Wargaming Event Design, Scenario Development, and Execution Software Suite for Modeling and Simulation (M&S) Tool Automation
Navy SBIR 2019.2 - Topic N192-051
MCSC - Mr. Jeffrey Kent - jeffrey.a.kent@usmc.mil
Opens: May 31, 2019 - Closes: July 1, 2019 (8:00 PM ET)


TITLE: Wargaming Event Design, Scenario Development, and Execution Software Suite for Modeling and Simulation (M&S) Tool Automation


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Information Systems


ACQUISITION PROGRAM: PMM-180, Wargaming Capability Program Office (PM WGC)


OBJECTIVE: Develop a prototype wargame planning, design, scenario development, and execution software suite and browser-based interface for use by professional military and civilian planners executing the wargame event lifecycle execution process. Prototyping effort will focus on techniques and automation that make Modeling and Simulation (M&S) easier to use and more responsive with special emphasis on M&S to visualize game conditions and results/outcomes.


DESCRIPTION: One of the most difficult problems associated with Professional Military Wargaming [Ref 1] is to design a wargame that will deliver the output required to meet objectives such as informing a specific acquisition decision or gaining insight into future operating environments [Refs 3,4]. The small planning staff must develop an appropriate and immersive scenario that provides the necessary context for player actions and decisions. During the wargame lifecycle, the specific wargame objectives can evolve over the course of major planning events. Planners must have technical enablers/tools that allow them to evolve the corresponding game design and scenario responsively and collaboratively with stakeholders. The current Marine Corps Wargaming process lacks these enablers.


During wargame execution, dynamic insights require effective visualization of wargame conditions and dynamic (highly automated) outcome adjudication methods. If automated, outcome adjudication can then be visualized to accelerate insights. In order to dynamically exploit these insights during the wargame, it is necessary to conduct

concurrent excursions. This is best accomplished through the use of synthetic environments and modeling and simulation [Ref 2]. Currently available simulations require weeks and months of post-event analysis to gain the desired insights, long after the subject matter expert (SME) participants have dispersed.


Various currently available commercial products allow an expert user, highly experienced in the particular tool and highly knowledgeable in all applicable warfare areas, to plan, configure, and execute wargames utilizing these tools. This project would expand that capability to individuals experienced in wargame planning, scenario development, and wargame execution to likewise take advantage of these highly capable commercial wargaming simulations in an effective manner and within available time constraints.


The current state-of-the-art for all such capabilities is that they require a user who is both a domain and system/software SME to be used effectively and take time to develop products. The intent is to evolve to a state where non system/software experts can use the applications directly to develop the wargame design, conduct live excursions during execution based on player inputs, and visualize game outcomes dynamically both graphically and analytically,


Key Elements and Objectives:

   A “TurboTax-like” workflow management interface that guides the planner step by step through the wargame planning and design processes and decision-making

   Ability to output wargame schedule, design, and scenario in a set of flexible open electronic formats/reports that can be translated easily into formal documents and other systems

   Collaborative wargame planning and design by staff at distributed locations

   Ability to generate/initialize the event scenario conditions in the simulation

  Development of a mechanism to automate scenario initialization of simulation

   Ability to conduct informal “inductive style” runs in simulation prior to wargame execution to generate useful products for wargame participants such as capabilities/constraints of forces and key dynamics of the environment

   Ability to use simulation to visualize the scenario and environment in ways that make the wargame more effective and immersive

   Ability to run the simulation during wargame execution as excursions to exploit findings/insights

   Development and optimization of synthetic data collection and results visualization software that can present result in a manner inherently meaningful, useful, and intuitive

   Ability to modify simulation databases to make use of high-quality authoritative data

   Ability to generate and ingest player actions and decision into simulation in an automated and efficient manner

   Ability to produce tech replays in simulation for use in event hot washes

   Ability to produce data logs from simulation runs for post-game analysis and excursions


Specific Tasks that must be executed in the software:

Planning Tasks:

  Manage user access and accounts

   Create, edit, and save a wargame event (project)

  Define the Wargame in terms of sponsor requirements, purpose, and objectives

  Scope the Wargame in terms of participants, Command Level, event size, and formality

  Develop wargame schedule and timeline

  Define participant roles

   Design wargame in terms of format and rules Scenario Creation Tasks:

  Define Wargame scenario

  Define Scenario “Sides” and Force Lists (basic)

  Define Scenario starting conditions and timeline

  Develop workflows for M&S Scenario Generation including order of battle/force laydown and terrain

   Develop an open technical exchange specification for M&S Scenario Generation Wargame Execution Tasks:

  Develop workflows and techniques that use M&S to conduct pre-game analysis

   Develop data collection and results visualization software that can import and display simulation data/results electronically and filter in various ways

  Develop techniques/methods for effective results visualization; for example, as participants develop potential

Courses of Action (COAs) for the next turn in the game, the tool intuitively presents visualizations of the COAs under consideration including relevant metrics.

