Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

Monthly Archives: July 2020

NWC Wargaming: Go Big or Go Home

The following piece was written for PAXsims by Thomas Barnett and Lea Culver.

Thomas P.M. Barnett, Director of Research at Creek Technologies, is a NYT/WAPO bestselling author of multiple books on global affairs and US global leadership (e.g., Pentagon’s New Map). He has served in the Office of Secretary of Defense following 9/11, at the U.S. Naval War College as a Senior Strategic Researcher/Professor, and at Oak Ridge National Lab as a Visiting Strategist.

Lea Culver is the Founder/President/CEO of Creek Technologies, a former Army Intelligence Officer, and a doctoral candidate with Franklin University. Creek Technologies specializes in Information Technology and Education Support Services across the government.

Comments are welcome below.

On May 1st, the nation’s war colleges received a brutal – if pre-emptive – failing grade from the Joint Chiefs, who declared that Joint Professional Military Education schools are not producing military commanders “who can achieve intellectual overmatch against adversaries.” Because China increasingly matches our “mass” and “best technology,” the Joint Chiefs argue that America will prevail in future conflicts primarily by having more capable officers. As for those “emerging requirements” that “have not been the focus of our current leadership development enterprise” (e.g., integrating national instruments, critical thinking, creative approaches to joint warfighting, understanding disruptive technologies), please raise your hand when you hear something new. 

Brutal and timely.  

China’s rising naval power compelled the Joint Chiefs to identify the leadership margin between defeating, or yielding to, the People’s Liberation Army, and they judged the Defense Department’s educational institutions as presently not providing it

So where does Joint Professional Military Education go from here? The Joint Chiefs of Staff were very clear: comprehensively integrate wargaming into a “talent management system” that produces officers who can “apply our capabilities better and more creatively” than our peer competitors. How comprehensively?  Enough for future commanders to hone these skills for “thousands of hours of deliberate practice, pushing cognitive limits and intellectual performance.” 

The Chief of Naval Operations’ response? Slot the Naval War College under a new Warfighting Development Directorate established within his office – specifically in Warfighting Development (N7), moving it from its traditional spot in Manpower, Personnel, Training, and Education (N1). The institutional signal here is clear:  Forge a far more direct link between education and warfighting – a bridge best captured by wargaming. 

True, we have witnessed some bureaucratic waffling since then, most notably in the announced “Education for Seapower” program review by the new Secretary of Navy, but that sort of institutional pushback is to be expected during a tectonic shift. Serious money remains slated for future naval education efforts ($350M annually), and, while that probably will not be enough to stand up the proposed U.S. Naval Community College,  it is more than enough for the College to upgrade its wargaming program in response to the Joint Chiefs’ urgent mandate.

The Naval War College annually conducts 50-plus wargames, which is impressive, but these simulations are decidedly platform/network-centric, resulting in “quick-look” reports of high immediate interest only to Office of the Chief of Naval Operations’ sponsors. That is not Newport’s fault: it was simply responding to enduring market demand and the Chiefs just radically redefined that. The good news? The tools, technologies, and techniques that the College now needs to recast wargaming as a learner-centric enterprise are readily available – and at reasonably modest cost. 

Since the birth of Network-Centric Warfare in the mid-1990s, defense firms have amassed an impressive array of capabilities under the human performance engineering rubric (oftentimes called human-centric engineering), which addresses the third dimension of modern warfare (see  below) – namely, the interface between commanders and that “best technology” (systems) controlling our military “mass” (platforms). While traditional wargaming has amply explored strategy (officer-platform interface) and modern simulations plumb the depths of networked warfare (system-platform interface), human performance engineering truly completes that operational triad by rebalancing attention on the officer/system interface, in turn enhancing individual/team cognitive skills while optimizing command architectures. This is exactly what the Joint Chiefs want: systemic overmatch in cognitive skills and decision-making structures.

