Marine Commandant Wants A ‘Star Trek’-Style Holodeck For Wargaming

Gear
General Robert B. Neller, commandant of the Marine Corps, uses a HoloLens to manipulate virtual objects April 4 2017 at the Marine Corps Installations Pacific Innovation Lab aboard Camp Foster, Okinawa, Japan.
U.S Marine photo by Lance Corporal Tayler P. Schwamb

The Marine Corps Commandant, Gen. Robert Neller, wants a sci-fi-inspired holodeck so he can war where no one has warred before, reports Marine Corps Times.


“In a perfect world, it would be like Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek,” Neller said. “I’d walk into the holodeck and I’d go, ’Computer, Battle of Waterloo, 1812, Prussian army, I am in command, simulation — go.’”

In his comments at the annual Modern Marine Expo at Quantico, Virginia, last week, Neller said he wants to take simulated training — which is currently used to help get individuals up to speed on weapons and vehicles — further than the service has gone yet.

“What I’m looking for is a simulation where a battalion or squadron commander or a regimental or a group commander or a division, wing or MEF [Marine Expeditionary Force] or a corps commander can go in and not have to put thousands of people on the battlespace and in the air and actually get them to do a repetition,” Neller said. “That is going to take some time.”

Related: Infantry Marines Can Now Train For Combat Without Ever Leaving The Barracks »

The service is still trying to determine just how feasible it would be to create a virtual wargaming facility at Quantico, Marine Corps Times reports, but it does plan to increase the frequency of simulated wargames it runs, raising the annual number from 11 to 20 over the next several years.

U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Glenn Walters, right, the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps observes Marines training on simulator training systems during a visit to Camp Lejeune, N.C., Jan. 27, 2017.U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Abraham Lopez

Militaries the world over have always looked to science fiction for ideas. The Army’s Research Laboratory recently drew some inspiration from James Cameron’s Aliens with plans for a robotic third shooting arm for stability, and both U.S. and British arms developers are working on space-age pieces of headgear. Let’s not forget all the drones, hoverbikes, and terminators. This isn’t even the first time the Marine Corps has tried to rip off Star Trek, with the service teasing the possibility of battlefield-ready tricorders — ahem, “innovative scanners” — last May.

That said, being able to recreate past fights, or simulate future ones on a grand scale could be pretty useful to battlefield commanders. Simulators for ground troops are fast becoming par for the course, and with good reason. As Task & Purpose’s Sarah Sicard reported in August, virtual training allows troops to get familiar with real-life scenarios, so they can make the most of costly large-scale live-fire training exercises, essentially pre-training for real-life exercises.

Extending that opportunity to a battalion, regimental, or division commander, seems like a natural progression. Besides, who doesn’t want to step up to a console and say: Computer, engage.

WATCH NEXT:

Guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63) Sailors participate in a memorial for the shipÕs namesake, Robert D. Stethem. Navy diver, Steelworker 2nd Class Robert Stethem, who was returning from an assignment in the Middle East, when he was taken hostage aboard TWA 847 commercial airliner. The flight was hijacked by terrorists, and Stethem was shot to death after being tortured by the terrorists on June 15, 1985. (U.S. Navy photo by Ensign Danny Ewing Jr.)

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek police have arrested a 65-year-old Lebanese man suspected of involvement in the 1985 hijacking of a Trans World Airlines (TWA) plane in which a U.S. navy diver was killed.

A Greek police official said on Saturday the suspect had disembarked from a cruise ship on the island of Mykonos on Thursday and that his name came up as being wanted by German authorities.

Read More Show Less

The last time the world saw Marine veteran Austin Tice, he had been taken prisoner by armed men. It was unclear whether his captors were jihadists or allies of Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad who were disguised as Islamic radicals.

Blindfolded and nearly out of breath, Tice spoke in Arabic before breaking into English:"Oh Jesus. Oh Jesus."

That was from a video posted on YouTube on Sept. 26, 2012, several weeks after Tice went missing near Damascus, Syria, while working as a freelance journalist for McClatchy and the Washington Post.

Now that Tice has been held in captivity for more than seven years, reporters who have regular access to President Donald Trump need to start asking him how he is going to bring Tice home.

Read More Show Less

SAN DIEGO — John Timothy Earnest didn't hide his smirks as he sat in a San Diego courtroom on Thursday, watching surveillance video of Lori Gilbert-Kaye being shot down inside the lobby of a Poway synagogue.

Earnest also smiled as a synagogue congregant testified about running toward the shooter, screaming "I'm going to kill you!" and seeing the gunman "with a look of astonishment or fear" turn and run.

Earnest, 20, is facing one count of murder and three counts of attempted murder in the shootings at Chabad of Poway on April 27. He also faces an arson charge related to an Escondido mosque fire in March, when several people who were sleeping inside escaped unharmed.

Read More Show Less

Sometimes a joke just doesn't work.

For example, the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service tweeted and subsequently deleted a Gilbert Gottfried-esque misfire about the "Storm Area 51" movement.

On Friday DVIDSHUB tweeted a picture of a B-2 bomber on the flight line with a formation of airmen in front of it along with the caption: "The last thing #Millenials will see if they attempt the #area51raid today."

Read More Show Less

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey is ready to act on its southern border with Syria, President Tayyip Erdogan said, after warning that it could take unilateral steps if the U.S. does not establish a "safe zone" in northeast Syria this month.

"Our preparations along our borders are complete," Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul on Saturday before departing to attend a U.N. General Assembly meeting.

Read More Show Less