The Army announced Tuesday it will award the first contracts for its Synthetic Training Environment (STE) program a month earlier than was previously announced to ensure the program meets its target data for initial operational capability.

Other Transaction Authorities awards for the Common Synthetic Environment (CSE) and Reconfigurable Virtual Collective Trainer will arrive in May and June, respectively, both ahead of schedule.

A Stryker vehicle commander interacts in real time with a Soldier avatar that is operated remotely from a collective trainer. (U.S. Army photo)

“We identified an opportunity to further expedite our award schedules to mitigate risk of meeting the 2021 IOC date and buy down the fiscal risk associated with late 3rd/early 4th quarter award dates,” Brian Serra, the contracting officer, wrote in a FedBizOpps notice.

Officials on the STE Cross Functional Team made the decision following a Jan. 30 industry day, where the team first announced CSE and RVCT as the the program’s two main lines of effort (Defense Daily, Jan. 31).

STE is the Army’s program to build a new capability that brings together live, virtual and constructive simulators to improve training for multi-domain operations.

The CSE competition looks to build the “unified simulation environment” for the program. Officials will now issue a request for solutions in mid-March with submissions due in mid-April, followed by an OTA award in late May rather than June.

For RVCT, the CFT is looking to go after both an air and ground version. A request for solutions is now set for mid-April with submissions due in mid-May, and OTA awards in late June ahead of the original July timeline.

“Army Contracting Command – Orlando and the STE Cross Functional Team are sensitive to the consequences of these changes as teams begin to form and capture teams are created,” Serra wrote. “We maintain our commitment to posting draft documentation as early as responsibly possible to aid in the formulation of your competitive strategies. We are charting new territory not only with STE, but agile acquisition and appreciate your commitment to joining us in this journey.”