This vision mirrors the predominant logic coming out of Silicon Valley on the future of machine learning and artificial intelligence: both are best employed in combination with human decision-making in the so-called centaur model. So, again, China eventually matches us on platforms and systems, but we stay ahead thanks to our officers’ superior command skills augmented by cognitive computing. This is how the Joint Chiefs see Joint Professional Military Education becoming a true “strategic asset” – i.e., our winning edge in future warfare.

Such ambition compels the Naval War College to rebalance its wargaming – long skewed toward problem-centric designs – with a learner-centric emphasis on decision-making competencies. This begins by introducing advanced human performance engineering capabilities to assess officer development. 

Yes, the War College has longed structured its wargames to test out competing command-and-control structures. But it has done so to ensure that students know how to use those systems as designed within a single domain context (e.g., surface, sub-surface, air), when what the Joint Chiefs now desire are commanders capable of routinely achieving combined effects across domains (air, land, sea, subsea, cyber, space) – suggesting a “multiverse” of possible command-and-control structures appliedly fluidly across the conflict spectrum. In effect, the Joint Chiefs seek the equivalent of “multilingual” officers capable of creatively commanding across domains. Ambitious yet achievable, this goal requires a sophisticated, orchestrated application of assets and technologies from multiple domains to effect an outcome that would otherwise be impossible within a single domain.

In sum, it is not enough to train officers on how to effectively communicate and coordinate actions in a joint command-and-control environment where the primary decisions involve choosing which tasks (and where and when) to hand off to other services. They need to be able to adeptly select combinations of resource from across all services to achieve those desired effects across all domains

Instilling this sort of cross-domain ingenuity starts with more effectively data-mining joint exercises. These complex wargames generate troves of human-learning data available for capture and systematic analysis. However, the live and post-game analytic tools currently employed at Newport do not come close to comprehensively processing all available data, resulting in final reports that arrive too late to allow for a rapid and robust game-sequencing that builds upon – and integrates – previous learning and outcomes.

By promising systematic feedback on systemic performance across all three wargaming dimensions (officers, platforms, systems), human performance engineering incentivizes schools to pervasively instrument simulation environments with innovative measurement technologies (right down to player-worn sensors) of sufficient sophistication to decode cognitive processes (i.e., decision making) – applying artificial intelligence not so much to the play as to the players, because that is where “talent management” naturally applies.

In capturing and exploiting wargaming’s big data “exhaust,” Joint Professional Military Education faculty, wargamers, and research staff can “incorporate active and experiential learning to develop the practical and critical thinking skills our warfighters require.” Since human performance engineering expertise is not presently resident at military schools, there must be an infusion of private-sector talent to continuously refresh staff skills, knowledge, and innovation. 

For the “Navy’s Home of Thought,” it is time to go big or go home

The Joint Chiefs’ guidance mirrors what Naval War College researchers have argued for years: namely, the utility of teaching integrated with gaming. The most cogent expression of this was put forth by the 2015 cohort of the Chief of Naval Operations’ Strategic Studies Group, whose work on talent management accurately presaged the Joint Chief’s May mandate to finally move ahead. Now, the addition of subject-matter experts steeped in human performance engineering starts that ball rolling by asking: Which new data can be captured in a wargame? Wargaming professionals can then answer the question: What do we learn from that data? Finally, and in a reach-out to research and teaching faculty, the Naval War College as a whole asks: What should we now teach based on this new understanding?

And yes, this is yet again one of those instances where innovation within the defense community can and should spill over into similar advances across the commercial sector, where the globalization of technologies and capital have largely eliminated the West’s historical advantages over the “Rising Rest.” We either field more creative executives who can tilt that now-level playing field back to our advantage or we learn to consistently lose market shares across an emerging global middle class hungry for consumption. Gamifying our educational systems to instill cross-domain creativity is the way ahead, particularly in processing generational cohorts (e.g., Millennials, GenZs) who have grown up with gaming as a way of life.

