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"Their exercises are unbloody battles, and the
battles bloody exercises."--
Flavius Josephus, 1st Century ACE.

Flavius Josephus' association of realism in training with Roman Army battlefield success is as relevant today as when he penned it two thousand years ago.

In 1995, the Canadian Army (CA) established the 'Joint Command and Staff Training Centre' (JCSTC), an integrated CA-industry team focused on delivery of realistic training for the Canadian Army Command and Staff College Course (CACSC). Until this point, exercises were conducted on 'bird tables', pushing 'boats' with pool cues. This system lacked the ability to replicate the complexities of the modern battlespace and realism needed to fully exercise training audiences.

In establishing the JCSTC, the CA chose to seek an industry partner for the delivery of training and simulation support. An industry solution offered the potential for long-term continuity, the ability to expand and contract the work force depending on demand, and allowed for attraction of the specialist skills required to support the CA's training and simulation needs.

Initially the JCSTC was comprised of a handful of CA staff, and five full-time and twenty part-time Calian representatives operating from a single site. Since then it has grown to approximately thirty CA staff, eighty-two full-time and over five-hundred part-time Calian personnel at six sites in five geographic locations: Canadian Forces Bases Edmonton, Petawawa, Valcartier, Gagetown and two sites at Kingston. The unique partnership between the CA staff and the Calian team has proven to be a winning formula in the delivery of realistic training and exercises to the CA, CAF and other government departments and agencies (OGDAs) for more than two decades.


Now known as the 'Canadian Army Simulation Centre', or 'CASC', it has evolved to be a world-class training organization for the provision of exercise design, development and delivery (E3D). CASC not only provides this training to the CA and to the CAF's many international programs, but also for operational missions like those in Afghanistan and in preparation for key Government of Canada events such as the Vancouver Olympics, the 2010 G8/G20 Summit, and the upcoming 2018 G7 Summit.

The title 'Canadian Army Simulation Centre' is somewhat misleading. 'Simulation' is but one of the many tools that CASC uses to create the 'synthetic environment' needed to deliver realistic exercises in today's complex battlespace. Indeed, there are many occasions when CASC exercises and training events include no computer simulation. The type of exercise or training selected, whether it be for professional development, theater-mission-specific-training, table-top-exercise or computer-assisted-exercise, is based on an analysis of the training audience's objectives, mission and time available, not on the available simulation systems. It is as likely to include a live role-play by a representative of a real agency such as the International Committee of the Red Cross as it is a computer simulation system such as ABACUS, JCATS or VBS.

Within CASC, the CA staff and industry team have very distinct roles. CA staff determines the exercise and training priorities, manages CASC resources (including the provision of equipment, facilities, computers, simulation systems and funding), oversees and manages the contract, and provides the Technical Authority/Military Authority (TA/MA) oversight and military component of the exercise staff of the E3D.


Calian team members combine their extensive experience and diverse backgrounds with their expertise in E3D to carry out the work directed by the TA/MA. Simply put, CASC directs the 'Who', 'What', 'Where', 'Why' and 'When', and the Calian team is responsible for a significant portion of the 'How' of the E3D process. In the end, it is unequivocally an integrated approach.

Within CASC, the 'Centre of Gravity' of the Calian team is the 'Activity Lead' (AL). ALs tend to be retired Colonels or Lieutenant-Colonels with previous E3D experience and operational backgrounds. The AL is responsible for the lion's share of the E3D tasks. AL's are assigned to exercises by Calian's Contract Wide Coordinator and they, in turn, liaise and synchronize with an assigned military Exercise Director (Ex Dir) to ensure that all exercise tasks are executed. The AL puts together the Calian team, work plan, staffing requirements etc. that form the basis for subsequent work. The Ex Dir is responsible for similar functions regarding CAF participants. The Ex Dir-AL relationship is a key factor in CASC success.

So what makes this unique industry/CA partnership work? The recipe is simple to explain, difficult to replicate. It comes down to: 'Its People', 'Its Expertise and 'Its Agility'.

Its People. Over ninety percent of Calian team members with CASC are former CAF members (or former members of Allied Forces) who bring with them a wealth of skills, experience, knowledge and expertise. Though mostly Army, they represent all three services. Some continue to serve as Reservists. As well, many have backgrounds with the United Nations, NATO, Australia Britain Canada America Armies, nongovernment organizations, media and journalism, other government departments and police. This team of highly qualified and diverse experts combines their expertise to address the training support requirements of today's modern battlespace.

Its Expertise. Calian team members have contributed to the advanced development of CASC's E3D process and are highly-skilled in E3D application. CASC has developed its own E3D software to enhance the conduct of its E3D functions and Calian continues to evolve that software. Calian's in-house processes and those executed in conjunction with CASC have positioned it well to be a leading-edge E3D practitioner in complex, interagency, multilevel exercise constructs. CASC's expertise is why OGDAs keep coming back to CASC with their training and simulation needs.

Its Agility. Calian's workforce can scale and augment based on CASC's evolving needs. If new requirements arise to increase cyber or social media play, Calian has the right people at hand for the job. When the CA adopted the US Army Decisive Action Training Environment as its baseline, the Calian team was able to quickly produce the almost one thousand documents (including numerous videos) for the training scenario in under six months. Time and again, short notice or new requirements have come up, and time and time again, Calian and the CA staff have collaborated successfully to accomplish what was needed and deliver successful exercises.

Since 1995 the CASC Team has trained over 200,000 members of the CAF for operations where failure was not an option. This unique Defence-industry partnership between the CA and Calian has been a winning formula for the delivery of realistic and complex training, exercises and experiments for the CA, CAF and OGDAs.

And, like the Roman Army, CASC clients have been provided the realistic training they need to be successful on missions at home and abroad.


Stephen Fritz-Millett (LCol Retired) has worked for Calian since 2007 and is currently the Fort Frontenac Contract Site Leader
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Article Details
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Author:Fritz-Millett, Stephen
Publication:Canadian Defence Review
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Oct 1, 2017

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