MARINE CORPS NEWS

JUST IN: Marine Corps Using Modeling, Simulation to Define Future Force Structure

10/3/2019
By Mandy Mayfield
Marines conduct a Mk 153 shoulder-launched multipurpose assault weapon simulation.

Photo: Marine Corps

Analytics from ongoing modeling and simulations will help shape the Marine Corps' future force structure, the service’s commandant said Oct. 3.

Wargaming and experimentation will also inform what tomorrow's force looks like, Gen. David Berger said during a speech at the Heritage Foundation think tank in Washington, D.C.

“We have right now I think [an] 80 to 85 percent picture of what the Marine Corps will need a decade out. But this last step [of using data gathered from modeling and simulation events] is so important because now is when we run that force against a peer threat 10 years out, over and over and over again to develop the analytical base,” Berger said.

“That is the foundation ... we need to justify that [future] force" construct, he added.

The national defense strategy, which was released last year, demands all the services adapt to meet the challenges of a new era of great power competition, Berger noted. The document identifies China and Russia as peer competitors who are developing advanced military capabilities to thwart the United States.

“I can tell you that the Marine Corps fully embraces the components of the national defense strategy, … and everything that we do has to be aligned with that,” Berger said.

To further these goals, Berger issued a new commandant's planning guidance for the Marine Corps over the summer.

“Our [planning, programming, budgeting and execution] process by which we determine how we spend our resources will be driven by a planning phase informed by wargaming, modeling and simulation, and build on a solid analytic foundation closely integrated with the Navy,” the guidance states.

Wargaming and experimentation will continue, while simulations that reap analytical data should conclude shortly, Berger said.

“I believe in analytics as a foundation," he said. “We’re at that stage now where we're testing the force that we think we will need, and that will conclude in another month or two."

One aspect of the wargaming is bringing commanders together to simulate potential conflicts that could occur 10 years from now to see how they play out,  he explained.

“Experimentation is more platform by platform, concept by concept, [figuring out] how will that work, which is always ongoing,” he said.

When it comes to simulation, “once you have … an organizational construct, put it into a computer model, play it against what the joint force right now is using in terms of a future scenario and then change a couple of variables and run it over ... and over again until you get very confident in the structure that you've got," Berger said.

However, heightened classification levels for Marine Corps wargaming and simulation exercises in recent years have created challenges, he noted.

Topics: Marine Corps News, Training and Simulation