Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

Category Archives: conferences

CfP: 17th NATO Operations Research and Analysis conference

The 17th NATO Operations Research and Analysis conference will be held on 30-31 October 2023 at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland (with some hybrid options).

This year’s conference theme is “Changing character of defence and deterrence: the power of analysis”. Collective defence is at the heart of the Alliance and deterrence is a core element of its overall strategy to prevent war, protect Allies, maintain freedom of action and uphold its values. NATO faces the most complex security environment since the end of the Cold War. Innovations, such as autonomous weapons systems, are changing warfare. Shifts in the global balance of power, such as the rise of China, are challenging the Alliance’s values. And aggressions, such as Russia’s actions against Ukraine, are threating the security of Allies. These major developments, along with the new Strategic Concept, underscore the need for the Alliance to ensure that its deterrence and defence remains credible and effective. The theme reflects the long-standing practice of Operations Research and Analysis in Defence, tackling ongoing challenges faced by the Alliance and looks to the future to bring new methods to old challenges or well-established methods to future challenges.

Paper proposals are due by 15 April 2023. Registration will open in July. The conference will be open to representatives from all NATO Nations, NATO Bodies, NATO Agencies, Australia, Austria, Finland, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, Sweden and Switzerland. 

Further details can be found below.

Connections US 2023 call for papers

Connections US 2023 will be held at the National Defense University (NDU) in Washington, DC on 21-23 June.

In order to provide the widest possible range of panelists and topics to Connections 2023 attendees, the Connections interdisciplinary wargaming conference is seeking proposals for presentations from all interested parties.  Our conference theme for 2023 is “Next Generation Wargaming Tools and Methods” and we would especially welcome any presentations that touch on some aspect of this topic.  However, relevance to the conference theme is in no way a requirement and we will fully consider any presentation relevant to other dimensions of wargaming.

You’ll find full details here. The deadline for submissions is March 3, 2023.

Women’s Wargaming Network meeting, January 21

The Women’s Wargaming Network will be holding its first event of 2023 on January 21:

We would be thrilled to have you join us for our inaugural semi-annual members’ meeting on Saturday, January 21st of 2023. The meeting will be held in-person at IDA Headquarters in Potomac Yard, VA. 

Members will hear presentations and progress a progress report, financial report, and presentations from each of WWN’s committee leads. We will also share an update on fundraising and engage the group in filming a pitch video for prospective donors and WWN members. 

In vision casting for 2023 we will discuss WWN’s collaboration with RAND on Hegemony, a prospective collaboration with the U.N., and the process of building a Board of Trustees. 

We will also, of course, play a wargame together!

RSVP to let us know that you are coming, and stay tuned for additional details via email!

If you are a foreign national, please let us know that you plan to attend the event by January 17th.

If you are a US citizen, please complete the form by January 20th.

The RSVP form can be found here.

Connections Online Showcase 2022

On October 19, Connections Online held a one day project showcase for professional/practitioner game design. The presentations from that event are now available at YouTube.

You can find the full listing at Armchair Dragoons.

KWN: Barzashka on Powering the Future of Wargaming (December 1)

The latest public (in person) lecture from the King’s Wargaming Network:

The Wargaming Network is pleased to announce the 2022 lecture in our King’s Keynote Wargaming Lecture series. The keynote lecture series features current and former Wargaming Network staff discussing their research in wargaming.  The lecture will take place on 01 Dec 2022 from 19:00-20:30GMT in the Safra Lecture Theater, King’s Strand Campus. Please register for the lecture here

Dr. Ivanka Barzashka will take stock of the history of wargaming at King’s and the state of academic discipline. She will discuss the future of wargaming as a method of inquiry, and its potential for helping NATO allies achieve and sustain strategic advantage in a competitive security environment.

Dr. Ivanka Barzashka is the CEO and co-founder of Strand Analytica, US-UK tech startup dedicated to powering the emerging science of wargaming through technology for national security and defence applications. She was a founding director of the King’s Wargaming Network dedicated to developing wargaming as an academic discipline. She served as the WN’s co-director (2018-2019) with Professor Philip Sabin, director (2019-2020), and managing director (2020-2022) working with Dr. David Banks as academic director. In these roles, she was responsible for the WN’s strategic direction, fundraising, international partnerships, management of research and administrative staff, including graduate and undergraduate students, and external advisors and consultants. During her tenure, the WN became ‘one of the more active research groups’ at the School of Security Studies (SoSS) and ‘moved quickly to establish an impressive network that crosses academic and policy arenas,’ according to an independent review of King’s research groups in 2020. As a result, the SoSS recognised wargaming as ‘a priority growth area’ for research and education. 

