More efficient defence studies - increased utility through gaming and war gaming


  • Janne Åkerström
  • Göran Bergström
  • Peter Rindstål
  • Erik Nordstrand
  • Peter Hammar

Publish date: 2012-05-02

Report number: FOI-R--3362--SE

Pages: 28

Written in: Swedish


  • Gaming
  • defence studies
  • gaming experience
  • method support


Gaming is a useful method for bringing together a number of people with different areas of expertise, so that they together can evaluate and analyse a complex problem. Gaming is also a useful method when the objective is to knowledge and professional expertise that is hard to articulate explicitly. Gaming has been used rather extensively and for many years in the area of defence studies within the Swedish Armed Forces. It has been, and still, is very common that these studies are supported by operations research analysts from FOI, the Swedish Defence Research Agency, knowledge about how to best utilize gaming is very important to these analysts. The authors of this report have interviewed several experienced operations research analysts about their experiences with gaming and asked for their advice regarding gaming within defence studies. The purpose is to make this knowledge available to less experienced analysts, and to military officers interested in defence studies. The authors have also studied military handbooks to understand how the conduct of, and methodological approach to, defence studies is described there. This report consists of a collection of the most important advice given during the interviews, proposals as to how FOI could improve its ability to support defence studies conducted by the Swedish Armed Forces, and finally the reflections of the authors are presented. The piece of advice that was given the most importance by the interviewees was that the aims and purpose of the study at hand must be clear before beginning preparations to conduct a gaming session. Furthermore, the role and conduct of proper documentation of a gaming session was highlighted. This is usually a core activity for analysts assigned to a study. During the interviews it also became clear that a great deal of gaming experience is needed within a study group if it is to conduct a successful gaming session without external assistance. Finally, the authors conclude that the process of preparing for a gaming session in itself seems to enforce a structured way to approach the problems to be addressed, which has a beneficial effect on the work to be done as a whole.