By Buddy Blouin
News of the U.S. Marine Corps breaking ground on its new wargaming center is an exciting development that's sure to bolster the American Armed Forces. However, what does that really mean? The name can evoke a number of thoughts and ideas involving everything from video game arenas to the multiverse and more. But the Marine Corps Wargaming and Analysis Center is designed to be a functional area assisting with preparation and intel: two hallmark characteristics that help America remain the greatest fighting force in the history of mankind.

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What Is Wargaming?

Wargaming is when different armed forces simulate realistic conflicts that may happen on the battlefield. Not to be confused with Wargaming Group Limited, a video company of the same name, wargames provide armed forces an opportunity to test wits and the might of those serving, as both sides will have to use actual tools learned from training to overcome the other side. From a historical standpoint, modern military wargaming can be traced back to Prussia, which invented this technique back in the early 1800s. This would come to the international community after Prussia’s successful military campaign against France. Soon thereafter, other countries would adopt the training exercise. Most wargames focus on land battles, but naval and aerial simulations can also be employed. The primary focus of the exercise is focusing on the mental strategies necessary to complete the objective. This means that other live-fire exercises may not always apply. Simulating realistic warfare is the purpose of wargames. The practice of military wargaming may take the form of computer-based exercises or other artificial devices that enable players to examine scenarios and determine the best decisions available.

A 100,000-Square-Foot Center Is Coming to Quantico

The wargaming center coming to Quantico will help the U.S. Marines deploy advanced tactics and improve their decision-making. Boasting 100,000 square feet, the Marine Corps Wargaming and Analysis Center will give them plenty of space to do so. This size of a center is a great advantage for the USMC. Simulating realistic strategies is a major part of the military wargaming process. The extra space helps Marines act out and respond to a wider range of scenarios, providing the edge they’ll need when fighting forces in real life. “This facility is a big deal to us, to the commandant, and to those (young men and women) at Parris Island or at San Diego. There are a bunch of officer candidates training right now who have no idea what is going on here today. But they will benefit (from this facility),” said Lt. Gen. Eric Smith, who serves as the Deputy Commandant for the Marine Corps Combat Development and Integration. Lt. Smith was the host of the groundbreaking ceremony for the Marine Corps Wargaming and Analysis Center, speaking about the great benefit it will be for military wargame simulation. “When we begin wargaming and (perform) the analyses that will get you further resources to further ensure that the Marine Corps is ready for the threat. When that happens…Marines are going to be better prepared to fight and thrive in combat because of the work done within this center,” said Smith.

Wargaming Gets an Upgrade in 2024

The Marine Corps Wargaming and Analysis Center is slated to be completed in 2023, opened in 2024, and fully operational in 2025. But the center isn’t just giving the military wargaming process more room; this state-of-the-art center is preparing the Marines for advanced fighting in the future. Its location will allow for many joint operations to be held at multiple levels. Technologies being used for the center will enhance decisions and communications, partly because of the advanced capabilities allowed within. It'll also support remote collaboration from those serving outside of Quantico. Wargaming is sure to keep evolving, as will warfare in real life. Being prepared by putting in the reps and gathering as much information as possible are critical for mission success. It’s great to see the USMC continuing to innovate and push the American Armed Forces in a positive direction.

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