Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

Daily Archives: 07/05/2014

The Strategy Project: Teaching Strategic Thinking through Crisis Simulation

The latest issue of PS: Political Science & Politics 47, 2 (April 2014) has an article by Michael Hunzenker and Kristen Harkness on a classroom simulation designed to “teach strategic thinking through a crisis simulation”:

In an effort to teach strategic thinking, the Center for International Security Studies at Princeton University designed an adaptable model for crisis simulation that could be used in a variety of institutional contexts and with diverse content matter. Moreover, the simulation helped students to develop an understanding of several other important abstract concepts in political science: notably, information uncertainty, friction or “the fog of war,” and bureaucratic stove piping. This article describes the design, content, and implementation of our original simulation. It is based on a “loose-nukes” scenario resulting from the hypothetical collapse of the Pakistani state. We conclude by evaluating the benefits and limitations of the simulation and by suggesting ways in which it could be implemented in other institutional contexts.

The game design is essentially a relatively free kriegspiel, with a white cell adjudicating actions taken by three country teams (Pakistan India, US), each of which are further subdivided into executive, military, and diplomatic cells. Outside advisors were also embedded in each of the teams. Despite the title of the article, the focus appears to be less on strategy in the broader sense than crisis response.

You’ll find the full article paywalled here.

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