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President's Corner

RADM_Robb RADM James Robb, USN (Ret), President, NTSA

NTSA President RADM James Robb, USN (Ret) reviews I/ITSEC 2015

Fantastic!!! That is the most common response from attendees at this year’s I/ITSEC 2015. My most sincere thanks to Brent Smith and Dave Hutchings and the entire planning and execution teams for a magnificent event. It was truly exceptional on all fronts. It is a team sport and the team was hitting on all cylinders for 2015.

I/ITSEC 2015 was a turning point in my tenure at NTSA. With almost 15,000 in attendance, we saw increases in every category of registration. We have been battling government conference attendance issues with an all out campaign to increase the visibility and value proposition for I/ITSEC. This year’s tremendous outpouring from the government side was remarkable. Not only did government registrations increase by almost 650, we had two active duty four stars in the lineup. The number of senior leaders and decision makers present was quite obvious – and they stayed for several days. The easing of attendance policy was also evident with Air Force not forwarding an approval package at all, and bringing 50 engineers from Dayton for the first time in four years. We continue to work these issues extremely hard, but the trend is up and the outlook for I/ITSEC 2016 is extremely encouraging.

I/ITSEC 2015 was “theme led” and extremely relevant. Congressmen Scott and Mica reported that there is great support for national defense in Congress, and that they are working hard to stabilize defense funding. VADM Moran, the Chief of Naval Personnel, highlighted Navy’s substantial effort to revolutionize Navy training. Waymon Armstrong, Founder and CEO of Engineering & Computer Simulations (ECS), gave an inspiring talk on the need to take risk in our pursuit of next generation technologies. The Flag/General Officer panel noted that we have not “played hurt” (fought under a disadvantage) in conflict for a long time, and that we need to continually analyze the asymmetric ways our enemies will engage us in the future.

On Wednesday morning we had a very special event featuring the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Robert Neller, and a dream team of senior Marine Corps Leaders. Their message was clear – synthetic environments are a key element of the future USMC training strategy.

Your I/ITSEC Program Committee put together another all star program that featured panels on JSF, Cyber, Energy and Medical Simulation. We also had a robust international agenda with speakers from around the globe. There were panels from Europe and new participation from the Asia Pacific Simulation Alliance, as well as lessons learned from Exercise Trident Juncture, the largest NATO exercise held since the Cold War. All of this was in addition to the 21 tutorials, 150 papers, and 7 professional development workshops that form the “Education” basis for I/ITSEC.

I/ITSEC 2015 featured a number of groundbreaking special events which sought to address the most significant national security challenges we face today. Operation Blended Warrior brought together capabilities from over 30 government and industry entities in an LVC network on the exhibit floor, as they fought their way through challenging scenarios. Another major theme was Black Swan. Black Swans are low probability - but extremely high impact - events that would dramatically affect the global condition. We introduced this multi-year theme with dynamic presentations on Thursday, and will continue this thread into 2016.

NTSA continues to invest in technology that improves the attendee and exhibitor experience at I/ITSEC. This year we built on the success of our Show Management application that allows attendees and exhibitors to digitally interact with the Conference schedule and the “digital show floor.” Attendees were able to “Plan your Show” by searching and sorting conference and show content in real time. The enhanced exhibitor profiles included highlights, videos and the ability to set up visits and interact with booth personnel.

The I/ITSEC exhibition hall hosted 469 companies and organizations this year. The international presence continues to be very strong, with new exhibitors from Austria and Saudi Arabia, and increased presence from Israel, France, and Turkey. In addition, we saw continued strong participation in international pavilions with the European Training and Simulation Association (ETSA), Brazil, the Netherlands and Canada all represented in separate areas on the exhibit floor. The international program also included opportunities for international attendees to schedule meetings with government and industry.

The world remains a very dynamic and dangerous place, and support for our warriors and first responders has never been more important. At the same time our nation’s economies, communications, social structures and critical infrastructure are being attacked in virtual ways and training and simulation capability must adapt and adjust to these trends. With this in mind, we are expanding the scope of I/ITSEC to include training and simulation related to defending the transportation, energy, manufacturing, business, and education domains. The demand for integration of LVC training, gaming and analysis into our core workforce skill sets has never been more important.

So thanks for joining nearly 15,000 of your teammates in Orlando for the largest training and simulation event on the planet. We are 15 years into the Simulation Century and the future for training and simulation is very bright. Start planning now for participation in 2016!

 

RADM James Robb, USN (Ret)
NTSA President

 

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