Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

JDMS on the The Peace Support Operations Model and stabilization strategy

The most recent (1 April 2011) issue of the Journal of Defense Modeling and Simulation is a special issue devoted to the “Peace Operations Support Model,” developed in the UK to explore peace and stabilization operations:

The Peace Support Operations Model (PSOM) was developed following a 2004 Ministry of Defence (MOD) man- date to create a dedicated analytical programme to study the Peace Support Operations (PSO) ‘problem space’. Analysts within the Policy and Capability Studies (PCS) Department of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) were grouped together and what has become the Stabilisation Study was born…

…The acronym ‘PSOM’ was coined 6 years ago, and while this may infer a focus on PSO (classically peace enforcement and peace keeping), the model, along with its underpinning research effort, has developed to reflect changes in UK policy and to allow for evolving academic and military thought. The naming issue becomes even more complex when you take into account national caveats and understanding. PSOM has become a collaborative US–UK effort, with additional interest from Australia, Canada, Japan and Sweden; and US and UK terminology alone often differs even if referring to what is essentially the same thing. The addition of different nations’ terminologies and particular areas of interest adds another layer of complexity. Further complication in the name of a wargame tool comes when you consider what you want the tool to do. There are plans to use PSOM as a campaign assessment tool in a real-world theatre of opera- tions, and potentially as a training tool, as well as a purely analytical tool….

The JDMS special issue contains a number of articles on the PSOM:

Editorial: The Peace Support Operations Model

  • Noel Wilde

The Peace Support Operations Model: Origins, Development, Philosophy and Use

  • Howard Body and Colin Marston

The Peace Support Operations Model: Modeling Techniques Present and Future

  • Nathan Hanley and Helen Gaffney

The Peace Support Operations Model: Strategic Interaction Process

  • Paul Strong

Representing Strategic Communication and Influence in Stabilization Modeling

  • Gemma Warren and Patrick Rose

Modeling Information Operations in a Tactical-level Stabilization Environment

  • Helen Gaffney and Alasdair Vincent

Modeling Security Sector Reform Activities in the Context of Stabilization Operations

  • Oliver Talbot and Noel Wilde

You’ll find the table of contents here—an online subscription is required, however, to access the articles.

2 responses to “JDMS on the The Peace Support Operations Model and stabilization strategy

  1. Nathan Hanley 11/04/2011 at 2:17 pm

    As the Software Model Custodian for PSOM (and the author of one of the above) I can assure you that PSOM is not a “black-box”.

    All work on PSOM from it’s initial philosophy, through to its assumptions, conceptsa equations and V&V (verification and validity) tests have been documented and are freely available to current or prospective users.

    Our website ( serves as an easy repository for this information. Though for obvious IPR reasons access to the website is restricted to those who have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with us.

    To be clear – there are no costs for accessing the server, downloading the documents, or downloading and using the model. Indeed as a trading fund of the UK Ministry of Defence we are not allowed to make profit.

  2. Brian 09/03/2011 at 6:53 pm

    When I went to a MORS workshop on irregular warfare at the end of 2007, Howard Body was demonstrating PSOM at one of the working groups. I was preoccupied with my own bits (the Algernon exercise, and presenting to another working group), but what I saw of it made me think it was quite “black-boxy”; it was difficult to tell what kind of assumptions were driving the model, how processes were calculated and so on. Four years later and they’re still using it, so perhaps that’s been addressed. Or not.

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