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ITEC 2017: Do First Responders Train?

The Difference Between Military and Emergency Management Training Solutions

Military training solutions – whether live, virtual or constructive, tend on the whole to be iterative, with repeated training serials over time instilling skills and achieving carefully defined learning objectives. That is largely because training is a core activity for the military: they are not constantly doing their jobs – after all, if they were, we would be in a permanent state of war.

The same does not necessarily apply to all domains, though. Taking the opportunity of ITEC 2017 in Rotterdam this week to talk to a couple of experienced practitioners, it is evident that the challenges in marketing effects-oriented training to non-military markets can be very different: one size most assuredly does not fit all.

Do first responders train? Sure – we do it every single day,” explains Tim Mahoney, Corporate Vice President for Line Operations at Dynamis, a Virginia-based software provider specialising in decision support, planning, organisational development and training issues for the emergency service management market sector.

Clive Morgan, Vice President, Operations at C4I Training & Technology, based in Calgary, Alberta, echoes Mahoney’s observation. “Finding the time for dedicated training is difficult – these guys are busy doing their jobs every day and training is sometimes considered something of a luxury,” he told Mönch at the show. That is an observation – not a criticism, but it prompts something of a re-evaluation in this reporter’s mind.

The use of constructive simulations such as C4I’s MILSIM, aimed at military users seeking intuitive, easy to use and cost-effective command and staff collective training solutions is a relatively easy sell. Requirements are frequently well defined, procurement processes established and budgets – even when constrained – readily identified. The same would seem to be not necessarily the case for the emergency services market. The issue is not that emergency services authorities do not require training – or do not recognise that requirement – but rather that in the past there has not been the same degree of concentration on delivering iterative, repeatable training in the sanem manner as for the armed forces.

And that is a dynamic that must, surely be about to change. Dynamis, for example, supports the entire Belgian emergency services machine, which has 4,000 users, providing decision support and training serials to enhance and develop management skills. C4I’s EDMSIM – common in some functional respects with MILSIM but specifically developed for and oriented towards emergency management requirements – has the US Army as its number one customer. Not for traditional military purposes but for the “military aid to the civil power” role that lies at the heart of Army National Guard life. The Army runs over 160 exercises per year aimed at training, instilling and improving collective management skillsets: all use EDMSIM.

These two companies (it is no accident they are collaborating closely at ITEC) show a tantalising glimpse of the differences – and, perhaps, exploitable similarities – between these two markets. Expect to see an in-depth treatment of this fascinating topic in a future issue of Safety & Security International.

Tim Mahon


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