Training and Simulation for Homeland Security conference fast taking shape


With a week before the Training and Simulation for Homeland Security conference starts, organisers are confident of a full house of attentive listeners seeking to make soldiers as efficient as possible without having to spend exorbitantly on training.

South Africa’s military, in common with others worldwide, increasingly have to tighten belts as budgets are cut and expanded use of simulators in various aspects of training is becoming the norm rather than the exception.

Organised by the SA Aerospace, Maritime and Defence Industries Association (AMD) the two day conference at the SA National Defence Force’s (SANDF) Centre for Conflict Simulation (CONSIM) in Thaba Tshwane will have 16 top flight speakers and as well as a number of specialist exhibitors including Bohemia Interactive Solutions, Saab, Denel, Kolskoot, Cybicom Atlas Defence, Indigo New Media, Concursive, BAE Systems and Pitch Technologies.

The conference will be opened by Major General Barney Hlatshwayo, chief director ops development of the SANDF’s Joint Operations Division on Wednesday.

Conference organiser James Erlank said it was common wisdom soldiers must train like they will fight. The more realistic the training, the more likely soldiers are to fight like they trained, that is effectively and without hesitation.
“The biggest problem with providing operationally realistic training is cost: major field exercises can be prohibitively expensive. The trade-off between realism and cost has been substantially altered by the rise of ICT technologies: cutting edge military solutions provide impressive realism and immersion at a fraction of the cost of field exercises,” he said.

Exploring just how to put these cutting edge technologies to the best use in military training will be Colin Armstrong of Saab Grintek Defence (Simulation leadership); Janice Scheckter of Indigo Solutions (Creating secure collaborative ecosystems for government); Deon Greyling of Business Training Solutions (Driving excellence in corporate strategy execution through simulations); Mr K Thaver of Armscor (A high level perspective on simulation in an African context); Colonel LA Puckree of CONSIM (Joint mission training for coalition operations); Mr JC van Schalkwyk of Saab Grintek Defence ( Simulating immediate course of action during the battle); Martin Carr of Bohemia Interactive Simulations (The application of serious games to tactical training and mission rehearsal); Stefan Sandberg of Pitch Technologies (Enhancing gaming technology with cloud simulation); Herman le Roux and Cobus Venter of the CSIR (Models, simulations, simulators and inter-operability in two parts); Justin Collins of Thoroughbred Technologies (Trends and technology in armoured vehicle simulation); Brigadier General (Dr) WJ Wagner of COLET (More developmental bang for your war-gaming buck) and presentations by Colonel T Ligthelm of the SA Military Health Service’s force readiness department on “Using Hollywood to create the scenario for military medical simulations” and “Computer simulation to enhance decision making in a joint operational centre”.