Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

Military Operations Research Society 81.2 Symposium


After the original version of the 81st MORS symposium had to be postponed because of US budget sequestration, it is now reborn as version 81.2, to be held in Alexandra, Virginia on 17-20 June. As usual, it contains a working group devoted to wargame methods:

WG 30 – Wargaming

Wargames are used as one means of supporting senior Department of Defense and national security decision makers. Wargaming is also found in training curricula in military school houses, in businesses, and in university courses. Most wargames are structured to address specific issues, such as current or future National Security challenges. Their outcomes tend to be of the qualitative nature, but still of substantial interest to Defense leadership. There is an intense interest to apply quantitative tools to these games, so that analytical techniques can then be applied. During a MORS Special Meeting in October 2007, issues concerning wargame design, structure, data, information, and metrics, why and how modeling and simulation could be used in support of a wargame, and the integration of wargame results with external quantitative analyses were discussed and debated. During the past symposia, the Working Group examined quantitative outputs from several different game designs, results and techniques.

Wargames are attractive to decision makers because of the human interaction between those who have a vested interest in the issues at hand. The narratives derived from a game are sometimes more important than the raw data. Relating these narratives to quantitative analysis is a challenge, but may reap immense benefits to the users of wargames.

The emphasis of Working Group (WG) 30 presentations is game design and structure, information used in and data collected from different games, tools used to present information to players and to capture data, use of models and simulations to supplement game play, and techniques, methodologies, or processes that enable the use of external quantitative analyses after the game is completed. Factors that may be considered are the type of game, number of players, use of groups, use of a control cell, any technologies examined in the game, data collection techniques, in game analysis methodologies, or any post game analysis methodologies.

WG 30 is interested in ways to improve gaming to include immersion of the players into the game environment, the ability to rapidly adjudicate player actions, and the design of games to adapt to examination of new topics (new threats, environments, technologies) as they occur. This WG encourages the development of ways to provide quantitative analysis of a generally non-quantitative proceeding. The WG solicits innovative ideas that will spawn discourse and invite game designers to include “hooks” for those ideas in their game structure that will in turn provide decision makers with more data to consider post game. WG 30 encourages presentations on both completed work and work in progress.

You too can play "where's FORN?" See if you can tell which is the uncleared American and which is the cleared ally!

You too can play “Where’s FORN?” See if you can tell which is the uncleared American and which is the cleared US ally!

There are also working groups on modelling and simulations, computational advances in operations research, and other related topics.

New this year, MORS is permitting security-cleared members of the Five Eyes community (UK-Canada-Australia-New Zealand) to attend the unclassified sessions, although the classified presentations will continue to be NOFORN (“no foreigners”). It is a puzzle to me why non-Americans need clearance and Americans don’t, but at least it is an improvement on previous years.

Further conference information and registration forms can be found at the MORS website.

One response to “Military Operations Research Society 81.2 Symposium

  1. brtrain 22/05/2013 at 12:24 pm

    To help people who would like to attend but cannot due to budget cutbacks, there will be a Virtual Symposium on 14, 15 and 17 June online:

    The 14 and 15 June sessions will be unclassified – I am both FORN and uncleared but am permitted to (and intend to) make a presentation, so certainly other dodgy types will be able to attend the Virtual Symposium! The 17 June session is classified, however.

    There is no cost to present or participate in the virtual symposium, but you must register – see the website above.

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