By systematically introducing human performance engineering to wargaming, the Naval War College establishes itself as a central repository to shape and ultimately drive future joint exercises across the Defense Department’s Joint Professional Military Education enterprise. America employed similar institutional dynamics to leave the Soviets behind in the Information Age, and this is how we do the same to China in the Age of Artificial Intelligence: moving the goal posts on command performance.

The Naval War College knows how to go big on wargaming, having done so in the past to global effect. It is time to do so again.

USAWC War Room: What Strategic Decisions on the Horizon for the Department of Defense can best be Shaped through Wargaming?

This is the second in the series of short articles on wargaming presented by the US Army War College web journal War Room. The prompt this time is “What Strategic Decisions in the Horizon for the Department of Defense can best be Shaped through Wargaming?”. Six scholars and practitioners offer a response:

  • Sebastian Bae (RAND)
  • Ellie Bartels (RAND)
  • Stephen Downes-Martin (US Naval War College & PAXsims)
  • Jim Lacey (Marine Corps University)
  • Krisjand Rothweiler (US Forces Korea)
  • Natalia Wojtowicz (Hague University

Please add any thoughts of your own in the comments section here on PAXsims or over in the War Room.

From the “Oops” Files: Who are our “Adversaries”?

Sometimes how we label things in wargames matters way beyond the scope of the particular, or even the underlying questions the game was set to address. And sometimes what those labels say can be… problematic. Without further comment, the news below:


The training has now been made mandatory within the DOD as part of Secretary Esper’s crackdown on leaks – however he has ordered a change to the wording, which will replace “adversaries” with “unauthorized recipients”


PENTAGON LABELS PRESS, PROTESTERS ‘ADVERSARIES’: A new mandatory Pentagon training course aimed at preventing leaks refers to protesters and journalists as “adversaries” in a fictional scenario designed to teach Defense Department personnel how to better protect sensitive information, Seligman reports.

The Pentagon defended the use of the term “adversaries” in the public training materials . “An adversary — a common generic term for a person or group that opposes one’s tactical goals — is acting counter to our information security objectives and therefore personnel must understand that threat,” Lt. Col. Uriah Orland said in a statement. “Attempting to read more into the use of the term obfuscates the clear purpose of the training: to prevent information from falling into unauthorized hands regardless of its potential use.”

But George Little, who was a Pentagon press secretary and CIA spokesperson in the Obama administration, called the characterization “appalling and dangerous.”

In one section of the course, trainees are given a fictional scenario in which news of a secret military exercise gets out, and TV cameras and hundreds of “anti-government protesters” show up. The course instructs trainees to identify the “adversaries,” who it says are driven to exploit “vulnerabilities” for their own gain.

Others with experience in military-media relations expressed alarm at what they consider a warped — and dangerous — view of the role of the press. Price Floyd, who served in the Obama and George W. Bush administrations, said in his experience the training materials inaccurately portray the overall relationship.

“If for some reason a reporter got wind of something that was classified or secret, all it would take is a conversation with public affairs and someone to say, ‘look this is classified, it is secret, talking about it right now puts lives in danger,’” Floyd said. “I think this witch hunt by Esper is just a way to try to clamp down on what they view as fake news, when in fact all the media is doing is reporting the facts.”

Serious games for humanitarian training: The Movie

Yesterday, Tom Fisher (PAXsims and Imaginetics) and Matt Stevens (Lessons Learned Simulation and Training) spoke about their work on serious game for humanitarian training. If you missed it, the Georgetown University Wargaming Society has posted the video of the event to their YouTube channel.

Japanese to English Translators wanted for Russo Japanese War Documents

In 1907 the Japanese Military translated into Japanese a number of captured Russian Staff Documents dealing with the 1904-05 Russo-Japanese War. The belief is that parts of these documents deal with Russian wargaming pre-, during-, and lessons learned post-, the war.

I’m looking for interested volunteers to translate one or more 20 page blocks of text — or as many pages as they can tolerate.

This is asking a lot, I know, but hopefully the result will be interesting to the wargaming community.

