You are here

Theater Naval Wargame for Strategy Refinement


OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Advanced Computing and Software; Human-Machine Interfaces; Integrated Network Systems-of-Systems


The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120-130, which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services, including export of sensitive technical data, or the Export Administration Regulation (EAR), 15 CFR Parts 730-774, which controls dual use items. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals (FNs), their country(ies) of origin, the type of visa or work permit possessed, and the statement of work (SOW) tasks intended for accomplishment by the FN(s) in accordance with the Announcement. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws.


OBJECTIVE: Develop an embedded capability that enables realistic Theater-level Naval wargaming within tactical and strategic systems used by Theater commands and combatants.


DESCRIPTION: A wargame is a strategy game in which two or more players command opposing armed forces in a realistic simulation of an armed conflict. Prussia’s victory over France in 1870 was broadly attributed to Prussia’s wargaming culture rather than any superiority in actual numbers or armaments. Wargaming has subsequently become an important element of military strategy development and refinement.


Future conflicts with peer competitors may involve Naval forces to a greater degree than at any time since World War II. Naval wargames are often conducted as multi-day events where teams “command” so-called blue (friendly) and red (hostile) forces. The conflicts are typically overseen by an umpire who determines the probabilistic outcome of individual encounters. Some such wargames are computer-based while others are conducted using physical markers and dice.


Given the significant changes to warfighting capabilities since the 1940s, there is a need for a wargaming capability to become more accessible. Ideally, such a wargaming capability could reside within tactical and strategic systems. There is also a need for a wargaming framework that can easily be updated to reflect the most accurate information available to support wargame realism. There is nothing commercially available to do this.


In addition to modeling the probabilistic nature of warfighting capabilities (e.g., the probability that a torpedo will hit and damage an opponent [probability of kill (Pkill)]), the wargame should also reflect the proficiency of crews and the improvements associated with improved human capability. The wargame framework should keep track of deployed munitions and the status of individual combatants. The wargaming framework should allow future capabilities to be imported or created for both red and blue forces. The wargaming framework should also be extensible to political or media outcomes that may be associated with military encounters.


The wargaming framework should support self-guided proficiency development, multi-player wargames, single-player wargames versus artificial-intelligence opponents, and management for in-person wargaming (also referred to as computer-assisted wargames). Modes for the wargame should include open gaming where players can see the location of opposing forces, and closed gaming where players are only aware of what their sensors and intelligence sources tell them about opposing forces. The wargame should include a debriefing mode where full information about both blue and red forces can be seen across the course of the completed campaign.


The initial transition target for the gaming Theater Naval Wargame would focus on Undersea Warfare and be included in future builds of AN/UYQ-100 (Undersea Decision Support System) used for Theater Undersea Warfare (TUSW) and AN/SQQ-89 (Undersea Warfare / Anti-Submarine Warfare Combat System) used aboard over 100 ASW-capable combatants between the US and various allies.

Factors that affect undersea warfare campaigns include sailor proficiency, the characteristics of surface and submarine combatants (to include sensors, countermeasures, and weapons), satellite surveillance, land-based anti-ship and anti-submarine weapons, and environmental factors.


Work produced in Phase II may become classified. Note: The prospective contractor(s) must be U.S. owned and operated with no foreign influence as defined by 32 U.S.C. § 2004.20 et seq., National Industrial Security Program Executive Agent and Operating Manual, unless acceptable mitigating procedures can and have been implemented and approved by the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA) formerly Defense Security Service (DSS). The selected contractor must be able to acquire and maintain a secret level facility and Personnel Security Clearances. This will allow contractor personnel to perform on advanced phases of this project as set forth by DCSA and NAVSEA in order to gain access to classified information pertaining to the national defense of the United States and its allies; this will be an inherent requirement. The selected company will be required to safeguard classified material during the advanced phases of this contract IAW the National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual (NISPOM), which can be found at Title 32, Part 2004.20 of the Code of Federal Regulations. Reference: National Industrial Security Program Executive Agent and Operating Manual (NISP), 32 U.S.C. § 2004.20 et seq. (1993).


