SOURCE: Rockwell Collins

Rockwell Collins

SOURCE: Government Business Council

Government Business Council

January 29, 2015 12:00 ET

Government Business Council Research Finds Virtual Training Can Help U.S. Military Avert Readiness Crisis While Potentially Saving More Than $1.7 Billion

DoD Employees Doubt Current Training Levels and Capabilities Will Meet Readiness Needs and Suggest Virtual Simulation Could Cut Costs While Enhancing Training Effectiveness

STERLING, VA--(Marketwired - January 29, 2015) - New research conducted by Government Business Council (GBC), and commissioned by Rockwell Collins, concludes that increasing levels of virtual training -- the integration of virtual simulation into training regimens -- can help the U.S. military better prepare for new challenges while potentially reducing costs by more than $1.7 billion over five years.

The report, "Going Virtual to Prepare for a New Era of Defense," combines extensive secondary research, interviews with training and simulation experts, and a survey of 310 active-duty and civilian U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) personnel to assess the promise of virtual training.

"Virtual training promises significant benefits to the military, both in terms of cost savings and enhanced preparation for today's evolving security environment," said Zoe Grotophorst, Manager of Research & Strategic Insights at GBC. "This study serves as a first step towards taking virtual training to the next level in the military and fully realizing its potential."

Lack of confidence in current training levels
A key finding from the report is a general lack of confidence that current training will meet readiness needs.

  • Just 23 percent of the survey's respondents are confident current training levels will meet readiness needs.
  • Less than one third (28 percent) of respondents are confident that current live training capabilities can satisfy training needs.

Former Air Force Lt. General Thomas Baptiste, now president and CEO of the National Center for Simulation, told GBC that "there is no way that any service chief can avoid the fact that they're going to have to rethink the balance between live training and simulation."

Live and Virtual training viewed as more effective, less costly solution
GBC's research finds that integrating more virtual simulation into training programs would both reduce costs and enhance the effectiveness of training. Research findings include:

  • The Air Force projects savings of $1.7 billion between FY 2012 and FY 2016 by offsetting a decrease in live flying hours with virtual training
  • The Navy expects to save $119 million annually beginning in 2020 by increasing virtual training for just two types of aircraft
  • 57 percent of respondents identify reduced cost as a significant benefit of integrating live and virtual training.
  • 85 percent of the respondents indicated that blending live and virtual training, as in the case of Live, Virtual, and Constructive (LVC) training, would reduce costs for at least one of four types of training tasks. 

The research also finds that virtual training is viewed as necessary to keep up with evolving technology and more complex forms of warfare, while increasing the safety of both mission operations and training itself.

  • Two thirds (67 percent) of respondents agree that the incoming generation of service members will learn better through multimedia training programs.
  • 51 percent of respondents say integrating live and virtual training significantly enhances their service or component's ability to conduct exercises involving multiple operational domains (i.e., air, land, sea, space, and cyberspace) quite a bit or a great deal.
  • 53 percent of respondents say integrating live and virtual training increases the safety of mission operations quite a bit or a great deal, and 83 percent say it will do so at least somewhat.

"The GBC research uncovered some remarkable data that underscores the value of blending live and virtual training," said LeAnn Ridgeway, vice president and general manager, Simulation and Training Solutions for Rockwell Collins. "The research also validates our company's efforts to expand the capabilities of simulators and explore how they can make the best use of available live flight hours, given the impact of budgetary realities. With Live, Virtual and Constructive training, we provide a blended training environment that is closer to the way missions are performed, while providing greater training proficiency."

GBC's research further reveals that the military is more prepared to increase virtual training than many realize. Survey respondents indicate they are comfortable increasing virtual training above current levels by 2 to 8 percentage points, and those in the higher ranks or with active-duty experience are comfortable with an even greater increase.

Addressing the challenges of virtual training
The report also brings to light key virtual training challenges and how military leaders can address them. The two major obstacles are the insufficient fidelity of simulations and a lack of understanding/awareness. To take virtual training to the next level, the report recommends developing a holistic taxonomy of training tasks, determining the precise return on investment for virtual training, optimizing virtual training for joint interoperability, and investing in advanced simulation visual technology.

Full report available here.

About Rockwell Collins

Rockwell Collins is a pioneer in the development and deployment of innovative communication and aviation electronic solutions for both commercial and government applications. Our expertise in flight deck avionics, cabin electronics, mission communications, simulation and training, and information management services is delivered by a global workforce, and a service and support network that crosses more than 150 countries. To find out more, please visit

About Government Business Council

Government Business Council (GBC), the research arm of Government Executive Media Group, is dedicated to advancing the business of government through analysis and insight. GBC partners with industry to share best practices with top government decision-makers, understanding the deep value inherent in industry's experience engaging and supporting federal agencies.

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