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Tag Archives: Center for Applied Strategic Learning

Barker on methodical scenario development

The Center for Applied Strategic learning has now posted the video (above) of the most recent on their lectures on strategic gaming: Alec Barker on “Fight the Scenario! A Battle Cry for Methodical Scenario Development.”

At the CASL website you’ll also find the videos from two prior lectures in the series: Peter Perla on “The Way of the Wargamer” and Philip Sabin on “The Continuing Merits of Manual Gaming.”

CASL: Barker on scenario design in wargames

As part of its continuing series of “Lectures on Strategic Gaming—Lessons for the Journeyman Gamer ,” the Center for Applied Strategic Learning at National Defense University will feature a talk by Alec Barker on the topic of “scenario design” on Friday, 26 October 2012 (and not, presumably, 2013—which is what the official announcement below says).


Connections 2012 conference registration open

Registration for the Connections 2012 interdisciplinary wargaming conference at National Defense University (23-26 July 2012) is now open:

On behalf of Col Matt Caffrey, USAFR (Ret.), I am pleased to announce that registration for Connections 2012 is now open. This is the second year that the Center for Applied Strategic Learning (CASL) at National Defense University (NDU) will be hosting the Connections Inderdisciplinary Wargaming Conference, and we are proud to be a part of this longstanding tradition. This year’s dates are July 23-26.

Connections is the only conference that captures the full range of educational, analytic, research, policy, and commercial wargaming. The 2012 conference theme is “Methods for Tomorrow’s Wargames.” This theme will be reflected throughout the conference in speaker panels, working groups, and a new workshop element, the Connections Game Lab.

The invitation link below also provides a link to the conference website with more information, including the current draft of the conference agenda.

Click here to view the invitation and complete the R.s.v.p. form:

IMPORTANT NOTE: You may receive an error message from your browser that says something to the effect that the site’s certificate is not valid. This is because most browsers do not by default accept certificates generated by U.S. government sites as valid, and this website is a product of the Air Force Institute of Technology. If your browser gives you the option of proceeding to the site anyway (which Internet Explorer and Firefox should), you can click through, secure in the knowledge that this is a common issue that does not mean whatever terrible thing your browser is trying to tell you it means. If your browser does not allow you to click through (as Google Chrome seems to), you can try a different browser or download the certificate authority by following the instructions on this page.

Thank you and we hope to see you at Connections 2012.

Timothy Wilkie
Research Analyst
Center for Applied Strategic Learning
National Defense University

Both of PAXsims editors both attending so we hope to see you there.

NDU CASL roundtable and talk (with thoughts from a virtual lurker)

The Centre for Applied Strategic Learning had its quarterly roundtable today at National Defense University, with audio streaming of the event for those of us not in Washington DC. Mike Markowitz (Center for Naval Analyses) talked about CNA’s work for Army TRADOC on wargaming irregular operations, while Joe Saur of the Georgia Tech Research Institute presented “Thoughts on DIME and PMESII Modeling: the DARPA Integrated Battle Command Experiment.”

The slides and audio may or not be available later, as CASL sorts out attribution issues. In the meantime, however, you’ll find a live-blog of the event by Brant Guillory at Grog News.

In his presentation, Mike drew a distinction at one point between simulation “modeling” and “representation,” the former more appropriate for the physics of kinetic operations, while the latter highlights the importance of narrative (as well as the inherent “fuzziness” of diplomatic, social, and economic factors—especially in irregular warfare). A large part of Joe’s presentation also touched upon the challenge of validating simulations of insurgency with their substantial DIME (Dime/Information/Military/Economic) or PMESII (Political/Military/Economic/Social/Infrastructure/Information) elements.

The picture is complicated still further, I think, by the tension between doctrinal fidelity versus critical thinking. US and Western militaries have developed extensive population-centric doctrinal approaches (exemplified by FM 3-24) that emphasize the importance of securing local populations, building host country legitimacy, and winning “hearts and minds.” These are, however, essentially a set of hypothesized relationships, based on a particular inductive, largely qualitative reading of contemporary modern history. Others have argued that this particular view of insurgency, advanced by the so-called “COINdinistas,” is wrong, or at least misleading. The “COINtras” argue that the FM 3-24 approach is based on a misreading of past campaigns, and underestimates the role of kinetic force (see, for example, here and here). While US COIN doctrine is currently undergoing a rewrite, I’m not at all convinced that the new version will fully resolve these tensions.

With regard to gaming COIN, then, one is faced with a challenge. Does one build dynamics into the game that reflect doctrinal assumptions about the way the world works? Or does one build a model of the world and then see how doctrine (or alternative doctrinal approaches) work, thereby encouraging original, critical thinking? In the former case, how does one avoid building a simulation that confirms existing approaches because it is, in essence, biased from the outset to do so? In the latter case, where does one derive that alternative model from?

It was, as always, another excellent CASL roundtable, with two great presentations and some stimulating discussion—although I must admit that I missed the excellent snacks that NDU usually provides!

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Last week, CASL also hosted a talk by Peter Perla on April 4. They’ve now uploaded both the audio and the slides here.

9th NDU Roundtable on Strategic Gaming (18/1)

The next National Defense University Roundtable on Innovation in Strategic Gaming will be held at NDU on the afternoon of Wednesday, 18 January 2012, in Washington DC:

National Defense University’s strategic gaming group, the Center for Applied Strategic Learning, would like to invite you to participate in the ninth session of our roundtable discussions on gaming. Our intent is to continue to build a regular forum for practitioners and scholars to exchange ideas and compare notes about issues relating to game design, the use of games for analytical and teaching purposes, and interesting projects in the field. This will be the first of our roundtable events to be streamed live over the internet, which we hope will make it easier for colleagues outside the Washington, DC area to participate.

Each roundtable invites a few speakers to present short, informal, talks on some aspect of strategic-level games to spark discussion among the group. The meetings last two hours and are held quarterly. Please feel free to circulate this invitation to interested colleagues – we’re hoping this will be a means of getting to know and building lasting professional connections between gamers.

Speakers: Mike Ottenberg an on-site contractor for OSD/CAPE, will present on the development of an irregular warfare wargame.  Bill Simpson of the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab will present on Multi-Sided Gaming (or “Getting a Handle on Chaos”).

Please note that attendance is by invitation only, and limited to those with professional interest in strategic gaming. For further information, contact Tim Wilkie at NDU.

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