CNA endorses the Derby House Principles on diversity and inclusion

We are very pleased to announce that CNA—one of the world’s leading centers of wargame design and practice—is the latest organization to endorse the Derby House Principles on diversity and inclusion in professional wargaming.

CNA President and CEO Katherine McGrady writes:

CNA is committed to building and sustaining a diverse workforce and an inclusive environment. We believe that employees with differing​ frames of reference and ranges of life experiences bring an energy and unique advantage that is essential to delivering on our mission.

At CNA, we believe diversity reflects the world in which we live. Inclusivity creates a dynamic work environment that fosters trust, innovation, and excellence, while providing an atmosphere where every employee feels respected, motivated, and empowered to perform at peak level.

We recognize that wargames benefit from a diverse range of participants, designers, developers, and analysts. Since the best wargames reveal the unexpected, they are always enriched by a diversity of viewpoints.We pledge to carry these values forward in the wargames we execute, consistent with the Derby House Principles.

If your organization would like to be listed as a supporter of the Derby House Principles, email us.

Recent simulation and gaming publications, June/July 2020

PAXsims is pleased to present a selection of recently-published items on simulation and serious gaming. Some of these may not address conflict, peacebuilding, or development issues at all, but have been included because of the broader perspective they offer on games-based education or analysis.

Articles may be gated/paywalled and not accessible without subscription access to the publication in which they appear.

Giddeon N. Angafor, Iryna Yevseyeva, and Ying He, “Game-based learning: A review of tabletop exercises for cybersecurity incident response training,Security and Privacy (2020).

The surge in cyber security breaches including the shortage of skilled cyber incident response (CSIR) professionals and the ever-changing cyber threat land- scape is a big concern for the security industry. As a result, training providers are seeking innovative ways to tackle current security challenges. Businesses in pub- lic and private sectors recognize the importance of implementing effective cyber security measures, one of which is training their employees. Many are taking active steps to ensure that employees and cyber security incident response teams (CSIRTs) can identify and respond to breaches through state-of-the-art train- ing. There are indications that pioneering training programs like serious games (SGs), including tabletop exercises (TTXs), can play a role in CSIR training. This paper reviewed TTX related SGs literature, analyzed existing CSIR training exer- cises and reported how TTXs are currently being used in CSIR training. It also discussed why TTXs are increasingly becoming a popular tool for CSIR and emergency response (ER) training, analyzed the strengths and weaknesses of the current research and identified areas for future research. The findings sug- gest that TTX training improves the awareness, understanding, and preparation levels of CSIRTs. That TTXs enhance their strategic decision-making, enabling CSIRTs to be better prepared when dealing with security incidents. It observed that TTX related training improved the skills and aptitudes of CSIRTs and secu- rity operative center personnel. TTXs assist trainees to acquire and demonstrate both technical and nontechnical skills, including soft skills which are essen- tial but often observed to be lacking in new graduates and some experienced technically minded personnel. TTX training augments traditional methods like classroom lectures by providing opportunities for experiential learning and practice-based approaches in dealing with real-life problems.

Robert C. Barney, “Thirty Degrees Off Axis: Being Ready to Capture Unexpected Insights from Wargames,” Phalanx, 53, 2 (June 2020).

This article is about exploiting wargaming, already
an invaluable tool, much more fully than we do today. By their nature, wargames can be a sandbox for stimulating new ideas, trying out
impulses when there is no cost of failure, and especially for allowing critical insights to emerge. These insights may be overlooked in the course of daily
business. You might say they lie latent in many of the thoughts and ideas we consider. Wargames allow those latent ideas, which may be the most important ideas, to emerge into plain view. What’s more, wargames can be
designed with that in mind. My purpose is to note and illustrate these points, and to encourage wargame design intended to foster emergence of those latent ideas.

Nathaniel W. Flack, Developing a Serious Game to Explore Joint All Domain Command and Control, MSc thesis, Air Force Institute of Technology, 26 March 2020.

