Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

Orangelandia jihadists strike back

Last month, we recounted the iterative scenario/counter scenario that had cropped up at Carl Prine’s Line of Departure blog, based on a scenario by Stephanie R. Chenault whereby near-future US troops seize an airfield in the fictional country of Orangelandia.

That scenario was later updated last month to include an alternative (more futuristic) invasion scenario offered by blog reader “Move Forward,” followed by Carl’s riposte on how the Orangelandia jihadists would counter this. Both blog posts feature lively commentary by others in the comments section.

I tend to think that Move Forward’s invasion scenario (based on a proposed amphibious/air-droppable Joint Access Vehicle) would likely get stalled in the development phase for a decade, involve billions in cost overruns, prove too risky to actually airdrop, never meet the original design specifications, and turn out to only incrementally augment US military capabilities. I certainly like Carl’s point about the ability of local opponents to adapt cheap low-cost counters for high-cost Western weapons systems, although I think some of the responses are a little too tactical and would have less impact than he suggests. Still, my money is on the brave brothers and sisters of Orangelandia in this fight. For those who read the piece closely, there are quite a few undisguised jabs at recent US policy, from the development of US counter-insurgency doctrine (by “maverick warrior-scholars”) to the 2011 intervention in Libya.

Moreover, the whole exercise is—like Stephanie Chenault’s earlier blog post—an interesting example of how simple off-the-shelf blog capabilities can be used to sustain wargame-ish alternative analysis exercises. Perhaps he’ll make it a regular feature (hint, hint).

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