Academic Updates

Regent Teacher Conducts Workshops at DoD-Sponsored Conference

Mr. Joseph Saur, Principal Lecturer in Cybersecurity in Regent’s Department of Engineering and Computer Science (College of Arts and Sciences), conducted three sessions at the recently concluded Connections Wargaming Conference. This annual conference of professional, military, and academic wargamers was conducted at the Gray Research Center, Quantico, VA. 
The intent of the Conference series is to “…advance and preserve the art, science and application of wargaming” within the Department, and this has taken on increased urgency in light of the recent surge of interest in, and sponsorship of, wargames within DoD.  Many current practitioners are approaching retirement, and the Department’s leadership is very interested in supporting events that provide opportunities for knowledge sharing and knowledge transfer.
In this event, Mr. Saur was a presenter in three conference events:

  • Wargame Demonstrations: Approximately 19 different games were presented on the first night of the conference.  These ranged from the tactical to the strategic, and were focused on both historical and current events.  Each presenter was able to engage the attendees in a discussion of the nature of the game, the best use of the game (training, analysis, planning), strengths and weaknesses, and level of difficulty.  For this event, Mr. Saur presented an operational level ground wargame that he used as a teaching tool in a wargame design (elective) class at the Marine Corps Museum.
  • Neophyte Game Lab: This was a 3-hour session intended as a quick and dirty introduction to game design.  Mr. Saur was the presenter, and worked with the new “wargamers by assignment” (individuals with little or no experience who now find themselves in billets labeled “wargamer”) to understand the nuts and bolts of the design process:
    • Identifying the proper actors: military units, NGOs, Agency representatives, etc., and assigning their capabilities.
    • Identifying (and quantifying) their possible actions, and the creation of a Combat Results Table to support adjudication.
    • Identifying, and documenting, the appropriate behaviors for each actor based on known tactics, doctrine, and the historical record
    • Questions of scale: time, distance, range, size, etc.
    • Pitfalls: where does Murphy come in?
  • Educating Wargamers – The Academic Panel: As the lead for this panel, Mr. Saur recruited speakers from a variety of sources:
    • The Marine Corps War College
    • The Military Operations Research Organization (MORS) Wargaming Certificate Program
    • Army Command & General Staff College, Ft. Leavenworth, KS
    • Defence Academy of the United Kingdom
    • National Defense University Center for Applied Strategic Learning
    • MORS Wargaming Special Workshop

Each speaker described:

    • Who their students were
    • What subject they were teaching (strategy, history, wargame design, etc.)
    • How they were teaching the class
    • What games they used
    • What worked; what didn’t, and what are they planning to change

After a series of short presentation, the floor was opened for questions, and a lively discussion ensued between the presenters and the attendees; this resulted in a number of action items, rules of thumb, and points of interest to work on or keep in mind in the future. 
As a result of the success of the three sessions, Mr. Saur was invited to repeat these efforts at two future venues:

  • MORS Wargaming Workshop III, October 2017, Mark Center, Arlington, VA
  • Connections Wargaming Conference 2018, July 2018, National Defense University, Ft. McNair, Washington, DC

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