Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

Monthly Archives: August 2022

Connections NL 2022

The Connections Netherlands 2022 professional wargaming/conflict simulation conference will be held on 28 November.

Full details can be found at the Connections NL website.

IDA: Wargaming analyst

The Joint Advanced Warfighting Division at the Institute for Defense Analyses is looking for a Research Associate (Joint Military Operations & Wargaming Analyst). Full details of the position can be found at the IDA website. Applications close 30 September 2022.

WWN: Introduction to wargaming

The Women’s Wargaming Network will be holding will be holding a wargaming event from 1400 to 1800 on Saturday, September 3 at the Institute for Defense Analyses in Alexandria, Virginia. The session will include a “Wargaming 1010” introduction to wargaming, followed by a Russia-Ukraine matrix game.

Sign up for the event here.

You can also follow @WomensWargaming on Twitter.

One China matrix game

From the ever-productive keyboard of reclusive matrix game designer Tim Price comes this latest scenario, One China.

The package contains an overview of the current situation regarding Taiwan and the East China Sea, some basic information on playing a matrix game, briefing documents maps, basic event cards, and counters. The game is configured for six players (or team): China and the People’s Liberation Army, Taiwan, the United States, Japan, and Australia.

One needs nothing more than a computer, printer, imagination, and an understanding of matrix games to design matrix game scenarios like this. If you’re looking for additional resources and guidance, however, there is always the Matrix Game Construction Kit (MaGCK).

International Kriegsspiel Society endorses Derby House Principles

The International Kriegsspiel Society has become the latest group to endorse the Derby House Principles on diversity and inclusion in professional wargaming.

The International Kriegsspiel Society is the world’s largest, online association dedicated to Kriegsspiel. It unites over 750 members from all over the world in the passion of studying, discussing and playing Kriegsspiel.

The International Kriegsspiel Society is an open, welcoming, inclusive and diverse community. Wargaming and especially Kriegsspiel as we understand it, focus on people, diversity of thought and perspectives, on learning from others, and reflecting about preconceptions and established concepts of thought.

The International Kriegsspiel Society is open to everyone interested in the game, no matter the experience level or background. Kriegsspiel is easy to play, hard to master, as players don’t need to know any rules!

Our mission is to preserve Kriegsspiel, to make it accessible to enthusiasts, hobbyists and practitioners, to provide extensive resources to study and play Kriegsspiel, and to contribute to the development of new Kriegsspiel systems.

In order to reach these goals, we encourage every personinterested to learn more about and play Kriegsspiel to join the community, no matter their experience level, social, educational, national or religious background, age, or gender.Although we keep being positively surprised by the communication culture of our community, our moderation policy is dedicated to firmly ensure that this remains to be the case. We pledge to keep the IKS a space where you can be you, without the toxicity or inappropriate attention.

Simulation and gaming miscellany, 22 August 2022

PAXsims is pleased to present some recent items on conflict simulation and serious (and not-so-serious) gaming.

Episode 63 of the US Army Mad Scientist podcast is all about wargaming, featuring Ian Sullivan (TRADOC), Mitchell Land (GMT Games Next War series), Peter Soendergaard (Royal Danish Army), Jennifer McArdle (Improbable U.S. Defense & National Security), Becca Wasser (CNAS), Stacie Pettyjohn (CNAS), Sebastian Bae (CNA), Dan Mahoney (Center for Army Analysis), and Jeff Hodges (US. Army Modeling and Simulation School).

