Wargaming at RAND

Images of RAND wargames from a 1958 edition of Life magazine. [C3I Magazine]

A friend tipped me off to RAND Corporation‘s “Events @ RAND” podcast series on iTunes, specifically a recent installment titled “The Serious Role of Gaming at RAND.” David Shlapak, senior international research analyst and co-director of the RAND Center for Gaming, gives an overview of RAND’s history and experiences using gaming and simulations for a variety of tasks, including analysis and policy-making.

Shlapak and Michael Johnson touched off a major debate last year after publishing an analysis of the military balance in the Baltic states, based on a series of analytical wargames. Shlapak’s discussion of the effort and the ensuing question and answer session are of interest to both those new to gaming and simulation, as well as wargaming old timers. Much recommended.

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Shawn Woodford
Shawn Woodford

Shawn Robert Woodford, Ph.D., is a military historian with nearly two decades of research, writing, and analytical experience on operations, strategy, and national security policy. His work has focused on special operations, unconventional and paramilitary warfare, counterinsurgency, counterterrorism, naval history, quantitative historical analysis, nineteenth and twentieth century military history, and the history of nuclear weapon development. He has a strong research interest in the relationship between politics and strategy in warfare and the epistemology of wargaming and combat modeling.

All views expressed here are his and do not reflect those of any other private or public organization or entity.

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  1. I looked at the report trying to find the methodology used as this often tells a lot about the reliability of the war-game/simulation and the conclusions reached. However there was only a brief high level summary which could fit many methodologies. There was a final comment that “Full documentation of the gaming platform will be forth-coming in a subsequent report.”

    Has the full report been published yet?

  2. Very interesting. Need to listen through a few more times. Might end up playing/recommending for my students.

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