Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

Tag Archives: Carl Prine

Orangelandia jihadists strike back

Last month, we recounted the iterative scenario/counter scenario that had cropped up at Carl Prine’s Line of Departure blog, based on a scenario by Stephanie R. Chenault whereby near-future US troops seize an airfield in the fictional country of Orangelandia.

That scenario was later updated last month to include an alternative (more futuristic) invasion scenario offered by blog reader “Move Forward,” followed by Carl’s riposte on how the Orangelandia jihadists would counter this. Both blog posts feature lively commentary by others in the comments section.

I tend to think that Move Forward’s invasion scenario (based on a proposed amphibious/air-droppable Joint Access Vehicle) would likely get stalled in the development phase for a decade, involve billions in cost overruns, prove too risky to actually airdrop, never meet the original design specifications, and turn out to only incrementally augment US military capabilities. I certainly like Carl’s point about the ability of local opponents to adapt cheap low-cost counters for high-cost Western weapons systems, although I think some of the responses are a little too tactical and would have less impact than he suggests. Still, my money is on the brave brothers and sisters of Orangelandia in this fight. For those who read the piece closely, there are quite a few undisguised jabs at recent US policy, from the development of US counter-insurgency doctrine (by “maverick warrior-scholars”) to the 2011 intervention in Libya.

Moreover, the whole exercise is—like Stephanie Chenault’s earlier blog post—an interesting example of how simple off-the-shelf blog capabilities can be used to sustain wargame-ish alternative analysis exercises. Perhaps he’ll make it a regular feature (hint, hint).

The many wars of Orangeland

In the wake of the United National Security Council resolution authorizing humanitarian intervention in Orangeland, the war there is hotting up.

Over at Carol Prine’s Line of Departure, Stephanie R. Chenault (Chief Operating Officer of Venio, Inc.) contributed an article that examines, by way of the fictional scenario of intervention in Orangeland, how an airfield seizure by US forces might take place in the future.

The point of the article is to explore how future technologies might reshape US military operations of this sort. The subsequent source of the virtual war, however, also reflects the broader debate over US counter-insurgency strategy.

The war gets more difficult when Carl Prine offers up a detailed counter-scenario that images a possible asymmetrical response by irregular Orangeland forces that would to exploit US weaknesses and circumvent US technologies. A quagmire in the making?

Next, in the comments section of Carl’s piece, “Move Forward” offers yet another scenario which counter’s Carl’s campaign plan. The Orangeland “surge”?

The whole exercise is an interesting demonstration of how very basic web technologies—the support of blog-and-comment functionality that is easy to set up and we all take for community—can be used to create iterative and collaborative wargame-ish thinkspaces. In some way it is an update of the sceanrio-oriented BOGSAT approach, or perhaps a BOGTAVT (a Bunch of Guys/Gals Typing at a Virtual Table). It is perhaps less easy to facilitate the discussion than in a  seminar-type setting. On the other hand, it generates a written record of contributions that may encourage greater precision in the formulation of ideas. The crowd that it actively sources is much smaller than MMOWGLI. On the other hand, the ideas it develops seems much more fleshed out than most of those in the MMOWGLI play tests I’ve seen. It is fairly easy to think of ways that such an effort could be further enriched and deepened.

In the meantime, we the people of Orangeland sit on the fence, reluctant to commit to any of them until motivated to do so by ethnic solidarity, economic self-interest, moral outrage, or a clear sense of who is likely to win. This isn’t the first war we’ve seen. We’re survivors.

(Or, Carl, perhaps I should start posting snarky but informed comments on the war on military blogs, under the nickname “Soldier No Longer In Orangeland…”)

Prine does zombies!

Over at his website Line of Departure, investigative reporter, mil-blogger, and fashion aficionado Carl Prine has an interview with James Ian Burns (of the Dragons and Dragoons game shop in Colorado Springs) on “the growing popularity in board games amongst the troops and defense intellectuals.”

The piece is entitled “Brain-eating Xmas Zombies Attack!” because it contains some discussion of the game Zombie Dice. However, it also has the very considerable advantage that it also allows me to use “Prine does zombies” as a title for a blog post. How could anyone who knows Carl could possibly pass up that opportunity?

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