Changes in the geopolitical landscape and increasing technological complexity have prompted the U.S. Military to coin Multi-Domain Operations (MDO) and Joint All-Domain Command and Control as terms to describe an over-arching strategy that frames the complexity of warfare across both traditional and emerging warfighting domains. Teaching new and advanced concepts associated with these terms requires both innovation as well as distinct education and training tools in order to realize the cultural change advocated by senior military leaders. Battlespace Next (BSN), a Collectable Card Game, was developed to teach concepts integral to MDO and initiate discussion on military strategy. BSN, is designed to provide an engaging learning tool that educates advanced capabilities such as cyber, information opera- tions, and electronic warfare in a multi-domain conflict, seeking to reveal the synergy between military capabilities and challenge learners to innovate by creating their own strategies for victory. This thesis describes an extensible framework for modeling and reasoning about MDO concepts using specific game elements, and presents empirical feedback from 103 military play testers evaluating the game. Survey and play test results provide evidence that the game teaches current MDO concepts and delivers an engaging, hands-on learning experience. Specifically, this thesis suggests it improved military readiness in seven areas related to MDO in at least 68% of participants. Furthermore, 90% reported being focused during the session, 76% wrote they enjoyed playing the game, and over half expressed they would play the game again in their free time. Military instructors reported game integration would require at most 1/20 of the time it would take to create their own interactive tool. The results inform current efforts enhancing military learning while driving appropriate transformations to prepare individuals to navigate in a complex and contested environment.

Nathaniel Flack, Alan Lin, Gilbert Peterson, Mark Reith, “Battlespace NextTM : Developing a Serious Game to Explore Multi-Domain Operations” International Journal of Serious Games 7, 2 (June 2020).

Changes in the geopolitical landscape and increasing technological complexity have prompted the U.S. Military to coin the terms Multi-Domain Operations (MDO) and Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) as over-arching strategy to frame the com- plexity of warfare across both traditional and emerging warfighting domains. Teaching new concepts associated with these terms requires both innovation as well as distinct education and training tools in order to realize the cultural change advocated by se- nior military leaders. Battlespace NextTM (BSN) is a serious game designed to teach concepts integral to MDO and initiate discussion on military strategy while conserving time, money, and manpower. BSN, a Collectable Card Game (CCG), is engineered to provide an engaging learning tool that educates on capabilities in a multi-domain con- flict. This paper proposes an extensible game framework for modeling and reasoning about MDO concepts and presents our empirical feedback from over 120 military play testers evaluating a moderate to difficult version of the game. Results reveal the game teaches MDO concepts and delivers an engaging, hands-on learning experience. Specifically, we provide evidence it improved military readiness in seven areas of MDO in at least 62% of participants and 76% of respondents reported they enjoyed playing the game.

Miguel Alberto Gomez and Christopher Whyte, “Cyber Wargaming: Grappling with Uncertainty in a Complex Domain,” Defense Strategy and Assessment Journal, 10, 1 (2020).

The cybersecurity literature depends heavily on observational studies to discern state-behavior during periods of conflict. Frequently, underlying motivations that govern the exercise of cyber power are inductively perceived through the lens of the existing strategic environment. While this approach continues to contribute to the advancement of this burgeoning area of study, it is fundamentally constrained by the secretive nature of interstate cyber operations. Moreover, observational studies that analyze state-level actions offer limited insight regarding the individual and group-level mechanisms from which these emerge. The need to move towards these levels of analysis is made even more salient by the uncertainty that permeates this domain that provokes a host of cognitive biases that influence strategic preferences. Consequently, this article offers readers an overview as to the benefits of wargaming as a tool to improve our understanding of crisis decision-making within the cyber domain.

I.V. Griban and O.N. Griban, “Playing with the Past: Computer Games as a Tool for Historical Memory Transformation of the Events of the World War II,” Advances in Social Science, Education and Humanities Research 437 (2020).

