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Jim Ong



High classroom acceptance of Stottler Henke’s Tactical Action Officer Intelligent Tutoring System persuades U.S.
Navy to extend its use to onboard use and to request enhancements from Stottler Henke


 SAN MATEO, CA, Nov. 18, 1999 –– Stottler Henke Associates’ Tactical Action Officer Intelligent Tutoring System (TAO ITS), which has been in classroom use at the Surface Warfare Officers School in Rhode Island since early 1999, is now moving onboard ship to provide anytime, anywhere learning for one of the most critical jobs in the U.S. Navy. Furthermore, the U.S. Navy is extending Stottler Henke’s contract to upgrade the TAO ITS software with additional and more robust instructional strategies; to add an undersea warfare capability; and to add more ease-of-use features.

The TAO ITS is software that runs on a PC and has been complementing the Navy’s traditional, classroom-based training by providing tactical action officers with realistic, practice-based instruction and individualized feedback. A tactical action officer is a key decision-maker aboard U.S. warships who controls the ship’s sensors and weapons and directs the movements of the ship and other support vessels and aircraft. The TAO also monitors the movements and actions of friendly and enemy ships, planes, missiles, and submarines in the region. The TAO integrates this information in real time to form a dynamic tactical picture, selects appropriate responses, and issues orders.

The TAO ITS software enables students to act as TAOs in simulations of tactical scenarios. After the student completes each scenario, the software evaluates the student’s actions to determine tactical principles that the student correctly applied or failed to apply. These detailed assessments of student performance are available to both the student and his instructor. This evaluation is carried out using sophisticated pattern-matching algorithms defined by tactical experts via graphical user interface, without programming. The instructor can use a scenariogenerator included in the software package to create any number of additional scenarios, defining complexbehaviors for each friendly and enemy ship and aircraft to create realistic, multi-agent tactical simulations.

An overwhelming majority of surveyed students who have used the software have been extremely favorable to its use in the classroom, and found it to be effective or highly effective. LCDR Gene Black, Lead AEGIS Instructor at the Surface Warfare Officers School (SWOS) shares their enthusiasm: “TAO ITS gives a student tactical action officer ten times the tactical decision-making opportunity (compared with that provided by) existing training systems.”

“Low-cost, PC-based intelligent tactical simulators, that can be used anywhere, anytime by individual students thanks to the addition of intelligent tutoring system technology provide an enormously effective learning experience when practical decision-making skills must be mastered,” says Richard Stottler, president of Stottler Henke. “The Navy’s experience with the Tactical Action Officer Intelligent Tutoring System bears this out. This sort of training software is far superior to that already being used in industry, and we expect to see diffusion of this much needed technology from the U.S. military to the commercial world in the near future.”

Founded in 1988, Stottler Henke Associates, Inc. applies artificial intelligence and other advanced software technologies to solve problems that defy solution using traditional approaches. The company delivers intelligent software solutions for education and training, planning and scheduling, knowledge management and discovery, decision support, and software development. Stottler Henke’s clients include manufacturers, retailers, educational media companies and government agencies.   Web: