New Wargames Center will Connect to Marine Units with Realistic Experience


WASHINGTON — As top Marine leaders watch workers build a state-of-the-art wargaming facility at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., wargaming in multiple forms is proliferating across the nation. strength.

It happens to Marines of all ranks and positions through exercises big and small, board games, and advanced artificial intelligence options that are tailored for future use at the unit level.

These are some of the items shown on Wednesday by Col. George Schreffler, director of the war games division at the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab, here at the Modern Day Marine 2022 exhibit in Washington.

If a Marine’s job is affected by Force Design 2030 and all Marine jobs are affected by this guidance document, then war games have something to do with how the service made that decision and likely future decisions.

For example, in the recently released Force Design Update 2022, the document notes that “extended wargaming” in the form of Expeditionary Warrior 21 informed the service’s ongoing distributed maritime logistics operations concept. development with the Navy. This game and another called “Enigma” tested concepts of information operations and competition below the level of armed conflict, also known as “grey area” operations.

The data was fed into a soon-to-be-released Marine Corps Doctrine Publication 8, “Information,” according to the Force Design Update.

The center will unite personnel and guest leaders in one location with state-of-the-art technology to double the number of war games the force can conduct in a year.

Schreffler said the center will “increase the realism of the player experience” and “significantly increase the amount of data” that can be inserted into scenarios. These two factors alone will “enable a more rigorous analysis” of wargaming results and provide “better and potentially more concrete insights into wargaming.”

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Schreffler and others see the center as providing support to “produce more defensible positions to support level of service decisions” on force design and development.

This is critical, as Marine Corps leaders have seen the public criticize some of the Force Design 2030 changes, such as the elimination of tanks, the reduction of conventional artillery, and experiments that could fundamentally alter the size and the composition of the infantry.

The center was first announced at the 2017 Modern Day Marine Expo by then-commander General Robert Neller.

Neller had said he wanted a kind of “holodeck” for sea war games, a nod to Star Trek technology that allowed Captain James T. Kirk’s character to enter a virtual reality scenario and solve tactical or strategic problems.

The goal at the time was to have a center that could support 20 war games each year, including two full-scale exercises with 250 participants. Currently, the service runs about a dozen war games a year, officials said.

Former Chief of Training Systems Command, then Colonel. Walt Yates, told the Marine Corps Times that advanced artificial intelligence could allow the center to run a single scenario up to 1,000 times to better gauge results and better inform decisions about what to deploy and how. deploy marine resources.

The Marines opened the new Wargaming and Analytics Center in May 2021. The $79 million center aims to solve tough questions about technology, types of formations and even tactics that might work in combat future.

Schreffler said the center’s planned opening is in 2024.

At the time, Deputy Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Eric Smith, then three-star Director of Combat Development and Integration, provided tangible reasoning for how the center will affect even the lowest ranks. .

“It’s a big deal for these 19-year-olds here, for the ones in Parris Island or San Diego, because they fight and die,” Smith told the Marine Corps Times. “We’re going to make sure they make less of the dying part by what we’re doing here.”

The site of the center is adjacent to Marine Corps University and not far from a number of office schools and Navy mid-level and senior training programs. Its proximity should allow cross-pollination of ideas from schools to test concepts at the center.

The former heads of the Warfare Laboratory and Marine Corps Systems Command also told the Marine Corps Times that the center will help them support their decisions with more in-depth, evidence-based data, whether for the employment of unit, unit composition or development of weapons and equipment and terrain.

But some of the thought from the center should spread throughout the Body.

“The Marine Corps Wargaming and Analysis Center vision allows us to connect to remote locations and play games using whatever system(s) we have in the analysis center,” Schreffler said.

This software is still in the development phase, he said.

“That should allow us to link up with the fleet and the training and education command elements,” he said.

Todd South has written about crime, the courts, government and the military for several publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer Finalist for a co-authored project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Navy veteran of the Iraq War.


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