In the modern conditions of the politicization of history, when real “memory wars” often unfold around interpretations of historical events, computer games are not just a means of entertainment, but also have a significant impact on the process of formation and transformation of images of the past. One of the most popular historical storylines for the creators of computer games was and still remains the Second World War. Game developers offer users their own version of events, which does not always coincide with the real one, providing an opportunity not only to become a participant in key battles of the Second World War, but also to change the course of history and influence the outcome of the battle. “Games of the past” to a greater extent attract representatives of young people who spend a significant part of their free time behind a computer screen and with mobile devices. The article analyzes the features of the representation of the past in computer games, the plot of which is associated with the events of the Second World War. 

Matthew Hawkins, Tabletop Roleplaying Structure for Simulating Active-Shooter Events, PhD thesis, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 2020.

This research presents a structure based on tabletop roleplaying for creating better computational models for simulating active-shooter events. Active-shooter events involve one or more people actively trying to kill others inside a populated and confined area. Roleplaying is the act of human participants portraying characters in a simulated environment. Roleplaying can be used for serious purposes, such as simulating real world events. Tabletop roleplaying adds maps and figures to show direction and relative positions of individuals and objects. These types of simulations are particularly beneficial when the real events occur infrequently or would be dangerous or costly to simulate with other methods. Versions of these simulations can include attributes for the human characters portrayed in the simulation. Attributes are quantified variables to distinguish differences between individuals, such as differences in size or athletic ability. These attributes can also include cognitive abilities and personality traits. A tabletop roleplaying structure was designed based on knowledge from multiple scientific fields. This structure determines the options and outcomes of actions attempted by characters in the simulated world. Data generated by this tabletop roleplaying structure are closer to data from actual active-shooter events than data from current AI (artificial intelligence) computational models. This is further improved when scientifically based attributes are incorporated. This tabletop roleplaying structure is defined in formulaic ways with quantified variables to be a template for creating more accurate computational models designed to simulate active-shooter events.

Wilian Gatti Junior, Beaumie Kim, Liping Liu, & Xingru Lai, Green Economy Game: A Modular Approach for Sustainable Development Education, International Journal of Designs for Learning 11, 2 (2020).

In this paper, we discuss our approach to designing a board game, the Green Economy, that promotes systems thinking. We anchored our game design process on design-by-anal- ogy and rapid prototyping concepts by taking a modular approach to overcome the trade-off between realism and simplicity. The unique feature of the Green Economy enables players to change the rules of the game during the game- play, which gives them a partial design opportunity. The theme, sustainable development, was chosen to challenge the players’ systems thinking in sustainable development. Systems thinking enables us to understand and face the complex challenges in global and networked social struc- tures. Our design experience demonstrates the benefit of de- signing dynamic game elements that involve both strategic gameplay and game (re)design through systems thinking.

Mikko Meriläinen et al. “More Than Wargaming: Exploring the Miniaturing Pastime,” Simulation & Gaming, (2020).

Background. Miniaturing, or painting, collecting, and gaming with miniature wargaming figurines, is a popular, yet vastly underresearched subject. Previous research suggests a multitude of practices and ways of engaging with miniatures.

Aim. This qualitative study explores the various elements of miniaturing to both map the phenomenon and build a foundation for further research.

Method. Miniaturing is explored through a thematic analysis of 127 open-ended survey responses by adult Finnish miniature enthusiasts.

Results. Responses suggest a dual core to miniaturing, consisting of crafting and gaming. In addition to these core activities, storytelling, collecting, socializing and displaying and appreciating appear commonly, with considerable individual variation. The different elements are closely intertwined, based on individual preferences and resources.

Discussion. As a pastime, miniaturing occupies an interesting position with elements of crafting, toy play and gaming, and escapes easy situating. The considerable individual variation in enthusiasts’ preferences suggests a multitude of fruitful approaches in further research.

Lucas Potter and Xavier-Lewis Palmer, “Human Factors in Biocybersecurity Wargames,” arXiv preprint (2020).

