Intelligence: November 29, 2004


The U.S. Army has again taken advantage of current video game technology to create a game that trains soldiers to more effectively collect information while patrolling. In Iraq, the army often runs hundreds of patrols a day. The problem has always been getting the troops well enough trained to detect useful information, and then promptly and accurately report it. The army is developing new battlefield communication and database systems to take the information and organize it for prompt and timely use. But the basic problem is whether or not the troops recognize what they see out there. A new army game,  ES3 (Every Soldier is a Sensor Simulation), starts with the player, about to go on a patrol, getting a briefing on what to look for this time out. The settings for the game can be Southeast Asia or Iraq, and the things to look for are taken from actual experience in Iraq. Its a competitive game, with players racking up points for correctly spotting useful information (for example, a car that is rather too low to the ground could be carrying a load of explosives). Other useful items embedded in the game are the tactics used by hostile Iraqis to set up ambushes, or using lookouts to warn of an approaching patrol. The player has his weapon, a digital camera (a common tool on patrols) and the ability to talk to locals. The game was developed by Warner Brothers Online for less than a million dollars. The game will be available as a free (40 megabyte) download to any soldier. The game is particularly directed at reserve troops, who dont have as much access to patrol training as active duty soldiers.




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