Caucus convenes to scout out new technologies

When triaging soldiers wounded in battle, it's not always obvious who needs attention first ? and a misjudgment could be catastrophic.

The solution is putting medics through realistic, intensive training in triage procedures, with all the sights and sounds of war to give them the best chance of performing when the situation is real. That's just one example of how modeling and simulation is evolving to encompass more than combat training for the military.

The technology was on display today on Capitol Hill at an exhibition sponsored by the Congressional Modeling and Simulation Caucus, a group that promotes the development of the technology.

"Our focus has been that 85 percent of the warfighter's job is not to fight, it's to support [other] warfighters," said Waymon Armstrong, president of Engineering & Computer Simulations Inc., Orlando, Fla. "We're using game-based learning for training on procedures. Our combat medic application trains for the decision-making on how to treat a casualty." The Army Medical Command Center uses the program instruction, he said.

Armstrong sees a trend of building applications for processes that tend to be mundane but still need reinforcement.

"A lot thing we put into the medic game are going to throw you off," Armstrong said. "The person screaming the loudest might have the most minimal injuries, and the person not screaming is the one you need to treat."

Homeland security duties, such as inspecting vehicles or screening people at a border, are other tasks now covered by simulations, said Dale Olsen, president and CEO Simmersion LLC, Columbia, Md. His company has an application that trains customs agents in interviewing people arriving by plane to the United States.

"It teaches them how to determine when somebody is lying to them or not," Olsen said. "The basic part of this training is to recognize subtle signs of deception that most of us don't pick up."

His company has similar applications to train doctors to distinguish between things that are common, like chicken pox, and things that are rare, like small pox.

"The innovativeness, multi-use applicability and affordability of modeling and simulation hold the possibility to maintain and enhance the economic competitiveness of this country," said Rep. J. Rand Forbes (R-Va.), caucus chairman.

About the Author

Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Washington Technology.

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