Support: June 26, 2005


The U.S. Department of Defense spends some four billion dollars a year on military simulations and wargames. This area has become much more active in the last decade, as computer hardware has gotten cheaper, and more powerful. You can see this in the photo-realistic games available for PCs and game consoles (X-Box, Playstation). Moreover, simulation is a lot cheaper than actually doing it. Fuel, ammunition and spare parts make training with real ships, vehicles and aircraft very expensive. But for less than a tenth of the cost, troops can practice, with nearly the same effectiveness,  using hundreds of different simulations. 

Perhaps more importantly, simulations are now being created for combat support troops (who make up over 90 percent of the people in uniform). There are now simulations for medical personnel, supply and maintenance troops and intelligence, communications specialists and many other non-combat situations. 

The military has also plugged into the civilian computer game industry, which is turning out a growing supply of tools (3-D modeling kits, terrain creation tools, and editors for creating scenarios and controlling the action.) This makes it much easier, quicker and cheaper to develop military wargames. 

Its easy to overlook how important all these simulation tools are, but they make a difference. Troops who use the simulators a lot are better trained, and prepared, for combat, or combat support tasks. Thats what the troops themselves say, as the simulations maintain their realism and usefulness by getting constant feedback from the users.




Help Keep Us From Drying Up

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling.

Each month we count on your contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage.
Subscribe   Contribute   Close