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09 June 2023

King's hosts Wargaming Week with NATO ACT

Wargaming enthusiasts and researchers from around the world gathered at 'Wargaming Week 2023' to promote the expansion and democratisation of wargaming as a valuable method of inquiry.

Wargaming 2023

In partnership with NATO ACT, King’s College London hosted an immersive series of events that explored contemporary challenges in wargaming and showcased the innovative work being carried out by staff and students from King’s Wargaming Network and the School of Security Studies. This included Wargaming demonstrations, analytics games that simulate various aspects of warfare at different levels—tactical, operational, and strategic. These simulations aim to enhance knowledge and decision-making, offering valuable insights into the complexities of warfare. 

"The advantage of wargames is their ability to bridge the gap between intellectual understanding and practical experience. People may possess a conceptual understanding of a problem, but they may lack a true sense of how it operates or what it feels like to be immersed in such a situation. For example, we have designed a game that simulates a conflict between Russia and NATO over Finland—a multi-domain battle unfolding across various arenas, including space, cyber, logistics, and deployment. This game allows participants to gain firsthand experience of the complexities involved in such a conflict, serving as an exceptional educational tool"

Dr David Banks.

In the welcome remarks, Officer Aaron Beam from NATO Allied Command Transformation emphasised the importance of collaboration, networking, and cultural change in developing wargaming within NATO.  

"Wargaming is a priority for NATO, as it is essential for advancing the alliance's concepts, capabilities, plans, and training. We have been steadily building our capacity through collaboration and cultural change, relying on the generosity of alliance members. This week has been a valuable opportunity for networking and knowledge sharing"

Officer Aaron Beam, NATO ACT.

International researchers and practitioners shared their insights and perspectives through exhibitions and panels to discuss the latest developments and challenges in the wargaming world. This included MA graduates who presented their wargames, highlighting the practical application of wargaming methodologies.

For Anna Nettleship, Managing Director of the King's Wargaming Network, the event was an opportunity to connect with featured speakers from academia and professional and military organisations.

"Wargaming is important both professionally and academically. It plays a vital role in planning, informs policy decisions, ensures their effectiveness and inclusion in the decision-making process, and holds significance as a method of inquiry. While there are various excellent academic research methods, wargaming stands out by capturing and modelling decision-making processes in a unique manner. This makes it an indispensable component for a comprehensive examination of certain types of research"

Anna Nettleship.

The event enabled MA students to connect with specialists from NATO and various organisations working in the field of security and defence.  

"The Wargaming Week provides us, as students, a valuable platform to connect with potential future employers and gain a fresh perspective on wargaming from different perspectives. I also have been part of the Wargaming Analyst Programme and conducted test games for this event, which has broadened my understanding of wargaming construction and the elements that constitute a successful game"

Julia Brandkamp, MA Student.

The Wargaming Network is a research group within the School of Security Studies that aims to advance the theory and application of wargaming as a method of inquiry and as a method of learning and teaching.

Find out more information here.

In this story

David Banks

Lecturer in Wargaming

Managing Director of the King's Wargaming Network

James W.E. Smith

Laughton-Corbett Visiting Research Fellow

Aggie  Hirst

Reader in International Relations Theory and Methods