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U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Bruce Jones, the substance abuse coordinating officer with Headquarters and Support Battalion, Marine Corps Installations Pacific, plans a strategy during a littoral war game on Camp Hansen, Okinawa, Japan, July 29, 2021. Jones is a native of Shreveport, Louisiana. Using predictive analytical tools, critical decision making, and feasibility of support, students attending the Advanced Course at the SNCOA used a littoral war game to combine their diverse backgrounds and simulate various sea-based operations and strategies.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Alex Fairchild

SNCOs practice critical planning skills in littoral war game

9 Aug 2021 | Lance Cpl. Alex Fairchild Marine Corps Installations Pacific

Staff noncommissioned officers attending the Advanced Course at the Camp Hansen Staff Noncommissioned Officer Academy engage in a littoral war game on Camp Hansen, July 29.

Using predictive analytical tools, critical decision making, and feasibility of support, students attending the Advanced Course at the SNCOA used a littoral war game to combine their diverse backgrounds and simulate various sea-based operations and strategies. The game is used as a tool to challenge students’ previous ways of leading units and probe them to improve their decision making skills against a simulated-thinking enemy.

“The littoral war game uses structured assumptions with realistic effects,” said Gunnery Sgt. Sven George, an Advanced Course faculty advisor at the SNCOA. “It allows the students’ minds to think and be ready to adapt and adjust to the simulations within the game.”

George, a native of Brooklyn, New York, explained that the game simulates how much time and resources the students have to accomplish a set mission. He said that there are constant variables and challenges, such as simulated typhoons that challenges students’ decision making skills.

“The most challenging, but valuable part, of this exercise is learning and working with from each other's diverse backgrounds and experiences.” Gunnery Sgt. Bruce Jones, Headquarters and Support Battalion substance abuse coordinating officer


The 27 Advanced Course students were separated into two separate groups to begin the littoral war game, each facilitated by a faculty advisor. As the challenges and scrutiny of the game increased with time, the students began to combine their knowledge and backgrounds to reach a final goal.

“The most challenging, but valuable part, of this exercise is learning and working with from each other's diverse backgrounds and experiences,” said Gunnery Sgt. Bruce Jones, the substance abuse coordinating officer with Headquarters and Support Battalion, Marine Corps Installations Pacific. “Each of us had a specific role to play which forced us to think outside of the box and take a step out of our military occupational specialty comfort zone.”

Jones, a native of Shreveport, Louisiana, explained that together his team was tasked out to accomplish seven different missions from a simulated Marine Expeditionary Unit commander. He said that the interjections and challenges created a unique form of chaos that brought his team together to make decisions and accomplish the mission.

“It’s all about keeping leaders on their toes,” said George. “With this simulation, there is risk and reward. You have to come together as a team of staff noncommissioned officers, make decisions and accomplish the mission.”

The SNCOA Advanced Course is a seven-week course that is a continuation of information and education with the previous echelon being the Career School Seminar Program. The course uses the Socratic method, a form of cooperative argumentative dialogue based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking, and is the final step in enlisted professional education.