WASHINGTON – As senior Marine leaders watch workers build a state-of-the-art war games center at the Quantico Marine Corps, Virginia, war games in many forms are spreading.

This comes for Marines of all ranks and blanks through large and small exercises, board games and advanced artificial intelligence options that are adapted for future use at the unit level.

These were some of the items presented on Wednesday by Colonel George Schrefler, director of the war games department at the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab, here at the Modern Day Marine exhibition in 2022 in Washington.

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

For example, in the recently released 2022 update to boost design, the document notes that the “extensive game” in the form of Expeditionary Warrior 21 informs the concept of distributed maritime logistics operations of the service, which is currently being developed with the Navy. This game and another, called Enigma, tested concepts of information and competition operations below the level of armed conflict, also called gray area operations.

The data was introduced in the forthcoming doctrinal publication 8 of the Marines, “Information”, according to the force design update.

The center will bring together staff and visiting leaders in one place with state-of-the-art technology to double the number of military games the force can hold in a year.

Schreffler said the center would “increase the realism of the player’s experience” and “significantly increase the amount of data that can be put into scenarios.” These two factors alone will “allow for a more rigorous analysis” of the results of the war games and will provide “better and potentially more concrete insights from the war games”.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Schreffler and others see the center as providing support for “producing more defensive positions in support of service-level decisions” in force design and development.

This is crucial as the Marine leadership saw public criticism of some of the changes in Force Design 2030, such as the removal of tanks, the reduction of conventional artillery and experiments that could fundamentally change the size and composition of infantry.

The center was first announced at the Modern Day Marine exhibition in 2017 by then-Commander-in-Chief General Robert Neller.

Neller had said he wanted a kind of “chill” for naval warfare, a penchant for Star Trek technology that allows the character, Captain James T. Kirk, to enter a virtual reality scenario and deal with tactical or strategic issues.

The goal at the time was to have a center to host 20 military games each year, including two large-scale exercises with 250 participants. The service currently holds about a dozen war games a year, officials said.

A former chief of command of training systems, then Col. Walt Yates, told the Marine Corps Times that advanced artificial intelligence could allow the center to run a scenario up to 1,000 times to better evaluate results and better inform decisions about what to deploy and how to deploy marine assets.

The Marines opened the new center for war games and analysis in May 2021. The $ 79 million center is aimed at finding difficult problems about what technologies, types of formations and even tactics can work in future battles.

Schreffler said the planned opening of the center is in 2024.

At that time the assistant commandant of Marine General Eric Smiththen the three-star title “Combat Development and Integration” provided tangible arguments for how the center will affect even the lowest ranks.

“It’s a big deal for these 19-year-olds here, on the island of Paris or in San Diego, because they’re fighting and dying,” Smith told the Marine Corps Times. “We’ll make sure they do less than the dying part of what we do here.”

The center’s location is adjacent to the Marine University and not far from a number of secondary and higher level marine schools and training programs. Its proximity should allow cross-pollination of ideas from schools to test concepts at the center.

Former heads of the military laboratory and the Marine Corps Command also told the Marine Corps Times earlier that the center would help them support decisions with more in-depth, evidence-based data, whether it’s recruiting units or personnel. of units or the development of weapons and equipment and fields.

But part of the center’s thinking will spread in the Corps.

“The vision for the Marine Corps Wargaming and Analysis Center allows us to engage in remote locations and play games using the system or systems we have in the analysis center,” Schrefler said.

This software is still under development, he said.

“This should allow us to connect with the navy and the elements of training and education command,” he said.

Todd South has written about crime, the courts, the government and the military in numerous publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer Finalist for a joint witness intimidation project. Todd is a veteran of the Marines in the Iraq war.


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