   Explore techniques for managing automated results adjudication provided by simulation and how best to utilize during wargame execution

   Develop a specification for plans/digital orders and graphics to translate player actions and decisions into simulation behavior

   Automate detailed force behavior based on player orders/intent and produce reports

  Generate reports of findings


PHASE I: Develop a concept for how this software would function and how it would be integrated into the wargaming simulations and tools to be prototyped concurrently with this effort. These prototypes will utilize open architecture standards, common modeling and simulation protocols, and industry best practices to facilitate interoperability of capability sets, to include this effort. Develop software architecture, user interface design, integration approach, and associated artifacts. Evaluate and document the feasibility of the approach. Develop a Phase II plan, including essential performance goals and key technical milestones, keeping the focus on enabling the end user to plan and execute complex wargames utilizing state-of-the-art wargame simulation tools. Evaluate risks inherent in the approach and develop risk reduction and mitigation options.


PHASE II: Execute the plan developed in Phase I to develop a scaled prototype for evaluation. Provide demonstrations at key milestones of progress made to date on the tool, and degree of integration thus far obtained. The technical performance parameters developed in Phase I will be evaluated.


The desired outcomes from the demonstrations and evaluations include:

  Software enhancement of Wargaming design and scenario development

   Ability to responsively edit game design and scenario as required

   Ability to generate electronic reports/plans for use in formal documents

   Collaborative capability that allows distributed planners to work together on game design and scenario

  Intuitive interface that can be rapidly taught to users (e.g., under two days of instruction)

   Extent to which simulation can support game and results visualization, as determined by responsiveness of tool to player input (i.e., the degree to which the tool enables game and results visualization without interfering with the progress of the game)

  Methods to employ simulation to automate details and adjudicate outcomes

   Methods to translate player intent/actions/decisions into actionable digital orders that can be executed and adjudicated in simulation

   Ability to automate significant force behavior in simulation based on high level player orders and intent

   Required processing power/scalability for multiple game excursions

  Technical exchange specifications for M&S

  Identification of gaps in M&S capabilities that require work-arounds or specific dedicated development to mitigate


PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Transition the developed technology to Program Manager Wargaming Capability. Further development and demonstration will be focused on operating the software within the lifecycle of a live wargame, from planning and scenario development through execution. Support formal testing and validation with specific simulation tools. Address any integration and performance issues that arise during testing.


Increasingly businesses are turning to serious gaming to provide strategic insight and inform decision making. Many such businesses wish to garner insights from the voluminous data collected from myriad sources. However, there is a barrier to entry for these businesses in having the resident skill sets required to utilize the highly complex available tools. The technologies developed under this SBIR topic would have potential applicability to any of the industries which have begun to embrace serious gaming and wargaming. For example, industries are turning to cyberwar gaming to uncover aspects of their attack surface which may have gone previously unnoticed. Similarly, defense contractors use gaming to help gain strategic insight into how to compete in a budget-limited environment with myriads of competitors.



1.   Curry, John, ed. “Peter Perla’s The Art of Wargaming: A Guide for Professionals and Hobbyists.” United States Naval Institute, 2012.


2.   Gorak, Mark. “Introduction to Modeling and Simulation Special Edition: Wargaming.” Journal of Cyber Security and Information Systems, Vol. 4, No. 3, November 20, 2016. https://www.csiac.org/journal-article/introduction-to- modeling-and-simulation-special-edition-wargaming/


3.  Pournelle, Phillip. “Designing Wargames for the Analytic Purpose.” Phalanx, Vol. 50, No. 2, June 2017, pp. 48-

53. https://www.jstor.org/stable/26296384?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents


4. Work, Bob and Selva, Paul. “Revitalizing Wargaming is Necessary to be Prepared for Future Wars.” War on the Rocks, December 8, 2015. https://warontherocks.com/2015/12/revitalizing-wargaming-is-necessary-to-be-prepared- for-future-wars/


KEYWORDS: Wargaming; Modeling and Simulation (M&S); User Experience; Analysis; Game Design, Scenario Development, and Execution; Automation



Tyson Kackley







Brian Gregg







NOTICE: The data above is for casual reference only. The official DoD/Navy topic description and BAA information is available on FedBizOpps at www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=0a3eac1d27ab54cfe57a0339b3f863d8&tab=core&_cview=0

These Navy Topics are part of the overall DoD 2019.2 SBIR BAA. The DoD issued its 2019.2 BAA SBIR pre-release on May 2, 2019, which opens to receive proposals on May 31, 2019, and closes July 1, 2019 at 8:00 PM ET.

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