Interaction, reaction focus of Naval war games

RETIRED ADM. SCOTT SWIFT speaks to players and scholars at the International Crisis War Game: Cyber and Emerging Technologies, held at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport. / COURTESY U.S. NAVY/JAIMA FOGG

NEWPORT – More than 70 members of academia, the student body and military attended the U.S. Naval War College’s war game in November, the first such event for the college’s Cyber and Innovation Policy Institute, the college said.

The players’ fictional scenario was that a neighboring country invaded a contested border region, using cyberattacks and nuclear weapons, for example. Players included members of the Naval War College Foundation and students from Salve Regina University. Breakout groups were formed to act as cabinet members.

Organizers say the unclassified-level game was more about how people react in a crisis rather than cyberspace operations.

“This game is really designed to understand the link between cyber, conventional and nuclear military operations,” said retired Adm. Scott Swift, the event’s keynote speaker, “why and when cyber operations matter to strategic choices that are made outside of the cyber domain.”

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Organizers said the findings would be published in an academic journal.

Jacquelyn Schneider is assistant professor in the college’s strategic and operational research department and a lead organizer of the event.

“This is the very beginning of a project that explores not just decisions in crises but experiments with different types of war games. This looks at how [cyberspace interacts] with the really high-end levers of national power, and then how does that affect, on the macro level, the chance that states end up going to war and the types of war they fight,” she said.

The new cyber institute at the college was formed in August. Future events include a gathering of U.S. service academies and war colleges to examine how cyber studies fit into education.

Susan Shalhoub is a PBN contributing writer.

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