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Automation of Wargaming Capabilities

Published on September 01, 2021

Automation of Wargaming Capabilities

MCSC and MCWL enhance COTS wargame tools

The Marine Corps will soon build a state-of-the-art facility to better visualize the threat environment, gain competitive advantages, and simulate future operating environments. The center, which broke ground aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, VA, this past May, will be uniquely designed to leverage modern simulation technologies to enhance the wargaming experience for Marines. Once complete in fiscal year 2024, the Marine Corps Wargaming and Analysis Center will enable better equipped and trained Marines with improved decision making on the battlefield.


The MCWL Wargaming Division was in immediate need of a wargaming solution—enabling planners and decision makers to examine scenarios and outcomes across multiple facets of expeditionary advance base operations and, more importantly, the ability to run on premise at the MCWL facility at Quantico.

The COTS simulation tool, known as Command Professional Edition (PE) provides simulation of modern air, naval, and ground combat. The Professional Edition allows customization of platform information so government users can adapt parametric system data to classify ed levels. MCWL began using Command PE to support wargames in January 2020.


Additional attributes of the Command PE tool discovered from the market research include:


  • Valuable addition to the Air Force toolset providing real time adjudication in the wargaming environment and has enabled rapid assessment of various new technology


  • Model forces down to individual unit level (single ship/aircraft/submarine/buildings, individual tank platoons, infantry squad/section etc.).


  • Breaks down units to their individual components (e.g. sensors, engines and comm links on an aircraft or ship).


  • The level of conflict may scale from a simple 1 vs. 1 in real-time all the way to theatre-level and even global-scale engagements and can be run in accelerated time


  • Simulations can be executed in either interactive mode (the user observes and interacts with the running simulation through a rich Windows GUI, where selected data is exported for real-time or deferred analysis) or in “headless” non-interactive mode (Monte Carlo) for massive-scale analysis and advanced applications such as machine learning.


  • Identifying multiplayer capability that enhances and accelerates the wargaming experience.


  • Post-Game Data Outputs, Non-Interactive Analysis and Event Reporting, Passive Radar emulation, and Ground Unit Formations.


Marine Corps Systems Command recently hosted the project review with industry partners KBR (prime) and Matrix Games (developer) that provided the Marine Corps with an overview of the enhancements made to the COTS wargame and timelines for meeting next round of developmental requirements to include advanced amphibious capabilities, mobile forward arming and refueling points, and cargo modules.

The COTS wargame is another tool that can be incorporated into the wargaming capability that will serve a large community of stakeholders within the Marine Corps and across the Services. The Marine Corps Wargaming and Analysis Center will be supported by an end-to-end architecture which supplies scalable hosting infrastructure and secure network transport to meet these needs. Command PE gives MCWL a near term M&S capability to support wargames in advance of the future Wargaming and Analysis Center software suite that is in the prototyping phases of development.


This is an extended abstract of an article published on the USMC Gazette in August 2021 and written by Luis E. Velazquez, Chief Technology Officer at Marine Corps Systems Command.

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