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2000 Assessment of the Office of Naval Research’s Marine Corps Science and Technology Program
The objective of the MAGTF FOM thrust is to develop a prototype FOM standard for simulator integration to support collective training. Its goal is to deliver a consistent view of the battlefield and sensor interactions for each participant.
The long-term objective of the tactical decision games is to provide network-compatible PC war games that are realistic and engaging. This thrust employs proven, commercially available technology and exploits the wide use of war games currently sold.
Small Unit Tactical Training
The stated objective of the Small Unit Tactical Training (SUTT) program effort is “to develop and evaluate virtual environment technologies supporting a training concept to permit individual, team, and interteam distributed training in a synthetic environment.” The requirement for this program is to better prepare warriors to meet the physical, emotional, and intellectual demands of modern battle at a time when pretraining budgets and time for live training are decreasing. The effort seeks to improve the quality of interaction provided by virtual environments (VEs) and to develop a reusable VE that will permit interactions in a coherent battlefield. The SUTT program itself ends in FY02, but three followon demonstrations are being planned between FY02 and FY07 that move progressively from platform simulation to close-quarters battle and up to full-spectrum combat.
The committee believes the SUTT program to be extremely important, well-leveraged by other VIRTE efforts, and unique in its effort to create a fully immersive perceptual illusion for the trainee, incorporating realistic interactions. The committee fully supports this effort but also recognizes that little is being invested in basic research and that the program is technology-limited.
The committee recommends that efforts be made to quantify payoffs against baseline performance and against other alternatives. It recommends that a formal evaluation plan be developed at this time that explores cost-effectiveness goals.
Real-Time Motion Capture for Virtual Reality
The goal of this small 6.1 and 6.2 virtual locomotion research effort is to provide natural, direct control over simulated locomotion for realistic maneuver through VEs.
The committee was very impressed with the program and its execution to date. The planned comparative evaluation of three virtual locomotion techniques for a number of tasks is a needed step in demonstrating relative values quantitatively. Although this effort appears to be a very desirable enhancement of VIRTE, its continuation seems to be in doubt.