International Wargaming Introductory Course

The International Wargaming Introductory Course (IWIC) exposes international partners to the fundamental concepts of wargaming through the game project management process used at the college. Guided discussions, case studies, group activities, and practical application enable students to improve their own wargaming organization and better utilize wargaming for research, analysis, and education.
Military officers from various countries participate in the first international wargaming course held at U.S. Naval War College.

General Information


IWIC is designed for international military officers in the rank/paygrade of O3 to O5 (NATO OF2 to OF4). IWIC is taught in English and attendees must obtain a minimum score of 80 on the English Comprehension Level test.

Location & Duration

The two-week curriculum is taught at the U.S. Naval War College (NWC) in Newport, Rhode Island. Classes typically meet in the month of June.

Learning Format

The course is conducted in a seminar format augmented by guided discussions, case studies, group activities, and practical application.


On completion of the course, the student will be able to understand the NWC’s game project management process to plan, execute, and analyze wargames, apply the process to organize, conduct, and assess a naval war game, recall game design process, recall the data collection and analysis process, and understand various game design options.

Program Structure

Course Overview


Required | Core Course
Wargaming is used as a tool for exploring decision-making possibilities in an environment with incomplete and imperfect information. In this session, students will be introduced to the course methodology, materials, expectations, and schedule. Students will also play a foundational wargame used as a reference during subsequent class sessions.

Tasking Phase

Required | Core Course
These sessions provide an overview of the initial wargame planning process. Key activities include initiating contact with the game sponsor at a Concept Development Conference, forming a game team, defining the game problem, purpose, and objectives, creating proposal documents and schedule, and conducting an Initial Planning Conference.

Design Phase

Required | Core Course
These sessions describe a number of game design considerations, including level of war, number of sides, scenario, and player activities and activity descriptions. The game design is codified in a game design document which includes the game analyst's research plan. The design phase concludes with a Mid Planning Conference.

Development Phase

Required | Core Course
The development phase of the course describes the transition to a playable game. Development involves the creation of player game products and refinement of game processes. During the development phase, schedules are refined as the game team gains experience, and the game analyst develops specific products such as initial discussion topics.

Testing Phase

Required | Core Course
These classes review the purpose of a game beta test. A beta test ensures successful integration of player game products and processes, such as whether or not sufficient information is provided to the players, whether sufficient time is provided, and practice of the selected game methods. A Final Planning Conference concludes the testing phase.

Rehearsal Phase

Required | Core Course
The rehearsal phase is a planned activity for game support personnel, such as facilitators, assistant facilitators, data collectors, and technical support personnel to practice performing game tasks.

Execution Phase

Required | Core Course
These classes include a review of lessons learned from prior games (planning for the inclusion of senior officers in a game), pre-planned options in the event of technical problems during the execution of the game, and daily coordination meetings among team members. These sessions will also review data collection techniques.

Incoming Students

Contact Information

International Wargaming Introductory Course

More Information

Signing Up – Orientation
During the orientation, we will welcome new students to the college and include a tour of the campus, the Newport Naval Station, and city of Newport.

Players participate in the Defend Forward: 2019 Critical Infrastructure War Game at the U.S. Naval War College, July 25, 2019.
Players participate in the Defend Forward: 2019 Critical Infrastructure War Game at the U.S. Naval War College, July 25, 2019. The Defend Forward: 2019 Critical Infrastructure War Game gathered more than 100 players from around the nation to participate in an unclassified two-day event on July 25 and 26. This is the third in a series of cyber critical infrastructure war games held by the college’s Cyber and Innovation Policy Institute. The game’s findings could be used to help inform the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, a congressionally created working group looking at American cyber strategy. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tyler D. John/released)
About Wargaming

Complex War Simulations

An integral part of the U.S. Naval War College since 1887, wargaming’s value in maritime leadership development remains strong, even while the tools and technology have evolved. The department conducts more than 50 events each year, fostering an understanding of leadership’s wartime decisions, investigating strategic and operational concepts, and building analytical and risk assessment skills.

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Pringle Hall at the U.S. Naval War College
International Programs

Robust Academics and Social Programs

International Programs at NWC directly support the development of robust global maritime partnerships. Students get the opportunity to study strategy, warfare, decision-making, operational art, and more. Each officer is greatly influenced by what they see and learn in the United States while forming strong and lasting bonds with their U.S. and international classmates.

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