Military News

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Naval Command College hosts first senior-level war game



By Daniel L. Kuester, U.S. Naval War College Public Affairs

NEWPORT, R.I. (NNS) -- The Naval Command College (NCC) at U.S. Naval War College (NWC) introduced a new war game aimed at testing learning objectives for the entire academic year, June 11-12.

Twenty-seven international and six Arleigh Burke Fellow (ABF) students participated in the event. ABF students are U.S. resident students selected to engage with international students at local NCC events throughout the year.

The students were divided into seven country teams, consisting of two large nations, four small nations and one non-state nation seeking state recognition. Each country team was comprised of a president, diplomat, banker and two military commanders from different services. The teams worked to achieve their own political objectives while also playing the game to win with their allies.

"The interactive nature of the game, as well as the role play, provides an opportunity for friendly competition while building on the relationships that have been established throughout the year, which is one of NCC's primary objectives," said Capt. Derek Wessman, NCC deputy.

The game was structured to allow for maximum participation.

"Teams first meet together to plan and update their strategy, then separate to execute their plan with their counterparts either at the game board, the United Nations, or the World Bank," said Cmdr. Bryan Williams, leader of the game design team. "This process repeats for eight turns providing a lot of opportunity for interaction, coordination and competition."

The war game was also designed to put classroom lessons into practice.

"We hope this event will provide an opportunity for the NCC and ABF students to practice the principles they have learned in the core curriculum throughout the year, essentially acting as a culminating capstone exercise," Wessman said.

Student reaction to the new game was positive.

"We get to apply all the knowledge we received throughout the year in joint military operations, strategy and policy, and national security affairs," said Peruvian navy Capt. Luis del Carpo. "This leads to opportunities to apply our critical thinking skills."

Adding the war game aspect to the course was done at the request of students in past classes who felt a real-life scenario would help galvanize their learning outcomes in the course.

"The Naval War College is well known for its war gaming history and expertise," said Wessman. "For the past several years, NCC students have requested more exposure to game theory and war gaming. This year, with the help of the war gaming staff, we were able to work it into the NCC calendar."

While gaming technology and techniques have evolved over the centuries, the purpose has remained the same - to provide decision-making experience for game participants and decision-making information for military and civilian leaders.

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