The rise of the Internet and increased computing power in personal computers pushed the boundaries of simulation complexity and the ability for multiple players distributed across vast distances to participate in the same simulation. In the mid-2000s, the Navy started work on Kill Chain, a three-dimensional naval tactical warfare simulator. Kill Chain originally began life as technology demonstrator for the DD(X) program, with the database provided by the U.S. military. The program was funded to $11.4 million in 2007, with an initial emphasis on ant-submarine warfare.
The Department of Defense has also taken to using simulations to crowdsource new ideas. The Naval Postgraduate School now runs Massive Multiplayer Online Wargame Leveraging the Internet (MMOWGLI). MMOWGLI is an online simulation that allows large numbers of participants to crowdsource ideas and options for a variety of national security issues, from 3D printing to energy security, to piracy. The Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) freely distributes Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV), a computer simulation based upon the civilian wargame Dangerous Waters. Anyone can download the game, in which players control an unmanned undersea vehicle searching for hostile submarines. The game was designed to generate ideas for DARPA on how to best use unmanned submersibles in anti-submarine warfare.
The Navy has benefitted from its consistent devotion to wargames. It seems likely that a future of relatively lean budgets will push the military to embrace games even more and they will become even more popular as means of training, testing and generating ideas. It also seems likely that increased computing in PCs will ensure overlap between wargames developed for military and civilian markets.
Pic - "Anti-Access Warfare: Countering A2/AD Strategies"