Dr. Barzashka has led academic and policy-relevant studies for King’s College London, the UK Ministry of Defence and the Federation of American Scientists, and has provided testimony to UK Parliament. Her applied research has been at the intersection of technology and strategy, examining questions related to grand strategy, integrated deterrence, nuclear deterrence, crisis escalation, war escalation and termination, nuclear proliferation, and arms control transparency and verification. Barzashka’s fundamental research interests include epistemology, methodology, research integrity and ethics in analytical wargaming. She has developed new empirical methods combining strategic analytical wargaming, decision and risk analysis. 

Please register for the lecture here to attend this event in the Safra Lecture Theater on 01 December 2022. 

Burke and Cameron: Wargaming climate change

At War of the Rocks, Sharon Burke and Andrea Cameron discuss wargaming climate change.

To get the most out of climate change wargames, planners should heed some lessons from the Pentagon’s initial forays into this field. First, climate change is the ultimate systems-level challenge, so it is easy to overreach. Games that try to be about everything can end up being about nothing. Too many sponsors or stakeholders with different agendas can make for incoherent outcomes. Second, it is tempting to focus these games on disasters — the most obvious consequences of climate change — but that tends to produce insights about disaster response rather than climate change. For example, climate change dramatically worsened the scale and scope of Pakistan’s floods in ways that are strategically significant, both in terms of the stability of a nuclear-armed state and of China’s very public show of support for the erstwhile U.S. ally. But if a game focused on how to help Pakistan manage the emergency humanitarian response or disaster recovery, the findings would have more to do with relief and recovery missions than the way climate change may be raising strategic risks. Third, more can be done to build overlapping expertise between wargaming experts and climate experts with an eye toward bettering red-teaming climate change. Finally, climate games to date have focused more broadly on creating familiarity with the security angle to this geophysical phenomenon. It is time to move on to games that answer specific policy, planning, strategy, or budgetary questions. These could include exploring how climate change might shape strategic competition with China or modelling investments in resilience for bases that directly support military operations. 

The article is based on the work of the report of the Connections US 2022 Climate Wargaming Working Group. You’ll also fin additional articles on gaming climate change here at PAXsims.

91st MORS Symposium

The 91st annual symposium of the Military Operations Research Society will take place on 12-15 June 2023 at the US Military Academy in West Point, NY.

Full details can be found here.

NATO WIN22 report

As I write this, I’m sitting the the departures lounge at CDG, having just attended a very successful two day NATO wargaming conference at the Cercle national des armées in Paris.

Wargaming Initiative for NATO 2022 (WIN 22) – intends to bring together defense leadership and warfighters from all NATO Nations to experience wargames at the tactical, operational and strategic levels. The goal is to foster a robust shared culture on wargaming and to improve and develop a capability of wargame design for NATO. 

Based on a French and Italian initiative, this event is organized by NATO Allied Command Transformation and hosted by the French Joint Staff. 

In addition to the French hosts and Italian partners, the event was supported by NATO ACT, the NATO Innovation Hub, the Serious Games Network – France, Fight Club, and others.

Unlike most of the Connections wargaming conferences, here there was less focus on methodological panels and workshops, and more on demonstration wargames—as befits a conference intended to popularize the approach. Indeed, I spend most of my time running two games of AFTERSHOCK: A Humanitarian Crisis Game, and one of We Are Coming, Nineveh! (which will very soon be available for order), and missed several of the presentations. Still, I was able to take part in a panel on “pitfalls and limitations” (in which Ed McGrady and Sebastien de Peyret in particular made some excellent points), and listen to a terrific presentation by David Banks (KCL) on wargaming in academia.

By my rough estimate, of the approximately 100 attendees, two thirds or so were French and Italian officers or officials, with everyone else making up the remaining third. This was a very different mix than Connections US and UK conferences, and frankly it was very useful to move outside the Anglo-American core of professional NATO wargaming to engage with other medium-sized NATO members. Like Canada, these are countries that do not have the deep wargaming resources that the US in particular enjoys, and I think there is a great deal we can learn from each other. There was ample opportunity for networking—although this might have been even easier had the attendees been issued name tags.

