As the Army continues to push toward live, virtual, constructive simulation and gaming-integrated training environments, the MSCoE DTF brings that vision one step closer to reality. Properly resourced and managed, the MSCoE DTF is a valuable training tool that could be utilized for a wide variety of missions.
A Digital Training Facility, or DTF, is a computer lab that provides Soldiers and civilians with access to online training. It’s an essential tool that improves a unit’s readiness. It can be accessed from any location, using high-speed internet access and video tele-training equipment. The army uses these DTFs to conduct online training that is relevant to Soldiers’ professional and personal needs. It also gives them the opportunity to conduct their training in their own time and at a pace that suits them.
DTFs are located on Army installations and Reserve sites worldwide. The Digital Training Facility Manager, or DTFM, manages and oversees these facilities. They interface with various stakeholder personnel, including the Section, squad or platoon leadership, and the Technology Resources Directorate. They also provide support to the Enterprise Management System (EMS) staff for their assigned DTF.
In addition to providing online training, DTFs also offer instructor-led classes that can be held on-site and at select locations across the country. These classes are designed to help Soldiers develop new skills or refresh older ones. This training helps to keep the army up-to-date on current trends and legislations that may impact the army’s mission. This also increases the likelihood that the army’s operations will be successful in the long run.
It can also help managers tailor training for their employees’ specific learning styles. There are four major learning styles: visual, auditory, reading and writing, and kinesthetic. Therefore, finding a training program that can cater to all of these styles is important. Another benefit of digital training is that it allows employees to complete it at their own pace and from the comfort of their home. This can make it easier for them to stay on track with their work and to avoid any distractions.
The digital training platform also allows managers to view each profile’s progress and provide feedback as they go along. This allows them to tailor the training programs to their employees’ needs and increase their overall engagement as they work through the courses.
A Digital Training Facility (DTF) is a state-of-the-art, multifunctional training area equipped with digital systems for the Army to support collective and individual Soldier training. The DTF is a key element of the Army’s mission to modernize and enhance the way Soldiers are trained while preparing them for the future.
The DTF serves TRADOC, FORSCOM, and the Army as the primary location for the modernization and upgrade of military education facilities to ensure interoperability, compatibility, and scalability standards to maximize Soldier training effectiveness. The Digital Training Facility also facilitates TRADOC-approved instructional methods, enhancing and improving resident training, education, and training support courses.
Digital Training: A Changing Landscape
The Army is developing and fielding a full suite of digital command, control, and communication (C2) systems, all of which require some degree of soldier training. This includes New Equipment Training (NET), and collective tactical and leadership training. NET was a major focus last year as over 30 systems were established requiring over 13,700 soldier days of training. Most of the training was conducted in Company Simulation Exercises (Company SIMEXs), Staff Section/Staff Training, and Leader Integration Training.
IBCT leaders remained concerned that many of the digitized systems were being operated by soldiers who did not have a high level of technical knowledge or those without highly technical degrees. They wanted to ensure that these units could repair and maintain their digital systems themselves and not rely on contractors. To address this concern, IBCT leaders created a training plan to conduct digital training with help from I Corps, USAIS, and the Brigade Coordination Cell. This plan outlined training for all IBCT units on the full spectrum of digital systems, a plan which included digital collective tactical and leadership training for newly assigned soldiers and leaders.
In addition, sustainment training was required for all digital systems. Sustainment training ensures that digital skills develop regularly and can be maintained to the standard they need to be to meet mission requirements. FM 25-100 states, “Sustainment training must sustain skills to high standards often enough to prevent skill decay and to train new people.” Digital sustainment training is critical as a part of an effective training strategy. Without it, the skills developed during NET and collective training will not be maintained.
The mission of the Digital Training Facility is to provide a high-quality, state-of-the-art, high-performance training environment that maximizes learning and efficiency. We deliver this through a mix of resident instruction, unit, and individual online training. This includes a myriad of digital technologies, including video conferencing, interactive multimedia, audio and visual displays, computer labs, collaborative learning tools, online course management systems, and virtual reality simulations.
This is accomplished with a team of professionals who are passionate about what they do. We are dedicated to delivering quality education to all of our service members in a fun, engaging, and efficient manner. Ultimately, our goal is to build and sustain an exceptional, innovative, and dynamic learning community that inspires and empowers each individual to achieve his or her fullest potential in a safe, supportive, and rewarding environment.
What Does Digital Training Facility do?
The Digital Training Facility (DTF) is a technology-enhanced, computer lab located on Army installations and Reserve sites worldwide. It enables soldiers and civilians to train on their own time, at their convenience. It uses high-speed Internet access, computer-based training, and Video Tele-Training (VTT) equipment to improve individual and unit readiness.
The DTF is supported by a Digital Training Facility Manager who provides management and oversight at/for the assigned DTF. This position interfaces with various stakeholder personnel, the Section, squad, or platoon leadership, and the Technology Resources Directorate(s) to provide consistent high-level systems access and instruction tools/facilities/assets.
DTFs support Soldier and Civilian training on a range of topics that improve readiness, including mission command, cyber operations, information assurance, intelligence, military culture, communication, combat leadership, and more. These trainings are delivered on any device, anywhere. A strong and knowledgeable technical staff is a key factor in successful digital warfare. This can be a significant challenge when digital systems are fielded and contractors and other external support resources are in demand.
During the first period of digital training, soldiers develop the skills to gain proficiency. However, the soldier’s skills degrade without sustainment training before the next formally scheduled collective training event. This skill decay is referred to as the “skills perishability” cycle, and it results in a loss of proficiency for many previously trained operators.
Therefore, sustained digital training is required to prevent this atrophy and to keep the skills developed in NET and collective training programs up to par. FM 25-100 defines sustained digital training as the practice of sustaining soldiers’ skills at a high standard on a regular basis to prevent decay.
The Digital Training Facility Manager must perform a thorough “skills perishability” study to identify the optimal training frequency and schedule sustainment training before the training perishes. This can be done systematically analyzing training events and a formal scheduling process.