Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

Daily Archives: 30/05/2012

The many wars of Orangeland

In the wake of the United National Security Council resolution authorizing humanitarian intervention in Orangeland, the war there is hotting up.

Over at Carol Prine’s Line of Departure, Stephanie R. Chenault (Chief Operating Officer of Venio, Inc.) contributed an article that examines, by way of the fictional scenario of intervention in Orangeland, how an airfield seizure by US forces might take place in the future.

The point of the article is to explore how future technologies might reshape US military operations of this sort. The subsequent source of the virtual war, however, also reflects the broader debate over US counter-insurgency strategy.

The war gets more difficult when Carl Prine offers up a detailed counter-scenario that images a possible asymmetrical response by irregular Orangeland forces that would to exploit US weaknesses and circumvent US technologies. A quagmire in the making?

Next, in the comments section of Carl’s piece, “Move Forward” offers yet another scenario which counter’s Carl’s campaign plan. The Orangeland “surge”?

The whole exercise is an interesting demonstration of how very basic web technologies—the support of blog-and-comment functionality that is easy to set up and we all take for community—can be used to create iterative and collaborative wargame-ish thinkspaces. In some way it is an update of the sceanrio-oriented BOGSAT approach, or perhaps a BOGTAVT (a Bunch of Guys/Gals Typing at a Virtual Table). It is perhaps less easy to facilitate the discussion than in a  seminar-type setting. On the other hand, it generates a written record of contributions that may encourage greater precision in the formulation of ideas. The crowd that it actively sources is much smaller than MMOWGLI. On the other hand, the ideas it develops seems much more fleshed out than most of those in the MMOWGLI play tests I’ve seen. It is fairly easy to think of ways that such an effort could be further enriched and deepened.

In the meantime, we the people of Orangeland sit on the fence, reluctant to commit to any of them until motivated to do so by ethnic solidarity, economic self-interest, moral outrage, or a clear sense of who is likely to win. This isn’t the first war we’ve seen. We’re survivors.

(Or, Carl, perhaps I should start posting snarky but informed comments on the war on military blogs, under the nickname “Soldier No Longer In Orangeland…”)

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