2006 - Present
Project Leader: Andrew Gordon

UrbanSim is a PC-based virtual training application for practicing the art of mission command in complex counterinsurgency and stability operations. It consists of a game-based practice environment, a web-based multimedia primer on doctrinal concepts of counterinsurgency and a suite of scenario authoring tools.

The UrbanSim practice environment allows trainees to take on the role of an Army battalion commander and to plan and execute operations in the context of a difficult fictional training scenario. After developing their commander’s intent, identifying their lines of effort and information requirements, and selecting their measures of effectiveness, trainees direct the actions of a battalion as they attempt to maintain stability, fight insurgency, reconstruct civil infrastructure and prepare for transition.

UrbanSim targets trainees’ abilities to maintain situational awareness, anticipate second and third order effects of actions and adapt their strategies in the face of difficult situations. UrbanSim is driven by an underlying socio-cultural behavior model, coupled with a novel story engine that interjects events and situations based on the real-world experience of former commanders. UrbanSim includes an intelligent tutoring system, which provides guidance to trainees during execution, as well as after action review capabilities.

UrbanSim is being used and evaluated in an increasing number of U.S. Army training contexts, including in courses at the School for Command Preparation and the Command and General Staff College. UrbanSim has also been utilized by operational U.S. Army units to provide an opportunity for staff members to work together and improve their coordination skills.

The UrbanSim project is being performed under the ICT contract being managed by the United States Army Simulation and Training Technology Center (STTC).


  • Provide trainees the opportunity to practice the art of mission command in complex counterinsurgency and stability operations.
  • Develop new tools, metrics and methods that enable training developers to rapidly create effective and interactive virtual training environments.

Facts and Figures

  • UrbanSim can be downloaded from the U.S. Army’s MilGaming website.
  • Key deployment sites:
    • School for Command Preparation (SCP), Ft. Leavenworth, KS
    • Intermediate Level Education (ILE), Ft. Leavenworth, KS
    • Maneuver Captain’s Career Course (MC3), Ft. Benning, GA
    • Maneuver Support Captain’s Career Course (MSCCC), Ft. Leonard Wood, MO
    • Warrior Skills Training Center, Ft. Hood, TX

External Collaborators

  • Simulation and Training Technology Center
  • Army Research Institute for the Behavioral Sciences
  • U.S. Army School for Command Preparation
  • Stranger Entertainment, Inc.
  • Quicksilver Software, Inc.
  • Psychic Bunny, LLC

Download a PDF overview.