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Monthly Archives: January 2012

Games, simulation, and the military education dilemma

Desktop training systems are playing an expanding role in military training. They can be used for the most basic tasks all soldiers and other service members must master, and they can be used to simulate extremely complex tasks performed by specialists in particular weapons and systems. In one innovation, desktop simulation will soon be used in training where tasks are not defined to teach officers to think flexibly about very difficult challenges.

Economy is one reason for the shift to desktop training. Desktop systems can often train both recruits and officers much faster and less expensively than instructors, said Ray Perez, program officer for the Office of Naval Research’s (ONR) Warfighter Performance Department. Convenience can be another reason, as software is deployed on laptops and other personal devices. One future use might be providing Navy corpsmen in the field with the ability, using handheld devices like ruggedized smartphones, to communicate novel symptoms back to systems or experts that would provide advice on correct treatment, dosage and evacuation decisions, Perez said.

Perez manages two types of desktop training systems. The first is given to all Navy recruits at Great Lakes. This includes training in the basics of naval ships for recruits, many of whom have not been on a Navy or other ship in their lives. “We teach them how to navigate their way around the ship and find compartments,” Perez explained.

Another basic desktop course instructs recruits in damage control. “If there’s a fire or flood onboard and they do not handle it correctly, the ship sinks,” Perez said. Recruits are trained on situational awareness, how to deal with damage and how to communicate to damage-control officers. The course takes 80 minutes and recruits are afterward tested on competency on a mockup of a Burke-class destroyer. Experiments show desktop training reduces the time recruits take for correct actions and cuts errors by 50 percent.

Another basic desktop system deals with recruits who enter the Navy with less than 8th-grade reading skills. Instead of two weeks in instructor-led classes, recruits are given 40 hours of desktop tutoring. The desktop system has increased reading levels by two grades, equivalent to two weeks of instructor-led classes. The system is like a game, but with a set of objectives, constant feedback and a built-in pedagogical strategy. An entirely different set of desktop systems is used at the Navy’s Surface Warfare School (SWS) in Newport, R.I., to address two challenges. Naval weapons and systems have become much more complex. And adversaries no longer fight by the book. “We have to train people in adaptive problem solving,” Perez noted.

One desktop system is the Tactical Action Officers Sandbox, which trains officers to plan and execute tactics for dealing with submarines, missiles or enemy ships. Another is the Adaptive Device for Adaptive Performance Training (ADAPT), which does the same kind of training for force protection in port. Aptima developed ADAPT for the Navy to meet two challenges, according to Chief Research Officer Jared Freeman. “The first is the scientific problem of training decision-makers to adapt well to novel problems for which there are not good rules or standard operating procedures. The second is the specific instance of force protection by the Navy.”

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The education of military elites

The Army of 2012 finds itself with similar challenges as its predecessors: how to provide units and organizations with knowledgeable leaders who are capable of ensuring success. This is especially difficult when faced with the requirements to support the Army Force Generation (ARFORGEN) model in the current operating environment. It is critical that the Army balance the immediate need for officers in the operational force with the longer term imperative to develop the senior officers who will lead and shape the future Army. Those senior officers should necessarily be a product of a senior level college (SLC) experience. To do otherwise harken to the assignment and education practices with junior officers of the Hollow Army. Some may challenge the assertion that the current process is not providing officers capable of succeeding at the strategic level. Clearly, some defense analysts and advisors as well as Members of Congress in their oversight role have made that assessment. Such are the findings of a recent congressional House Armed Services Committee study of professional military education.

The Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee conveyed that officers are serving in joint and service staff assignments without adequate educational preparation and that some operational commanders, including the Combatant Commanders, reportedly consider their staff officers lacking in certain critical abilities necessary to perform their jobs effectively. An expected challenge would be to question the value of senior level colleges as well as intermediate schools for those officers identified as high performers and possessing exceptional potential. If these officers are obviously talented and proven under the stresses of demanding assignments, it is worth asking what evidence exists that our schools would make them better. To answer such questions, the U.S. Army War College (USAWC) conducts a bi-ennial survey of general officers who receive its graduates.

