Publication Date



“Plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” This oft-used quote from General Dwight D. Eisenhower reminds us that the act of planning is invaluable. Through planning we can inspect our decision-making processes, determine if our current force is sufficient for the assumed threat, and, if not, guide future naval and military procurement, research, and development. However, due to tight training timelines our tactical-level focus is on handling the current threat instead of an enemy that might be lurking even five years in the future. Similarly, Maritime Operations Center (MOC) training and certification is often coupled with theater security cooperation (TSC) events and multilateral exercises, as there is precious little time to devote to operational-level training and theory while simultaneously dealing with current-day crises. Focused planning must exist at all levels and in multiple venues, however, ranging from the planning directorates of MOCs to the Naval War College (NWC) to the Pentagon. The use of wargaming as a planning tool has seen increased attention over the past two to three years, but its value in the planning process is not a new and revolutionary concept. Indeed, we can see a prior example of wargaming’s effect on real-world operations conducted 75 years ago this past June: the Battle of Midway.