cyberwar 2025 (U.S. Navy photo illustration by Master Sgt. David

A game to bridge the cyber training gap

Students at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) have created a computer game for increasing players' knowledge and experience in cybersecurity strategy and operations.

Developed by Army Master Sgt. David Long and Army Capt. Chris Mulch as their NPS master’s thesis, the game is called CyberWar: 2025.  It uses the basic concepts laid out in Joint Publications 3-12(R) Cyberspace Operations for the planning, preparation, execution and assessment of joint cyberspace operations across the range of military operations. Players use offensive and defensive cyber operations as well as computer network exploitation to capture server nodes.

As players capture new nodes, they gain points, which can then be used to either conduct an action or research three tiers of new, more-advanced effects for these actions, Defense Department officials said.

"The more points you have, the more you can put into effects, and then you can use these to launch attacks against your adversaries," Mulch said.

The game is meant to increase understanding of cyber infrastructure, threat actors, offensive and defensive action and other aspects of operating in cyberspace.

CyberWar: 2025 has been used in cybersecurity courses at NPS, but Long and Mulch designed it to be relevant to every DOD branch.

War gaming is nothing new for the Defense Department, but as political, social and technological networks increase in complexity, so do requirements for training environments. In October, the Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency issued a request for information on a war gaming solution that models the behavior of an entire nation, with its complex interplay of political, economic and social factors – and even the simulation of irrational behavior.

About the Author

Matt Leonard is a former reporter for GCN.

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