While it may be the case that high performing officers could be successful regardless of whether they attend a senior level college, it is difficult to dismiss the value of education in preparing for strategic level responsibilities. As additional evidence to support this claim, it is useful to remind ourselves of the role of continuing education in a myriad of professions such as medicine, law, education, science, and public administration. It is therefore compelling that military professionals would benefit from advanced education, which places extensive training and experience in context and develops the faculty for judgment in ambiguous environments. We have learned from the experiences of the 1970s, 1980s, and now in the 21st century that education is essential for developing officers and that timing the delivery of education assists in the development of competencies that ensure better performance in assignments requiring those abilities. It is important then to examine how these lessons are reflected in the current practices and culture of the Army.

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Military education in the Coast Guard

Formal inclusion in the education community has resulted in additional authorities and resources for the Coast Guard, enabling the agency to expand its capabilities to include a cryptology program, codebreaking, which functions to preserve the operational integrity of the Coast Guard by shielding it from the activities of foreign powers, terrorist groups and criminal organizations.

Coast Guard Education applies its capabilities to all Coast Guard mission sets and has provided support for major operations, including the response to the Haitian earthquake in 2010. Education personnel provided the earliest port infrastructure damage reports, which supported multi-national efforts to provide relief and port recovery. Coast Guard Education also produced threat assessments and briefings that supported force protection decisions and other national and interagency operational decisions. In addition to numerous drug and human smuggling cases, Coast Guard Education also has provided critical support to Coast Guard commanders wrestling with non-traditional education needs, such as the interdiction of the Bangun Perkasa fishing vessel and its use of illegal driftnets.

Coast Guard Education has matured during the last 10 years and its focus has solidified. In addition to the cryptology program and countereducation service, Coast Guard Education includes a robust criminal investigative service, experienced education fusion centers and a developing cyber capability. Coast Guard education specialists in the field are a critical component of the enterprise, working in units across the nation and throughout the Coast Guard chain of command to provide operational commanders with the education support they need. Today’s Coast Guard Education encompasses a wide range of activities and capabilities, all striving to provide decision advantage to support senior Coast Guard leaders in their policy-making role, the Department of Homeland Security and its components and other national education or federal law enforcement agencies.

The Coast Guard’s persistent presence in the maritime domain, due to its diverse mission sets and broad legal authorities, fills a unique niche within the education community. As a member of the U.S. Armed Forces, the Coast Guard is at the intersection between homeland security and national defense. As a federal law enforcement agency and national education community member, the Coast Guard is also positioned as a bridge between these two important groups. Because of the service’s unique access, emphasis and expertise in the maritime domain – an area where other U.S. government agencies typically are not present – it collects and reports education that supports its own missions as well as national security objectives.

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The United States Military Spouse and Family Educational Assistance Programs

January 09,2012

The United States Military Forces and associated organizations offer various educational assistance programs under Military Spouse and Dependents. Each Military Spouse and Family Educational Assistance Program is divided into six main categories such as follows:

  • Army Family
  • Air Force Family
  • Navy Family
  • Marines Famil
  • Spouse and Family Scholarships

US Military Spouse and Family Educational Assistance Programs List

  • Army
  • Army Family Education Programs

US Military offers educational assistance programs for member’s spouse and family as follows:

SOCAD

  • Service Members Opportunity Colleges (SOC) is a degree program for the army worldwide
  • Also available in distance learning option

Army Emergency Relief (AER)

  • Spouse Education Assistance Program (EAP) is available for military spouse who is assigned to Europe, Korea, Japan or Okinawa
  • Grant to assist education cost up to $350 per semester.

Air Force

  • Air Force Family Education Programs
  • The Air Force Military offers opportunity for spouse and family assistance programs.

