As part of its ongoing effort to better train its troops, the U.S. Army has established the Training and Doctrine Command’s Project Office for Gaming.

GamePolitics has reported on an article in the Training and Simulation Journal Online, describing the new TPO Gaming as focusing on “integrating videogame graphics into Army simulations for soldiers and small-unit leaders. “We will focus on the visualization piece of those technologies, not so much the entertainment piece,” said TPO Gaming Director Col. Jack Millar. The office is intended to offer game-based training options not currently available in commercial game software. “I haven’t seen a game built for the entertainment industry that fills a training gap,” Millar said.

The U.S. Army Director of Training, Brig. Gen. Thomas Maffey, said games are excellent tools that support different training capabilities. “While one game might provide excellent battlefield visualization, another might support training bilateral negotiation techniques. In some instances, these games provide highly desirable capabilities, merit formal adoption and interoperability with existing simulation federations. In other instances, they are simply an inexpensive, throwaway training solution.”

“We are finding many uses for games and it is just beginning,” he continued. “Currently, we are focusing on first-person shooter and real-time strategy games, but there are many other genres of games that have desirable training capabilities. They provide an immersive environment capable of stimulating thought within a given context, thus giving us the ability to exercise cognitive skills along with functional tasks.”

The office is currently working on a “simulation took kit” that will allow soldiers to create their own training scenarios without outside assistance. Robert Bowen, the civilian chief of TPO Gaming, said, “We will empower that soldier to build his own scenario rapidly so he can train for his specified task.”

The full text of the Training & Simulation Journal Online article is available here.

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