Several defense and Inside the Beltway type publications have been abuzz the past few days with the scoop about FOIA-ed documents showing possible scenario ideas for the 2018 edition of the Joint Land, Air and Sea Strategic Exercise (JLASS-EX) – including a notional DOD response to a “Generation Z Rebellion” “driven by malaise and discontent.” Reading the contents, it is immediately apparent why this makes a nice interest story in the current environment – but the question this contributor has is: is it?
The JLASS-EX is an annual production offered jointly (pun intended) by all the Senior Level Colleges in the US PME system. Thus it brings together folks from across the services for a wargame that takes about six months to step up and execute (I have never been part of the planning, so I don’t know how much more effort goes in between course runnings, but I’d bet a bit).
The thing about these kinds of wargames, is that they are constantly in search of new, interesting, timely dilemmas to work on, since they have to put out content on an annual basis – and a lot of the routine “Big Army, Big Navy” stuff gets handled in Title X exercises elsewhere. So, the fact that this scenario was put forward – and even the authors acknowledge that it is one among a long list of possible scenario items – is not all that surprising. Trust us, the DOD has wargamed much whackier and much more controversial things… The second thing to remember, is that these kinds of courses are supposed to challenge the thinking of leaders in the making with interesting dilemmas – not inform imminent high-level policy decisions. The final thing to keep in mind is this: let’s not assume the outcome of such a game – it were run – is nefarious. Sometimes (maybe not often enough, but sometimes) the system games things out that we know are edge of the envelope, and comes back saying “yup, that one’s not really in our wheelhouse sir. But here was some interesting learning.”
So given those things, and the fact that the author did not participate in JLASS 2018, the questions we’d pose for anyone from the system who DID would be:
1. Did that “ZBellion” scenario idea actually make it to the game?
2. If it did, what interesting things were observed and/or learned by the participants?
One of my aims here at PAXsims is to raise up the voices and experiences of professional gamers outside the “male and pale” majority. So here’s your starter for 10, from the Wavell Room:
If you want to be the best Armed Forces, then the only way to go is Feminist. If you don’t believe me, there’s stacks of writing out there about the importance of diversity and inclusion to making the best decisions, and being the highest performing team. And there’s also stacks of writing about the importance of feminist thought and analysis when it comes to conflict and peace.
This post, however, is not about the necessity of Feminism. This is about how men in Defence can start to change themselves and lead their conservative, homogeneous organisations into a better, more gender-equal future.Nick P, So you want to be ‘Feminist AF’? at The Wavell Room
It’s worth reading the whole article, but I’ll pull out this one paragraph, and invite PAXsims readership to take up the challenge:
One small sign can be the sight of (particularly senior men) reading the kinds of books and articles that I recommend below. It’s commonplace for someone like the General I originally wrote to to be reading a weighty, male-authored tome about strategy or leadership. It’s the kind of thing aspirational juniors will always see on bookshelves and in briefcases etc.
I asked him to take Soraya Chemaly’s “Rage Becomes Her” and make it something that he carries around with him, to be read as he goes from meeting to meeting, location to location, in the car, on the train, and that people see him reading and carrying, that he places on the table during meetings along with his notebook and briefing papers etc.
People will see this, and it will send a sign to women in the room, and to men who are shy of being allies but want to participate, and it will begin conversations. Nick P, So you want to be ‘Feminist AF’? at The Wavell Room
h/t Louise Martingale at Dstl