Within the field of biocybersecurity, it is important to understand what vulnerabilities may be uncovered in the processing of biologics as well as how they can be safeguarded as they intersect with cyber and cyber-physical systems, as noted by the Peccoud Lab, to ensure not only product and brand in- tegrity, but protect those served. Recent findings have revealed that biological systems can be used to compromise computer systems and vice versa. While regular and sophisticated attacks are still years away, time is of the essence to better understand ways to deepen critique and grasp intersectional vulnerabili- ties within bioprocessing as processes involved become increasingly digitally accessible. Wargames have been shown to be successful within improving group dynamics in response to anticipated cyber threats, and they can be used towards addressing possible threats within biocybersecurity. Within this paper, we discuss the growing prominence of biocybersecurity, the importance of bio- cybersecurity to bioprocessing , with respect to domestic and international con- texts, and reasons for emphasizing the biological component in the face of ex- plosive growth in biotechnology and thus separating the terms biocybersecurity and cyberbiosecurity. Additionally, a discussion and manual is provided for a simulation towards organizational learning to sense and shore up vulnerabilities that may emerge within an organization’s bioprocessing pipeline

Paul J. H. Schoemaker, “How historical analysis can enrich scenario planning,” Futures and Foresight Science, online first (2020).

Historians and scenario planners both examine societal developments over time, but from opposite vantage points. One group looks backward, the other forward. This paper argues that a deeper understanding of the methods and approaches of historical analysis can help scenario planners to develop better insights into the world ahead. The study of history stretches back millennia, while disciplined scenario planning has been around for half a century. By comparing historical analysis with scenario planning, the paper extracts lessons to improve narratives about possible futures, with linkages to the emerging field of counterfactual history. The practical challenges are examined using a 1992 scenario project about South Africa’s future post‐apartheid. Reviewing the four scenarios developed then, with the benefit of hindsight now, shows how and why historical thinking can sharpen scenario‐oriented studies of the future.

Natalia Wojtowicz, “Resilience against intentional shocks: a wargaming study of the relation between space, action and the residing population to resilience,” Eastern Journal of European Studies, 11, 1 (June 2020).

The most widely established consensus on regional resilience is that there is no consensus on definition, application and theoretical boundaries. Despite most authors expressing objections to “stretching” the concept of resilience too far to be meaningful and its applications too varying to establish a practical framework, this study offers a participatory study of the applied concept with both conclusions about the framework and results of its implementation. The design of the study took into account the substantiated claims of previous use of resilience as a patch to all community problems and adding a new name instead of a new way of addressing them. The study introduces wargaming with the policy-makers of NATO as a reflection and mapping tool to recognize the deficiencies of the framework. The results have verified the main criticism of the concept and offered recommendations on continuing the revision of the resilience framework based on practical insights from policy-makers.

Pellegrino: Problem statements and problem sponsors

Pete Pellegrino is a retired USN commander and former Naval Flight Officer, currently employed by Valiant Integrated Services supporting the US Naval War College’s War Gaming Department as lead for game design and adjudication and lecturing on game related topics for the department’s war gaming courses.  In addition to his work at the college since 2004, Pete has also conducted business games for Fortune 500 companies and consulted for major toy and game companies.

Others in this series can be viewed at the PAXsims YouTube channel.

Pete kindly provided PAXsims with permission to share this video. The views expressed are those of the author and do not represent the official policy or position of any agency, organization, employer or company.

Simulation and Wargaming Study Group of SISO endorses the Derby House Principles on diversity and inclusion

Recently, the S&W Study Group voted overwhelmingly to affirm their support for, and adherence to the Derby House Principles on diversity and inclusion in wargaming.

The Simulation and Wargaming Study Group of SISO (Simulation Interoperability Standards Organization) is an open study group, looking at a variety of different research areas related to wargaming.  We are an international organization, open to members of academia, government, industry, and other individuals interested in the art and science of wargaming, and how to make it better.  Those interested in participating can write to Charles Turnitsa ( to find out more about regular meetings, and how to get involved.

