By Joel Williamson
The U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) G-2 developed and maintains a set of web-based applications and tools designed to assist in the development and delivery of the operational environment (OE) to support training. All tools are government-owned and can be used at no cost. These tools help units create, develop, and deliver a more realistic OE and training environment; users can easily create exercise content from scratch or reuse previous material. This article further discusses these tools and how they can be used to enhance training. Links to all tools and applications can be found on the OE Center website at https://oedata.army.mil.
Figure 1: TRADOC G-2 Application Service Hub
Operational Environment Data Integration Network
The OE Data Integration Network (ODIN) digitizes and links the Training Circular (TC) 7-100 series, the three-volume Worldwide Equipment Guide (WEG), the Decisive Action Training Environments (DATEs) with associated DATE force structures, and the Virtual OPFOR Academy (VOA). It is a one-stop, authoritative resource that features an intuitive user interface as well as machine-readable outputs for the modeling and simulations community. The TC series provides composite threat-actor tactics and techniques based on best practices. The WEG supports the TC series and the equipment portrayed represents military systems, variants, and upgrades that U.S. forces may encounter. Real-world developments, capabilities, and trends are continually analyzed to ensure the WEG information remains relevant. The DATEs are constructed using real-world conditions and composite data to provide an OE that can be modified, at echelon, to meet unit training objectives. DATE information is current, continuously updated, and feedback from the field is rapidly implemented for the best user experience. ODIN also houses the Virtual Opposing Force (OPFOR) Academy (VOA), which provides information, tools, and resources to learn, apply, and replicate OPFOR countertasks. VOA exposes users to OPFOR tasks, conditions, and standards and can be used to achieve unit training objectives within a collective training environment. ODIN does not require a common access card, and can be reached at https://odin.tradoc.army.mil.
Figure 2: OE Data Integration Network (ODIN) Homepage
Information Operations Network
The Information Operations Network (ION) replicates the complexities of the information variable through an immersive environment that emulates the open internet. ION includes realistic webpages, blogs, streaming media, video, social media, and other common internet entities that units encounter in the information environment. However, unlike the internet, ION content is housed on closed intranets and accessed via the web. Content is unique to each exercise or event, allowing the training audience to search web material and social media content that matches the scenario and meets training needs.
ION facilitates individual and collective training by providing a series of connected material unique to the exercise scenario. It updates in real time and can be manipulated by the exercise control cell. There are approximately 275 different websites already available in ION. Examples created for previous exercises include:
ION can be accessed at https://ion.army.mil and is accessible on NIPR, SIPR, exercise networks, or the Mission Partner Environment.
Figure 3: Information Operations Network (ION) Exercise Page
Traffic Integration Messaging System
Creating large volumes of OE baseline data to support an exercise takes a great deal of time to hand script and is cost prohibitive. This results in a low ratio of key messages to white noise that does not accurately replicate the challenge of distinguishing important information from irrelevant information while their units conduct operations. The Traffic Integration Messaging System (TIMS) allows users to ingest large volumes of real-world or notional message data and georectify, or “bend,” this data in time and space to create a more complex and rigorous training environment. Data can also be reused from a previous exercise or collected from real-world messages over a specified time period to meet training needs.
TIMS publishes message data to the Distributed Common Ground Station-Army (DCGS-A), which allows intelligence analysts to query data during training using the same command-and-control system with which they deploy. TIMS releases data according to the date and time of each message, so exercise databases are populated in real time. Exercise messages can also be added or manipulated in real time to help shape the exercise and achieve training objectives.
TIMS has many capabilities. Some of the most common features exercise planners and scenario developers implement when designing training events include:
As with ION, TIMS is available on NIPR, SIPR, exercise networks, or the Mission Partner Environment.
Exercise Support Application
The Exercise Support Application (ESA) is a repository of existing exercise support packages in varying formats and file sizes. It contains previously executed exercise content such as operations orders, graphics, concepts of the operation, and roads to war. These files can be altered and modified for reuse in a new exercise. ESA is web based, accessed with a common access card, and is a useful starting point for exercise designers and scenario developers. Exercises in ESA are organized in an easy-to-navigate file structure and can be downloaded as whole events or individual folders and documents. Once in ESA, no further authorization is needed to download materials and users can request additional support from TRADOC G-2.
To create the best training experience for warfighters or learn more about TRADOC G-2 tools and capabilities, contact the OE Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 757-878-9564/9503/9696. TRADOC G-2 also hosts virtual, telephonic, and in-person tools training sessions at Fort Eustis, VA. Training includes more than just the tools listed in this article, and more information can be found on the OE Center website at http://oe.tradoc.army.mil/OEC/.
For more information, or support from TRADOC G-2, please contact Angela M. Williams, email@example.com Produced by the US Army TRADOC G-2 Operational Environment and Threat Analysis Directorate