II MEF Marines Apply Future Concepts in Wargaming > United States Marine Corps Flagship > News Display | #students | #parents


U.S. Marines with II Marine Expeditionary Force attended the Basic Analytic Wargaming Course, culminating into a wargame scenario on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., July 18-22. The BAWC is a 5-day course that provides students a hands-on experience with designing, executing, and analyzing a wargame in an instructor led environment.

Wargaming is a form of strategy game that simulates warfare in a realistic tabletop environment which can replicate historical military scenarios or create new ones. It assists military personnel to train the mind in the art of strategic thinking as well as to study real-world battles and future fights, essential to applying Marine Corps concepts of the 21st century.

“The idea is we bring a group of students up to speed on wargaming and what it does to allow us to examine the human decision-making process,” said Dr. Jeff Appleget, a senior lecturer from the Naval Warfare Studies Institute and a retired U.S. Army Colonel, “which is key to executing plans, getting ready to go into theater, and doing the things we have to do in wartime.”

“…I’ve learned a better understanding of how to think through designing a wargame…” Lt. Col. Thomas Driscoll, II MEF deputy assistant chief of staff for plans

Appleget said students in the BAWC learn the scope, objectives and issues of the game as well as key constraints, limitations, and assumptions. He went on to say that learning wargaming is a crucial part of the military planning process, important to the future of the II MEF and ultimately, the Marine Corps’ implementation of Force Design 2030.

“Force Design 2030 has given us the Commandant’s vision,” said U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Thomas Driscoll, the II MEF deputy assistant chief of staff for plans, “what the service will be able to provide in the future fight in terms of capabilities in certain conditions and certain capacities, integrated with the naval force”

Wargaming was an important contribution to the Force Design 2030 Annual Update published in May, and is included in the directed actions and areas of further analysis. Wargaming gives the Marine Corps insight into future operations and new concepts being developed so the force can better anticipate how to adapt to challenges that may be overlooked. “If we don’t utilize wargaming, we’re much more likely to be surprised on the battlefield with decisions that we don’t anticipate,” said Appleget.

Analytic Wargaming
Photo by Cpl. Eric Ramirez
U.S. Marines with II Marine Expeditionary Force attend the Basic Analytic Wargaming Course on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., July 22, 2022. The BAWC is a 5-day course that provides students a hands-on experience with designing, developing, executing, and analyzing wargames. Wargames are a form of strategy game and essential to applying Marine Corps concepts of the 21st century, replicating or creating military scenarios that assists military personnel to train the mind in the art of strategic thinking.

It is important for II MEF personnel who have a key role in decision making or planning processes to know how to wargame properly and use it as a tool benefitting the force in the long term, especially as the Marine Corps postures to compete and win against adversaries of the 21st century.

“II MEF is building its wargaming capability,” said U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Daniel Yurkovich, II MEF modeling and simulations officer. “It helps us to take generally broad questions and distill them down into detailed questions in which we can then place players into an experiential learning environment to answer the questions that senior leaders may have.”

Wargaming is also a critical part of the Marine Corps Campaign of Learning, Marines can continue to learn in the fleet as they apply maneuver warfare tactics as well as scenarios that assess stand-in force concepts such as expeditionary amphibious base operations.

“As a student, I’ve learned a better understanding of how to think through designing a wargame which then will allow all of us students to be able to take this to future situations and replicate and build out new and different wargames,” said Driscoll.



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