Key points from the discussion:

  • Learning from Wargaming can be broken down into two categories: discovery/analytic and experiential. Both categories are important but have different end-goals. Discovery/analytic wargaminghelps one develop new insights or better understand some type of phenomena (e.g., concept or capability development). Experiential wargaming supports training and education and is designed to instill best practices, lessons learned, and develop creativity and agility among future leaders. Wargaming allows players to transcend their current realities and build cognitive warfighting proficiencies. 
  • Experiential learning leads to far higher learning retention than traditional passive methods of instruction, such as classroom-based lectures. It allows individuals to follow their ideas, work through problems as they arise, experience failure in a safe environment, and ultimately learn how to overcome challenges. 
  • The key to a successful wargame is an informed, accurate, and thinking adversary. It is vital that the Red Cell depicts an adversary as close to reality as possible, providing players with the best opportunities to learn about adversarial tactics and capabilities, decision-making, and thought-processes. 
  • Wargaming is used extensively at different levels in the Army — to explore ideas, look at alternatives, and think about the future, but also to test concepts and capabilities. Wargaming formats range from traditional table top board games, to discussion-based exercises, to computerized simulationsthat provide players with a realistic, immersive environment to visualize the fight. 
  • Designing an effective and successful wargame is dependent on one’s focus and learning demands. Designers should start the process by identifying the goal(s) that they want to accomplish and then work backwards. Carefully selecting the correct tools and technology to support players achieving the end-goal(s) is pivotal to eliciting the desired learning outcome. 
  • While wargaming can provide an accurate and realistic representation of a real-world adversary’s tactics, techniques, and procedures,it can also uncover unexpected TTPs that our forces may not have anticipated.  Encountering these actions in the game allows players to develop and implement courses of action in a consequence-free environment, helping them to avoid operational surprise on the battlefield, while building confidence in their ability to successfully overcome it when it inevitably occurs. 
  • The future of wargaming will likely be more technology-heavy, interactive, distributed, and realistic while still having a significant amount of traditional and manual games. Learning goals can be achieved via both conventional (e.g., table top) wargaming and immersive simulations employing emergent technologies. Regardless of the media, some posit that the golden age of wargaming is coming to an end, as there is a dearth of young talent in the pipelineto replace the old guard.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies has developed “simple software tool to stress test a hypothetical People’s Republic of China (PRC) surprise attack against U.S. facilities in the Indo-Pacific.”

The past 10 years have seen a steady cadence of reporting on highly classified and time-consuming wargames showing that the United States consistently “loses” to China. The results, easily summarized as “bad!,” lack sufficient publicly available detail to enable informed debate on how best to resolve the potential shortcomings.

Wargames that are classified or complex can offer benefits to policymakers, though frequently to a small number of highly technical individuals; however, open-source analysis and DOD’s own publications create a wealth of information which can—and should—be closely analyzed to encourage DOD leaders, lawmakers, and the public to consider how best to prioritize limited resources, including money, time, and personnel. Combined with simple and affordable modern software capabilities, this information should be leveraged to improve and focus more time-intensive wargaming efforts.

That is why, over a six-week period, the authors developed a relatively simple and low-cost tool to assess what might happen in the first hours of a potential future conflict in the Western Pacific. The model assumes China conducts a surprise missile attack using only its land-based People’s Liberation Army Rocket Forces (PLARF). Drawing on DOD’s annual China Military Power Reports and available data on PLARF operating locations, organization, and capabilities, the study team created an algorithm to compute the most likely U.S. and allied targets along with a rough assessment of the operational consequence of such strikes.

Despite an initial hypothesis that, “it won’t be that bad,” this analysis suggests that early phases of a conflict could be very bad for U.S. forces and facilities in the Western Pacific.

You can access the full brief here.

In Military Strategy Magazine, Benjamin E. Mainardi discusses Towards Better Civilian Strategic Education: A Case for Tabletop Wargames.

Recently, it has become commonplace to hear arguments that the United States military ought to place a greater emphasis on incorporating wargaming into its professional military education programs, so as to better prepare future military leaders for the challenges of the twenty first century.[i] Of course, critics have acutely identified issues with the preexisting practice of wargames and their value as planning tools; notably, that participants often fail to connect the military action with political considerations or objectives and that wargames are seldom able to simulate the realities of combat situations. The fact remains; however, that wargaming already has a long history of use by the armed services and continues to be a significant aspect of crafting operation plans and strategic futures. What is most interesting about the wargaming discourse, however, is the comparatively minor presence of arguments for incorporating wargaming into the education of civilian foreign policy and national security practitioners. This is especially confounding when one considers that it is civilians who occupy the chief roles in defining the political ends, directing the strategic ways, and approving the military means of national security policies.

