A 1979 book called “America’s First Battles: 1776-1965”, written by U.S. Army Major General William Stofft, holds such a central place in the ethos of the American military that it was recently cited by Lt. Gen. Joseph E. Martz during an Institute of Land Warfare breakfast a couple weeks ago in Washington.
“No one has been able to add a chapter to that book,” he said. Martz is a primary architect of the Army’s budget, which is facing a hefty cut in the wake of the post-Afghanistan drawdown.
The book’s message emphasizes the correlation of proper training to success on the battlefield. But an innovative Halifax company may very well have a chapter to add to the annals of military training.
The Canadian Defence Academy has purchased licenses to use 3D training software developed by Modest Tree Media, which will be tested by the Canadian Navy, Army and Air Force to evaluate the potential for enhancing training methods across the Department of National Defence. The software allows users to add realistic animation to 3D models to replicate realistic training situations.
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Modest Tree had the opportunity to demo its software for the National Defence Advanced Learning Technologies working group at the end of February. Bill Railer, Senior Staff Officer of Learning Technologies for the Canadian Defence Academy, was sufficiently impressed with the technology to say, “Modest3D appears to not only provide DND with state of the art learning content but if done properly it will result in cost savings, increased production rates and provide a substantial impact towards training modernization.”
CEO Saman Sannandeji estimates that the Modest3D software could cut the time and expense involved in implementing real-world training exercises, particularly those involving repairing equipment in the field, by 85%. Obviously, for militaries adjusting to post-combat budget realities, savings of that magnitude are an attractive way to keep training as a vital component of military life.
Modest Tree Media graduated last October from Moncton’s Launch 36 accelerator and by December was pitching its product in Orlando, Florida at the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference. It seems likely that further collaboration with the Canadian military may lead to contracts with the British and American military, who are making similar budgetary transitions with regard to their own training programs.
Despite already having a deal with the Canadian Defence Academy, Modest Tree Media only plans to officially debut its Modest3D software, which is still in beta, at the 2014 Defence Security and Aerospace Exhibition in Halifax this September.