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NATO Analytical War Gaming - Innovative Approaches for Data Capture, Analysis and Exploitation

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System Analysis and Studies

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Analysis, Operations Research, War Game


There has been a resurgence in interest and application of war games across the NATO community in order to address strategic, operational, and tactical decision problems. The NATO SAS Exploratory Team (SAS-ET-DN) on Structural Analytical War Gaming Techniques identified a need to develop analysis capabilities in order to improve wargame design, data capture and reporting of results. There have been considerable advances in general analytical practices over the past fifteen years that could be fruitfully applied to war gaming. The NATO SAS-139 Research Task Group panel has identified a need to investigate these advances, and to derive applications that could improve the usefulness of war games and associated products for NATO decision makers.


The objective of this activity is to advance NATO war gaming practices through improving analytical war gaming capabilities. It aims to provide guidelines for ensuring analytical rigour and meaningful data capture in analytical war games to support the decision making process. It will identify and share analytical methods for war gaming, and demonstrate the practical application of those analytical capabilities The activity is proposed to be a 3 year activity, with major milestones / deliverables each year. After each year a review of progress and a revision of the plan will be conducted: -Year 1 (Exploratory): A survey of analytical war gaming capabilities in order to identify areas of best practice and gaps, shortfalls, and challenges in war game analysis; -Year 2: Identification of innovative solutions to improve war game analysis, and demonstration of those solutions through a war game or series of war games; -Year 3: A technical report aimed at the wargame analyst, operational analyst, military practitioner and decision maker, providing guidelines for ensuring analytical rigour and meaningful data capture in analytical war games to support the decision making process.


-Gaps, shortfalls, challenges and issues in war game analysis; -Selecting analytical methods; -Analytical methods and techniques that can be used in war gaming; -Ensuring analytical rigour in war games, e.g. can war gaming results be validated?; -Exploiting war game results to inform decision making; -Collaboration opportunities and best practices amongst NATO member states to advance the state-of-the-art in analytical war gaming and provide a capability to the Alliance; -Defining analytical war gaming as a distinct practice and identifying innovative approaches and tools for analysing games; -Clarifying the roles of the analyst, the war game designer/developer, and the military sponsor/participants in war gaming; -Mapping of the war game development lifecycle; -Identifying approaches to engaging players and stakeholder buy-in that will improve war game results;

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