Some Thoughts on Increasing the Use of Wargaming as a Tool to Address National Security Challenges
Objective(s) • Objective • Audience • Problem • Obstacles • Overcoming obstacles • Will it work?
Who am I? (war games I’ve worked) • 2015 US PACOM War Game • Blue cell facilitator • Sponsor: PACOM J-5 • 2015 Joint Staff Cyberspace Operations C2 War Game • Game Director • Sponsor: Joint Staff, J39, Cyber and EW Operations Division, Directorate for Global Operations • 2014 Joint Force Maritime Component Commander Course War Game • Game Director • Sponsor: College of Operational and Strategic Leadership, U.S. Naval War College • 2014 Command & Control in a Denied/Degraded Communications Environment War Game (C2D2E WG) • Game Director • Sponsor: US Fleet Forces Command, N-7 • 2013 Inter-American War Game • Game Director • Sponsor: President, U.S. Naval War College • 2012 Indo-Pacific War Game • Game Director • Sponsor: Intelligence Community • 2010 Multilateral War Game • Game Director • Sponsor: President, U.S. Naval War College • 2009 Force Design Workshop • Game Designer • Sponsor: OPNAV N-81 • 2009 Task Force C2 War Game • Game Designer • Sponsor: Pacific Fleet • Most games analytic • report results to a sponsor • Some educational • JFMCC Course War Game • Several a little of both
https://www.usnwc.edu/Research---Gaming/War-Gaming.aspx (Lower right corner, click on) War Gamers’ Handbook A Guide for Professional War GamersDownload the Handbook (PDF)
Overview • Panel Objective: • Exploring educational techniques that enable improved generation, exploration, and application of wargame-facilitated insights into future strategic security problems and opportunities. • Questions: • Why are wargames NOT producing innovative solutions to future, strategic, security problems? • What educational techniques do you propose to address these obstacles? • Why and how you believe these will (or do) work to generate wargames that themselves produce innovative solutions to future, strategic security problems?
Audience?Who do we want to educate? • Practitioners • designer • analyst • Players • Consumers
1. Why are wargames NOT producing innovative solutions to future, strategic, security problems? • Wargames are a source of inputs to innovative solutions to complex national security problems by fostering new ways of looking at a problem • Games don’t provide the ultimate solution to complex problems • E.g., you can wargame ways to eliminate ISIL, but the implementation of innovative solutions may be limited due political, resource constraints • What’s “innovation”? • a new idea, method, or device http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/innovation • Using same stuff (e.g., military capabilities) in a new way = innovation (e.g., aircraft carriers initial role as supporting of battleships) • Whose strategic challenges? (POTUS,, SECSTATE, SECDEF, Service Chief?) • What are their challenges? • What are some things that impede the use of games to address strategic problems?
Obstacles?to wargames producing innovative solutions to future, strategic, security problems • Wicked problems* • ill-structured problems • You don’t understand the problem until you have developed a solution • Wicked problems have no stopping rule • Solutions are neither right nor wrong • Every wicked problem is unique • Every solution to a wicked problem is a “one-shot operation” *Jeff Conklin, Dialogue Mapping: Building Shared Understanding of Wicked Problems, Wiley, 2005 • Poor problem definition • Problem solving**: • Setting agendas • Setting goals • Designing actions **Simon H. & Associates (1986). Report of the Research Briefing Panel on Decision Making and Problem Solving, Research Briefings, Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy, National Academies Press
Obstacles?to wargames producing innovative solutions to future, strategic, security problems • Hard to predict, unexpected events • Too big
Obstacles?to wargames producing innovative solutions to future, strategic, security problems • Alternatives hard to imagine • Contrary to conventional wisdom
Obstacles?to wargames producing innovative solutions to future, strategic, security problems • Comfortable w/ status quo • Unquestioned assumptions
Obstacles?to wargames producing innovative solutions to future, strategic, security problems • Mistakes not ok (“losing” in a game sometimes = questionable professional competence) • Negative perception of wargames’ utilty (they’re called games)
Obstacles?to wargames producing innovative solutions to future, strategic, security problems • Short time horizon of decision makers in positions of authority • Resources limitations- expense of wargames
Overcoming Obstacles what are some educational techniques to overcome obstacles? • Experiential learning • Reflective practice • Decision maker buy-in • Decision maker “training” • Expose decision makers/senior leaders to strengths and weaknesses of wargaming • Capstone • JFMCC • FSC
Eight steps to transforming your organization* 1.Establishing a Sense of Urgency • Identifying and discussing crises, potential crises, or major opportunities 2. Forming a Powerful Guiding Coalition • Assembling a group with enough power to lead the change effort 3. Creating a Vision 4. Communicating the Vision •Using every vehicle possible to communicate the new vision and strategies 5. Empowering Others to Act on the Vision • Encouraging risk taking and nontraditional ideas, activities, and actions 6. Planning for and Creating Short-Term Wins 7. Consolidating Improvements and Producing Still More Change • Reinvigorating the process with new projects, themes, and change agents 8. Institutionalizing New Approaches • Developing the means to ensure leadership development and succession *John Kotter, Leading Change; Why Transformation Fail, Harvard Business Review, Jan 2007
Reflective Practice • Reflective practice • “…a reflective conversation with the situation…” Schon (1983) The Reflective Practitioner, p. 295 • Reflection-in-action • “(P)ractitioners themselves often reveal a capacity for reflection on their intuitive knowing in the midst of action and sometimes use this capacity to cope with unique, uncertain, or conflicted situations of practice” Schon (1983) The Reflective Practitioner, p. viii-ix • Reflection-on-action • “…involves thinking through a situation after it has happened…which results in new perspectives on experiences, changes in behavior, and commitments to action” Merriam, Caffarella, & Baumgartner (2007) Learning in Adulthood, p. 174 • experience matters • think about what you did • instinct can be informed through practice • wiser folks can help us • exposure to new, unexpected situations may contribute to individual (and organizational) learning
Decision-maker education • Decision maker/senior leader education: • Expose decision makers/senior leaders to strengths and weaknesses of wargaming • Capstone • JFMCC • FSC • Involve future senior leaders • Involve current senior leaders
3. Why and how you believe these will (or do) work to generate wargames that themselves produce innovative solutions to future, strategic security problems? • Senior leader buy-in that could lead to: • Culture of innovation • Acceptance of failure in an learning (wargaming) environment • Humility (not get it right the 1st time = ok) • Welcoming contrary views • “dissenting” views from those outside “our” organization embraced • Dialogue among problem stakeholders • war games a mechanism for fostering understanding ill-defined, ill-structured, complex problems
Why these might not work • Wargaming is currently in fashion- may not remain so • Change is hard • Changing culture is hard(er) • Resources (managing current problems at expense of future problems)
Literature • Argyris, C. & Schon, D. (1978). Organizational learning; A theory of action perspective. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley. • Conklin, J. (2006). Dialogue mapping; Building shared understanding of wicked problems. Sussex, UK: Wiley. • Kolb, D. (1984). Experiential learning; Experience as the source of learning and development. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. • Schon, D. (1983). The reflective practitioner. New York, NY: Basic Books. • Schon, D. (1987). Educating the reflective practitioner. San Francisco: CA: Jossey-Bass. • Simon H. & Associates (1986). Report of the Research Briefing Panel on Decision Making and Problem Solving, Research Briefings, Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy ISBN: 0-309-58176-1, National Academies Press http://www.nap.edu/catalog/911.html