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CHIPS Articles: Center for Security Forces Velocity Lab — Creating the Future

Center for Security Forces Velocity Lab — Creating the Future
By DON Innovation - November 14, 2017
The Navy’s vision for Sailor 2025 is clear, and Center for Security Forces (CENSECFOR) is running full speed ahead to make that vision real by creating High Velocity Learning. In 2016, the Center established the Velocity Lab, an innovation cell focused on answering two key questions: How might we increase the mastery that we deliver to our Sailors and the fleet within existing resources? How might we prepare our Sailors to fight to win and return with honor both now and in the increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) world of 2025 and beyond?

Guided by the this vision, and employing principles of Agile Development and Lean Startup, the Velocity Lab works as an integrator of government, academia, industry and open source tools to rapidly bring solutions to our instructors. The Center hosted an innovation Summit with leadership from all 12 learning sites to have a robust dialogue about the vision. The Summit included team activities that led to the rapid development of products for the learning sites.

The CENSECFOR team has embraced a growth mindset and created a culture where every team member, from deckplate instructor to headquarters, is empowered to put forward ideas, design a minimal viable product, and test its effectiveness at producing student mastery.

Initial efforts include an online student and instructor feedback tool that integrated commercial survey tools with automated content analysis (AI) in order to ensure that we capture and act on the best ideas of the 26,000 students the Center teaches annually and our 500 experienced instructors and dramatically shorten the timeline between feedback and curriculum improvement. This directly supports the Relevance vision of Ready Relevant Learning.

Two learning sites are experimenting with different ways to incorporate video cameras into training scenarios in order to enable near-real-time debriefing similar to John Madden’s instant replay drawings, and to curate a collection of video training aids to be used across several sites that teach the same courses. This curation process will dramatically reduce video production timelines and costs, and increase the Relevance at the instructor-student interface.

A third team is developing concepts for augmenting the capacity of our firearms instructors to improve the quality and frequency of firing range feedback with the goal of developing greater combat shooting mastery across our Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection (AT/FP) and Coastal Riverine training curricula. Another group is exploring ideas to reduce facilities acquisition and maintenance costs for a variety of training structures by pursuing an AR/VR kill house that can be used to train Sailors in a variety of environments, from active shooter, to Visit, Board, Search and Seizure (VBSS), to armed sentries and shipboard security.

The Center’s culture of innovation isn’t just about new projects; it informs ongoing curriculum improvements in all 43 courses the Center provides. Underlying every project is a parallel effort to capture data and objectively assess effectiveness in a way that will integrate seamlessly into a Navy Future Learning Architecture.

Across all of these initiatives, and others in development, the Center is benefitting from collaborative relationships from partners at Office of Naval Research (ONR), the DoD Automated Distributed Learning Initiative (ADL), SPAWAR’s Battlefield Exploitation of Mixed Reality (BEMR) Lab, Naval Air Warfare Center – Training Support Division (NAWC-TSD), the innovation teams at other Naval Education and Training Command (NETC) Learning Centers, and emerging relationships with the Marine Corps Training and Education Command (TECOM), Army’s PEO-STRI, and others in government, academia and industry.

“CENSECFOR is driven by an unshakeable commitment to make High Velocity Learning for the Sailor of 2025 a reality,” said Capt. Scott Erb, Commanding Officer of Center for Security Forces. “Ultimately, the principles of Ready Relevant Learning must be implemented in a way that optimizes the ability of our instructors to delivery mastery to our Sailors and the Fleet.”

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VIRGINIA BEACH, VA) – Center for Security Forces (CENSECFOR) Detachment San Diego Officer-in-Charge, Lt. Cmdr. Ian Garrison, participating in a virtual reality scenario in the CENSECFOR Velocity Lab during a command innovation summit held at command headquarters. U.S. Navy photo by Brendan Mooney
VIRGINIA BEACH, VA – Center for Security Forces Command Officer Capt. Stephen Erb presenting his vision to the command's senior leadership and headquarters staff for making High Velocity Learning for the Sailor of 2025 a reality. U.S. Navy photo by Richard D'Alessandro
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