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GCN : March 2014
CASE STUDY TRAINING SIMULATORS The military has used vir- tual simulations since at least World War I to train personnel. The first known such device, called the "Antoinette," was developed in 1909 and was rigged with levers and wheels to teach pilots to control pitch and roll before actually taking to the air. Virtual simulators have come a long way. EDGE (Enhanced Dynamic Geo-Social Environment), the product of a joint effort by the U.S. Army and the Department of Homeland Security intended to train military and first respond- ers, debuted with a live demon- stration by the Sacramento, Calif., police and fire departments last November. As a result of feedback from that demonstration, DHS plans to offer the application to other agencies and departments this year. EDGE presented Sacramento first responders with a double threat: A half-dozen terrorists surge into a downtown hotel, fir- ing on civilians. As police arrive, the terrorists set fires in the lobby and on an upper floor. The com- mand center must coordinate po- lice, fire and emergency medical responses. "The environment is very real- istic," Chris Costamagna, battal- ion chief of the Sacramento Fire Department, told GCN. "We ve never seen anything like it." LEVERAGING RESOURCES According to John Verrico, chief of media relations for DHS s Sci- ence and Technology Directorate, the joint effort came about as a result of feedback from first re- sponders themselves. "We kept hearing over and over again from the emergency response community that what they needed was a good virtual training platform," Verrico said. While organizations had their own training tools, they didn t have a program that supported scenarios in which multiple orga- nizations coordinated with each other, as would be necessary in a real crisis. "And the scenario they told us they needed the training on the most was on an active- shooter scenario," Verrico said. Knowing that the Army had done work on active-shooter simulations, DHS reached out to then Army s Training and Doc- trine Command(TRADOC) in late 2012. "With a limited budget, we have to look at leveraging our invest- ment with other agencies," said Christine Lee, program manager at DHS s Science and Technology Directorate. "The U.S. Army is The Enhanced Dynamic Geo-Social Environment is designed to train military and first responders on coordinating operations across multiple organizations Game engine gives rst responders an EDGE BY PATRICK MARSHALL 24 GCN MARCH 2014 • GCN.COM Using ultra-high resolution vehicles, equipment and tools, EDGE integrates local tactics and procedures with cross-discipline training and other exercises.