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Thursday, 08 March 2018 15:21

How the Military Use Tabletop Exercises

A military background isn’t necessary to run a successful tabletop exercise or war gaming scenario

The idea of war gaming as a resource to practice strategic planning and increasing your readiness for the worst-case scenarios has been around for hundreds, if not thousands of years. It is a proven method used by organisations, the military, defense force and even seen in computer games as the main foundation to understanding situational awareness. Also known as conflict simulations, or “consims” for short, war gaming’s most popular pastime is now seen in games like chess, as a way for Generals and military leaders to hone their strategic thinking. This was documented as far back as ancient Indian warfare and the Romans.

A general consensus exists that all such games must explore and represent some feature or aspect of human behaviour. For military operations, this is used to understand the bearing of conflict or war. In the 21st century, business war games have become popular for many crisis management professionals and senior executives to find gaps in markets which competitors may fill. Generally however, they are only role-playing games based on market situations, business continuity and simulations for crisis teams. PreparedEx introduces war gaming to clients as valuable tabletop tool in increasing that situational awareness.

In 2018, realistic scenarios, layouts, and technologies all help enhance the training and planning for individuals to get the best experience from the war game. Introducing the concept of war gaming in tabletop exercises may involve hypothetical games that are grounded in historical facts but concern issues or conflicts that have yet to happen. The sweet spot for these games is to promote a moderate level of uncertainty to the team. This helps communicate and train out possible scenarios to that specific organisation or individual to be able to handle with no ramifications. It also enhances situational awareness by providing a bird’s eye view of the event which adds value to the session.