March 16, 2022

The DOD Needs a Joint Wargaming Center

By Lt Col Gabe S. Arrington

Reinvigorate our wargaming efforts, then-Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work told Pentagon and military leaders in 2015. Services, research institutions, and industry have since responded with an explosion of wargames. But these largely uncoordinated efforts have left knowledge gaps, reflected various biases, and insufficiently addressed mid- and long-term scenarios. To fix these problems and ensure unity of effort, the DOD should create a Joint Wargaming Center.

All this leads to many wargames producing reports based on bad data and influenced by institutional and personal bias. The creation of a Joint Wargaming Center would address these challenges.

In his memo, Work prescribed three lines of effort. The first, led by the services and combatant commands, looks up to five years ahead and focuses on current concepts. The Joint Staff leads a mid-term effort, studying new capabilities and operational concepts five to 15 years out; while the Office of Net Assessment leads a long-term effort focused on technology trends and competition.

The near-term line has proven to be the easiest for the DOD to execute, mainly through service entities such as the Air Force Wargaming Institute and the Naval War College, which focus on educational and service-specific wargames. The services continue to invest in wargaming capability and modeling and simulation that complement their specific missions, such as the Wargaming and Advanced Research Simulation Laboratory at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, and the Marine Corps Wargaming and Analysis Center in Quantico, Virginia.

Read the full article from Defense One.

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