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December 8, 2015 Leave a comment
Here’s something you don’t see every day: a joint blog post in War On The Rocks by the Deputy Secretary of Defense and the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, explaining patiently how important wargaming was, and is, and will be to American defense:
This also follows on from Deputy Secretary Work’s memo of February 2015, giving more detail on how Secretary Hagel’s dictum of how wargaming is to drive innovation:
I find this interesting and encouraging, and not for personal reasons. Certainly I’m grateful for the occasions when my work or my perspective has been of passing interest to the professional military, or when I’ve been able to give my opinion or help in some way. But I’m more hopeful when there is official interest in fostering an atmosphere of experimentation and enquiry, of modelling and manipulating events a different way to see how they could turn out, or could have turned out.
Granted, this is gong to be screwed up in some ways: people will find a way to relabel what they are already doing (and getting money for) as wargaming; there will be wars between “schools” of wargaming; and in the end it’s just really hard to impose a Hundred Flowers movement from above on a culture that, frankly, hasn’t always encouraged this kind of behaviour.
And also in the end, what will it add up to, if so many of the answers turn out to be inconvenient ones? “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him?”