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President's Corner


A Message From NTSA President RADM James Robb, USN (Ret)


NTSA President RADM James Robb, USN (Ret) previews I/ITSEC 2017

In just a few weeks, at I/ITSEC 2017, the world’s largest training and simulation conference will celebrate over five decades of excellence. I congratulate the long line of conference chairs and volunteers that have created a remarkable legacy of support to the training and simulation community. My most sincere thanks to our planning teams that have set new standards for quality and scope in the conference program each year for half a century.

I/ITSEC 2017 is tracking to be another record year for government engagement. The interest by senior officials continues to be impressive with keynotes at the four-star level and an ever-growing number of decision makers and engineers in attendance. Every senior leader that attends is overwhelmed by the tremendous value proposition presented at I/ITSEC. We will also see a significant return of junior officers and enlisted that have been blocked for several years. These future leaders are critical to the success of our mission.

Our program this year is extremely strong with 21 special events, over 20 highlighted activities, and over 140 technical papers, tutorials and workshops. We will start Monday with a congressional event highlighting the reshaped Modeling and Simulation Congressional Caucus led by Congresspersons Rep. Bobby Scott, Rep. Stephanie Murphy, Rep. Scott Taylor and Rep. John Rutherford. We have an extremely strong opening session with Gen. David Perkins, Commanding General of the Army Training and Doctrine Command and Don Ariel from Raydon Corporation, a trailblazer in science-based virtual reality training for soldiers. On Wednesday morning, we have a special event featuring the Vice Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Bill Moran, who will give a keynote and then participate in a panel discussion with key Navy senior leaders from the training and acquisition communities. Seating will be tight for this signature event.

Other significant special events cover discussions on cyber threats, cooperation between the test and training communities on co-use of simulation, cloud-based simulation services and opportunities for the use of big data analytics in support of improving training outcomes. The level of flag and general officer participation in the program is exceptional.

Operation Blended Warrior will go international this year and the Army will roll out its vision for the next-generation “Synthetic Training Environment,” a new effort to dramatically transform Army training.

This year’s theme is “Harnessing new technologies to win in a complex world,” and we are dedicated to bringing the latest technologies and concepts to the training community. We are focusing specifically on the value of big data and big data analytics to improve human performance. All the services collect a lot of data, but little of it is fed back into a coherent system focused on improving learning and training. We see great potential to bring background data into a feedback loop that can be used to hone skills in real time, provide enhanced after-action review, and track skills and accomplishments over the lifetime of a warrior or first responder. Big data will also provide digital analysis of best-of-breed training methods, and allow the services to cut time to train while at the same time improving outcomes.

NTSA continues to invest in technology that improves the attendee and exhibitor experience at I/ITSEC. This year we are building on the success of our new Show Management application that allows attendees and exhibitors to digitally interact with the conference schedule and the “digital show floor.” Attendees will be able to “plan your show” by searching and sorting conference and show content in real time. The enhanced exhibitor profiles include highlights, videos and the ability to set up visits and interact with booth personnel. Exhibitors and Attendees, please ensure you take advantage of these features.

We give special thanks to Barbara McDaniel for her 23 years of dedication to the NTSA and I/ITSEC mission as she retires at the end of this year. She helped build I/ITSEC into the most significant training and simulation event in the world. Please seek her out during I/ITSEC and congratulate her on a tremendous career.

Debbie Langelier is assuming a new position as the head of all NTSA operations, which includes oversight of both the conference and the exposition. We also welcome to the team Shannon Burch, NTSA’s new Director of Exhibits and Sponsorships. Be sure to congratulate and welcome them into their new roles.

Thanks in advance for joining me and over 15,000 of your international teammates in Orlando for the largest training and simulation event on the planet. Let’s make the most of it.

RADM James Robb, USN (Ret)
NTSA President

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