The Marines Are Marching into the Metaverse. Here’s What That Could Look Like.

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    From the Battle of Belleau Wood to Inchon Beach, Marines have fought in some of the harshest conditions in America’s wars. We are currently entering the metaverse to prepare for an increasingly unstable future.

    Last month, Marines at the Marine Corps Platform Integration Center (MCPIC) successfully conducted a “real-time pilot in a planetary metaverse environment.” according to We engaged CGI Federal, an information technology (IT) and business consulting firm, to pilot the service.

    Not to be confused with Facebook’s parent company Meta’s use of the term, the Metaverse that the Marines hope to jump into also requires billions of dollars in military equipment and a simulated environment to create its “loyal twin.” There is also. simulated reality.

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    “The pilot saw the integration of the Marine Corps Platform Integration Center. [MCPIC] CGI’s press release includes a logistics and asset management system with a digital twin, a virtual replica of a physical asset in a simulated global environment. “This integration will provide the Marine Corps with enhanced visualization, real-time monitoring, simulation capabilities, and predictive analytics to improve training and education and operational efficiency.”

    Simply put, the Metaverse is touted as being able to do practical planning from anywhere in the world, from future tabletop exercises to weather simulations, fuel level measurements, direction and location in meters, and more. Masu. The possibilities for the army seem endless.

    “We’re focused on bridging reality and surreality a little more closely,” Victor Falk, CGI vice president of emerging technologies, told in a recent interview.

    For the Marine Corps right now, that means acquiring equipment, scanning it, and replicating it into a large-scale simulated environment with real-world mechanics, physics, and geolocation.

    What will it be like for the Marines who use it? And when will it actually be in their hands? The Corps is still considering it, but virtual reality (VR) headsets and Star Wars-like interactive maps are also not possible. Not, CGI and the Corps said.

    According to the Corps, the push for the Metaverse comes from pressing requirements. As the military sets its sights on the Pacific Ocean, the need for distributed planning is becoming increasingly important, said Maj. Jeff Plantine, an operations officer at the Blount Island, Fla., headquarters where the pilots are deployed.

    “Everything is too far apart to really integrate our assets when setting up theaters,” Plantine told, adding that there are different planning requirements than what they face in landlocked Afghanistan, for example. It touched on the many archipelagos of the Pacific Ocean that present challenges. “So we need a way for commanders on the ground to be able to see where their items are and what’s coming… [and] How those items are loaded. ”

    This simulated environment is first being tested in logistics and will be used to plan, package, and deploy Marine Corps equipment. Its equipment ranges from the Meles Ready-to-Eat (MRE) to his LAV-25. These are converted into replicas within the metaverse and tracked in real-time applying the same physics.

    Planteen said MCPIC already uses “passive RFID.” [radio frequency identification] tags” to mark that equipment. Some of them cost just a few dollars and can be disposable if needed. Marines can then use the tablets to track equipment and statistics related to their vehicles, their maintenance status, and more. By piggybacking on this tracking, Faulk said CGI could then upload an “honest replica” of the equipment into a giant simulated environment.

    A U.S. Marine uses a tablet to enter maintenance data into the MCPIC system during Exercise Atlantic Dragon at Marine Corps Support Facility Brant Island, Jacksonville, Florida, March 23, 2022. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Jennifer Napier)

    So, Plantine says, supply sergeants and load leaders, even hundreds or thousands of miles away from where the ship needs to be unloaded, need to know how the ship is packed and how vehicles and equipment are oriented. He said that it is possible to check and understand in real time whether the Best way to offload it once in theater.

    “If we can put a VR headset on a Marine and see exactly how that ship is being loaded…we can do that anywhere in the world through a headset or a computer,” Plantine said. Told. We have to get the Marines on the ship early… we have to figure out where everything is or look at the two-dimensional paper load plan like we’ve been doing all along. “We don’t have to do that anymore,” Plantine said. “I’ll show you exactly what the load looks like right now.” spoke freely with two Marine Corps logistics officers, who were granted anonymity, about the feature, how it’s used, and what concerns they have as they venture into the Metaverse.

    “It reduces unknown risks, equipment damage and loss of personnel,” one police officer told “When you lose an operator by crushing a finger or toe while unloading equipment or moving things through tight spaces, that’s a qualified kid with hundreds of hours of experience. You can’t grow them, and you can’t easily replace them.” “

    The officers also said it would be advantageous for commanders to rehearse large-scale moves within the metaverse before Marines deploy or acquire equipment. Additionally, it could be used in training and schooling settings to familiarize Marines with real-world scenarios they may not see until they arrive in the fleet.

    “We’re talking about planning and execution and real-time uploads within 15 meters, anywhere in the world. I would bring that back to a schoolhouse setting or a Marine getting his MOS. I even think about it.” [military occupational specialty]” said another officer. “This will give Marines a better understanding of what they’re actually doing in terms of practical application.”

    As a matter of concern, the Marine Corps said operating the Metaverse may be undesirable if carried in harsh environments due to the risk of damage to the equipment needed to operate the Metaverse.

    “How do you energize things?” one Marine said, specifically asking how the Metaverse would be powered if it were brought into theater, for example. “Will it be as tough as a hammer… [or] Will it collapse on the third swing? ”

    Another concern is data security and encryption. asked whether uploading large amounts of data about Marine Corps assets that can be tracked in real time poses a security risk, especially if it is a high-priority data target for an adversary. did.

    “There’s no arguing with that,” Scott Prause, supervisor of the Automated Systems Group, Command Data and Analysis Office, Marine Corps Logistics Command, told

    “I can say that MCPIC is a fully certified platform. We adhere to all security protocols mandated by the Department of Defense,” he said, adding that the data MCPIC was handling was “particularly sensitive. He added that it was not “highly priced”.

    “We are in the process of moving to the cloud to make it even more secure,” Prause said. “I understand your point, but we adhere to all of the fairly strict guidelines necessary to maintain our certification.”

    Falk had high hopes for the Marines’ advancement into the Metaverse.

    “We’re talking about operational planning, like a tabletop exercise, based on actual asset management and force readiness, not what was assumed,” he said. “This is truly a tabletop, advanced exercise planning tool that has higher fidelity information based on reality and can function at a much larger scale.”

    — Drew F. Lawrence can be reached at X Follow him at @df_lawrence.

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