In the Jerusalem Post, Ehud Eiran, Michal Hatuel Radoshitzky, and Scott Lasensky discuss “Simulating the Jewish future – gaming-out possible scenarios.”

What will the looming Israeli elections mean for the country’s anchor alliance with North American Jewry? How could escalations in Gaza or Ukraine impact Jewish interests? These are just two of the top concerns weighing on Jewish communities, but rather than worry, now is an ideal time to game-out future scenarios.

Those in positions to guide and steward Jewish affairs in Israel and across the Jewish world all-too-often find themselves in crises for which they have not drilled, even though careful preparation and planning are utilized in so many other realms. As we explored in-depth at the Z3 conference in Palo Alto, there is much to be gained from the broader adoption and utilization of crisis simulations.

Gaming is one of the most highly developed practices in the national security and foreign policy community, which explains why Israelis are so comfortable with war gaming and why the concept is mostly foreign to Jewish leaders elsewhere.

This wargaming update from the Kansas US National Guard:

According to the Washington Post, military fans of War Thunder have been leaking classified documents in player forums during online arguments about weapon effectiveness in the game.

Beginning in 2021, players of “War Thunder,” a popular, free-to-play vehicular combat video game, have thrice posted classified documents related to three tanks of British, French and Chinese origin in an online forum dedicated to the game. The posting of the documents was reported first by UK Defence Journal, which wrote that one poster, who uploaded the manual to a British Challenger 2 tank, said he was motivated by a desire to get a “War Thunder” developer to make the tank more accurate in the game. Another poster, who claimed to be part of a French tank unit, uploaded a Leclerc S2 manual while engaged in an online debate about its turret rotation speed. The motivations of the user who posted allegedly classified information about China’s DTC10-125 tank and a piece of materiel were not clear.

Connections North 2022 conference videos

Presentation videos from the 2022 Connections North professional (war)gaming conference are now available on the PAXsims YouTube channel (look for the “Connections North 2022” playlist).

CSIS course on wargaming, simulatoons, and competitive strategy exercises

The Center for Strategic Studies will be offering a three day course on Wargaming: Constructing Simulations and Competitive Strategy Exercises on 26-28 September 2022, intended for “mid – to senior level professionals from across the government, private sector, nonprofit, military, and academic communities who are interested in learning how to organize and lead a team tasked with conducting an alternative assessment.”

Wargaming: Constructing Simulations and Competitive Strategy Exercises is Washington’s innovative, new course for mid-to senior-level professionals responsible for designing, managing, and interpreting the results of wargames and other strategic simulations. Participants will work alongside CSIS scholars with decades of experience developing and running wargames, simulations, and strategic exercises for the defense and intelligence communities, and apply these lessons to their own organizations and industries. Through a combination of interactive seminars and exercises, they will learn how to design games that help leaders and executives better assess strategic choices and risks. At the conclusion of the course, each participant will be able to differentiate the types of simulations they could employ in their organization, design purpose-built games, and analyze and present the results.  

The course will take place in Washington DC, although virtual participation is available upon request.

The course brochure can be found here. Full details and registration at the link above.

Connections US 2022 Presentations now online

The Connections US 2022 Wargaming Conference materials are now available on the Connections USA Wargaming Conference Proceedings website.

If you presented materials at the conference, and do not find them in the 2022 tab, then upload them via this form. Thank you.

Armchair Dragoons: Connections US 2022 AAR

At Armchair Dragoons, Betsy Joslyn, Sarah Chen, and Andrew Olson provide a report on the recent Connections US 2022 professional wargaming conference.

US NWC: Assistant/Associate Professor, War Gaming Department

The US Naval War College is currently advertising a position for an Assistant or Associate Professor in the War Gaming Department.

