NEWPORT, R.I. – The Naval War College’s (NWC) War Gaming Department hosted a Global Maritime Partnerships (GMP) Game from October 3 to 8.
The “Global 2010” event involved face-to-face interaction and game strategy among representatives of 46 countries brought together to enable maritime partnerships and enhance international information sharing.
The overall goal of this GMP game was to identify the catalysts to instability and the impediments to forming effective regional and global partnerships in the maritime domain from both United States and international perspectives. Specifically, these catalysts for examination included piracy, human smuggling, illicit drug trafficking, gun running, terrorism, natural disasters, and oil spills.
“For the purposes of this game, catalyst to instability was defined as anything that initiates, accelerates or causes an event or series of events to adversely impact the safety, security, economy, or maritime environment of a nation, region or super-region,” said Professor Warren Wiggins of NWC’s War Gaming Department. “Understanding these impediments is important to the Navy because these catalysts to instability, including, but not limited to resource scarcity, epidemics, pandemics, and regional and transnational criminality—foster broad challenges to U.S. national security policy.”
The GMP game was conducted as an unclassified Title 10 game and featured 86 international participants plus 38 people representing a cross-section of the U.S. Government and its military services. More than 50 personnel from NWC’s War Gaming Department directly participated in and supported the week-long event.
“This is the first time—on this scale of international cooperation—we’ve made this a true global game,” NWC Game Director David Ward said. “We wanted to reach out to our partners around the globe and learn their concerns and priorities in order to establish a secure maritime environment in every region of the world.”
Title 10 games are executed by NWC on a cyclic basis to identify key “organize, train and equip” issues for the CNO.
“The linchpin to this endeavor was “A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower” (CS21) initiated by Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead,” Wiggins added. “Its emphasis was the need for the Navy to dedicate as much time, effort and resources to preventing wars as it does to winning wars.”
Game cells consisted of regional partners, and the game play strategy revolved around regional maritime issues specifically relevant to each area. Led by a moderator, the scene-settings were crafted to generate discussions during daily plenary sessions that involved maritime information sharing practices, impediments and successes. These discussions also helped identify solutions to resolve challenges and map the way ahead.
In addition to recognizing the key catalysts to instability, the game identified broad-based partnership requirements (e.g., policy, legal, technological, etc.) to counter those catalysts. It also produced effective methods for strengthening global communication as participants were asked to identify their country’s top MDA functions and to prioritize requirements to increase MDA across the globe.
“They were very open in sharing why they thought countries should work together to conduct Maritime Domain Awareness operations,” Ward said. “Providing an environment for participants to explore and appreciate the complexities of establishing and maintaining effective maritime partnerships through domestic and international perspectives was essential and greatly contributed to the success of this game.”
Many of the players from the countries participating in the game are NWC graduates. This indicated the influence the college has on the world's navies.
“Because of our reputation for wargaming excellence, we have the unique ability to convene games like this that bring together naval officers from around the world to engage in professional dialogue, share ideas and build stronger relationships,” said Professor Robert Rubel, dean of NWC’s Center for Naval Warfare Studies. “CS21 says that trust and confidence cannot be surged, it must be fostered. There is no other place at which this can be done better.”
Rubel also explained that this GMP game represents the merging of two threads of NWC history—wargaming and maritime strategy. He added that the approaches to wargaming have changed since NWC began the practice in 1887.
“Whereas in the first ten years of the 20th Century, we conducted fleet versus fleet wargames that indicated the need to concentrate a fleet of battleships off our coasts to protect against possible European aggression in the Western Hemisphere,” Rubel said. “Today we conduct diplomatic games that show us how to achieve the utmost in dispersal of naval power to secure all the seas of the world.”
The GMP game also featured an MDA Technology Initiatives Symposium at the conclusion of the week that allowed international participants to have an opportunity to familiarize themselves with a sampling of current technological research and innovations in MDA. This included presentations on current and future MDA technologies and demonstrations that displayed MDA tools and systems such as SUCBAS, the Swedish system for MDA; and C-SIGMA, the integration of space systems into a Common Operational Picture (COP).
The Navy’s Title 10 War Game Series, “Global,” is conducted by NWC as the Executive Agent for the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO). Within the OPNAV staff, OPNAV N2/N6 is the sponsor of this global game as the lead for Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA), a key focus area of maritime partnerships and information sharing internationally.
By David Reese, Naval War College Public Affairs