The 2016 Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC), the world’s largest modeling, simulation and training conference, kicked off its weeklong annual event at the Orange County Convention Center on Nov. 28.
Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs provided remarks during the opening night reception and congratulated I/ITSEC on celebrating its 50th anniversary.
“This event has really become a touch stone in our economic development process,” Mayor Jacobs said. “Each year, we gather not only to salute the efforts of our warfighters and private sector innovators, but also in recognition of our future, our next generation of dreamers, doers and explorers.”
Mayor Jacobs also recognized the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Week initiative by proclaiming Nov. 28 through Dec. 2, 2016, as the “50th Anniversary of STEM Week” in Orange County.
The week-long conference consisted of peer-reviewed paper presentations, tutorials, special events, professional workshops, a commercial exhibit hall, game competitions and STEM events for teachers and students.
The theme selected for this year’s conference was “Pushing the Training Envelope: Live-Virtual-Constructive.” The conference emphasized the need to seamlessly integrate live, virtual and constructive capabilities to enable military and civilian personnel to train on the complex tasks enabled by today’s technological advances that are not practical, or possible, in the real world.
I/ITSEC is organized by the National Training and Simulation Association (NTSA), which promotes international and interdisciplinary cooperation within the fields of modeling, simulation, training, education, analysis and related disciplines at this annual meeting. The NTSA is an affiliate subsidiary of the National Defense Industrial Association.
The use of simulation in defense and aerospace has developed an impressive economic engine in Central Florida. The region’s robust modeling, simulation and technology (MS&T) sector contributes more than $6 billion to Florida's gross state product and directly employs more than 30,000 Floridians with an average annual salary of almost $79,000. The Central Florida Research Park, located next to the University of Central Florida, is the epicenter of the MS&T industry and fosters collaboration, cooperation and partnership between academia, industry and government.
To protect this valued economic cluster, Orange County responded to looming threats posed by potential defense spending cuts and base closures by forming the MS&T Blue Ribbon Commission in 2013. The Commission is a coalition of community leaders and industry stakeholders that advocates for this high-value and high-wage economic sector in Florida.
This year, the conference hosted 20,000 attendees. I/ITSEC has made a commitment to host the conference at the OCCC through 2025 for an economic impact of $39.4 million.
To view photos from the I/ITSEC Opening Reception, visit Mayor Jacobs’ Flickr album.