The Field of Study
The USAFA Military & Strategic Studies Department completed building this state-of-the-art laboratory in two phases from 2006 to 2010. The lab is capable of closely replicating multiple real-world strategic environments and provides cadets and researchers opportunities to solve ill-defined problems, and work as diverse teams in conventional and irregular warfare environments.
The Cadet Battlelab Mission:
...to develop strategic thinking and judgment for contemporary and future US Air Force operating environments.
The Battlelab's Vision:
Optimize the cadet education experience through integrating capabilities across air, space, cyber and surface domains simultaneously simulated between USAFA educational labs.
1. Exposes USAFA cadets to an “operational environment,” providing opportunities to engage in planning, executing and analyzing current issues, problems, and processes through case studies.
2. Familiarizes cadets with various threat environments and expand their cognitive abilities to prevail.
3. Provides a venue for operationally relevant and intellectually rigorous cadet and faculty research.
4. Integrates with existing DFMI laboratories, other appropriate DF laboratories using current USAF software applications, for visualization of communication traffic and complexity and speed of operations.
Located in Fairchild Hall, the CBL has entrapment entrances that provide a realistic look and feel to all cadet experiences. The facility provides maximum flexibility to configure the space into multiple environments:
1. An intricately designed video and computer network provides projection of any computer screen on wall-size displays.
2. Two main rooms with movable walls, portable partitions and configurable furniture allow up to 48 cadets to engage at one time, as well as small group participation of 2 – 4 cadets.
3. One room with a tiered layout to simulate a command post or operations cell structure.
4. Two break out rooms to facilitate small team side bars or red team operations.
5. Numerous station computer/video floor connections, hidden in raised floors, allows unlimited computer configuration systems designed to meet the needs of specific scenarios.
6. Audio/Video interface in the main rooms.
7. Designed to connect with other MSS Learning laboratories, the CBL brings tomorrow’s operations to cadets today and is designed to keep up with changing technology for decades to come.
The CBL is a highly flexible environment. In addition to access to the .EDU domain it contains a stand-alone network that allows cadets to experience current operational software first hand. For example, using powerful, validated Government-Off-The-Shelf software cadets experience relevant visualization and complexity opportunities requiring situational awareness, decision making, critical thinking and leadership.
The Systems Tool Kit (STK) is used to interface space operations and computer imaging of simulated real-world events in 2-D and 3-D environments.
Computers in the lab are also configured with a variety of other software platforms such as Windows Office, Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) and chat. As additional tools are discovered, they are easily implemented in the CBL so that the laboratory can become whatever the faculty need as a timeless, ever adapting, learning environment.