How Soldiers Develop Essential Skills Through Remote Training

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Remote Training

Editor’s Note: This article was penned by Rusty OrwinUK Head of Sales for Bohemia Interactive Simulations (BISim). Orwin explores the application of remote training in defense organizations like the Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry (SNIY) and how simulation training is keeping warfighters prepared even in the wake of a global pandemic. 

The COVID-19 pandemic and continued national lockdown restrictions have altered the everyday workforce, forcing daily operations to continue from home offices, living rooms and kitchen tables. National defense organizations are no exception. At this time, approximately 35 percent of defense organization employees, including troops and civilians, work from home. However, training hasn’t stopped.  

With the use of military simulation technology, commanders can place soldiers in similar in-field training situations at any given time. The ability to continue training anywhere in the world serves as an advantage to soldiers in more ways than one as they develop essential skills, even remotely.  

Maintaining Collective & Individual Training 

Intense familiarity with first-person shooting games allows soldiers to pick up and maintain training via military simulation. With accurate simulation models, individual soldiers can train together, and separately, remotely. The use of Virtual Private Networks (VPN) gives soldiers the ability to train together securely from a distance. Recently, the British Army’s newest combat regiment, the Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry (SNIY), conducted its first distributed training exercises from their homes using BISim’s VBS3. More than 40 soldiers joined the exercises from Northern Ireland, Scotland, London and Canada. 

Uncommon Drill Training 

While continued training reigns supreme for military simulation technology, it also serves as an opportunity for soldiers to train in probable situations they wouldn’t normally face during in-field training, including multinational forces or vehicle recognition. In fact, remote training empowers soldiers of all ranks to “step up” and perfect uncommon tactical skills they normally wouldn’t deploy until they were on the battlefield. 

The SNIY combined virtual simulation with theory to achieve a complete training package and broaden the scope of its training. According to SNIY E Squadron’s Captain Gregor Deeming, military simulation technology allowed his squadron to “do things you can’t do regularly in live training” because soldiers are given the opportunity to experience operations with artillery and armored vehicles, areas of operation not easily replicated on a regular training night, with remote training. For the SNIY, military simulation served as a complement to live field training exercises. 

Repeat Tactical Training 

In-field training often limits opportunities for commanders to identify and correct individual mistakes given limited time and available resources. In contrast, with its individualized nature, remote training allows soldiers to recognize mistakes themselves. Military simulation gives soldiers the capability to train and retrain tactical skills at their own pace, allowing them to master skills necessary for their craft. The same is said for troop-level training.  

Furthermore, soldiers currently facing prolonged time away from in-field training are experiencing tactical skill fade. The use of remote training allows soldiers to access training courses based on skill and procedure, better preparing them for in-field training when it becomes available again. 

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to force remote training, soldiers have been given the opportunity to increase their skill set in newfound ways. While nothing can replace the experience of in-field training, military simulation technology continues to keep defense organizations trained and prepared for combat.  

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Rusty Orwin is UK Head of Sales for Bohemia Interactive Simulations since 2015 and leads all sales and business development activities within the UK and Ireland which includes the UK Ministry of Defence’s Defence Virtual Simulation capability. He has a wealth of experience in modern simulation and training technologies having worked in both the live and virtual simulation domains. Rusty has recently been the Project Director for a study by the British Army into the use of virtual reality in collective training.