ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA - January 30, 2009 – The Office of Naval Research (ONR) has been selected by the Pentagon to manage a critical, one-of-a-kind futuristic training program in which warfighters would train here at home in preparation for the types of small, urban and borderless conflicts that have spread throughout the middle east and other regions of the world.
ONR will serve as lead technical manager for the Future Immersive Training Environment (FITE) Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JCTD) program, which was created to transition real warfighter capability solutions, and innovative concepts that address joint, coalition and interagency gaps and shortfalls.
"This joint opportunity underscores ONR’s priority on developing key partnerships that facilitate delivery of technological advantages to our warfighters. Together we address the ever-changing present and future threats to U.S. Forces and allies and equip them with the training and tools they need” noted ONR’s Chief of Naval Research, RADM Nevin P. Carr. “Having the joint leadership’s trust to lead this effort underscores ONR’s proven ability to deliver relevant solutions to the warfighter now."
Last year, ONR’s science and technology investments in immersive training yielded a revolutionary training system for Marines and Sailors that employed real and advanced virtual technologies to recreate foreign urban scenes. The Immersive Infantry Trainer helped warfighters develop the unique skills they needed to win and survive battles.
The new joint program emphasizes the human dimension of warfare and seeks to technically and operationally demonstrate, assess and transition improved training capabilities that replicate the effects and conditions across the full spectrum of operations on the battlefield and improve the complex decision making skills of the joint warfighter.
The program, officially launched through a directive from the Under Secretary of Defense, Advanced Systems and Concepts, John J. Kubricky, is a two-year, $36 million initiative sponsored by the United States Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM). Other defense organizations set to participate in the program include: the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO), the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), the Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense, Advanced Systems and Concepts (DUSD/AS&C), and the U.S. Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Navy.
George Solhan, ONR’s Deputy Chief of Naval Research for Expeditionary Maneuver Warfare and Combating Terrorism will lead ONR’s technical management oversight for the program. According to Solhan, “Our team, led by Clarke Lethin, and Pete Mueller believes that leading-edge training technologies will enable small units to dominate the future battlefield.”
FITE JCTD, created to be a realistic, live-action virtual environment, provides warfighter trainees feedback that allows for combined arms integration. Solhan went on to say that, “Physically and mentally adaptable joint warriors winning and surviving in all phases of warfare is the goal.”