The U.S. Air Force Security Forces (SF) Academy has added an innovative technology into its apprentice course to help with force training.
The 343rd Training Squadron schoolhouse recently acquired eight Multiple Interactive Learning Objectives simulators from the security forces career field team, as well as a VR-based (virtual reality) training system from industry through a partnership facilitated through an AFWERX, to help them teach students how to employ both lethal and non-lethal force.
“Both of these tools have shown to be valuable assets in helping teach our airmen how to make critical, life and death, decision-making skills,” said Master Sgt. Justin Consley, non-commissioned officer in charge of the Security Forces apprentice course. “Using this immersive training technology to train on law enforcement-specific scenarios is definitely helping us produce more lethal and ready Defenders.”
The opportunity to partner with Street Smarts VR on this beta-test came about after the vendor contacted the schoolhouse to inquire about their interest in field testing a system aimed at putting trainees in scenarios they will find themselves in when they arrive at their permanent duty stations at no cost to the unit.
“With some of the standard procurement processes, by the time we acquire certain technologies, they’re obsolete,” said Capt. Zachary Watkins, officer in charge of the Security Forces officer technical training course. “With the help of AFWERX, what we are doing through this one-year partnership is removing the barriers to getting that leading-edge technology into the schoolhouse now before it becomes obsolete and giving our commander no-risk flexibility to decide if this is technology we need long-term.”
The opportunity to create realistic training scenarios using the VR system, including both the law enforcement and air base defense environments, that allows Defenders to learn the proper application of force based on the priority level assets involved or the rules of engagement, is a huge gain for the students and the instructors.
“This system limits us to only our imagination to create scenarios, so we can place students in situations which differ from the public law enforcement side,” said Tech. Sgt. Jesse Bechtel, 343rd TRS instructor supervisor, who has been overseeing the use of the VR system in the apprentice course.
Using the VR system, the instructors have noted the value of the immediate feedback the system provides to students, as well as the control they have over the actors in the scenarios, and can change the tone of a scenario at the click of a button.
“Unlike with real role-play scenarios, if a student is not giving the right verbal commands to the subject, as an instructor I can easily click a button and have the subject become more aggressive,” Bechtel said. “If the student is using good verbal commands then I can have the subject become compliant. This immediate feedback is important for students to understand how their actions play a part in the response.”
Military Simulation & Training Magazine, June 13, 2019 Source: US Air Force