Responsibilities. Specific responsibilities include: working in teams to manage data, interpret game designs, and develop player interfaces and game tools to develop research, analysis, and gaming to assess challenges with respect to the Navy and the Nation; conducting focused research, analysis, and gaming to help define future Navy challenges within the maritime domain at the operational level-of- war and to support development of concepts of operations and innovation in the employment of operational and functional capabilities; assisting in the development of the Nation’s security, defense and national military strategies and the Navy’s future maritime strategy; and providing warfare innovation, analysis and decision support capabilities to support senior Navy leadership and other national security decision-makers on a wide range of operational and strategic challenges. The incumbent will be expected to have the academic, educational, and experiential background relevant to developing war games that examine strategic, operational, and tactical warfare concepts.

Qualifications. Qualified applicants must have an advanced degree from an accredited university. A Master’s Degree is required; a Ph.D. is preferred. Significant experience in designing and executing analytical projects, and integrating multiple research efforts is also required. Desirable qualifications include knowledge of military organization and experience on research teams or war gaming, in support of analyzing or planning armed conflict. Proficiency in using relational databases, creating SQL queries, and geographic information systems, to include proficiency in software such as Python, R, Stata, Excel, and Access in support of extracting and formatting data to generate reports is also preferred.

Candidates must be U.S. citizens capable of obtaining a Department of Defense security clearance at the TOP SECRET/SCI level. The selected candidate will be subject to a pre-employment drug screening test and random drug testing thereafter. Any current or prior military service should be described including assignments, positions held, highest rank attained, and dates of service.

Full details can be found the advertisement below. The deadline for application is 14 September 2022.

Wargaming positions at BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman

BAE Systems is looking for a Wargaming Analyst in Quantico, VA.

On-site position to serve as a Wargame Analyst in support of major Marine Corps Wargaming programs. Responsible for assessing the results of multiple wargames and writing reports. Work with small teams of government and contractor wargame designers, staff officers, analysts, and writers. Working with sponsors and game designers, assist in the shaping of problem, purpose and objectives of each game. Develop wargame research questions and associated Collection, Assessment, and Production plans. Conduct background research and literature reviews in support of wargame design and post-game assessment. Develop requirements for qualitative and quantitative analysis and integrate results into overall assessment. Coordinate and integrate the application of analytical methods, models, and tools in support of wargame data collection and analysis. Lead and coordinate a team of recorders for capturing wargame data. Conduct post-game assessment, to include leading assessment workshops, conducting data analysis and synthesizing wargame results. Structure and write wargame reports and post-game briefing products.
The ideal candidate will possess solid analytical skills, be a strong writer who has experience writing for a military audience, a good critical thinker, possess a strong background in Marine Corps and Navy issues, and be able to perform in high-paced, multi-tasking office environments.

The position requires 10 years of active military service and graduation from a military service intermediate level school, plus an active DOD Secret clearance (and the ability to obtain TS/SCI clearance).

Northrup Grumman is seeking a Strategic Planner.

This position will be located at our Aeronautics Systems Sector in Falls Church, VA. The qualified candidate will become part of Northrop Grumman’s Strategy and Business Development organization and part of an integrated team supporting advanced weapon systems programs in the National Capital Region.

Among the essential functions listed are “supporting and executing wargames and campaign analysis.”

Applicants must have a BA in political science, international relations, strategic studies, military history, or a related field and “be able to obtain and maintain a U.S. Government security clearance (U.S. citizenship is a pre-requisite) and Special Program Access within a reasonable time frame.”

Does Wargaming influence US Strategy?

This question comes from Professor Hiroyasu (Hiro) AKUTSU, Professor of International Politics and Security Studies at Heisei International University, Japan.

In what ways has wargaming contributed to the shaping and making of US (DoD and Government) Strategic documents?

(For example the National Security Strategy, National Defense Strategy, National Military Strategy, QDR, National Intelligence Strategy, National Security Space Strategy, National Strategy for Maritime Security, etc.)

Email from Hiro, 29 July 2022

Has wargaming contributed to these? Which documents, and where are the wargames written up? Please post responses as comments to this post. Thank you in advance.

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