Wargaming at the Naval Postgraduate School


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

Way Ahead

The NPS resident Wargaming Applications course is currently working on four sponsored wargames this fall. Global SOF Force Structure (SOCOM J-3I), Countering Transnational Organizations (SOCCENT), Iranian Threat Network (SOCCENT) and Theater Anti-Submarine Warfare (U.S. Navy) wargames are currently in development and will be completed and played for their sponsors in December 2016.

NPS is currently developing a classified wargaming workshop to support CENTCOM’s newly formed Wargaming Cell with a delivery date in the winter of 2017. CENTCOM is currently pursuing a long-term relationship with NPS that will include recurring Basic Analytic Wargaming MTT courses, periodic Advanced Analytic Wargaming courses, and consulting on CENTCOM wargames as needed.

Several Basic Analytic Wargaming MTT courses may be delivered in 2017. Potential sponsors include NAVAIR (China Lake), Joint Experimentation (Australian Defence Force), U.S. European Command, and NATO. The New Zealand Defence Force is considering a course in the FY 18-19 timeframe.

Some sponsors of the NPS Basic Analytic Wargaming course have asked for a two or three-day course that focuses on advanced analytic techniques. NPS is developing a proposal for such a course in response to Australia’s DST-Group’s request.

Under an OSD Wargaming Education Initiative, NPS will develop an automated education and assessment system that will permit a lower-cost, time-saving delivery of wargaming skills to DoD, allied and partner organizations. The vision is to take the existing NPS Basic Analytic Wargaming MTT course and develop a two-phased wargaming course (Basic Analytic Wargaming Fundamentals (BAWF) Phases I and II) that will be less resource intensive yet still provide a high-quality wargaming course for DoD, allied and partner organizations. Basic Analytic Wargaming Fundamentals (BAWF) Phase I will provide the means to acquire and assess basic analytic wargaming fundamentals education that students learn on their own without live instruction through a web-based asynchronous education and assessment website. BAWF Phase II will be a three-day, hands-on, instructor-led practical exercise-based MTT course for a group of 12-16 students who have demonstrated proficiency in the basic analytic wargaming fundamentals as assessed by BAWF Phase I. A prototype of the BAWF I system will be completed by September 2017.

Under sponsorship of CRUSER, the Warfare Innovation Workshops will continue to kick off the Warfare Innovation Continuum each September. The value to NPS students are an emersion in design thinking, conflict assessment, and being exposed to potential thesis research topics. CRUSER will continue to mine this activity to seed research funds into unmanned systems.

Global ECCO is currently working on updating several of its previously developed strategic games to better support specific sponsor requirements. In addition, future strategic games include efforts addressing the issues of boarder security and countering weapons of mass destruction proliferation.

The NPS MMOWGLI team is currently developing a game in support of the NPS Littoral Operations Center to better understand the dynamic interactions of the U.S. Navy with allies and partners in the South China Sea.


NPS continues to provide analytical wargaming education to its students and to DoD and defense partner organizations around the world. Wargaming sponsors continue to benefit from wargames created and analysis conducted by NPS student wargaming teams, and NPS continues to enhance its students’ professional development by providing opportunities to work with joint and service sponsors on operational warfighter requirements and analyses worldwide. Our joint, service, and international defense partners benefit from NPS educational expertise and engagement through our MTT outreach, building stronger defense partnerships in a dynamic security environment. NPS stands ready to support DoD, its allies, and its partners through our operationally-experienced multiservice and multinational student body and our world-class faculty.

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