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U.S. Naval Postgraduate School


Some of the tools that may be used in seminar war games might also be termed "props", as in props for a stage play or film. These can be deployed during the play of a seminar war game. There are four broad categories: command and control systems, planning tools, tools for assessment and adjudication within the game, and tools to support data collection and analysis. Some of the tools described below can support in more than one of these categories.

The Command Team

Providing trained individuals to play roles of Chief of Staff, traditional staff positions (e.g., branch heads for the "1 Shop" through to the "5 Shop"), advisors like POLAD (Political Advisor), LEGAD (JAG or Legal Advisor). In a sense, members of the command team constitute a "flesh and blood" component of the command and control system.

Command and Control Systems

OMNI FUSION 09 provided workstations for "Command Post of the Future" to staff at the division command post and at subordinate brigade command posts. Many other large seminar war games do the same with digital C2 systems provided to the players. Additionally, collaboration packages like Adobe Connect served as surrogates for voice and video conferencing between staff positions. In a seminar war game, players may be provided with the same C2 systems they would use on operations, or surrogates with similar and familiar capabilities; there may be a saving in training the players when this can be done.

Note: that there can be cases where provide digital C2 systems can detract from the seminar war game, for example if the players get lost in the intricacies of performing C2 tasks on the equipment rather than participating in the discussion.

Staff Planning Aids

Military planning staffs have many tools that they can employ for various estimated from the size and composition of combat forces needed for specified missions, to consumption rates for food, water, fuel, and munitions, to casualties that might be expected in certain conflict situations. These may come in various forms: tailored computer programs, formulas in a spreadsheet, tables, or manuals. Some of the planning aids may be embedded in C2 systems; so, if the players are using their familiar C2 systems for the seminar war game, they may have ready access to many planning aids as a result.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

Most war games depend on aspects of time and distance. These may be related to moving combat forces from one location to another, to providing logistics support by convoy over some distance, the ranges and fields of view of various sensors, and so on. When a combat simulation is part of a seminar war game, it may be used to resolve many aspects of time and distance, although this is generally limited to movement or engagements of weapon systems -- a particular strength of combat simulations. However, many seminar war games will not have an associated combat simulation that can be used for this, and often is not required. There certainly are many aspects of time and distance where a combat simulation is either not appropriate or not efficient for dealing with time and distance. Fortunately there are many packages that can assist. Many may have been developed in the civilian realm and may have no components to determine the outcomes from combat. Nevertheless they can be valuable to assessing other aspects of time and distance.

Combat Simulations

Collaboration Support -- e.g., Adobe Connect

Apart from providing players with a collaborative environment, a package like Adobe Connect can support analysts with their own collaboration network isolated from the players. These packages typically provide one-to-one and group-participation voice and video collaboration, shared views of computer desktops, and multiple simultaneous authoring of shared documents.

Data Capture for Analysts

Many packages can be adapted to data collection and analysis within a seminar war game study. These include: