After Action Reviews (AARs) are an essential part of any thorough training regimen in the military and include the deliberate debrief to trainees that compare and contrast intended actions with actual results achieved.  While working as an Army instructor in 2005, I found AARs to be an extremely useful tool that helped me uncover all aspects of training that may not have been otherwise readily apparent.  I facilitated discussion(s) that led trainees to engage in the thorough review of their performance immediately following training events.  My tools for conducting AARs were rudimentary and usually involved hastily scribbled notes on small dry erase boards and crude sand tables etched into the ground.  These tools were adequate at the time but with the rapid evolution of mobile technology it has become clear that applied mobile technology can completely transform how the Army prepares its war fighters.

One high performing platform already in use by the US Army National Guard and employed by Ravenswood Solutions is the field proven software suite named “Orion”.  Orion is a highly capable exercise control platform that can seamlessly integrate multiple sensor inputs for use in an instrumented After Action Review.  The instrumented AAR provides near real-time capability for a GPS-synchronized 3D playback of the event which is then displayed on-site at the conclusion of the training event.  This provides the instructor or OC the ability to conduct a highly interactive AAR, an AAR that allows trainees to get immediate feedback on how they performed.  The system can be provided pre-programmed training objectives which flag key events while providing options for increased performance.  The graphic user interface is highly versatile and provides the operator with multiple tools in the preparation of an AAR.  The interface has a data populated timeline along the bottom of screen that can replay and bookmark exact moments in time using multiple video feeds.

Ravenswood Solutions has built an impressive exportable training system around this software known as Flex Train.  This scalable training system supports platoon to brigade sized training plans that are versatile and tailorable.  This is an all inclusive training support package that involves the planning, exercise site preparation, delivery and set up of the instrumentation and communications infrastructure.  Of course, central to the effort is the technical management of the AAR through use of an impressive Mobile After Action Review Center (MAARC) as seen below.

I am envious of today’s Army trainers and OCs as tools like these as executed by Ravenswood Solutions are multiplying the training value of the Army National Guard’s annual training events.  It is refreshing to see that at least one component is fully leveraging state of the art mobile technology to enhance collective, and individual training.  As the asymmetrical battlefield evolves in complexity, so must the tools used to train for the modern battlefield and so the fog of war is reduced..  I’ve sketched some broad strokes, much more to follow on market leading technology and services for collective training, test and evaluation, more to follow on Ravenswood Solutions.


First published by:

Gary Bonkowski

Ravenswood Solutions Sustainment Director

January 2, 2017