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MOTAR Powers An Open XR-Optimized Ecosystem for Multi-Capable Airmen

It’s no secret that service members in the US military are being asked to do more, often with outdated technology and manual processes. Military readiness and the ongoing ‘pacing threat’ to national security are top of mind for Department of Defense leaders, and USAF systems are undergoing a significant cultural shift

This “accelerate change or lose'' mindset is one of the reasons MOTAR is gaining such fast traction across the Department of the Air Force (DAF). MOTAR, or Member, Operations, Training, Analytics, and Reports, gives our Warfighters the edge to meet the demands of today’s Multi-Capable Airman (MCA) training requirements. 

To be successful in the face of modern warfare challenges, senior military leaders argue airmen require not just deep specialization in a career field, but the flexibility to learn on-demand to accomplish tasks outside their core specialty,” shared Krissa Watry, Co-Founder, and CEO of Dynepic. 

With MOTAR already named as a USAF requirement a few months prior, in December 2021, USAF shared its plan around cultivating and deploying MCA through an ‘operational concept’ called Agile Combat Employment (ACE).  Essentially, it was determined that having airmen with a broader set of training competencies was proven to be imperative to accomplishing mission objectives with greater success. 

“MOTAR provides the key infrastructure needed for airmen to train anytime and anywhere, using the most cutting-edge training available, with much of the training delivered on eXtended Reality (XR) headsets, augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR),” Watry said. “MOTAR allows airmen the diverse, hands-on experience they need to meet ACE requirements, and facilitates traditional and just-in-time training. Extended Reality (XR) is the future of learning, and the future is now for the USAF!”

While there are many features of MOTAR that empower the Multi-Capable Airman, here are a few we wanted to highlight today: 

  • MOTAR Hub: A collection of curated apps, lessons, AI, 3D Models, videos, and other XR assets. The MOTAR course creator can link to the available content found on the Hub. 
  • Airman Learning Record (ALR): MOTAR’s ALR encompasses all aspects of an airman’s training, readiness, and duty history. Members have a complete picture of their training record, a listing of all the digital badges they have earned and they can even add education and key skills like hobbies for AI to reason over when matching their skills to mission requirements 
  • Unit Training Manager (UTM): The UTM Dashboard provides training managers access to view the training performance and readiness of their unit.
  • Leadership Dashboard: Part of MOTAR Insights, the Leadership Dashboard provides critical insights for all the units they are in charge of, rolled up to a high. 
  • Mission Planner: Commanders can now create missions, set key requirements for the mission positions, and use AI or MOTAR search of the ALRs to match qualified candidates so they can be rapidly trained to meet mission needs.
  • AI Competency Analysis: The MOTAR Mission Planner leverages permission-based AI Plugins to enable leaders to set mission requirements and then use AI competency engines like MANTISTM to reason over the ALRs to match candidates and identify training gaps.

If you have any questions about MOTAR or want to activate your own account, please reach out directly to Christina Padron, VP of Partnerships and Growth. You can also follow us on LinkedIn, where we post news announcements and highlight a new MOTAR feature every Friday. 

Op-Ed: Why MOTAR is Critical for Multi-Capable Airmen

by 
Kevin Watry
Sr. Military & Aviation Advisor 
Dynepic, Inc.

The rise of the People’s Republic of China has created enormous ripples in the Department of Defense ever since 2015, the first time the United States lost in the “Red on Blue” war simulation run by Rand Corporation. The simulation created an urgent need to understand exactly what China was doing with its time and resources over the last twenty years. The military learned the Chinese were creating an elaborate defense strategy designed to take on any current American military technology rooted in the intelligence of how the U.S. prosecuted the War on Terror and outright prevent it from operating anywhere near China or the South China Sea. 

General Charles Q. Brown Jr., the Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force, became the standard-bearer for the military in creating a new vision to counter China.  He aptly coined the phrase, “Accelerate change or lose.”  Since that time, the Air Force has been laser-focused on investing in new technologies to ensure the United States deters China from making the decision to militarily take over the South China Sea and Taiwan. 

Unfortunately, the way the government is structured, especially in military acquisitions, has been an extremely difficult path to modernizing the military. Not only are acquisitions decentralized among the Branches of the Armed Services and Combatant Commands (COCOM), but they are also decentralized within the Air Force’s Major Commands (MAJCOMs).  This decentralized execution for a vision requiring unity of effort is hurting the U.S. military’s goal to keep up with its new pacing threat. 