Current art and science of wargaming as it is practiced – Survey

The Simulation and Wargaming Study Group of SISO (Simulation Interoperability Standards Organization) has initiated a survey to find out more about the current art and science of wargaming as it is practiced.  They are investigating a broad look into wargaming, across many institutions (military, academia, industry, government, etc.) to find out what current practices are – especially in the areas of where and when it makes sense to introduce digital tools, computer simulators, visualization techniques, and other technology methods. Results will be publicly available, and will be the focus of a future SISO report.

Here is the link for the survey.  You will be asked for your email address, but it will not be used for anything other than to distribute results of the survey.

A short film about WATU

PAXsims is proud to present the world-premier of A short film about WATU! Lovingly crafted from the historical record, contemporary footage, and the voice-acting skills of the Chelsfield Players and Dstl analysts.

A Filmed In Lockdown production. Written and animated by Sally Davis. Starring: Diana McDonnell-Pascoe, David Bacon, Jo East, Ken Clarke, Jeremy Lowe, James Edmunds, Anna Fothergill, Philippa Rooke, Emily Edmunds, Nick Barnett, Anne Allocca, Gill Bacon, David Childs, Maddy McCubbin, and the Admiralty Collection.

German Wargaming

The history of German Wargaming in the 20th Century is one of how an armed force can systematically develop successful military concepts, provide training and practice operations despite debilitating resource constraints (as dictated by the Treaty of Versailles). The best article on this history is by Milan Vego, “German War Gaming“, Naval War College Review, Autumn 2012, Vol. 65, No. 4.

In that article Professor Vego references “War Gaming”, by General der Infanterie a.D. Rudolf M. Hofmann (and colleagues), 1952 (document P-094) writing for the US Army Foreign Military Studies Branch as prisoners of war. The link here is to a cleaned up OCR’d fully text-searchable version of the original poor photocopy. Hard page breaks ensure the page numbers correspond to the original, so references to page numbers made in other documents remain accurate.

The most recent wargaming handbook from Germany, specifically the Bundeswehr Command and Staff College is their 2004 “Wargaming – A Guide to Preparation and Execution“. If anyone knows of a more recent one please let us know using the Comments section, thanks.

CNAS A Deadly Game: East China Sea Crisis 2030

There is still time to register for A Deadly Game: East China Sea Crisis 2030, and online virtual wargame being hosted by the Center for a New American Security on July 22.

Slitherine Games is hiring

Slitherine Games–who produce a broad range of commercial games, but who also work with the UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory and others on developing and adapting wargames for professional useis hiring.

If you are interested in a career in wargaming, this could be your chance. Moreover, we have been in a terrific dialogue with Slitherine regarding the Derby House Principles on diversity and inclusion in wargaming, and they have made very clear their desire to see more hires from non-traditional and underrepresented groups.

Teachers and other mentors—please share this widely.

Marine Corps removes Neff from roster of wargaming SMEs after racist posts revealed

Task and Purpose reports that Blake Neff, who resigned as a writer for FOX News commentator Tucker Carlson after he was revealed as the author of numerous racist and misogynist online postings, was also a wargaming subject matter expert for the US Marine Corps—an association that the Marines have quickly ended.

Neff, 29, who resigned Friday from his role at Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight, was “immediately removed” from a list of experts helping to support war gaming exercises at the Marine Corps War College, an official told Task & Purpose on Thursday after being asked about Neff’s ties to the Marine Corps.

Neff had been a “wargaming subject matter expert” for the college since Oct. 2016, the official said, and had taken part in wargaming exercises with Marines more than a dozen times.

“We recently learned that a wargaming expert who had previously provided support to the Marine Corps War College was responsible for racist social media posts,” said Capt. Monica Witt, a Marine spokeswoman. 

“We immediately removed Mr. Neff from the list of experts who support our educational wargaming program. Mr. Neff’s language and behavior do not represent Marine Corps University or the United States Marine Corps.”

The Marine Corps “does not tolerate racist, sexist, or homophobic behavior,” Witt said.

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