Cyber Students Learn While Gaming

Two students at the Naval Postgraduate School here have created a way to bridge a training gap in U.S. military cyber operations — through a game. 

For their master’s thesis, Army Master Sgt. David Long and Army Capt. Chris Mulch designed and developed CyberWar 2025, a computer-based strategy war game that challenges players to navigate through the core concepts of the cyber realm.

“The goal of CyberWar: 2025 is to stimulate and increase players’ knowledge and experience of cyberspace operations,” Mulch said. “The basic idea is to learn as you play.”

In approximately 30-60 minutes of turn-based, ‘sandbox’ gameplay, players employ a range of the basic concepts laid out in Joint Publications 3-12(R) Cyberspace Operations. A deft combination of offensive cyber operations, defensive cyber operations and computer network exploitation can lead a player to victory, even if in a relatively weak position.

“Everybody starts out on a level playing field,” Mulch explained. “Players utilize resources in a way they see fit, whether those resources are put into offense, defense or reconnaissance.”

Critical Time

Long and Mulch developed CyberWar: 2025 at a critical time.

A sense of urgency has burgeoned in the United States over the last decade as adversaries – state and non-state actors alike – have increasingly turned to the cyber domain to actively work against U.S. national security interests.

In a recent speech at John Hopkins…

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