What is I/ITSEC?
The Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) is the world’s largest modeling, simulation and training event. The event is held in Orlando from November 28-December 2 at the Orange County Convention Center. I/ITSEC will consist of keynotes, special events, tutorials, professional workshops and more.
I/ITSEC is organized and sponsored by the National Training & Simulation Association (NTSA). NTSA is an affiliate subsidiary of the National Defense Industrial Association. It promotes “international and interdisciplinary cooperation within the fields of modeling and simulation (M&S), training, education, analysis, and related disciplines at this annual meeting.”
This year’s theme is Accelerate Change by Transforming Training — “It’s Time to ACTT!!” Rear Admiral James A. Robb, USN (Ret.), President of the NTSA says despite popular belief, it is hard to find serious advocates for Training and Simulation within the Department of Defense (DoD).
“NTSA has as its principal mission to advocate for training and readiness by bringing the DoD community together to discuss and debate the best ways to hone our skills on the battlefield,” Robb says. “We also bring the best from Industry and Academia into forums that allow leading edge concepts and capabilities to be demonstrated to DoD leadership.”
I/ITSEC is a vital forum for the training and simulation community to discuss tomorrow’s national security. I/ITSEC 2022 is on track to have record breaking attendance.
Who Should Attend?
“We sold out the show floor in September. Registration is ahead of last year by 50% and is on track for us to host over 17,000 this year in Orlando,” Robb says. “We have 43 all-star special events that include an invite to the head of the Space Force, confirmation from the Air Force Vice Chief and senior leaders from OSD, DHS and NATO. It has become clear that the training and simulation community has a critical mission and can-do agile development and acquisition— making I/ITSEC a place where technology, talent and tenacity come together push our capabilities and skills to the next level and “accelerate change”.”
So, anyone who works, studies or contributes to the training and simulation community should attend. Robb says there are opportunities to network, present cutting edge concepts and technologies and share views on the debate and support of national security.
I/ITSEC will also award over $150,000 in scholarships this year. “We not only give scholarships; we track recipients during their career. They become part of our Council of Scholars,” Robb says. “We manage an incredible STEM program that is designed to encourage youth to join our community, encouraged high schooler and teachers at all levels, supports employment through job fairs, aides in transition from the service to industry and plows back experience from those that have succeeded back to the next generation.”
Additionally, Robb shares that I/ITSEC will sponsor a 5k to support the Tunnel to Towers Foundation and I/ITSEC 2022 will be the inaugural year that the I/ITSEC community helps support Just our Soldiers Helpers (JOSH). “Onsite at the OCCC, volunteers and attendees will sort, pack, and ship 140 care packages to our service members around the world.”
Visit iitsec.org for more information.
About Rear Admiral James Robb, USN (Ret.)
Following graduation from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, designation as a Naval Aviator and training in the F-14 Tomcat, Admiral Robb deployed nine times across the globe accumulating over 5,000 hours and 1,000 carrier landings. Following a tour flying Russian fighters in the Nevada desert, he commanded Fighter Squadron Fifty One, Carrier Air Wing Nine, the Navy Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN) and Carrier Strike Group Seven. As a Flag Officer he managed all Naval Aviation Programs (N980) and was the Director of Navy Readiness (N43).
Following 9/11, he joined USCENTCOM as the Director of Plans (J5), deploying to the Middle East in support of combat operations. Retiring in 2006, he built a successful small consulting business before joining the National Training and Simulation Association as President in June 2012.
During his 10-year tenure as NTSA President, he has faced three significant challenges.
- The Government Services Administration (GSA) scandal in 2012 where a conference they held was seen to be a poor use of government funding due to cost and a festival atmosphere. This caused the government to ban government attendance at all conferences including those hosted by NTSA. “Given our mission is to bring government and industry together, the absence of government attendance was devastating. It took five years to get back to normal.”
- COVID-19. The NTSA was forced to cancel or virtualize most events in 2020 and returned to in-person in 2022.
- The degree to which science and technology investments for next generation technologies are being made by non-traditional companies. Traditionally, DoD led these efforts, today big tech is driving us forward. A good example of the strength of the private sector is their success in fielding cutting edge space products.
Something he is proud of during his time as NTSA President:
“I am immensely proud of the NTSA staff that are the best at what they do on the planet. They all support the mission and love what they do. In addition, NTSA events are supported by over 300 volunteers that shape the many programs. Their performance and dedication during the challenging times has been an inspiration. Many have supported NTSA for over 30 years.”