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Welcome to Wargaming Week



Checkers, Risk, Command & Conquer, and Fencing…since childhood, humans are exposed to games in various forms. From basic to advanced and from purely fun to cut-throat poker matches – we are continuously given opportunities to challenge ourselves and compete against fellow man in the arena (or on the screen).

The United States military has numerous, robust and mature wargaming departments that have been developing complex scenarios for more than 75 years. It is not just recreating history merely for recreational purposes, but instead it captures the vast capabilities of Naval Fleets of today, placed at the hands of military professionals to face wicked problems and thinking enemies. This week CIMSEC will explore how wargaming specifically has been used by military and security professionals for gaming’s intrinsic conflict qualities and also why Wargaming is still relevant. This week we will ask readers to consider the strengths and weaknesses of current wargaming endeavors and to propose games that we are not playing, but are inherently part of maritime security.

As we look to the future, how shall we best capture the gaming process and synchronize the structure with technology? During peacetime, gaming is one effective tool for testing the commander for the friction of combat (See Sumida on Clausewitz). This week we ask what else can and should be considered in future wargames to fully challenge the commander-of-tomorrow and to prepare the forces for the demands of confrontation in the maritime domain. What can future technology bring to further enhance our cognitive ability and challenge the profession of arms?

We look forward to your comments, critiques, and discourse.


Sea Control 33 – LCS Replacement

seacontrol2LCS has been taking a beating, from the cut in production numbers to the recent HASC request to slow their rate of product. With the new Request For Information out on possible replacement hulls, there’s clearly some thinking to be done. Zack Howitt joins us to discuss his Proceedings article, “It’s Time for a Sea Control Frigate,” and his thoughts on what a replacement should look like, and what one might cost.

DOWNLOAD: Sea Control 33 – LCS Replacement

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A New Kind of Retention Study

49299280A business can hire-in at every level, shifting employment  for new projects and products. The milieu can be fun and exciting! Too bad! The military HR machine is driven by a more concrete, inflexible requirement: to-fill seats of operators and planners necessary to man the defenses.  The military cannot hire-in at every level, it needs to develop people from start to finish, designing in flexibility for future changes but without so much as to demotivate personnel floating in endless holding patterns.  The needs of the force are precariously balanced with the space to hone the warfighter and the warfighter’s own envisioned personal path. In this naturally messy and un-artful system, retention becomes a critical issue.

CDR Guy Snodgrass has decided to attack this problem of retention in a new way… namely, by taking the taking the flexibility and initiative of the private sector and applying them to building his 2014 Navy Retention Study and Survey. Why wait for a new retention study, or petition for new questions from the vetting machine, when you can do a retention study yourself? Bring some friends; build a self-selected group operating on their own dime and time towards a retention-study startup.

Without the fears that weigh against products created by a system to judge itself, the 2014 Navy Retention Study has the potential to break into important territory. In the first day 2,160 page visits have already resulted in 570 completed surveys. USNI, the independent voice of the sea services, started with 15 officers in a chemistry classroom; perhaps these 18 new individuals can create an independent review system that meets with the same success.

The survey itself is detailed – for all ranks – asking community specific questions, even driving towards satisfaction with different community procurement programs and their indicators of future success. This isn’t your typical, “do you feel satisfied with your job,” surveys; it digs beneath the permafrost. If you find yourself taking another lame Buzzfeed “What Sandwich am I?” quizes before filling out this survey… hit yourself!

If you’re reading this and in the US Navy… you should be filling out this survey and standing by for the results. And just in case you didn’t catch the hyperlinks before, HERE IS THE SURVEY!

MemeCenter_1399010059675_293To coincide with this retention push, CIMSEC will be publishing our own little informal study on June 6th , a bit more open ended and less precise. We are looking for active duty and reserve naval personnel (from any country) to write in with a short, 200 or less word summary of a retention issue and potential solution they see in their own community. Please send your thoughts to nextwar@cimsec.org!

Matthew Hipple is a surface warfare officer and graduate of Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service. He is Director of the CIMSEC Online Content and hosts of the Sea Control podcast. His opinions may not reflect those of the United States Navy, Department of Defense, or US Government. Did he mention he was host of the Sea Control podcast? You should start listening to that.

06 MAY: Wargames Week Begins

F_200703_March31ed_i_30258aWargaming is an opportunity to ponder the implications of security and war plans amongst the unfolding of assumed and unexpected events. An important step in most planning processes, wargaming provides the leaders, planners, and gamers with various products and considerations, to include: the ability to evaluate strengths and weakness of ways and means; a validation of plans against a thinking adversary; potential illumination to the organizational leadership on the unique aspects, advantages and disadvantages of options, and key decisions; and an opportunity to further synchronize and refine various warfighting and interagency functions.

CIMSEC’s wargaming week will provide an opportunity for our authors to contribute to a dialogue on the current process of wargaming and to consider evaluating differing angles on wargaming maritime security. Who should participate (Red cell, green cell)? Are there strengths and weaknesses in differing methods of wargaming? Should future wargaming consider unique procedures beyond the common: action, reaction, counter reaction? Does effective future wargaming consider both rational and intuitive decision making? How will this look?

Although a narrow topic on the surface, wargaming is an expansive subject that can, and should, take many forms. CIMSEC looks forward to your thoughts, debates, and proposals in the upcoming week. For further information, please contact the Wargaming week editor, A. J. Kruppa at aj_kruppa(at)hotmail.com or general submissions at nextwar(at)cimsec.org.