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Session Information

TitleTurning Gamers to Soldiers: War Games in the Modern Military
Presenter(s)David Versaw, Chief Financial Officer and Director of Business Development at WILL Interactive, Inc., has over 20 years experience in new product development, program management, business development and strategic planning. His strong technology background includes broad-based computer proficiency and expertise in software development, enhanced by expertise in government contracting. As Director of Business Development of WILL Interactive David has managed and directed multiple Virtual Experience Immersive Learning Simulations (VEILS). His responsibilities include leadership of the business development group, supervision of personnel, and primary relationship manager for top-tier clientele. David Versaw received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Finance from University of Mary Washington.
TimeThursday, October 9, 1:15p-2:15p
DescriptionWar games have always been an integral part of soldier training in the United States Military, and for quite some time the entertainment industry. As war games have evolved and become mainstreamed, what has happened to actual war games within the military? Modern military simulations do not bear resemblance to the first person shooters that the video game industry makes us think of. Todays soldiers are more likely to face a difficult decision, with a need to weigh ethical and reciprocal concerns, than to fire round after round at clearly identified enemy soldiers. While entertainment based military games are still rooted in simply defeating the enemy, U.S. Military games focus on the subtle and ethical nuances of warfare.

Almost half of the U.S. Military is currently under the age of 25, meaning todays soldiers grew up playing video games. What better way to appeal and teach them than by using an interactive medium they can identify with? These gamers turned soldiers have exchanged their digital guns for live ammunition, but have not given up their video games.

Current serious game programs in use by the U.S. Military have proven to be successful, and their role in training has grown. From identifying insurgents among the local population and handling delicate cultural situations, to identifying an I.E.D., current military games prepare users for the realities of deployment.

For instance Gator Six, Outside the Wire, The Leader and A Day in the Bam are four of twelve Virtual Experience Immersive Learning Simulations used by the Army to train and educate hundreds of thousands of current and future leaders. Using lessons learned by veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to create the content, these programs provide an opportunity to explore the consequences of ones actions in a safe and virtual environment. By using live action and real actors, there is also an increased level of realism, which helps simulate the pressures of the situations.

The military is increasingly embracing new technologies and adjusting the traditional war game to fit an untraditional war, thereby reinforcing values such as ethics, leadership, and teamwork.These new training programs have been proven to be effective in behavior modification. War games may be fun, but it is more important they train, than entertain.

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