Capt. Leah Hedgcorth completed her undergraduate from the U.S. Naval Academy in May of 2015, earning a BS in Ocean Engineering. She commissioned in the Marine Corps in May 2015. Following her commission, she completed the Basic Officer Course in December 2015 and Logistics Officer Course in April 2016. Then 2nd Lt. Moore (maiden name) reported to Combat Logistics Battalion 2 in Camp Lejeune, NC, where she served as Motor Transport Platoon Commander, Landing Support Platoon Commander, and Current Operations Officer. In March 2018, 1st Lt. Moore deployed to Moron, Spain in support of the Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force Africa and served as the Combat Logistics Detachment Moron Executive Officer.
In June 2019, Hedgcorth reported to MCAS Iwakuni, Japan, where she served as the Combat Logistics Company 36 Executive Officer for one year and then reported to Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 12 to serve as the Logistics Officer. In May 2022, Hedgcorth arrived at Naval Postgraduate School to complete a degree in Modeling, Virtual Environments, and Simulations.
Hedgcorth is married to a fellow active-duty Marine, who is attending NPS in pursuit of his degree in Information Warfare Systems Engineering. Together, they have a 3-year-old son and are expecting their second son in March 2024.
As a Naval Academy grad, I have always been interested in attending NPS and furthering my education through opportunities in the military. I really enjoy the academic environment and learning new things, especially when it comes to technical subjects, so NPS has always been a goal of mine. Not only do I love it while I am here, but earning a technical master’s degree will surely benefit me in my future career by opening some new doors for me and increasing the paths I can choose to go down.
After graduation, I hope to positively impact the modeling and simulation community within the Marine Corps and contribute to Project Tripoli. Project Tripoli is currently addressing the requirements to develop, implement, and sustain the Live Virtual Constructive (LVC) Training Environment in pursuit of modernizing the training capabilities within the Marine Corps.
Currently, there are limited options for integrating live environments with virtual and constructive environments within the Marine Corps. The main system currently used within the Marine Corps that can provide this capability is called the Instrumented Tactical Engagement Simulation System (ITESS). ITESS is a system of multiple devices (vest, head piece, and weapon attachment) mainly used to support direct fire Force-on-Force tactical engagement training; however, it can also capture position location information (PLI) of individuals for battle tracking and after-action review purposes. The new system (potentially fielding in 2024) for direct fire Force-on-Force tactical engagement is called the Marine Corps Training Instrumentation System (MCTIS). ITESS and MCTIS are good options for tracking PLI, but only for a short period of time; the battery life of these devices is limited to hours and the vests are cumbersome. Other options for exercise control, remote communication, and PLI tracking used at Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command (MAGTFTC) include the Android Tactical Assault Kit (ATAK), KillSwitch, and Bad Elf GPS+. All of these devices enable exercise control, remote communication, and the tracking of PLI; however, they do not offer real-time, dynamic, or long-term tracking of individual PLI.
I am looking at two alternative low-cost solutions for asset and personnel tracking. The two technologies I am looking at include RFID technology coupled with GPS, and an Iridium low-earth orbit global hotspot. For my thesis, I will attempt to design and develop a tool that can digitize live actions in a training environment using one of these two technologies to enable the LVC training environment. Digitizing live actions in a training environment will not only improve the live integration of the LVC-TE, but also enable exercise control, range control, after action reports and a record of quantitative data for training and readiness trend analysis.
I am currently in touch with Tactical Training and Exercise Control Group (TTECG) and MAGTFTC Battle Simulation Center to integrate my solution with exercise control during Fire Support Coordination Exercise (FSCEX) in February 2024. NPS will support this research by providing funding for the purchase of necessary hardware and travel to visit MAGTFTC in February. NPS Faculty are also supporting my research by serving as my advisors.
The future of M&S in the Marine Corps, Navy, and DOD will be shaped by a combination of artificial intelligence (prediction and decision support, training, and human-machine teaming), immersive technologies (VR, AR, MR), and distributed networking (via cloud-based simulations and 5G). Specifically, the development of AI for prediction and decision support and human-machine teaming will be the most transformative and will be a force-multiplier for the DOD in the next 30 years.