The problems with acquisitions do not stop there. In “The Kill Chain,” Christian Brose talks extensively about how the American military-industrial complex is great at creating large, expensive systems and how those technologies are not enough to defeat or deter China.  We need to move beyond these weapons systems and think outside the box in low-cost, attainable technologies.

What is notably missing from all the current military modernization literature is the importance of high-fidelity training. This is a travesty considering one of the major advantages the U.S. military has over pacing threats is the quality of the Noncommissioned Officer corps. Additionally, as the U.S. military modernizes, it has created the requirement for Multi-Capable Airmen (MCA), exponentially increasing the need for relevant training at the speed of need. 

AF Doctine Note 1-21 by General Brown, Chief of Staff of The Air Force - source

The Multi-Capable Airman construct was farmed out to the Air Forces’ wings to figure out and create requirements and map a path forward to achieving the goal.  This decentralized process was a great way to leverage the experience and ingenuity of the Airmen. However, most of the “best practices” were frozen in place.  Each wing came up with training plans to create qualified MCA. Those programs continue to lie in siloed locations at their respective bases. This is not a new problem for the tactical level leaders.  In my 20 years as an Air Force pilot, training has always been base specific. Even the schoolhouse training materials developed by the top instructors of their weapons system resided at their training bases and never fully spread to the operational wings. 

As an Air Force Reserve C-17 Squadron Commander, I waste a large amount of time reinventing the wheel.  We have been tasked to come up with our own training requirements to operate in contested environments. There is no direction from higher headquarters and each wing came up with something a little different from the other wings. We discussed this at Combat Planning Council and began developing a singular training strategy based on accepted Reserve-wide standards. However, Air Mobility Command was already working on its own standard and AETC had already created a program to introduce aircrew to contested environment operations during initial qualification, pilot check-out program, and instructor programs. None of the training materials created reside in a single location nor has there been an established standard from any of those MAJCOMs. 

On top of creating brand new training requirements and desired learning objectives, each unit is still responsible for tracking and training Airmen to the previous standards. The standards are universal and governed by the respective MAJCOM, but the materials, techniques, and procedures are still siloed in each wing and unit. There are no standard training products, no repository of knowledge, and no easy way to push down a standard of best practices to all wings. Additionally, there is no way to continuously update training at the speed of need and relevance.

Enter: Member-Operations-Training-Analysis-Reports (MOTAR). This new training ecosystem solves the Air Force’s training and tracking needs using future proof capability.  As a squadron commander, I waste enormous amounts of time on readiness and training tracking each month.  My squadron, Operations Group, and Airlift Wing spend numerous hours pulling statistics from various siloed sources to create a “snapshot-in-time” picture of how the wing is doing on training.  This requires a multitude of spreadsheets and manhours to put together products. Couple this current training requirement with creating new programs for MCA and we have exceeded the capability of a wing.

MOTAR solves all these problems!

  1. Houses all training (legacy & new) in one platform only needing a CAC to login.  Currently, Air Force units keep training products on iPads, share drives and SharePoint...not viewable by other units or wings.  MOTAR can be the knowledge library AF-wide.
  2. Creates the entryway to all new training technologies including extended reality (XR) such as virtual reality and augmented reality.  MOTAR can leverage the entire tech sector and create the unity of effort required to build MCA.
  3. Integrates with all legacy, siloed platforms to create a single location to track member readiness and training requirements.
  4. Houses Artificial Intelligence that can provide real-time readiness of Airmen. This enables leadership appropriate situational awareness of their wings and creates a capability to provide the right team at the right time for any operation.
  5. Future-proof training technology.  Allows vendors, users, and experts continuous access to present the most up-to-date and relevant training at the speed of need.
  6. Allows cross-MAJCOM standardization and approval at the speed of need.
  7. Wings do not have the manpower or resources to absorb the new training requirements of MCA.  Extended Reality (XR) training is an outstanding tool to reduce stress on wing resources.
  8. Adoption of MOTAR across MAJCOMs can spread costs evenly, reducing stress on acquisition finances.
  9. MOTAR is IL4-capable (June 2022) and will eventually be IL6+ and house DoD classified information.

Currently, Dynepic is working to cross the “Valley of Death” and senior leaders struggle with how to communicate the MOTAR value proposition.  This essay was written to provide the 40,000-foot perspective of what is happening in the DoD at the strategic and tactical levels, why it is happening, and how important it is to create Multi-Capable Airmen. 

MOTAR is not simply a platform to help AETC training programs, it is the future of all Air Force, and eventually DoD, training programs. It is the technology that will enhance our Airman’s advantage over our pacing threats.  All the new war technologies in the world are useless unless the American service member is appropriately trained.  

The Russians have already proven this theory and we must not make the same mistake.  

