Wargaming at the Naval Postgraduate School


Posted: December 1, 2016 | By: Jeff Appleget, Fred Cameron, Robert E. Burks, Jeff Kline

NPS On-Campus Wargaming Activities

Warfare Innovation Workshops

Originally sponsored by the Navy Warfare Development Command and the Consortium for Robots and Unmanned Systems Education and Research (CRUSER), the Warfare Innovation Workshops have kicked off the NPS Warfare Innovation Continuum since 2010.

The NPS Warfare Innovation Workshop uses seminar wargaming techniques and design thinking for NPS officers and system command engineers to consider how they would design and/or employ new capabilities in hostile environments. How players employ forces and view risk are assessed with a programmed force and again with a force with new technologies included. Innovative employment of new technologies from the synergy between early- to mid-career officers and early career engineers have been the basis for Navy system design and concept development like the Advanced Undersea Warfare Systems (AUWS), undersea docking stations, air UAV swarms, and distributed fleet. The ideas generated from the Warfare Innovation Workshops are further developed in the year-long Warfare Innovation Continuum, a NPS federation of classes, capstone projects, theses, and research work usually involving 400 faculty, students and sponsors.


 Warfare Innovation Workshop participants discuss technological solutions for employment.

Global ECCO

Global ECCO’s (Education Community Collaboration Online) mission is to build and strengthen the Combating Terrorism Fellowship Program’s (CTFP) global alumni network of Combating Terrorism experts and practitioners through innovative and engaging technologies and techniques that both enable and encourage collaborative partnership between individuals, nations, organizations, and cultures. At NPS, Global ECCO has utilized computer and web-based technologies to develop engaging strategic games to educate players about counter-terrorism tactics. The strategic games teach the methods and mindsets of terrorist tactics as well as how to contend with them as opponents face off against each other in a virtual online environment. This strategic gaming environment facilitates thinking about terrorism and combating terrorism issues and provides an effective framework for discussing related concepts. Global ECCO has developed multiple strategic games including concepts focused on Asymmetric Warfare, Terrorism Finance, Social Network Analysis, Cyber, Counter Insurgency, and Countering Terrorist Ideologies.


The MMOWGLI project was originally sponsored by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) for the United States Navy. The goal of the project is to explore the potential of a Massively Multiplayer Online War Game Leveraging the Internet (MMOWGLI), with a variety of themes, to expand engagement in military and non-military strategy development for complex geopolitical problems. The platform is designed to support large numbers of distributed global players working together on idea generation and action planning, with an eye towards surfacing innovative outlier strategies. Several dozen games, workshops and courses have used the MMOWGLI platform.

Red Teaming and Red Celling

The Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research and Development, Department of Energy, the Commander Naval Surface Forces, and the State of California are four past sponsors of red teaming and red celling activities at the Naval Postgraduate School. Leveraging the operational experience and technical education of NPS students, these classified efforts focus on technical red teaming future systems and or red celling emerging blue concept of operations. These activities employ wargaming techniques to frame the students’ perspective of defeating blue systems and result in recommendations to increase blue system resiliency or modifications to Blue concepts.

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