• Featured Speakers

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    Dr. Douglas Maxwell

    SETA, JANUS Research Group

    Dr. Douglas Maxwell serves as a Horizontal Integration Operational Architect and a Science Advisor for the U.S. Army Futures Command Synthetic Training Environment (STE) Cross Functional Team. He has enjoyed a 20-year career in mechanical engineering and simulation-based training technology, working previously for both the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) and the Army Research Laboratory (ARL).


    Dr. Maxwell's expertise includes a practical background of battlespace visualization, custom virtual reality hardware interfaces, scientific visualization, games for training and simulation-based training systems. He has also conducted large-scale training effectiveness studies with hundreds of participants in an effort to determine what key technical attributes were of knowledge transfer value in a virtual simulator.


    He holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in Modeling and Simulation from the University of Central Florida, and a M.S. and B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Louisiana Tech University. Dr. Maxwell also volunteers as a Graduate Faculty Scholar for the University of Central Florida, assisting U.S. Army FA57 officers through their graduate studies.

    Major General Mel Spiese (ret)

    United States Marine Corps

    Mel Spiese served 37 years on active duty in the Marine Corps, retiring a major general. He was an infantry officer by specialty, serving at the company, battalion and regiment levels, and in a Marine fighter-attach aircraft group, both in the U.S. and overseas. He commanded a deep reconnaissance unit, and the School Of Infantry, as well as serving as the director of the Marine’s formal school for captains, and the complex, large scale live fire combined arms training program, which was Marine Corps core doctrinal training. He had assignments at the Illinois Institute of Technology, and Headquarters, US Marine Corps in the selection and development of prospective Marine Officers. He served at US Special Operations Command and US European Command, both in Strategy, Plans and Policy. He attended Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and the US Army School of Advance Military Studies, where he remained as a faculty member.


    As a General Officer, he commanded US Marine Corps Training Command, the Marine Air-Ground Task Force Training Command, and Training and Education Command. He retied as the Deputy Commanding General of I Marine Expeditionary Force/Commanding General 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade.


    He spent 2 years at Cubic Defense Systems as VP of Training Strategy and Effectiveness, and is now an independent consultant supporting a number of companies, including several start ups. He has a bachelor degree from the University of Illinois, and masters degrees from the University of Southern California, and the US Army School of Advanced Military Studies. He has served on the Naval Postgraduate School Board Of Advisors and the San Diego Natural History Museum Board Of Directors. He is currently serving on the national board of Armed Services YMCA.

    COL Marcus H. Evans

    Assistant Head Plans, Capability Training Branch

    British Army Headquarters

    Colonel Marcus H Evans is Assistant Head Plans, Capability Training Branch, British Army Headquarters. Head Plans is responsible for the British Army’s Collective Training Transformation Programme (CTTP) (which has a £1.12Bn Programme envelope), which will deliver the Army’s Future Collective Training System (FCTS).


    Evans commissioned into the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment in December 1996 and commanded that Regiment (equivalent to a US Army Tk Bn) April 2010- April 2012.

    His career profile includes appointments at Bn, Bde, Div, Army and Defence levels, focussed on combat, training and operations. He has deployed on operational tours to N.Ireland (‘97), Kosovo (‘00), and Ukraine (‘18); with combat tours to Afghanistan (‘01 & ‘10) and Iraq (‘03 & ‘07).


    Colonel Evans commanded the British Army’s biggest Collective Training Centre (‘BATUS’ in Alberta, Canada) for three years, training 3 (UK) Div in its entirety at Battlegroup and Brigade level.


    Colonel Evans holds four Masters degrees: he is a graduate of Magdalene Coll. Cambridge, Cranfield University, Kings College London and a Distinguished Graduate of the USAWC (AY 15).


    Colonel Evans is married with three sons. He is a field sportsman, enjoying Shooting (‘hunting’) and Hunting (riding to hounds), and like most Officers enjoys reading military history and visiting historic battlefields - even Yorktown!

    Major B.A. (Sander) Cruiming

    Staff Officer Knowledge, Innovation and Policy
    Land Training Centre | Simulation Centre Land Operations | M&S Centre of Excellence
    Royal Netherlands Army
    Ministry of Defence

    Major Sander Cruiming is responsible for all future capabilities of the Royal Netherlands Army’s (RLNA) land simulation systems. He manages the RLNA Mobile Combat Training Center (MCTC)’s capabilities and interoperability with NATO and Partnership for Peace (PfP) training partners. Within the Dutch Simulation Centre for Land Warfare, he specializes in standardization, urban operations, and maneuver training in the live and virtual domains.


    He is the former chairman of the NATO Urban Combat Advanced Training Technologies (UCATT) Simulation Interoperability Standards Organization (SISO) Product Development Group (PDG) and the current co-chair of NATO Modelling and Simulation Group (MSG)-174 UCATT Live Simulation Standards (LSS) 2.


    Maj Cruiming is a graduate of the Dutch Royal Military Academy and has a background in mechanized and air assault infantry..

    Armin Thinnes

    Project Manager, Federal Office for Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw)

    MoD Germany

    Armin Thinnes joined the Bundeswehr procurement organisation BWB in 1996. Since 1997, he has been responsible for the system technologies, exercise control (EXCON), and communications of the German combat training centre (CTC) in Letzlingen. Previously, he was the CTC’s Antitank Helicopter Engagement Simulator Program project manager and the Counter-Improvised Explosive Device (C-IED) project director.


