Soldiers Get in the Game with DISE

By Lopez, C. Todd | Soldiers Magazine, November 2008 | Go to article overview

Soldiers Get in the Game with DISE


Lopez, C. Todd, Soldiers Magazine


[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

IMAGINE an exercise where Soldiers move around in full body armor, storm into Military Operations on Urban Terrain sites, travel in Humvees or Strykers, fire their weapons at "enemy" combatants, call in support from Army helicopters, encounter improvised explosive devices, conduct convoy operations, and maybe even take a simulated bullet.

During an after-action review, Soldiers watch the entire exercise recreated on a video screen in full-color, 3-D computer animation. A presenter zooms in on an individual participant, represented as a tiny animated Soldier. The Soldier's actual name and rank are displayed above the avatar as it retraces every step and action made by the real Soldier it represents.

Shots fired are recorded and recreated on screen with colored lines from shooter to target. The terrain, the buildings, the vehicles and the aircraft are all faithfully reproduced. The presenter can watch any player or vehicle, at any time during the exercise, from any angle or distance.

That type of after-action review process takes place now at the Babadag training facility, about 30 miles north of Mihail Kogalniceanu Airbase, Romania, courtesy of the Training Support Activity Europe, part of the Joint Multinational Training Command at Grafenwoehr, Germany. The JMTC, the Army's trainers in Europe, packaged the training and deployed it as part of the Joint Task Force-East training exercise, a monthlong, multinational exercise between U.S. Soldiers stationed in Germany, along with members of the New Mexico and Utah National Guard, and soldiers of the Romanian army's 21st Mountain Battalion and the Bulgarian army's 10th Company, 5th Infantry Battalion.

Soldiers at Babadag train on firing ranges, conduct MOUT training, and participate in exercises where they and much of the equipment they use can be instrumented with the "Deployable Instrumentation System, Europe," commonly called DISE.

The DISE is basically an instrumentation system for Soldiers, their weapons and their equipment. With DISE, Soldiers' weapons are equipped with a laser that sends out a beam when they fire, not unlike the Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System, or MILES. And like MILES, Soldiers also wear an array of sensors that allow other Soldiers to "kill" them during training. The DISE vest Soldiers wear also includes a Global Positioning System receiver, a computer that identifies the Soldier who wears it, and a radio that broadcasts user telemetry to an array of antennas around training ranges. The vest also comes equipped with a speaker that allows the onboard computer to keep wearers informed about their status in the exercise.

"You have a little computer with a loudspeaker on there," said Doug Meckley, the DISE mission coordinator. "Audio cues let you know what the heck's going on--so when you get shot it can tell you if you are killed or injured."

It's not only Soldiers who are instrumented with DISE. Vehicles and aircraft can also transmit location and position information into the system.

"DISE can instrument just about anything," Meckley said. "You can put it on any kind of vehicle, from Romanian or Bulgarian trucks to OP-FOR vehicles to Polish tanks."

At the core of DISE is its computer system that can track the position and firing activities of some 1,200 Soldiers engaged in an exercise over a training space as large as 1,600 square kilometers (nearly 1,000 square miles). While the exercise is underway, indicators for each player move about a computer screen in real time.

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