Intelligent Tutor Added to Battle Command Simulation via HLA


U.S. Army


Battalion command students and their instructors


Battle Command is a tactical decision game developed by MÄK Technologies, which is used by Command Prep Course students at the Command General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth to play battalion level tactical scenarios in a dynamic, 3-D environment. In the training setting, the simulation previously required the effort of an instructor to observe the student’s actions and provide after action reviews (AAR). The addition of an Intelligent Tutoring System (ITS) to Battle Command off-loads the instructor from some of these duties and allows the students to execute scenarios without requiring an instructor for the AAR.


  • Stottler Henke developed an intelligent tutoring system (ITS) that is interfaced to Battle Command via the High Level Architecture (HLA). In the Battle Command game, students playing a scenario receive an initial briefing with the mission objectives and five paragraph order, and then issue plans for each unit under their control. During the simulation the students can monitor the execution of their plans in the free-play simulation environment, and issue real-time commands in response to the flow of events. 


  • Before simulation execution begins, the student’s plans are initially transmitted from Battle Command to the ITS through HLA. These plans are critiqued by the ITS using a variety of tactical concept metrics provided by a subject matter expert. The student receives this feedback and makes any elective corrections to the plans, optionally repeating the initial critique step as desired. Execution then begins. During execution, Battle Command publishes the locations and actions of vehicles to the ITS via HLA messages. The ITS performs real-time evaluation on the evolving battle state, determining which tactical principles the student has correctly applied and which have been missed. At the conclusion of the scenario, the ITS automatically assembles a debriefing from the accumulated real-time assessment.


The Battle Command ITS was delivered to the U.S. Army in October 2002. It represents a leave-behind demonstration unit that can train tactical decision-making without the aid of an instructor. Possible future extensions for the system include further development with additional training scenarios for automated instructional remediation, expansion of the interface object model used by the simulation and the ITS for higher fidelity performance assessment, and integration with a broader set of tactical principles applicable to tank battalion command.

Related Applications

The Battle Command ITS represented the first integration of an ITS with an existing simulation, using strictly the HLA protocol. There is a wide range of potential related application areas, where existing standards-based simulations that use the HLA protocol to publish simulation data and states can be leveraged for training purposes by interfacing to an intelligent trainer.

Additional Information

  • I/ITSEC 2002 conference paper:Adding an Intelligent Tutoring System to an Existing Training Simulation