Interview with Major Jan VANDAMME

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Major Jan Vandamme, Head of Implementation, Team Land Simulations, Belgian Land Component- Operational Command

janYou will be speaking at ITEC 2017 on the topic of  “With a little help from my friends …” - Starting up a budget friendly Sim Center in Belgium”
Can you give us a brief insight into the areas you will be covering?

I will explain how Belgium had a very good simulation capability in the mid-eighties, and why we lost it almost completely in a matter of 20 years. 
Once the capability was mostly gone, it took us 10 more years to convince senior leadership on the need to invest in simulation again.  I will explain why it took so long, how we finally managed to get the investments planned and how we are now setting up a simulation center in a budget friendly way. 
The returning theme will be that without networking through NATO working groups with people from other nations’ Sim Centers, we would never have been able to accomplish this Belgian simulation renaissance. 

What can delegates expect to take away from your session? 
My session can help military simulation people to find a way to convince their leadership on the need for simulation. I will show how I succeeded, by attacking on two fronts: 
-    Reason: Commanders, trainers and managers got convinced by clear numbers that simulation was the most budget friendly way to improve the training level of our forces. I will show the numbers used at the presentation.
-    Emotion: By comparing the Belgian Sim capabilities with those of comparable nations in NATO, senior leaders got shocked to see how far behind Belgium had fallen, which prompted them to demand for urgent investments in simulation. I will explain the methodology used to make this comparison.
Also, they may find inspiration in our budget friendly approach to build an efficient simulation capability. Again, we follow two principles to make it happen:
-    Economy: Look for versatile, adaptable and user friendly tools to build a simulation training capability, starting with those that guarantee an economical return on investment
-    Synergy: You don’t need every skill in the Sim Center to build and run exercises – just be close enough to those that have them (physical as well as hierarchical)
Finally, my colleagues must realise that without the participation in NATO Working Groups, especially the TSWG and its successor the STOG (now STOG-L) and the bilateral contacts that emerged from there, we would never have been able to get the data to build the arguments that convinced our leadership on the need for simulation. Also, the lessons learned and best practices of those other nations were indispensable in building up our own Sim capability.  


Day1: 16th May -2017 - Time: 15:00

 With a little help from my friends - Starting up a budget friendly Sim Center in Belgium

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