The use of computer simulations to support exercises is common. NATO refers to these as Computer Assisted Exercises (CAX). A manual simulation such as the Rapid Campaign Assessment Toolset (RCAT) is as much a simulation as one that has been computerised; we have simply stopped short of automating the factors and algorithms on the RCAT counters and look-up tables. (Re-)adopting such a manual approach delivers benefits that the training and analytical communities appear to have forgotten. Click on ‘read more’ for a case study that details the benefits delivered by using a complementary approach to support the 3 (UK) Division Ex IRON RESOLVE using RCAT, ABACUS (a computer simulation) and EXONAUT (an automated exercise management system).
I have just had the pleasure of designing, developing and delivering a computer assisted training wargame working from a completely blank piece of paper. I was working with NSC, who delivered a ‘managed service’ (complete wargame package) for Qatar’s Joaan Bin Jassim Joint Command and Staff College (JBJJCSC). The course is tutored by ex-military Serco Directing Staff and King’s College London academic staff, so NSC worked in close collaboration with Serco to deliver the wargame. The wargame was designated a Simulation-Supported Exercise (SIMEx) and included an intervention phase then a stabilisation phase. I was variously Lead Wargame Designer, Lead Scenario Writer and then Chief Excon/Facilitator. Designing an entire wargame from scratch is a rare opportunity, so I have tried to capture the process as a ‘worked example’. Many thanks to JBJJCSC, NSC, Serco and Crown Media for permission to use their material.
The Netherlands Staff College (Instituut Defensie Leergangen or IDL) run an annual Theatre Wargame called Exercise JOINT CHALLENGE. This is a Computer Assisted Exercise (CAX) set at the operational level with one or two Combined Joint Task Force HQs. Component Command (CC) roles are filled either by students or by real CC HQ staff acting as a secondary training audience or as part of Excon. LBS works in conjunction with Newman and Spurr Consultancy Ltd to deliver the Wargame. JOINT CHALLENGE now attracts support from real HQs eager to train their staff is a well designed and executed CAX at the operational level.
The use of Seminar Wargaming techniques by the American, British, Canadian and Australian/New Zealand Armies Program (ABCA) to identify and rank perceived interoperability gaps between the Armies for subsequent examination and the development of mitigation measures.
One of the most common – and unforgivable – errors in the field of wargaming/modelling and simulation is our failure to ensure that we are speaking the same language. Too often experts in one or other of the stovepipes in the field think they are agreeing with something said by someone else when in fact they do not even understand what the other person is saying. This miscommunication is caused by the lack of a common, well defined, language. Different groups will define the same thing in any number of different ways; ask twenty experts what they think a ‘wargame’ is and you will get twenty different answers. Likewise with ‘scenario’, ‘model’ – and many other basic terms. However, achieving a common understanding is not always as easy as it might first appear.
We have laboured the point that there are many and varied types of wargame. This case study illustrates 3 different types of wargame: training, seminar and course of action. A seminar wargame was held to scope a prospective training wargame solution. The mechanics of the seminar wargame were based on course of action wargaming techniques. The case study is intended to quickly illustrate some of the differences between these wargaming applications and show that elements of each type of wargame can be harnessed to deliver powerful benefits – but only when their differences are well understood.