Service Members Opportunity Colleges (SOC)

  • Family members can take courses in off-duty hours in the United States and overseas.

Air Force Aid Society (AFAS)

  • General George S. Brown, Spouse Tuition Assistance Program (STAP) is available for military spouse where STAP assists in tuition fees at 50% and up to $1,500 per year.
  • General Henry H. Arnold Education Grant Program offers $1,500 grants for selected children of active duty service members.

Navy

Navy Family Education Programs

Navy Military also provides educational assistance programs for active service members spouse and family.

SOCNAV

  • Service Members Opportunity College (SOC) offers degree program for the Navy worldwide.
  • Able to continue study even Navy transfers you numerous times.
  • Able with distance learning option as well

The Navy Maine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS) 

  • Spouse Tuition Aid Program (STAP): The Navy and Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS) offers STAP to your spouse if you are on active duty in the US and overseas (OCONUS) location.
  • Your spouse may be a full or part-time student studying toward a vocational certificate, or an undergraduate or graduate degree.
  • Amount: Undergraduate maximum $300 per semester and $1500 per year ; Graduate maximum $350 per semester and $1750 per year

VADM E.P. Travers Scholarship and Loan Program 

  • Must be spouse of active duty member or the dependent child of an active or retired member of the Navy or Marine Corps.
  • You must also be a full time undergraduate student at an accredited college or university.
  • Student loan up to $3000
  • Loan repayment begins within 30 days and must repaid within 24months
  • Deadline of application is 1st March every year

Coast Guard
Coast Guard Family Education Programs
Coast Guard Family Education Programs offers educational assistance programs for military spouse and family in programs below:

SOCCOAST

  • Service Members Opportunity Colleges (SOC) is a degree program for Coast Guard worldwide
  • You and your adult family members can continue your degree level program and available by distance learning

Coast Guard Mutual Assistance (CGMA) 

  • Supplemental Education Grant (SEG) is offered up to $150 per year for any family member excluding Tuition expenses.
  • Can be used to pay ASVAB, CLEP, SAT, and other study guides.

Additional Education Assistance

  • Offers depended spouses and Federal Coast Guard employees to undergo CLEP, DANTES and other test without any cost.

Marine Corps

Marine Corps Family Education Programs
Marine Corps Family Education Programs offers educational assistance programs for military spouse and family in programs below:

SOCMAR

  • Service Members Opportunity Colleges (SOC) is a degree program for Marines worldwide
  • You and your adult family members can continue your degree level program and available by distance learning

The Navy Maine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS): 

  • The Admiral Mike Boorda Seaman-to-Admiral Educational Assistance Program offers grants and/or interest-free loans of up to $2,000 a year to eligible active duty service members accepted to the following programs: Enlisted Commissioning Program, Marine Enlisted Commissioning Education Program, Medical Enlisted Commissioning Program
  • Open to Midshipmen who have been released from active duty for immediate assignment to the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) Program. Application is made through the Commanding Officer of the NROTC Unit, or by contacting NMCRS Headquarters

Spouse Tuition Aid Program (STAP)

  • The Navy and Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS) offers STAP to your spouse if you are an active duty service member stationed in an overseas (OCONUS) location.
  • Your spouse may be a full or part-time student studying toward a vocational certificate or an undergraduate or graduate degree.
  • Amount granted: Undergraduate level maximum of $300 @ semester and $1500 @ year
  • Graduate level maximum of $350 @ semester and $1750 @ year

VADM E.P. Travers Scholarship and Loan Program

  • Must be spouse of active duty member or the dependent child of an active or retired member of the Navy or Marine Corps.
  • You must also be a full time undergraduate student at an accredited college or university.
  • Student loan up to $3000
  • Loan repayment begins within 30 days and must repaid within 24months
  • Deadline of application is 1st March every year
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National Guard… Learn, Protect, and Earn!

