The Air Force has joined forces with nonprofit national security company MITRE to host an esports tournament aimed at enhancing the preparation of service members for complex combat situations. Military.com reported that the purpose of the tournament is to help the Air Force "better understand mission logistics choices and prioritization while under attack." The game selected for the tournament is called "Drone Guardians," and it requires teams of participants to defend a deployed airfield from enemy attacks while also maintaining the ability to launch aircraft missions.
MITRE, the nonprofit responsible for the tournament, believes that “Drone Guardians” will provide a unique blend of first-person shooter, strategy, and puzzle gameplay. Players will be confronted with a wide range of attacks from land, air, sea, space, and cyberattacks, sometimes all at once. The challenge for participants will be to work together to decide which area to defend while ensuring the continuous operation of the airfield for combat sorties.
A description of the game on the MITRE website elaborates on the critical mission decisions players will have to make: "Teams must make critical mission decisions such as whether to prioritize readying aircraft for launch over defending the air base or putting together a contested logistics strategy in order to ensure they have the supplies they need to complete the mission." The ultimate goal is to gather data that can be used to enhance the safety and supply chain management of real-life airbases, thereby increasing the protection of those tasked with defending them.
Eliahu Niewood, the vice president of Air and Space Forces for MITRE, highlighted the vulnerability of military logistics networks, even without adversary intervention. He emphasized that these networks can be brittle and chaotic, with single points of failure that are susceptible to attacks. Niewood stated on the nonprofit's registration page, "Plus, as the military plans and carries out the movement, supply, and maintenance of its forces, they easily could already be under attack in the next global conflict. GameX uses both military and civilian participants to test which logistics decisions will best enable the mission."
It is not the first time that the military has utilized video games for training purposes. In 1993, the Army employed a Super Nintendo game specifically designed to enhance soldiers' marksmanship skills. Subsequently, the Army partnered with Raytheon to develop a virtual reality combat simulator capable of tracking soldiers' whole-body movements.
The esports tournaments hosted by MITRE will take place across three locations: Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina, MITRE headquarters in McLean, Virginia, and the MITRE regional office in San Antonio, Texas. The dates for the events are as follows: Shaw Air Force Base will hold its tournament on September 22-23, the Virginia event will take place on October 13-14, and the Texas event will occur on October 20-21.
themes: Military War Texas Virginia South Carolina