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How COA Wargaming can assist Excon preparations for a CAX ← Back to Blog index

The Netherlands Staff College Theatre Wargame is a three-week computer assisted wargame (CAX) with both a planning and execution phase. It attracts support from many elements of the Netherlands Armed Forces keen to train at the operational level. The Training Audience (TA) consists of approximately 45 students on the Advanced Command and Staff Course, with approximately 30 tutors, Subject Matter Experts and augmentees in the usual Excon and support roles. See the Case Studies page for more details of this well run CAX.

One technique used during the Theatre Wargame that delivers significant benefits is to conduct a COA Wargame in Excon to examine adversary options and major event injects.

The event is run as a conventional COA Wargame in all respects, with various members of the Excon ‘Rainbow’ Cell taking the roles of red, blue, white and neutral actors. Typical ‘turns’ in the COA Wargame are listed below. These assist general planning but also produce vignettes for detailed modeling, the results of which are fed back to inform Excon planning.

  • The road to crisis.
  • Key aspects of the adversary’s plans (the Decisive Conditions, for example).
  • Significant ‘friction’ factors that will impact TA plans (one example was Trades Union activity at SPODs that could reduce RSOI).
  • The effect of the Adversary Info Ops campaign on International Community perceptions.

The Netherlands Wargame has one or more Time Jumps. Conducted early in the exercise (usually during the first days of the TA planning phase), the COA Wargame serves several purposes:

  • The overall adversary plan, still forming and prospective, is tested to ensure that it is credible and will support the exercise in achieving the Training Objectives (TOs).
  • The resultant detailed understanding of the situation helps Excon personnel determine post-Time Jump situations. It is critical that these are reasonable (from the TA perspective) and deliver successive Time Jump positions that move the exercise towards achieving the TOs.
  • Excon personnel become intimately familiar with all aspects of the forming Red plan, all sides’ force elements, key MEL/MIL opportunities etc.
  • The vignettes that arise from the COA Wargame as aspects for subsequent investigation are then used by Locon operators (‘pucksters’ in US parlance) during their build up training on the simulation system. This further reinforces their understanding of the situation as well as refining the forming adversary plan and any friction factors that might be introduced.

This simple idea has proved to be most effective

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