they are “seek[ing] to fill a demonstrated capability gap that prevent Air Force Elements (FE) training together as force packages, enable a Defence-wide requirement to download live training into the Synthetic Environment and allow a rebalancing of live/synthetic training.”

Train, Reflect, Learn and Train Again (TRLTA)

The UK Land Forces in particular have recognised past deficiencies and a lack of agility to address the broadening range of threats and challenges the modern security environment presents. Through targeted collective training of partner nations, the UK is seeking a “surrogate for warfare”.  It targets collective training to regions of the world to cement international partnerships and to better support notice-to-effect in Europe.  UK Land Forces are redesigning their training system to one that is flexible, responsive to operational demands, it is training designed around the person and the team, and thereby enabling a cycle of Train, Reflect, Learn and Train Again (TRLTA).

To meet demanding training system objectives requires the TRLTA cycle to revolve at high speed across defence. What is widely emerging as a TRLTA enabler is the technology-supported Reality-Simulation-Reality (R-S-R) cycle, which near-seamlessly fuses simulation and training with real-life operations and assets.  Compared with most established training systems, a fast-revolving R-S-R cycle requires far greater technology interoperability, far greater fidelity of complexity and far quicker fielding of updates in hours or days, not in years.  It is openly recognised that many of today’s existing tools and techniques in simulation are no longer fit for purpose and do not lend themselves to a rapidly looping R-S-R cycle.

The Digital Twin approach

Embedded inside the R-S-R cycle, the concept of the ‘Digital Twin’ or ‘Digital Thread’ has come to the fore.  As a digital replica of a living or non-living physical entity, Digital Twins have the potential to accelerate and de-risk activities such as design, procurement, manufacturing, mission planning and training, and better enable enterprises to take a whole life approach to projects.

The Digital Twin approach is developing rapidly in non-defence sectors such as the automotive industry and there are examples in the military sector such as the F-35 fighter. For the F-35, ‘lessons learned’ from real missions become embedded into a simulation tactical training world integrated into the aircraft.  The Digital Twin broadly includes any elements of AI/Machine Learning, Big Data, Robotics, Human-Computer Interaction, performance assessment, authoring, sensors and instrumentation and learning science/learning engineering. 

The Digital Twin construct can extend to include synthetic representations of human teammates and is also complementary to the growing application of Industry 4.0, the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies.

Synthetic environments

Since the middle of the last century modelling and simulation technologies have been extensively utilised in training, operational research to support procurement processes and to assess ongoing operations, and for mission rehearsal. The advent of the next generation of synthetic environments has the potential to move these activities onto new and unanticipated levels. IT²EC 2020 is intending to explore how the established use of these technologies will be reshaped and to highlight the new dimensions that are only just coming into focus.

The UK as the 2020 IT²EC host nation is far from alone in planning to harness these advances, in both military and civil sectors, using globally available technology as a catalyst for change and implementing elements of R-S-R and Digital Twin.  In the military domain, many nations are looking to change their posture and capabilities, with both grand designs and more focused approaches to achieving their goal.  The ubiquity of the technology available affords nearly every nation the ability to experiment with advances in training, simulation and education.  In the civil domain, with its agile decision-making processes, such innovation is very widely seen both as a capabilities amplifier and as a means to optimise limited training resources.

EU DRIVER+ Project

As part of our offering to the Civil First Responder and Crisis Management communities, IT²EC is committed to raising awareness of the opportunities offered by the EU DRIVER+ project.

The project brings together dedicated practitioners from across Europe to help the emergency services to manage critical situations more effectively and efficiently. Using an objective methodology to assess new software, new training approaches and new equipment, DRIVER+ is designed to aid collaboration and interoperability among practitioners and solutions providers.

Watch the video below for more information on the project, which will feature in the 2020  IT²EC conference programme.


 

Are you ready for your Digital Twin?

IT²EC 2020 provides a platform for the military and civil security/resilience communities to exchange knowledge on innovation, simulation and education effectiveness, and interoperability.

The research into, and implementation of, these new paradigms will form the core of the event’s discussions, including:

  • The necessary features and best practice of all domains that can, or could be, part of the future world (or worlds) of the Reality-Simulation-Reality (R-S-R) cycle and Digital Twins.
  • Novel ‘XR’ (Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality) applications and their fusion with Digital Twin elements.
  • The impact of the Digital Twin environment on, and development of, techniques and innovations in training, human factors, mission rehearsal and decision making.