    Since 2005, Mr. Thinnes has worked across numerous NATO Modelling and Simulation Groups (MSGs) on national and international standards in the live simulation domain. He has served as a German speaker for MSG-032 and MSG-063 Urban Combat Advanced Training Technologies (UCATT) 2; vice chairman of MSG-099 UCATT Standards; and chairman of MSG-098 UCATT Architecture and MSG-140 UCATT Live Simulation Standards (LSS). In September 2019, he took over as co-chair of MSG-174 UCATT LSS 2 with Capt. Sander Cruiming (NLD), becoming the longest continuously serving chairman in UCATT history.


    Mr. Thinnes is also a member of the UCATT Simulation Interoperability Standards Organization (SISO) Product Development Group (PDG)/Product Support Group (PSG), as well as a German speaker for the Saab IUC (Interoperability User Community). He is married and has two children, ages 20 and 24.

  • Special Panel

    Hindsight in 2020: Using lessons learned to shape the future of live training through new technology


    Rear Admiral Jim Robb, President

    National Training and Simulation Association (NTSA)

    Rear Admiral Jim Robb is the President of The National Training and Simulation Association (NTSA). NTSA is a non-profit corporation that provides a portfolio of events allowing the training, simulation and gaming industries to engage national security markets. NTSA advocates the use of advanced simulation technologies, such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality and serious gaming, to support training, education and analysis. NTSA also runs the largest Training Systems Conference and Exposition in the world (iitsec.org).


    Before assuming his current position, Admiral Robb provided consulting and strategic planning services to large and small businesses in the defense market. He transitioned from the US Navy in 2006, after a 34 year career in Naval Aviation where he deployed nine times across the globe and accumulated over 5,000 hours in the air and survived over 1,000 carrier landings at sea. He is a recognized expert in training and simulation, having spent much of his Navy career instructing in fighter tactics and threat simulations. His notable training tours included flying captured Russian MIG fighters against US forces in the Nevada desert and command of the Navy Fighter Weapons School, also known as TOPGUN. Admiral Robb also commanded a fighter squadron, a carrier air wing and a carrier strike group.


    Admiral Robb graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a BS in Mechanical Engineering and from the University of West Florida with a Masters Degree in Aeronautical Systems.

    Brigadier General James "Pat" O'Neal (ret)

    US Army


    James “Pat” O’Neal completed 30 years of service as the DCSOPS for FORSCOM after serving on duty in command of armored formations, operations, plans, and training. He served in assignments worldwide involving deployment and employment of forces into uncertain situations like the Balkans. Spanning the period from 1969 to 1999, Pat O’Neal served in critical command positions from company to division, on the faculty of the United States Military Academy, as a fellowship student at the Harvard Kennedy School. His service includes duty in the Republic of Vietnam, the Federal Republic of Germany, Bosnia, Croatia, Hungary, Iraq and the United States.

    Following retirement, Pat O’Neal joined the Institute for Defense Analyses working on DARPA programs as the senior SME on Command Post of the Future (CPOF), Tactical Ground Reporting System (TIGR), Personal Assistant that Learns (PAL) and other programs. He is the founder of Broad River Consulting LLC, a company offering military subject matter expertise and business development consulting in the defense and commercial sectors.

    General O’Neal has a BS degree in Engineering from Middle Tennessee State University and a Master’s Degree in Organizational Psychology from the University of Tennessee. At the direction of the Army’s Senior Leadership, he taught a core course in the School for Advanced Military Studies (SAMS) in Leading Change and lectures on Battle (Mission) Command.

    Colonel Jan Uebersax

    Simulation & Training

    Senior Manager of Strategy & Product Management

    RUAG Defence

    Since January 2016, Colonel GS Jan Uebersax has been the senior manager of strategy and product management for RUAG Defence’s simulation and training business unit. In this position, he is responsible for developing and managing RUAG’s simulation and training product portfolio. Before joining RUAG, he gained years of experience as an officer in the Swiss Armed Forces.


    Col. Uebersax joined the Swiss Armed Forces as a professional officer in January 1992. He graduated from General Staff College in 1997, then held various positions at the 1st Division HQ and the 2nd Infantry Brigade. He was commander of a motorized infantry company, a light infantry company, and the 3rd Infantry Battalion.


    At the Infantry Training Centre, he was project officer for the virtual simulation to train squad and platoon leaders IRIS from 1997 to 1998. Starting in 1999, he spent nine years as project officer for the live simulation platforms SIMUG, SIM KIUG, and LASSIM.


    In 2006, Col. Uebersax was appointed as the Swiss delegate to the NATO Training & Simulation Group (TSWG)—which was then part of the NATO Training Group/Army Sub-Group (NTG/ASG)—and was nominated as group chairman. In 2010, he brought the TSWG under the NATO Modelling & Simulation Group’s (NMSG) umbrella when he was appointed to be the NMSG’s Swiss delegate. That same year, he began collaborating with the NATO M&S Centre of Excellence in Rome; he also graduated with a MSc in defence simulation and modelling from the UK’s Defence Academy at Cranfield University.


    Between 2009 and 2013, Col. Uebersax served as project officer for the Swiss Armed Forces’ modelling and simulation strategy. In this role, he worked with the Armed Forces Joint Staff to define the Simulation Next Generation 2020. In the summer of 2013, he was promoted to commanding officer of the 2nd Infantry School, where he was a key user of the simulation that he had developed over the years.


    Col. Uebersax was the chief of staff of the Patrouille des Glaciers, a mountaineering race between the Zermatt and Verbier ski resorts, from 2015 till 2018.


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