Cavalry regiment trains with ‘video games’

Cavalry Scouts with 1st Squadron, 32nd Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, conduct intelligence training on a virtual patrol Feb. 12. The training’s intent is to train Soldiers without an intelligence background in providing better intelligence at the company level.

The room had six Soldiers sitting at tables with headsets on, moving their characters across a computer screen, participating in what appeared to be a video game.

“The Virtual Battlespace System is pretty much a war-training video game, but the difference is we have a white cell that is operating behind the scenes, putting injects into the game and conducting actual face-to-face key leader engagements to simulate and add more dynamics to the game,” said 2nd Lt. Katherine Brennan, assistant S-2 with 1st Squadron, 32nd Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division.

Brennan assisted in overseeing the day’s training, which was a culminating training event to previous intelligence gathering courses 12 Soldiers had participated in at the Kinnard Mission Training Complex at Fort Campbell.

The Soldiers participating in the training did not have a background in intelligence and that is what made the training so significant, Brennan said.

“A lot of valuable intelligence is lost at the company level, so this training teaches and helps 11 Bravos and 19 Alphas to refine their intelligence skills to pick up things on patrols and report it higher,” she said.

To make the virtual training as realistic as possible, two intelligence Soldiers sat with a civilian team leader to act as role players in the system and conduct key leader engagements in person.

“We establish roles based on cultural aspects of the area the Soldiers are training in to give them the most realistic scenario,” said Scott Rosenburger, VBS3 virtual training facility team leader.

Brennan added that having Rosenburger leading the white cell allowed for injects that the Soldiers couldn’t predict.

“The biggest thing here is that this can be a very good tool to use for a rehearsal phase in a crawl, walk training plan,” Rosenburger said. “Back in the day you had to rely on actual role players to show up for training or you had no role players and you just ran through battle drills. This way you have a way to actually interact with the Soldiers in the simulation so that they can gather the information they need to. It’s very beneficial for any mission they could possibly execute on the battlefield or in a field training environment.”

Brennan added that this training is important because it helps refine Soldiers’ intelligence skills.

“We need to keep training and continue to prepare for anything in the future,” Brennan said.