If you’re interested in finding out what kinds of National Guard education benefits are available to you, then you’ve come to the right place. After reading this short overview of what kinds of National Guard education benefits are out there for you to take advantage of, it’s going to be hard to say no to this great opportunity.

One of the definite National Guard education benefits is that through the Tuition Assistance program the National Guard will pay 100 percent of your educational costs. The Tuition Assistance program is designed to help you cover up to $4,500 per year for tuition costs. This includes certificate and license training as well as accredited institutions.

One great thing about the National Guard education benefits is that unlike many of the other branches of the military, it’s likely that you’ll still be close to the homeland, if not stationed in the country. This means while you’re still earning by being an active duty National Guardsmen, you’ll still be able to stay close to home, while also making the most of benefits.

Unlike many of the other military education programs, the army National Guard will support their service members all the way through to a master’s degree, if funding is available. That means you can get a full education while serving your country and earning some pretty good money.

Another thing that you should definitely look into if you’re trying to get the most for your benefits, is getting some information on local state programs that are intended to help out National Guardsmen. You can usually get some extra funds to help with your education through state programs. In order to get these funds you’re going to need to do some research and look around. Usually your recruiter or a college counselor can help you to figure out if there is any state programs that would be right for you.

If you were to join the Air National Guard, you’d have access to the only degree granting institution dedicated to enlisted persons, the Air Force community college. The Air Force community college provides a whole spectrum of different subjects and topics you can learn from at the Air Force community college. Air Force guardsmen are also privileged to state assistance programs and tuition assistance programs.

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Survivor Benefit Plan, the Only Way to Protect Your Loved Ones!

When a Armed Forces retiree dies, his retirement pay also stops,this is how retirement works in the Armed Forces by default. So if you’re a Armed Forces retiree, you seriously need to consider looking into the Survivor Benefit Plan. What actually covers this Survivor Benefit Plan? Well, it’s pretty much insurance that will give your spouse a monthly check to live on, if for whatever reason, something happens to you. This includes your early death, your surviving spouse outliving the benefits, or another serious problem in today’s economically trying times, inflation.

There is also great news for veterans over the age of 70 who have made 30 years of payments or 360 payments to the Survivor Benefits plan, because as of October 1, 2008, any participants in the survivor benefits will now receive free SBP coverage. This is a great way to make sure that no hard times fall on any veterans spouses.

So you are probably thinking “Hey, this sounds great, where do I sign up?” Well, after you retire from the Armed Forces, you will automatically be enrolled in full basic survivor benefits that will cover your spouse and your children. If you want to reduce your spouse’s coverage or decline your spouse of coverage altogether, you will need the written consent your spouse’s, otherwise your spouse will remain by default on the full basic Survivor Benefit Plan. Now say you wanted the coverage for a former spouse you can do this as well, or you are able enough to cover what is known as an “insurable interest”, which could be a business partner, a partner, or someone else very close to you.

Just like any form of insurance, you must need a monthly premium to pay. The premiums are based on the “base amount” or amount that you work out. The base amount you require can be anything from full coverage all the way down to as low as $300 bucks a month. So what’s full coverage mean in terms of the Survivor Benefits Plan? Full coverage is actually based upon your full retirement pay, it means that your spouse will be benefited receiving 55 percent of your full retirement pay. If you opt for a lesser coverage, your spouse will get 55 percent of the “base amount” you selected.

There are a couple different options for coverage when it comes to survivor benefits, including spouse only, former spouse and child, child only, former spouse, or a person who has an “insurable interest”, This could be a business partner, a parent, or a close friend or family member you’d like to have covered.

This is a great way to protect your loved ones from whatever could happen in the future. We can never be sure what’s around the corner, but we can at least rest peacefully knowing your loved ones are covered if anything ever were to happen.

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California Intercontinental University is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission. The Distance Education Accrediting Commission is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a recognized accrediting agency. The Distance Education Accrediting Commission is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).