U.S. Naval War College Publishes Inaugural War Gaming Forum Proceedings

U.S. Naval War College

Newport, R.I.–The U.S. Naval War College (NWC) war gaming faculty published the first proceedings report covering themes and recommendations on “war gaming adjudication approaches,” April 15. The publication was developed from the inaugural war gaming research forum held at the college early this year, Feb. 2.

“We are making this report available to the naval and joint community, academic leaders and the public to promote best practices and effective collaboration in war gaming approaches,” said Professor Shawn W. Burns, Ed.D., NWC forum director and NWC professor. “We appreciate all the hard work and dedication of the speakers and participants and their focus on best practices and, equally as important, the challenges of adjudication approaches in war gaming. This report, the result of presentations and thoughtful collaboration, will be especially critical in helping the war gaming community of practice.”

The final proceedings report summarizes key insights and the recommendations of in-stream chat discussions and presentations, made up of 10 speakers from across civilian institutions of higher education, civilian industry, and Department of Defense organizations that use war gaming as an experiential or analytic research method to understand war fighting effectiveness.

The two themes that emerged from the discussions highlighted the challenges and opportunities in adjudicating war games focused on deterrence and escalation, “intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and targeting” and “counter-ISRT.”

The report stated deterrence war games are challenging for adjudication, especially in determining what players are trying to deter and whether their actions impacted adversary choices. Adjudicating and measuring the effects of signaling efforts may be required in games examining deterrence, but there are methodological challenges in determining how to do it.

The report also underscores that shortfalls with real-time modeling and analytics in operational-level war games hinders war game adjudicators’ understanding of how blue and red ISRT and C-ISRT actions impact mission planning and war fighting outcomes.

“The use of game theory or other modeling methods and real-time analytics can help adjudicators better understand how ISRT and C-ISRT capabilities and actions impact friendly and adversary planning, and ultimately engagement decisions made by players,” said Walter Berbrick, Ph.D., NWC associate professor and NWC war gaming analyst.

Based on the positive response to the event from participants, the NWC’s War Gaming department intends to organize regular fora in the future, including in-person events that allow for classified discussion and information sharing.

The next war gaming forum will focus on all aspects of war gaming related to ISRT and C-ISRT, including design, development, adjudication and analysis.

You can view the report here, War Gaming Research Forum Proceedings.

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Michael Guterl, U.S. Naval War College Public Affairs
May 05, 2022

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