PHASE I: Develop a concept for a TUSW Wargame and demonstrate the feasibility of that concept using unclassified data obtained or created by the proposer. Demonstrate the concept meets the parameters in the Description. Feasibility will be through modeling, simulation, and analysis.

Demonstrate the flexibility, extensibility, and utility of the wargaming framework using unclassified data sets the proposer has created or obtained. (Note: Wikipedia and publications such as Jane’s Fighting Ships would be appropriate sources for Phase I.)


The Phase I Option, if exercised, will include the initial design specifications and capabilities description to build a prototype solution in Phase II.


PHASE II: Based on Phase I results, develop and deliver the prototype TUSW Wargame and demonstrate the prototype meets the required range of desired performance attributes given in the Description. Deliver a minimum viable product (MVP) version of the gaming framework for evaluation as a stand-alone module mid-way through the Phase II effort.


(Note: During Phase II, the Navy would provide the company access to classified data associated with actual and future military capabilities relevant to Undersea Warfare.)


Demonstrate the technology in a Moodle environment - a cloud-based learning management system environment. Facilitate in-person computer-aided wargame events to increase campaign coverage by a factor of 10 compared to un-aided in-person wargames. Present an MVP variant of the wargame to gain approval for proposed expansion over the remainder of the Phase II effort. (Note: This presentation of an MVP variant is referred to as “Step 1” of the ASW Advanced Capability Build technology evaluation process. Upon successful completion of Step 1, nominally a year after award of Phase II, the government will invest in independent evaluation of the MVP, referred to as “Step 2.” The MVP Step 2 should complete around 24 months after award of the Phase II.)


If exercised, the Phase II Option will include development of a final prototype of the wargame that is appropriate for initial deployment to Navy customers.


It is probable that the work under this effort will be classified under Phase II (see Description section for details).


PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: The TUSW Wargame will be transitioned to Phase III via either subcontract to an existing Prime Contractor or a Phase III award to the company. Planning for this transition will be based on success of the Step 2 evaluation of the Minimum Viable Product of the technology planned to occur around the end of the Phase II Base. The company will be expected to support the Navy in transitioning the technology for Navy use in on-board trainers for both the AN/UYQ-100 Undersea Warfare Decision Support System and the AN/SQQ-89 Surface Ship Undersea Warfare Combat System. The technology will provide warfighters the ability to become conversant with what it takes to win at the theater level in the context of modern technologies available to both allied and enemy combatants.


In addition to validation, testing, qualification, and certification via the Advanced Capability Build process in the description, the performer will be expected to follow the Continuous Integration/ Continuous Delivery (CI/ CD) cycle as mandated by the Navy’s DevSecOps processes and the transition Program Office (IWS 5).


It is anticipated that the company will be able to leverage the innovative technologies associated with this topic to provide compelling strategic gaming products for the commercial market. Commercial opportunities would include entertainment as well as serious games to serve strategy refinement in the areas of military and security sectors and any other sectors in which high stakes are involved if naïve strategies would lead to systemic failure, such as the financial sector and sectors involved with disaster response.



  1. “AN/SQQ-89(V) Undersea Warfare/Anti-Submarine Warfare Combat System.” US Navy Fact File, 20 Sep 2021.
  2. “AN/UYQ-100 Undersea Warfare Decision Support System (USW-DSS).” US Navy Fact File, updated 20 Sep 2021.
  3. “60 Minutes: Is the Navy ready? How the U.S. is preparing amid a naval buildup in China.” Transcript, 20 Mar 2023.
  4. Leya, Lt. J.G. Caroline. “SURFLANT Stands Up Task Group Greyhound.” SURFLANT Public Affairs, 28 Sep 2021.
  5. “Jane’s Fighting Ships.” See availability at local libraries at


KEYWORDS: Theater Undersea Warfare (TUSW); Naval wargames; proficiency development; probabilistic nature of warfighting; probability of kill (Pkill); computer-assisted wargames

US Flag An Official Website of the United States Government