“Accelerate change or lose.”

MOTAR 101 - Everything you need to know to get started!

Written by Dr. Victoria L. Claypoole

 

MOTAR.

You may have heard this name floating around on the ~ interwebs ~ - LinkedIn, magazine articles, tradeshows like I/ITSEC, etc. It just seems to be everywhere! So much so, you may be thinking, “what the heck is this MOTAR thing?!?”

Not to worry! This article will dive into what exactly MOTAR is, who MOTAR is made for, MOTAR ATO, and more!


MOTAR – What Is It?

The first thing you need to know about MOTAR is that it is, of course, an acronym. MOTAR stands for: Member. Operations. Training. Analytics. Reports. In this vein, MOTAR provides features and services for each of these core areas of warfighter readiness (but we’ll get into that later).

The second thing you need to know about MOTAR is that it is actually a United States Air Force (USAF) white label of Dynepic’s DX Platform. The DX Platform has been around since 2014 – so this isn’t exactly a new technology. We’ve been developing the backbone infrastructure for quite a few years – which is a huge reason the MOTAR white label has been so successful.

MOTAR was spun off after winning the AFWERX Mixed Reality Platform Challenge in January of 2019. Since then, a variety of contract wins, including multiple Phase I and II SBIRs, a multi-year Phase III, and two more AFWERX Challenge wins have supported the development of additional capability across the MOTAR platform and onboarding of multiple vendor technologies, specifically to meet the needs of the USAF. MOTAR was recently named as an official Air Education and Training Command (AETC) requirement to “...deliver, analyze and report all training...”, which you can read about here:

https://www.aetc.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2807769/tech-training-transformation-introduces-motar/

Now, let’s get into the meat of it.

MOTAR is a “Platform of Platforms”, an enterprise commercial-off-the-shelf, dual-use technology that facilitates a common training ecosystem with a modular, open systems approach (MOSA) and a zero-trust architecture.

Whew! That’s a lot of buzzwords! Don’t worry we’re going to break it all down!

Platform of Platforms. What we mean by this, is that MOTAR can host or link to other platforms via our robust APIs and SDKs. If you have your own platform for Augmented Reality (AR) self-authoring tools – no problem! You can integrate it to MOTAR! In fact, we host or link to several individual third-party platforms on MOTAR today. Companies like HTX Labs, Eon Reality, BUNDLAR, and more have all made their platforms available via MOTAR.

Enterprise Commercial-Off-The-Shelf, Dual-Use Technology. We’ve already touched on this, but let’s reiterate. MOTAR is a white label of our commercial DX Platform. It’s been built to scale enterprise wide. While MOTAR is solely focused on DoD training and operations, the DX Platform is a bit more varied than that. DX can host training and coaching applications that support users of all ages – even children! The DX platform won multiple awards and is independently privacy-certified by the FTC’s leading privacy safe-harbor, Entertainment Software Review Board (ESRB).

Facilitates a Common Training Ecosystem. MOTAR ensures that warfighters have a one-stop shop for the delivery and distribution of their immersive training. Through MOTAR, course managers and instructors have a common training data hub where they can search for immersive content, build their courses, and deliver training. And the best part is – even though that training may be made up of 20+ individual vendor technologies, there is only one login and one training record. All of that adds up to a common training ecosystem! No more logging in to six different applications and hand-jamming the performance data into an excel sheet!

Modular, Open Systems Approach (MOSA) and a Zero-Trust Architecture. MOTAR is built to meet the US Law on MOSA: “A major defense acquisition program that receives Milestone A or Milestone B approval after January 1, 2019, shall be designed and developed, to the maximum extent practicable, with a modular open system approach to enable incremental development and enhance competition, innovation, and interoperability. Other defense acquisition programs shall also be designed and developed, to the maximum extent practicable, with a modular open system approach to enable incremental development and enhance competition, innovation, and interoperability.” - source

MOTAR was designed as a privacy-secure framework with a “zero-data” architecture for ecosystem applications to connect in a MOSA all while keeping children’s personally identifiable data secure. Dynepic’s zero-data approach aligns well with Zero Trust (ZT)! What is ZT? “Zero trust assumes there is no implicit trust granted to assets or user accounts based solely on their physical or network location (i.e., local area networks versus the internet) or based on asset ownership (enterprise or personally owned).” - SP 800-207, Zero Trust Architecture

Most importantly, MOTAR brings together the best training technologies [Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Artificial Intelligence (AI), etc.] in a secure device- and vendor-agnostic ecosystem to provide seamless access to multi-vendor content and power training with a single, CAC-enabled login and a consolidated learning dashboard. MOTAR is a full-service, XR-optimized Learning Content Management System (LCMS)! Dynepic does not develop content - we are solely focused on building out the platform infrastructure and shared services for the DoD and our ecosystem of vendors. 

