Tapping into Experience to Deliver Tomorrow’s Anytime, Anywhere Training

During various U.S. Army leadership roles, Dave Cogdall has put new training capability into the hands of thousands of service members worldwide. Today, he brings a Soldier’s perspective to educate customers on the power of simulation for training the next generation.
 

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How do you explain the value of simulation and training in preparing new soldiers? For Dave Cogdall, it starts with thinking back to his early days as a soldier at Fort Knox.

As a 23-year-old stepping into his first officer role as a Tank Platoon Leader, he went from commanding his own tank and crew to managing a unit of four tanks and their crewmen.

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“Imagine four tanks, each traveling at 25 MPH, and having to learn how to synchronize commands across the unit and manage fire distribution across different sectors of fire,” he explained. “When I was in training, we used simulators similar to the Advanced Gunnery Training System or Close Combat Tactical Trainer to hone these skills prior to deploying. However, today’s virtual training technologies are so advanced, tank crews can be networked together for even more immersive and effective training.”

Throughout more than 25 years of service in the U.S. Army, Cogdall saw the benefits of training and simulation in every role he served. During Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm as a Logistics Officer, he was responsible for managing fuel and ammunition resources across his battalion. He served in roles of increasing responsibility including a Tank Company Commander with responsibility for 14 tanks and 64 soldiers.

“As I advanced in my career, I really saw the value of constructive training technologies like WARSIM,” he said. “When you’re in combat operations, it’s vital to understand how far tanks can go without refueling, or what routes and timing are most strategic to refuel safely. Being able to simulate these challenges helps leaders build their decision-making skills.”

Later in his military career, Cogdall led various training-focused programs including as a Lieutenant Colonel, Chief of Training for U.S. Army Central, 3rd Army in Kuwait. Upon return from deployment, he served as senior advisor to the National Guard helping units prepare for deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan.

“When training new crewmen, it can be very expensive – think of the costs of fuel for the tanks and ammunition,” Cogdall said. “Today’s simulators provide a high-fidelity, realistic training environment that is much more cost-effective for our customers.”

One example of how training has evolved: today’s tank driver trainers can simulate environmental conditions like rain or snow, with physics models that ensure the driver feels how the vehicle would handle differently in adverse weather conditions. “During training, soldiers get immediate, tactile feedback within the simulator to better prepare them for how the tank would handle in the real world.”

Now working as a business development manager for Lockheed Martin, Cogdall shares new technology advancements with customers to help them shape or upgrade their training solutions. “Live training is always going to be incredibly important,” he said. “But using simulators, today’s soldiers can train anytime, anywhere for a mission one day and deploy the next.”

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The Digital Range Training System (DRTS) is the most sophisticated live fire training program for the U.S. Army to train and evaluate soldiers in one of the most high risk areas of training: live fire. Check out this video to learn more about how Lockheed Martin is integrating digital technologies for the most effective training possible.