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In December we conducted a work shop on the warfighting options for the Littoral Combat Ship. I would like to take a few moments to write about the process that was used, why it was used, and how it fit into our war gaming project management process. Once again, I was impressed with our faculty and how they think problems out to help our sponsors achieve their objectives.

This work shop was the brain child of the Game Director Professor Leif Bergey and the Game Designer Mr. Larry Johnson, with a significant amount of assistance from the entire LCS Warfighting War Game team. Their vision was that before we could have a game, we needed actual employment options, since none or very few existed. To prepare for the work shop, the team spent a substantial amount of research time during the literature review. This identified the need for the work shop, and it also focused in on San Diego where the majority of the LCS expertise resided. But one of the interesting ideas that the team had was for the work shop participants to visit both types of LCS ships to see up close what the operating platforms looked like and what the differences were between these same “class” of ships. The work shop also included a series of briefs from the sponsors, the commanding officers of the two ships, and the program managers for the mission packages of surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, and mine warfare. While many of the work shop participants were experts in their individual areas, the work shop highlighted that very few people had a working knowledge of the entire LCS mission package. Thus, the ship tours and the briefings served to give everyone a common understanding. This had a very positive effect of opening the aperture on everyone’s appreciation for the entire LCS program and enabled a richer discussion once the actual work shop process was engaged.
The main body of the work shop focused on developing warfighting options that the LCS could employ to support a JFMCC’s overall mission. The participants were then led through the different phases of an operation to determine what options the various mission packages could provide. Added to this was a determination of risk in employing the LCS to achieve certain tasks in certain locations throughout the scenario. I must say that this was hard work at best. Yet, due to the fact that the team had a well thought out plan to address the employment options in the different phases of an operation, this ensured that the work shop participants stayed on track the entire time.   
So, where does this work shop fit in with our project management process? At the time of the work shop, the team was working in both the design and development phases. The work shop was necessary to provide the data required for execution of player activities during the war game. The work shop also used the phases of the proposed scenario, so it gave the team the opportunity to have the scenario reviewed by outside personnel. Thus the work shop was essential to the design phase. As we say, development is about playability. So as the team examined the requirements for the player list for the war game, they found that many were in attendance at the work shop. This certainly assisted the team in the development of the players, as many of these potential game players now have a better understanding of what would be expected of them during game execution. 
The other piece that was so interesting during this work shop was the confirmation of how important it is to work with the sponsor of a game. Some feel that a flag officer as a sponsor may corrupt a game based on individual bias or a personal agenda. Others feel that a flag officer may not have the subject matter expertise to be value added to the gaming effort.  This work shop reinforced in my mind the absolute critical nature of having flag officer involvement in the game. The direct support of the sponsor in this case resulted in a heightened awareness of this work shop and superb participation by the right experts to meet the objectives. So in closing, I feel that this work shop was one more example of how the War Gaming team is continuing to think through issues that are ill defined and using the right tools to help the sponsor get his or her arms around these complex problems.        

Posted: 2/27/2014 8:34:56 AM by Professor Dave DellaVolpe | with 0 comments

Welcome to the web site of the War Gaming Department of the Naval War College.  I am honored to serve as the Chairman of the oldest and most prestigious war gaming organization in the military.  We take great pride in the heritage of this department and we are committed to maintaining the high quality of war gaming for which the Naval War College has always been known.  Over the past several years we have undertaken a concerted effort to ensure our war games provide the highest quality results to our sponsors and users.  In doing so, we have developed procedures for design, execution, adjudication, and analysis that are some of the most refined that I have seen in over 25 years, since I developed my first military war game.  The department is comprised of a mix of civilian and officer faculty, contract analysts and subject matter experts, enlisted support personnel, and contract technicians.  This dedicated team is committed to providing focused war games to help our senior decision makers with some of their most challenging and complex problems.  In doing so, our team brings creativity and intellectual honesty to every project. 

Now, we intend to use this web site to highlight these achievements and advancements that we have made in the field or war gaming.  It is always a challenge trying to “get the word out” about what war gaming is, what war gaming can provide to the Navy and other national security organizations, and how to best use it to achieve the most value.  This web site is now being updated with our current unclassified game reports to share the work that we have done.  The site will also contain writings about varied aspects of war gaming from our faculty.  They are sharing their ideas, insights, and experience on war gaming so that those who visit the site can understand the intricacies of what it takes to build a war game from scratch.  Another interesting feature that I am very pleased to have on the web site is our new War Gamer’s Handbook.  This gives an excellent overview of how we create war games at the Naval War College.  The process that we have developed to do this is discussed in detail in this handbook and is useful not only for someone internal to the department, but it also provides the framework for anyone who is interested in developing a professional war game. 

The War Gaming Department has been and is involved in some of the most current and relevant topics for our Navy and military.  This upcoming year will be no different, with numerous service, joint, and international events on the schedule.  Starting off 2014 will be the Naval Services Game which is an effort between the Navy and Marine Corps to examine different force constructs.  While most of our war games are held in McCarty Little Hall on the Naval War College campus, our other event in January will be a war game held at Seventh Fleet to examine internal issues for command and control of integrated air and missile defense.  This will be followed by the 25th annual North West Pacific War game which is conducted between the US Navy and the Japanese Self Defense Forces.  In March, we will conduct a large two-sided war game examining warfighting options of the Littoral Combat Ship.  April brings a Maritime Homeland Defense War Game sponsored by NORTHCOM and PACOM as well as the DEGRE War Game on nuclear deterrence sponsored by STRATCOM.  May is an exciting month as well with the return of the 20-nation Operational Experts Group (OEG) and the Proliferation Security Initiative Game.  OSD sponsors this game, which is being conducted with the entire OEG for the first time since 2007.  This leads us into the summer time where we conduct our annual Title 10 Global War Game, which will examine aspects of the evolving Air Sea Battle Concept; and the second in the bi-annual series of UK-US Combined Operational War Games that were commissioned by the Chief of Naval Operations and the First Sea Lord. 

Intermixed with these analytical war games are educational events conducted twice a year for the Joint Military Operations Department students of both the College of Naval Warfare and College of Naval Command and Staff; seven war games for the Senior Enlisted Academy students; case studies for the Combined Force Maritime Component Commanders Flag Officers Course scheduled for Pacific Fleet, Sixth Fleet, and Fifth Fleet; and practical exercises/ROC Drills for the Joint Force Maritime Component Commander's Flag Officers Course—a warfighting course held in McCarty Little Hall.  To top off the educational aspect of the department, we offer several workshops and courses for our emerging and enduring international partners on how to conduct war games throughout the year. 

The War Gaming Department is committed to the goals of the Naval War College and equally proud of its position in its long and distinguished history.  This upcoming year should prove to be another chapter in this tradition.   

Posted: 11/12/2013 8:07:15 AM by Professor Dave DellaVolpe | with 0 comments