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The field of big data analytics has been attracting more and more interest in the commercial and military sectors. It deals with the complex process of examining large and varied data sets to uncover information such as hidden patterns, unknown correlations, etc., that can help organizations make informed decisions.

The US Marines are looking to big data analysis and potentially an IBM Watson-like machine or software to help conduct complex wargaming and plan for future battles in an immersive environment.

The Corps’ Program Manager for Wargaming Capability, Col. Ross Monta, told Marine Corps Times that a recent program announcement seeks to “bring advanced analytics, visualization, models and simulation together to create an environment that enables senior leaders” to make a host of decisions.

Those range from capabilities for the future force and ways to test operational plans, develop concepts of operations and help provide information to prioritize resources.

Simulation capabilities would allow commanders to run scenarios against future threats to gauge what equipment and tactics are most needed to succeed.

These factors would inform planning for everything from buying the next piece of combat gear to how best to deploy forces, according to militarytimes.com.

The big data analysis is just one of a list of items the Corps has been working in recent years to push their wargaming from squad to Marine Expeditionary Force-level, leveraging advances in computing, data analytics, virtual reality, augmented reality and gaming.

Beginning this past year, Marines at each of the Corps 24 infantry battalions began fielding Tactical Decision Kits, a combination of laptop, VR goggles and drones that allow small unit leaders to map battlespaces and then run operations plans in VR to rehearse missions.

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