The Synthetic Training Environment Butterfly Effect

Let’s get one thing out of the way, I am not an expert or authority on the Synthetic Training Environment – STE. Like many of the rest of you I wait around with bated breath for Major General Maria Gervais or one of her underlings to drop the next morsel of anxiously anticipated information concerning the program, and with each new piece of information, I’m fraught with even more questions.


I am in love with the fact that the whole point of the STE is to establish common data protocols, standardize terrain, and ultimately eliminate interoperability issues between systems. However, there are two things that I have been silently struggling with since the concept took off.


1. the bias the program seems to have against closed & restrictive networks.

2. the total obversion STE designers have toward training centers.

Just to be clear, I’m not saying that I completely disagree with the STE program. Just the opposite is true in my case. In fact, I agree with the core notion that the STE designers are proclaiming that the current simulations are based on legacy technology and are in dire need of an upgrade. I’m also a huge fan of delivering services to the point of need, and that training system should be disseminated down to that level.


Where I differ from the STE designers is in the area of closed and restrictive networks. Given the nature of the business and the types of information that is transmitted during some training events, I cannot see how we can avoid utilizing closed and restrictive networks completely. Maybe one day they will provide an explanation for their distain – other than they’re just annoying to work with.


Training centers do much more than just host simulations for the training units. Even if all the system interoperability is made turnkey, there is still the development of the training scenario to consider. These things are typically planned and executed by the training center. Additionally, there are typically other support (enabler) components that contribute to these events, which need to be collocated in a work cell. These cells are supported by the training centers.


Getting the STE off the ground and integrated into the simulation community is going to take a culture change. But this change will not happen overnight, and this change will have to be built on trust, transparency, and confidence, instead of promises. At this point, the only real obstruction along the road to success for the STE is the means in which it will transition us from the past into the future.

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