Marine Corps general who wants a Holodeck: ‘it would be like Jean-Luc Picard’

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Marine Lance Cpl. Briar Hasty uses a Combat Convoy Simulat in Quantico, Virginia. (Photo: Cpl. Desire M. Mora/Marine Corps)

A top general in the Marine Corps says he wants a Holodeck.

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller said this week that he’s hoping advances in technology will mean the Corps will soon have access to Star Trek-inspired virtual reality environments that will allow Marines to train in a variety of scenarios.

“What I’m looking for is a simulation where a battalion or squadron commander or a regimental or a group commander or a division, wing or MEF [Marine Expeditionary Force] or a corps commander can go in and not have to put thousands of people on the battlespace and in the air and actually get them to do a repetition,” Neller said at the Modern Day Marine expo in Quantico, according to Defense News.

Pilots and drivers already use simulations to train, but Neller wants to see it be deployed on a much larger scale.

“In a perfect world, it would be like Jean-Luc Picard in ‘Star Trek,’” Neller said. “I’d walk into the Holodeck and I’d go, ’Computer, Battle of Waterloo, 1812, Prussian army, I am in command, simulation — go.’

Neller said officials in the Marine Corps are trying to determine what resources they’d need to have a “virtual wargaming facility” at Marine Corps Base Quantico, a major training facility for Marines. The Corps plans to nearly double the number of annual virtual war-games it holds – from 11 to 20 over the next few years. The plan could involve a new building for more simulation tech.

Neller said a Star Trek-like Holodeck is likely a few years a way, but it’s necessary.

“That’ll be here one day,” he said. “You and I probably won’t see it. That’s what we need. We need the reps because we can’t afford to make a mistake in the fight.”