The Leavenworth Way of War

History Discussion at CGSC

Digital COIN

An interesting article on a relatively new army simulation at this link.

Has anyone worked with this sim and if so, what were your experiences? Positive, negative, in between? Does it benefit units and leaders preparing to go downrange?


September 30, 2011 - Posted by | COIN, military history, Professional Military Education, Urban Warfare | , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. I think sim can be a positive, and back up what you learn during your MRE. The National Training Centers have done an outstanding job of modeling the conflicts that we face in different conflicts, however everyone does not go to the centers because of cost or etc. With the proper trainers I think a unit work through TTPs and validate some systems. As we move back to a garrison Army we have to look at alternate methods to train and certify our leaders.

    Comment by MAJ Carl Mason, 17A | September 30, 2011

  2. I believe that simulations such as this can be an effective compliment to the realistic urban training centers such as those at NTC and at many of the larger garrisions. This could also be effective familiarization training for junior leaders who are comfortable with technology and respond well to virtural learning. This will likely benefit the units that are preparing to deploy, but should not take the place of tough, realistic training in the real world.

    Comment by Matthew Wilder, 17D | October 2, 2011

  3. I believe that simulation programs such as this provide yet another format for leaders and Soldiers to learn how difficult our forces to conduct certain types of missions, such as COIN. I have found from experience that many people learn differently and for those that prefer to run a simulation instead of reading a COIN manual or the latest CALL message this program is excellent. It will provide them with an introduction to situations that they may encounter during their deployment. If similar situations do occur than the Soldiers will have some sort of “experience” to frame solutions around. In other words, simulation programs are a lot better than units going into an AO “blind”.

    Comment by MAJ Chris Moore, 17A | October 2, 2011

  4. I am in agreement that simulations are positive ways in order to compliment realistic training at centers such as JRTC, NTC, or the Germany Warfare Center. These training opportunities are sometimes the only realistic training soldiers experience before deploying. In addition to the training scenario’s, it important that military courses go back to implimenting training exercises. Over the past few years, most basic and advance courses have removed all exercises which can be effective training tools since many units lack funding IOT train at one of the National Training Centers. Many only get realistic training during their units MRE or once on the ground in Afghanistan. Although the army is moving towards a garrison army in the near future, we as future XO/S3s will need to facilitate and make recommendations to our commanders on effective ways in which to train for future operations.

    Comment by MAJ LaShaunda Jackson 17A | October 3, 2011

  5. These type SIMS can be a good resource if applied with actual experiences and the right facilitators. First, they are quicker to attract and command the attention of today’s younger generation of both officers and enlisted than any FM or Joint Pub would. Second, as funding becomes scarce these type of resources are a cost effective way of mitigating any funding shortfalls. Having said that, I agree with Matthew that this cannot replace actual training.

    Therein lies our challenge. We must remain cautious not to overly rely on these technologies as that can have a detrimental training effect. Our task as leaders is to leverage these technologies, preferably through experienced external evaluators, in a real-world context.

    Comment by Efrain Ramos | October 4, 2011

  6. SIM is also becoming popular in the civilian/education world. Funding will always be an issue, however, with a bit of creativity it can be done. For example, when I was an APMS, I was able to convince the Univ’s College of Technology to invest/find funds for research and development of simulations that would help facilitate their Leadership and Law Enforcement programs, as well as their ROTC program. It just happened to benefit everyone involved. They are currently working on the next generation of SIM technology, as well as working on networking other universities so that they can practice their programs ‘online’, as well as develop scenarios based on military and law enforcement experience that can be customizable by the unit/consumer. The faculty was able to get funding from friends/sponsors in Washington DC, and my brigade was able to chip in with funds at the end of the FY. The technology is out there. Whether the rest of the Army will invest will be interesting to see.

    Comment by Kel Allen | October 6, 2011

  7. Computer simulations are great tools, but I do not believe any computer based training can be better than more live training such as the three training centers, mission readiness exercises, external evaluations; any means where you have to deal with real Soldier interacting with live people. Simulations are great for training staffs and higher (BDE and above) HQ elements, but will never be able to completely answer the mail at the tactical level. We should use computer based simulation systems as what they are, tools (not substitutions).

    Comment by MAJ Chittenden SG17A | October 10, 2011

  8. To caveat the discussion on technology, an interesting experience while participating in a STRATCOM speaking opportunity in Oskaloosa. One of the people I met was a WWII and Korean War veteran. He proceeded to thank me for my service, and I told him that it was I who should be thanking him. Warfare was different back then, especially due to the technology available to the Soldiers. He was an enlisted Soldier and gunner. It was amazing the clarity he had for his own situational awareness he had in the context of where he was, where his unit was, and where his missions were. In earlier history lessons here at CGSC, we talked about revolutions in WWI, and how cartography had changed as maps became important to situational awareness on the battlefield. Map reading, I believe, is a perishable skill. Without the use of computers or modern GPS devices, I would be willing to bet that there are Officers here at CGSC who would struggle to find a location on a map, given an 8-digit grid coordinate. When I was a CPT in OIF I, I happened to be on a convoy with a Major in charge who got our convoy lost due to his inability to navigate using a paper map. We didn’t have GPS of BFT at the time. Needless to say, he struggled with reading terrain and simply orienting himself North/South. I am not saying this is the case for all Majors, but if one doesn’t practice without the use of technology, it is a skill that will fade away. As a challenge to other Majors conducting STRATCOM opportunities, I would recommend talking to Soldiers from previous wars and inquiring about situational awareness, and how they got along without the technology we have today.

    Comment by MAJ Kel Allen | November 15, 2011

  9. MAJ Chittenden is exactly right. As a Sims guy, FA 57, the integration of Live Virtual Constructive (think Decisive Action; Live Commanders and Staff; simulated combat) and Gaming is critical to how tomorrows Army trains. Each Sim has a different way of training the audience and a variety of Sims again – Live, Virtual Constructive and yes even gaming are needed to train the force.

    How many soldiers are injured and how much money is wasted when we go to the field ill prepared. Sims in their many forms can – when used properly – be the “crawl and walk.” NTC has marginalized the proper effect of Field Artillery at the training center and Maneuver Commander in our last two wars have failed to integrate Artillery or trust their Artillery as anything other than door stompers.

    As a former BOLC II instructor, EST 2000 cut our ammo expenditures in half when training LTs. That left lots of ammo for more advanced training and better trained LTs. Of course when we went to Squad live fire it was still difficult but not as difficult once we incorporated VBS2 ( I know gaming – but it works) LTs loved it, we spent less time shooting dry or blanks and therefore spent less money and injured fewer LTs.

    That all said, their is no substitute for live fire. Tank or Artillery Table 8 will always be table 8 and must be live!

    Comment by Matt Starsnic, 17C, FA 57 (formerly Field Artillery) | February 1, 2012

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