Chemical, Biological Planners Focus on Future Threats, New Technology

By Lesko, John N., Jr. | National Defense, October 1997 | Go to article overview

Chemical, Biological Planners Focus on Future Threats, New Technology


Lesko, John N., Jr., National Defense


War games have been a part of a commanders toolkit from the time military planners first sat in war councils to sketch small unit formations into the sand. Today's computer-based simulations have greatly enhanced training and mission rehearsal as digital technology has steadily improved on the realism and fidelity of such games.

Somewhere in between a war council discussing battle options and full-blown computer simulations are issues-based, seminar awareness games.

In an issues-based seminar game, planners talk through various scenarios, use realistic vignettes to highlight key decision points, and begin to build a framework for future action. Such moderated discussions are effective because they are unencumbered by sophisticated models and simulations where "trying to out smart the computer" can get in the way of serious dialogue and analysis. Issues-based seminar games take advantage of the inherent expertise and judgment of the player/participants.

Members of the chemical and biological defense community have been participating in a series of awareness games to better prepare the military services for the future. The first of these issue-based, seminar games was held this fiscal year.

At this game, representatives from the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States served as players in the Tri-National Chemical-Biological Defense Expert's Game held at the U.S. Naval Surface Warfare Center, Coastal Systems Station, Panama City, Florida.

Observations and conclusions from this multi-national game include the following:

The criticality of compatible command and control (C2) and information systems remains a concern among nations.

There is an increased awareness of non-standard threats such as toxic industrial chemicals (TICs) as the world sees a growing number of developing nations that either have the industrial infrastructure to produce or the resources to procure chemical or biological weapons.

There is an increasing importance of concentrating intelligence efforts on chemical and biological warfare threats. Real-time meteorological forecasting is a must to protect both military forces and alert non-combatants to chemical or biological hazards.

The ADPA/NSIA Chemical and Biological Defense Industry Group hosted games number two and three. These games occurred at the Johns-Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory conference center in Laurel, Maryland.

The two games were held simultaneously at the JHUAPL facility. Island Justice focused on peacekeeping operations in a chemical and biological defense environment. The island venue for this exercise was a fictitious nation, Atlantica, located off the coast of Africa. …

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Chemical, Biological Planners Focus on Future Threats, New Technology
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