5 Technical Innovations in the War on Terrorism

Immersion Simulators for Military Training
Marines at Camp Lejune, N.C., walk through a virtual ground combat scenario using FITE.
Marines at Camp Lejune, N.C., walk through a virtual ground combat scenario using FITE.
American Forces Press Service, U.S. Dept. of Defense

No matter how much a solider trains to handle a situation, the real world always throws something unexpected. This is especially true in the war on terrorism where soldiers have to defend against covert forces that have no consistent mode of attack. To better prepare its troops to respond to the unanticipated, the U.S. military now employs immersive computer simulators that provide a game-like interaction for both individuals and groups.

The group simulators have probably made the biggest difference in the war on terrorism. Soldiers are in a room together wearing virtual reality gear over their eyes and handling equipment such as turrets, rifles and steering wheels. All the gear and equipment is plugged into the simulator, which feeds the soldiers the variables of the simulation and, in turn, responds to the soldiers' movements.

In one simulator called the Virtual Convoy Operations Trainer (VCOT), a team of soldiers, each in different roles, handles certain scenarios as they travel in a virtual convoy. VCOT trains troops to communicate and work together when the virtual terrorists put them in an unplanned combat scenario. The Future Immersive Training Environment (FITE) takes the battle out of the convoy, training infantry to work together during ground combat. FITE simulates sights, sounds and even smells of a Middle East war zone [source: Pellerin].

For more details on this immersive military training, see our article on How Virtual Reality Military Applications Work.

The innovations we've covered in this article are just a small set of amazing technologies that have improved our defense in the ongoing war on terrorism. March on to the next page for lots more information on the technology used in the war on terrorism.

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  • Campbell, Hank. "Future Attribute Screening Technology – Detecting Crime Before It Happens." Science 2.0. ION Publications, LLC. May 31, 2011. (June 20, 2011) http://www.science20.com/science_20/future_attribute_screening_technology_detecting_crime_it_happens-79553
  • Critical Infrastructure Inspection Management System (CIIMS). "Overview." Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. (June 20, 2011) http://ciims.jhuapl.edu/CIIMS.aspx
  • Cross Match Technologies, Inc. "SEEK II." (June 20, 2011) http://www.crossmatch.com/seekII.php
  • Pellerin, Cheryl. "Immersive Technology Fuels Infantry Simulators." American Forces Press Service. U.S. Department of Defense. May 13, 2011. (June 20, 2011) http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=63933
  • McCleary, Paul. "Battlefield 411." Defense Technology International. McGraw-Hill. June 2011. p. 48.
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). "Command, Control and Interoperability Programs and Projects." Aug. 5, 2009. (June 20, 2011) http://www.dhs.gov/files/programs/gc_1218474924792.shtm
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). "Human Factors/Behavioral Sciences Projects." May 27, 2011. (June 20, 2011) http://www.dhs.gov/files/programs/gc_1218480185439.shtm
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). "Privacy Impact Assessment for the Future Attribute Screening Technology (FAST) Project." Dec. 15, 2008. (June 20, 2011) http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/privacy/privacy_pia_st_fast.pdf
  • Weinberger, Sharon. "Terrorist 'pre-crime' detector field tested in the United States." May 27, 2011. Nature News. Nature Publishing Group. Macmillan Publishers, Ltd. (June 20, 2011) http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110527/full/news.2011.323.html


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