Hollywoodstyle pyrotechnics mimic harsh battlefield conditions.

Strategic Operations (ST/OPS), based in San Diego, creates simulated warfare to provide live training for the U.S. military using the same techniques that add excitement to action movies and TV shows. Complex pyrotechnics, actors playing enemy combatants, medical special effects and a simulated Afghan village all combine for complex and breathtaking scenarios that help prepare military trainees for actual war. The training provides “stress inoculation” in both the mind and body to prepare participants for real life-threatening events.

A key component in Strategic Operations’ training is analysis of trainees’ responses to various scenarios. ST/OPS depends on OnSSI and other surveillance technologies to help provide detailed analysis and feedback, both in real-time and after a training exercise is over. ST/OPS uses 30 network cameras to view the action from various angles at its Hyper-Realistic™ Simulation Lab (HR Sim Lab), built to mimic an Afghan village. Video management software from OnSSI records and manages these digital video images. Strategic Operations’ After Action Review (AAR) uses OnSSI’s interface to have instant access to video — frame by frame if necessary.

OnSSI’s networked video software records and manages digital images to provide access to video of anything happening in any camera’s field-of-view. Investigative capabilities of OnSSI’s software enable users to review captured video in detail, to analyze it frame-by-frame, and to fast-forward or view events in a compressed timeframe.

The OnSSI software used at ST/OPS is also integrated with 360-degree lenses from Immervision to provide the widest possible video fields-of-view, and incorporates Briefcam’s VideoSynopsis software to help trainers review video faster. It is now possible to view a full 24 hours of footage in two minutes. The system also integrates OnSSI’s video management and archiving capabilities with Omnipresence 3D software by Feeling Software to enable operators to access video information using an easily-understood three-dimensional map interface. Another technology being incorporated into the system is rules-based video-analytics software from BRS Labs.

Kit Lavell, ST/OPS executive vice president, said the camera system helps training evaluators see more during the training events. “The purpose of the camera system is to evaluate performance,” he said. “It takes a lot of eyeballs to evaluate their performance. Evaluators can’t be everywhere at all times. They are like the umpires or the referees at sporting events: They have differences of opinion and need different angles or views. This system allows us to capture as many views as possible and put them in a very usable format that we can evaluate very quickly.”

Overhead City View
Overhead view of Strategic Operations’ (ST/OPS), simulated Afghan village in San Diego. ST/OPS is on the lot of Stu Segall Productions, a full-service TV/movie studio in San Diego. Military personnel undergo live tactical training at various sites across the United States — more than 400,000 soldiers, sailors, Marines and Coast Guard personnel have been trained by ST/OPS at dozens of military locations since 2002.

Particularly useful for ST/OPS are the investigative capabilities of OnSSI’s NetDVMS with Ocularis Client Lite software. Features such as the Time Slicer and Motion Slicer, the Kinetic Motion Timeline and digital pan-tilt-zoom views are used after a training event when participants gather in a classroom for the AAR.
The integrator of the OnSSI system at ST/OPS is Ed Michelson, president of Security Consulting and Integration LLC, San Diego. ST/OPS initially contacted him to replace one of their DVRs several years ago, and he discovered their office was literally a block and a half away. He worked with them to provide video systems for six ship simulator training facilities for the U.S. Navy. He went on to install video systems for ST/OPS’ military operations in urban terrain (MOUT) facilities. Michelson provides video systems to capture all the action and analyze it after the fact.

Michelson said OnSSI’s open architecture system enables him to seek out the most up-to-date technologies and integrate them to serve ST/OPS’ needs. “We are on the leading edge, but not on the bleeding edge,” he said. Incorporating the newer technologies also helps to accentuate the benefits a dealer/integrator brings to the table. “Having an open system allows us, the dealer/systems integrator, to put in what they need,” Michelson said. “We tailor the product to the customer’s needs.”

Opportunities abound to apply leading edge technologies such as those used at ST/OPS for commercial security installations everywhere, Michelson added. “Staying up on the technology is the fun part,” he said. “But it’s also necessary.”