During my own presentation I made the point that NATO wargaming initiatives will need to pay greater attention to diversity and inclusion issues as they move forward, both to expand the human resources available and to enhance analytical quality by bringing varied perspectives to the wargaming table. I also noted the challenges of political sensitivities involved in wargaming many key strategic issues facing the alliance. Finally, I stressed the importance of both institutionalizing wargaming but also fostering the informal and professional networks that are so essential for inspiration, professional development, and agile response.

As I understand it, the current ambition is that a future “WIN23” meeting will be convened in Rome, to further strengthen the initiative. PAXsims will provide an update when we have more information.

Call for Papers:  MORS special session on  Wargaming with Pacific Partners

MORS will be holding a special session dedicated to professional gaming (including wargaming) in the Pacific theater.  The focus of this conference will be on gaming by, with, and for partners and allies in the region.  But other topics may be covered, such as cyber or space gaming, as will introductory and basic topics in the design and execution of professional games.  The conference will be held 27 February – 1 March 2023 in rooms at the Ala Moana Hotel (group rates forthcoming – see the MORS website) and be limited to 100 people.  The meeting will be a three-day event, and include lectures, discussions, and active wargames.   

The meeting has several opportunities for presentations and panels.  During the first day of the meeting there will be two tracks.  An introductory track for less advanced practitioners, and a special topics track for advanced practitioners. 

We are seeking papers, either on the theme of the meeting or other relevant topics, for both of those tracks. 

On the second day of the conference there will be panel discussions on a variety of topics, including those presented on the first day.  We are seeking proposals from panel chairs on topics, and possible participants.  In addition, participants at the conference will get a chance to run their own panels through an afternoon “Game Lab” or topical based discussions initiated by the participants.  Submissions of topics for small group discussion are encouraged.  

The third day of the conference will involve presentation and participation in games.  These games will focus primarily on humanitarian, organizational, business, and disaster response topics.  Topics may involve conflict, but games involving direct conflict with China are discouraged.   We are seeking people willing to describe, discuss the design of, and run games for this day. 

Papers or panels on the theme of the conference, wargaming with partners, are especially welcome.   Examples of topics might include:  experiences gaming with partners or allies, scenario design for multi-lateral games, and gaming in Pacific region countries.  

Please submit abstracts or brief descriptions of your proposed presentations, panels, game labs, or games to Liz Marriott c/o MORS (    

For additional information, including registration, see the MORS website.  Note this session will be UNCLASSIFIED and open to foreign nationals.  

Connections Online showcase, 19 October

The Connections Online Showcase is a proud part of the Connections family with our online-only conference. This special one-day event is focused on practical use-cases of professional wargames and wargaming events.

Panels & presentations will be livestreamed through YouTube, with additional interaction through a dedicated Discord server for registered attendees.

All Connections Online Showcase events will take place on 19 October 2022 between 9am and 11pm US EDT(UTC -4). All core events will be recorded and available for future viewing.

More information and a link to the registration page can be found here.

Connections North save the date: 9 June 2023

The Connections North 2023 professional (war)gaming conference will be held in Ottawa on Friday, 9 June. Further details will be shared on PAXsims when available.

Our venue in 2023 will be the Canadian War Museum—which also plans to launch a wargaming exhibit that same month.

Connections Oz 2022

Connections Oz will take place at the Australian Defence College (Canberra) on 14-15 December 2022.

For more information and to register, see the Connections Oz website.

International wargaming conference in Budapest, 25 October

The Education and Youth Strategy Department of the Ministry of Defense and the National University of Public Service are organizing an international (English-Hungarian) conference on 25 October 2022 (Tuesday) between 10.00 and 15.00 at the Stefánia Palace – Honvéd Cultural Center, Budapest.

The topic of the conference is the current state of modern professional and hobby wargaming in Hungary and the Central Eastern European Region, serious gaming and game-based pedagogy/learning, and the possible future role of wargaming in research & development and innovation. The goal of the conference is to build relationship between wargamers and those interested in wargaming, to help further cooperation.

Full details below.

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.

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).

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