Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

Daily Archives: 02/05/2009

simulated counterinsurgency at Tufts

Hat-tip to Toby Bonethrone for pointing out the following article from the Tuft’s University website. It discusses a counter-insurgency field simulation that he recently conducted as part of a seminar on the subject.

Toby has promised PaxSims a full after-action report later, but in the meantime there’s much more (including an audio slideshow) at the link.

Understanding Conflict

Tufts students simulate a counterinsurgency scenario in an exercise designed to explore the complex civil-military dynamic.

Counterinsurgency-Humanitarian Exercise

An improvised explosive device detonates in the village. While the insurgents do not directly claim responsibility, the attack is timed with their assault on border patrol guards in the refugee camp. The events could be part of a coordinated effort to persuade both the villagers and refugees to trust the insurgents with their safety. The big question now is, how will the counterinsurgent forces respond to the escalating crisis?

The above series of events is not ripped from the headlines of an international conflict. Rather, it is a scenario posed to a group of nearly four dozen Tufts students who conducted a simulated counterinsurgency-humanitarian exercise on March 8.

The exercise was part of the Experimental College course “Counterinsurgency Seminar,” taught by international relations majors Toby Bonthrone (A’09) and Chas Morrison (A’11). Forty-five organizers and volunteers headed to a paintball complex in Bridgewater, Mass., to act out scenarios designed to help them understand the complexity of civil-military relations in a conflict environment.


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