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A collaboration between MITRE, a non-profit national security company, and the US Air Force gives birth to the GameX esports tournament, aimed at improving understanding of logistical and prioritization choices during missions under attack. Participants will play the “Drone Guardians” game to help the Air Force develop machine learning algorithms to improve logistics at real air bases.
Video Games for National Security
The MITRE, in collaboration with the US Air Force, is organizing the esports tournament GameX: Mission Generation Under Attack, a competition aimed at improving understanding of logistical and prioritization choices during missions under attack. The tournament will revolve around the game “Drone Guardians,” a mix of first-person shooter, strategy and puzzle games. Teams of five players will have to defend a deployed base while launching fighter aircraft missions.
However, defending your airbase won’t be as simple as sending a few F-35s to eliminate the enemy. Attacks against your team will be multi-domain, meaning they could come from land, air, sea, space or cyberspace, or all of these sources at once. Your team will have to decide which threat is most important, while balancing base defense with mission generation.
But how can fighting fictional battles against a determined but fictional enemy be useful? In reality, the GameX tournament aims to collect data for an experience “with human beings in the loop.” This means the game could help the Air Force build and test machine-learning algorithms that could help maintain logistics at real air bases. Logistics are crucial to the well-being of the airmen and guards who manage them.
The use of video games in military training
The use of video games for military purposes is not new. In 1993, the U.S. Army used a specially designed Super Nintendo to test the shooting accuracy of its soldiers. Called Multipurpose Arcade Combat Simulator (or MACS), it featured targets used on any military shooting range, while teaching soldiers how to adjust their weapons.
Later, Raytheon created a virtual reality combat simulator capable of tracking a soldier’s full body movements. Video game companies then got involved in military training. In 2004, THQ created “Full Spectrum Warrior,” which was released for the general public. The army version could be unlocked with a code. Probably the most famous example of training through video games is 2002’s “America’s Army”, a first-person shooter that has since been maintained on PC, Xbox and mobile devices.
These games have been used for recruitment and training to help real-world troops win battles. However, as the saying goes, “logistics wins wars.” Players participating in the GameX eSports tournament will help the Air Force prepare using skills that only years of gaming can provide.
Rewards for Players and Consequences for National Security
In addition to the potential for securing America’s future and the lives of those who serve, daily GameX tournament winners will take home $1,000, and prizes will be distributed throughout the day. Participants must be at least 18 years old to register. Individuals and teams can register on the GameX eSports tournament website. The tournaments will take place in three different locations at different times.
- Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter, South Carolina, on September 22 and 23.
- MITRE headquarters in McLean, Virginia, October 13 and 14.
- MITRE regional office in San Antonio, October 20-21.
In conclusion, the GameX tournament shows how video games can contribute to national security by gathering data for experiments aimed at improving logistics at real-life air bases. The use of gaming skills in a military context is an innovative approach that could have a significant impact on the efficiency of US Air Force operations. Video games continue to play a growing role in various fields, including national security.
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