Who Is MOTAR Made For?

MOTAR is for Course Creators, Course Instructors, Instructional Designers, Students, Unit Training Managers, Subject Matter Experts, Commanders, Leadership, XR Creators, AI Companies, 3D Model Makers, App Developers, Training Designers and Developers, Analytic Companies, Unity Developers, Content Creators (government and third-party vendors) and so many more…MOTAR has features and services that support many user types. 

MOTAR is currently supporting airmen from across the USAF Major Commands (MAJCOMS). So, if you’re an airman, and you want your own MOTAR account, reach out here: motar@dynepic.com or simply visit https://www.motar.io and use your CAC to login (see: https://docs.motar.io/register-for-a-motar-account)!

While MOTAR is heavily focused on supporting USAF, it was designed to operate in a joint environment. So, MOTAR is really for any DoD organization that needs to host, distribute, and deliver immersive training. Dynepic is actively discussing MOTAR with the Navy, Army, US Marine Corps, Defense Health Agency, US Space Force, VA and others!

MOTAR was also made for third-party vendors. MOTAR provides all the backend infrastructure and connective tissue (or glue, whatever analogy resonates most with you) for immersive training with the DoD. So, vendors can focus on all the things that they do really, really well – like developing training and AI – and we focus on all the non-sexy (some may even say boring…not us, but some!), backend common services like: authentication, central hub, dashboards, and cloud security. It’s really a win/win! We are not competitive with our ecosystem, and our ecosystem can be laser focused on their special sauce. Because who really wants to spend time and money redeveloping user management…

Are People Really Using This MOTAR Thing?

Yes! Dynepic is on tap to scale to over 500,000 USAF members and vendor users in the coming years.

Third-party vendors are quickly activating onto the platform. MOTAR features AR / VR training applications, AI agents, sensor technologies, peripherals (haptics), self-authoring content tools, 3D models, and more from over 35 vendors – small businesses and large primes. If your favorite vendor technology isn’t already activated on MOTAR send them here: Info@Dyenpic.com – we offer a free three-month demo license for all qualified vendors.

USAF users and vendors are all using MOTAR due to its robust flexibility! MOTAR was built to be hardware and software-agnostic – meaning everyone can play! Outside vendor technology can quickly be integrated with our open APIs to deliver new innovations, link to existing DoD systems and databases, and completely future proof training programs. We’ve had new vendors get activated and hosted, full “hello world”, in less than 10 minutes. Activating on MOTAR really is super simple!

Does MOTAR Have an ATO?

The short answer is, not yet – MOTAR has been going through the ATO process for quite some time and we expect to have an ATO by mid-2022 (so, hopefully soon!).

Within our ATO structure, we are planning to support multiple levels of classification:

  • MOTAR Staging for pilot activation and innovation 
  • MOTAR Live for up to IL4 / NIPR
  • MOTAR Red for IL6 / SIPR & JWICS (Expected 2023)
  • MOTAR-in-a-box for standalone, secret squirrel (Expected 2023)

You may be also wondering what MOTAR’s ATO may mean for any activated third-party vendors. Well, we have some good news on that front.

MOTAR is currently standing-up a fully certified CI/CD pipeline and approval process wherein third-party vendors can develop and deploy their content through MOTAR’s APIs, ultimately being able to leverage the MOTAR security scanning tools to achieve a certificate to field under the MOTAR ATO.

The goal is that MOTAR will provide inheritable cyber controls to hosted applications to greatly reduce ATO timelines. Applications developed with just the MOTAR API’s and hosting should fall under the MOTAR ATO boundary as “content” allowing them rapid deployment to MOTAR Live for use on NIPR. Applications can leverage the AFLCMC funded Cyber Security Assessment Readiness (CSAR) tool being integrated to MOTAR Studio for rapid Risk Management Framework (RMF) evaluation and leverage a cyber playbook to accelerate the ATO process.

So, MOTAR’s DevSecOps pipeline combined with the application approval process will reduce the time needed to deploy simulations, digital twin, 3D models and training content through MOTAR, greatly reducing ATO timelines. Can you say #LevelingUp?

Up Next

MOTAR has a ton of core features and services for the development, hosting, and distribution of training applications – like Studio, Hub, and Training. In upcoming articles, we will take a deep dive into each of these features and services!

In the meantime, if you want to learn more about MOTAR, check out: