Joint Multinational Simulation Center's Tactical Gaming
by U.S. Army Sgt. Christopher Stewart
August 12, 2019
When people think about tactical training, they probably do not
think of using a video game-based simulator as a way to train on
their weapons systems; improve upon their communication skills; or
become more proficient in their unit’s tactics and procedures.
That’s exactly what the Joint Multinational Simulation Center
(JMSC) offers through Tactical Gaming and its effectiveness is
May 3, 2019 - A U.S. Army
Sapper, Ranger, and Airborne qualified Soldier assigned to
the 101st Airborne Division, uses the Virtual Battle Space 3
(VBS3) system at the Joint Multinational Simulation Center’s
Tactical Gaming division in Camp Aachen, Germany. VBS3 is
a flexible, video game-based platform where service members
can conduct virtual training scenarios as they would in the
field. (U.S. Army photos by Sgt. Christopher Stewart)
“We have a sand table and it’s great, but it doesn’t even compare
to reacting to the simulator,” said 1st Lt. Dylan Maher, a platoon
leader for Quick Strike Troop, 4th Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment
“When you’re in the simulator, your actions still have
consequences,” said Sgt. Nathaniel Boring, a gunner assigned to
Quick Strike Troop, 4/2CR. “If you have your truck out in the open,
the opposition forces are going to see you and kill you.”
The military uses the “crawl, walk, run” model for training and
Tactical Gaming provides commanders additional option to implement
early on in their units’ train up.
Tactical Gaming isn’t
meant to replace live-fire exercises, said Joseph Mercer, the chief
of Tactical Gaming at JMSC. Units are best suited to use our
facilities during the crawl phase of their training.
JMSC’s Tactical Gaming division employs the Virtual Battle Space 3
(VBS3) and the Stryker Virtual Collective Trainer (SVCT) systems,
where Soldiers get hands-on training in a virtual and operational
The VBS3 is a flexible, video game-based platform where service
members can conduct virtual training scenarios as they would in the
The SVCT builds off of VBS3 which is used as the foundation
for the virtual training environment.
May 3, 2019 -
The Stryker Virtual Collective Trainer (SVCT) shows the
computer systems and seating arrangements that resemble an
actual Stryker vehicle in Vilseck, Germany, Jan. 25, 2019. The SVCT is new
to Tactical Gaming, a subordinate of the Joint Multinational
Simulation Center, and will be used to train platoon-sized
units in a virtual environment. (U.S. Army photo by
Sgt. Christopher Stewart)
The SVCT is a new
addition to Tactical Gaming that became accessible to
Soldiers in May 2019.
The SVCT is a physical mockup
of a Stryker; the structure replicates the interior of the vehicle
while incorporating integrated computer systems that mimic the
vehicle’s real-world equipment.
“Tactical Gaming is here to support Soldiers and units become
proficient in the conduct of individual and collective battle
drills,” said Mercer.
“Tactical Gaming enables Soldiers and leaders within the
European theater to enter live training and operations at a higher
level of operational readiness while reducing the resources required
to achieve proficiency.”
From land navigation to gunnery
operations, Tactical Gaming has training covered with little to no
cost from the unit.
The beauty in this training is it
requires no financial resources and logistical effort when compared
to conducting live exercises said Soldiers from 4/2CR.
“From an economic standpoint, that was the best training we could
do, and I’m not even a fan of tactical simulations,” said Boring.
“There’s not much buy in. We show up, we conduct our training, and
Boring and Maher, who are both limited by their
unit’s high operations tempo, expressed the significance in
returning to Tactical Gaming to continue training.
I’ve been in this troop, which is over three years, I’ve never
trained above crew level because we’ve always been out doing
operations,” said Maher. “That training gave us instantaneous
feedback, something that takes much longer to do in the field.”
Along with Tactical Gaming being cost effective, scheduling time
for units takes very little effort.
Soldiers can request
training from Tactical Gaming two weeks in advance to give Mercer’s
team time to craft the scenario.
I will meet with the
requestor twice before the training; once to understand the training
requirements, and a week later to show a draft of the scenario
before the unit is ready to train, said Mercer.
“It would be
foolish not to come back,” said Boring.
U.S. Army Gifts |
U.S. Army |