PAXsims

Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

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.

4 responses to “Does Wargaming influence US Strategy?

  1. Timothy Smith 04/08/2022 at 7:18 am

    Rex, the thesis on Service Parochialism & Title 10 looks good enough to print and study closely. Thanks for the cite & link! Best in everything, Tim

  2. Timothy Smith 04/08/2022 at 6:54 am

    Interesting question. Other than the well-known Navy wargaming prior to WWII and during the Cold War, I know of no organized, coherent wargaming to support policy decision-making at the US strategic level, and certainly not at the OSD/JCS, let alone POTUS/NSC levels. High-stakes decision-support wargaming requires rigor and fidelity in the form of valid models and sophisticated analytico-synthetic methodology, which in turn demands what turns out to be a surprisingly rare combination of creative and critical thinking, divergence and convergence, induction and deduction.

    This requires collaborative teams that combine representatives from different analytic ‘tribes’. As we have seen at Connections conferences, not all wargamers embrace rigor, while individuals who do embrace rigor tend to forego discovery and learning, reject seemingly open-ended wargaming, and opt for rote repetition of authoritative techniques such as OR and campaign analysis.

    OR/campaign analysis can influence force design but not the strategy that should drive force design and employment. Comprehensive strategic-level decision support requires wargaming — rigorous wargaming, performed as part of a cycle/spiral of research and analysis that includes:
    (1) Facilitated brainstorming and seminar/matrix wargaming at the front end of projects,
    (2) Rigorous wargaming and dynamic M&S in the middle, and
    (3) OR/campaign analysis, and ultimately
    (4) Field/fleet exercises, at the back end.

    Notwithstanding the Navy’s ability in the past to integrate, coordinate and implement the entire cycle (NWC, OPNAV, ONI and the Fleet), no institution/organization in the US today manifests the level of methodological mastery required to design and implement projects at that level of sophistication. The abandonment of rigorous wargaming in the middle has broken the whole into non-cooperative parts, reducing the former synergy to entropy.

  3. Rex Brynen 02/08/2022 at 4:22 pm

    June (Kathleen) McCabe had some thoughts on the role of Title X wargames a few years back: https://escholarship.mcgill.ca/concern/theses/rb68xf39q

  4. R. J. Roland 02/08/2022 at 12:31 am

    Excellent questions all. This is an area in which I am deeply interested. An expansion of this would be contributions to any military, governmental or civilian agency of any country.

    My former company has supported the US, NATO, and the US coalition partners (Japan included) in training and analysis games at the operational level for many years. However, we have never been informed concerning the game or the game players’ contributions to shaping National Security Strategy, National Defense Strategy, National Military Strategy, QDR, National Intelligence Strategy, National Security Space Strategy, National Strategy for Maritime Security, etc.).

    I would appreciate information and references to sources that address these topics.

    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.)

    V/r,

    Ronald “Jay” Roland, Ph.D. M&S SME | WARGAMES Consulting Monterey, CA 93940 Mobile: 831.402.8607 RJayRoland@gmail.com

    PS: The larger text, should I use it, does not imply shouting. Rather it is intended to make the text easier for me to read. Thanks.

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