U.S. Naval War College Hosts Inaugural War Gaming Research Forum

Luce Hall at U.S. Naval War College

Newport, R.I. – The U.S. Naval War College (NWC) hosted their inaugural NWC War Gaming Research Forum in McCarty Little Hall, Feb. 2. The forum’s theme “war gaming adjudication approaches” sought to learn different perspectives on the purposes of adjudication in war gaming and different methods of conducting adjudication.

The forum gathered virtually and in person to hear remarks from guest speaker Rear Adm. Shoshana Chatfield, president, U.S. Naval War College.

“The purpose of this gathering is to facilitate information sharing among civilian institutions of higher education, civilian industry and Department of Defense organizations,” she said. “All these groups use war gaming as an experiential or analytic research method with the ultimate goal of enhancing war fighting effectiveness.”

The forum supported the Chief of Naval Operations’ effort to promote mutual awareness and the development of relationships among organizations that conduct research, under the effort laid out in the Analytic Master Plan (AMP). Within the CNO-directed war-fighting integration umbrella, the research forum focused on war gaming, one of the Navy’s analytic research lanes, or “pillars” that comprise the AMP.

AMP provides a unity of effort across the enterprise, coordinating and integrating previous, current and future analysis, to fulfill the highest priorities of the Navy. Ultimately, these analyses inform force design, employment and operational concepts.

Professor Shawn W. Burns, Ed.D., U.S. Naval War College, organized the forum and stressed the importance of mutual awareness and sharing of war gaming projects.

“The War Gaming Research Forum provided an opportunity to hear from war gaming experts in higher education, as well as the Navy, Marines, Army and Air Force,” said Burns. “In the future, we now have a mechanism, through the war gaming research forum, for future war gaming meetings with a goal of promoting mutual awareness and sharing of our many disparate war gaming research projects.”

Some lessons learned from the forum set the stage for future war gaming pillar collaboration and, equally as important, set an example to establish collaboration with others in higher education, industry and other military branch war gaming experts.

Stephen Sepinsky, lead war gaming expert, CNA’s Center for Naval Analyses, explained why collaboration was so important.

“The forum was useful because it allowed professional war gamers across the Department of the Navy to learn from each other,” he said. “This provided a rare opportunity for us to think critically about each other’s methods and help us improve our own methods and practices.”

NWC will create a compendium of these proceedings that will capture the ideas presented in the forum. It will allow participants to read any final products and help develop those ideas for future meetings. NWC will consider holding similar research forums to foster communication and collaboration within the Department of Defense analytic community.

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Michael Guterl, U.S. Naval War College Public Affairs
March 14, 2022

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