Wargaming Evolved: Methodology and Best Practices for Simulation-Supported Wargaming

Evensen, Per-Idar
Martinussen, Svein Erlend
Halsør, Marius
Bentsen, Dan Helge
Evensen, Per-Idar; Martinussen, Svein Erlend; Halsør, Marius; Bentsen, Dan Helge. Wargaming Evolved: Methodology and Best Practices for Simulation-Supported Wargaming. I: The Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation & Education Conference (I/ITSEC), Volume 2019. Orlando, FL (USA): The National Training and Simulation Association (NTSA) 2019 ISBN 0970977808.
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When developing and assessing future force structures, wargaming is a key activity for better understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the force structures. Today simulation systems let us create synthetic environments that to a high degree replicate the physical properties of the real world for these wargames. Furthermore, advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and behavior modeling has given us more realistic computer-generated forces (CGF) that can execute battle drills and lower level tactics with a fairly high degree of realism. However, at the higher levels of the chain of command, AI has not yet replaced human leadership, and planning and conducting simulated operations require participation of officers. For more than a decade, the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI) has supported the Norwegian Army with conducting wargames for capability planning, with varying degree of simulation support. Throughout this period, the wargames have evolved from what can be described as computer-assisted wargames towards more realistic simulation-supported wargames. Moreover, to get a closer understanding of the deterrent effect of the force structures, which may not be observable when monitoring the actual gameplay, our emphasis has also shifted towards replicating the planning process more properly, and especially on monitoring the planning process of the opposing force. For example, it has been important to find out to what extent specific structure elements discourage the opposing force from taking certain actions. In this paper, we describe our evolved methodology for simulation-supported wargaming, which includes a preparation phase, a gaming and execution phase, including a planning process, and an analysis phase. Furthermore, we discuss what type of data and results we are able to extract from the wargaming sessions, and present a set of best practices for how to conduct successful simulation-supported wargames.
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