war gaming and risk modeling

Perspectives

Crisis war gaming and risk modeling

Improving crisis preparedness and managing the reality of change

Just having a plan is not enough to manage your organization’s response to the driving forces that bring an unending stream of both routine and increasingly novel risks right to your door.

Be prepared

Whether your enemy is a group of hackers on the other side of the world, a lethal virus or bacteria, an adversarial nation state, or disruptive market forces, the worst thing an enterprise can do is be willfully unprepared. But just having a plan is not enough—organizations should rigorously test it.

Our point of view brings to life the following scenarios with respect to strategic risks and crisis events:

  • Cyber attack: Governments, manufacturers, and critical infrastructure providers—those entities managing electric grids, manufacturing plants, upstream oil and gas facilities, or nuclear power facilities—need to understand both the possible impacts of an attack, as well as the best practices to mitigate associated risks. War gaming provides a methodology for probing and assessing current crisis response capabilities.
  • Pandemic: A war game is an effective tool for assessing immediate crisis response capabilities. But as organizations have experienced throughout the current environment, it’s not only the response but the ability to maintain the mission in the face of deteriorating conditions that demonstrates an organization's resiliency. It is imperative to test and stress an organization's response and continuity plans during a war game.
  • High value physical infrastructure construction: A wargame with an immersive scenario that includes a dynamic and free-thinking adversary, with capabilities greater than prevailing biases and assumptions allow, could force organizations to confront undesirable and unintended consequences, yielding insights that can enable better preparation and anticipation of future crises and risks.

"No plan survives first contact with the enemy."

- Prussian Field Marshal von Moltke

What is war gaming?

War gaming is a rigorous analytic process that enhances risk-informed decision-making through immersive experiential learning. Plausible, interactive scenarios bring diverse stakeholders together to challenge biases and assumptions, identify critical gaps and vulnerabilities, and provide insights into emerging threats and opportunities. Players are encouraged to ask “What if?” and allowed to experience failure in pursuit of these insights, all without facing real-world reputational, organizational, and financial risk.

war gaming, maps

Crisis management war gaming

What is risk modeling and simulation?

Risk modeling and simulation leverages quantitative and qualitative models to identify, assess, and prioritize risks to populations, missions, programs, and operations. Modeling approaches include system dynamics modeling, agent-based modeling, discrete event process models, event-based scenario analysis, and machine learning for analysis of unstructured data.

risk modeling and simulation, maps

The risk modeling-war game hybrid

War gaming is a dynamic methodology that can be easily integrated with other forms of analysis, such as risk modeling. This risk modeling-war game hybrid is known as a Human-in-the-Loop (HITL) game. HITL games enable participant and adversarial action to be dynamically modeled, thereby realistically modifying the environment during game progression.

Both war gaming and risk modeling can help a company, agency, or government not only survive but thrive, in a dynamic and uncertain world. Through the exploration of both hypothetical and real-world scenarios, this report will show how war gaming and risk modeling can assist public and private sector leaders in confronting and eventually overcoming strategic risks and crisis events.

Conducting war games as an integral part of the planning cycle can bring value to any decision maker planning to allocate large resources to a fixed and strategically vital piece of infrastructure.

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