02 December 2011

Tactical Level COIN/Irregular Warfare Game for the US Army

So the bubbas at White Sands have developed a new wargame to look at irregular warfare at battalion level and below.

Games mean serious business at the Training and Doctrine Command Analysis Center at White Sands Missile Range with the development of a new war game that will help evaluate the social impact of Army operations.
The Irregular Warfare Tactical War Game, being developed at TRAC WSMR, will be used to assess how Army tactical operations impact the population of a host country. The game system is designed to focus on the tactical level of a battalion sized unit conducting operations in an irregular war. Keeping the game real, the players use the backdrop of Afghanistan, with maps, objectives, operations and other elements all based on information collected from real world sources. In development since 2008, the Irregular Warfare Tactical War Game has already been used by several organizations to conduct some initial exercises with testing of the fully functional prototype that was expected to be finished in November.
"The purpose of this event this October is to prove that we can produce analytic products to support a study," said Paul Works, chief of methods and research with TRAC Headquarters at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. If all goes well, analyses using the war game are expected to begin in April.

More after the jump

A leadership simulation called "Nexus" is also included in the game. This complex simulation contains the different leadership characters that an Army leader in the field would have to interact with, both directly and indirectly, when conducting operations. Village elders, government officials, and other important individuals can influence a population in different ways, and the factors in these differences and how they interact with each other and the player's choices. "It gives our players a way to interact with them, to get them to pass out messages that are supportive, or that may not be supportive if the leader doesn't care for whoever is interacting with them," said Workman.
Forces and personalities aren't the only thing in the system; essential services and infrastructure are also in play.
Electricity, water, medical services, even laws and legal cues are incorporated into the game as well. These elements can play a huge role in a population's outlook and opinions, as the availability of these services increases or decreases.
"We start our war game with services at a specific level and then players are able to interact or attack and decrease those capabilities or improve those capabilities in order to help the population get whatever it is they need," said Workman.
Just because a player chooses to take action regarding a particular service doesn't mean it will turn out as expected. Workman explained that, just like in the real world, in the game it's possible that the contractor hired to improve infrastructure will take the money and run instead of doing the work.
Bringing all these complex interactions together into one comprehensible game is the Planning Adjudication and Visualization Environment. PAVE is a custom software package made specifically to handle large scale simulations like the Irregular Warfare Tactical War Game. PAVE takes all the different actions of each player and system within the game and turns them into interactions, generating and displaying the effects those actions have on the other players and systems in the game world.

By: Brant

1 comment:

Brian said...

Hexes! I see hexes!
And a lot of other things I've seen before too....