By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Alice C. Hall, U.S. Naval War College Public Affiars
(Aug. 23, 2013)
NEWPORT, R.I. – More than 30 international, U.S. and war gaming officials wrapped up a three-day symposium for the Inter-American War Game (IAWG) at the U.S. Naval War College (NWC) Aug. 15, in Newport, R.I.
Occurring annually since 1972, IAWG is an operational, one-sided, distributed war game held among 14 participating Western Hemisphere war colleges.
“For gatherings that happen here at the Naval War College this is one of the oldest that we have with the internationals of any navy,” said NWC President Rear Adm. Walter E. “Ted” Carter, Jr., as he welcomed the participants. “This is a very special opportunity for us to come together and have a chance to understand our mutual interest, many things that we have in common, some of the things that we don’t have in common and to have that type of open discussion.”
The war game is a forum for sharing perspectives among naval professionals. Specific game objectives included an exploration of command and control, rules on the use of force, and planning considerations in a multinational environment.
“We are talking about the Americas. We have problems common to all the countries or most of the countries,” said retired Adm. Guillermo Barrera, former Colombian chief of naval operations (CNO) and current CNO distinguished international fellow at NWC.
Maritime states face threats posed by transnational criminal organizations, drug trafficking, trafficking in persons, piracy, and cyber threats.
“We have problems that we have to work together, and these problems affect each country because of the way they use the seas,” said Barrera.
Most countries that border the ocean conduct international commerce via the seas, which is one reason the IAWG is vital to navies, to continue to strengthen global maritime partnerships in the Western Hemisphere.
“Getting the school houses, so to speak together, to go through (IAWG) can promote mutual understanding and cooperation among war colleges and ideally those students when they graduate from their war college will go to the various fleets around the Western Hemisphere,” said Shawn Burns, NWC associate research professor for war gaming.
New aspects introduced into the 2013 IAWG included: briefing the design and specific objectives at the preceding IAWG closing conference; introduction of an on-line planning conference; introducing cyber threats into the game scenario; and the introduction of a written game report to record game planning, execution, and analysis.
Next year's Inter-American War Games will be hosted by the Brazilian Naval War College in 2014.