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President's Corner


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


NTSA President James Robb Reflects on the Success of I/ITSEC 2017

Thanks for coming! We had over 16,000 attendees go through the doors this year with growth in all attendance categories. The government participation was extremely strong with an additional 150 attendees that included an all-star roster of over 100 flag and general officers and members of the Senior Executive Service. Our international participation totaled over 1800 which demonstrates the reach I/ITSEC has across the globe.

The conference program was densely packed with high quality tutorials, papers and special events. Our emphasis on Big Data was extremely well received. Operation Blended Warrior completed its third year with new participation from NATO and Sweden. My hat is off to Gary
Fraas, Kent Gritton and the entire OBW team for another great year. This program is solving big system integration problems for the community.

The congressional event was a dynamic discussion of issues impacting the industry, with insights from Congressman Bobby Scott of Virginia, Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy of Florida and Congressman Scott Peters from California. The need for the modeling and simulation industry to provide cost effective solutions was a constant theme. We appreciate congressional support for I/ITSEC and will continue to work with them during the next year to develop the M&S legislative agenda. Congressman Murphy noted that she would be collecting community requirements in early spring --- so start identifying your main issues now, and forward them to me by the end of January.

The opening ceremonies were in the “best ever” category with a trifecta comprised of Midge Cole singing the national anthem and two powerful keynote addresses by General Perkins from TRADOC and Don Ariel from the Raydon Corporation. Both inspired the crowd with hard hitting points and out of the box thinking. The Flag/General Officer and SES panel that followed was a great discussion of service and NATO challenges and opportunities. Our thanks to all for taking the time to be with us.

I have been hosting a roundtable for universities attending I/ITSEC for the last three years and the group has grown from 5 in 2015 to over 35 this year. We will continue to emphasize our dedication to workforce development through our partnership with the Advanced Distributed Learning initiative and increased engagement of the academic community. ADL works on the science of learning and the elements transforming education and training for the workforce on the DoD side, and NTSA works the same issues for industry. These efforts, along with our STEM programs, are focused on getting highly qualified technical professionals into the training and simulation workforce. Expanding our efforts with Academia will be a high priority in 2018. Please check out the ADL iFest event that we will jointly host in August of 2018.

We had a significant number of distinguished visitors, with many attending for several days. That’s very encouraging to me, not just as a reflection of current show success, but also because so many of them are coming back every year. They recognize that I/ITSEC provides an amazing opportunity to collaborate within their own organizations as well as across the entire modeling and simulation community. Government groups are now having leadership meetings onsite to take advantage of the large number of stakeholders present each year.

I want to extend my sincere gratitude to the Conference Committee and the other 350 volunteers that plan and execute the conference and exhibition. I/ITSEC is as much a community as it is an event, and your dedication and efforts are central to our success. A special thanks to Barbara McDaniel who is completing 23 years of outstanding service to NTSA and I/ITSEC. Debbie Langelier has taken on her role - and will be terrific - but we cannot thank Barbara enough for her contributions, and we know that she will remain tied to I/ITSEC for a long time.

I wish all of you a Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday and a prosperous New Year. Recharge the batteries and get ready to start planning I/ITSEC 2018 in January.

RADM James Robb, USN (Ret)
NTSA President

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February 25, 2019
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