Over recent decades, the consistent development of online and computerized games has astronomically skyrocketed. These games have replaced typical board games like Monopoly and Yahtzee. With it, comes a change in how the Department of Defense’s military branches train their new recruits. A team at Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division Dam Neck Activity (NSWCDD DNA) developed a prototype to utilize this increasing background in the gaming world to improve training solutions for the U.S. Marines.
The Gaming Environment for Air Readiness (GEAR) prototype was developed over a 12-month period thanks to funding from the Office of Naval Research (ONR) Global Tech Solutions. GEAR provides scenario generation and a realistic synthetic environment for the Marine Air Support Squadron One (MASS-1) team. The MASS-1 Defense Air Support Center (DASC) is the principal Marine air command and control system agency, responsible for the direction of air operations directly supporting ground forces.
“If you’ve heard of the ‘crawl, walk, run’ phrase, this prototype fills that ‘walk’ portion,” explained GEAR Project Technical Lead Sean Sheridan. “GEAR gives MASS-1 junior personnel a more hands-on experience. Right now, they go through a schoolhouse with presentations and pamphlets. They practice the spoken communication through flash cards, but there isn’t a great way to practice and train new students.”