LLST’s own Matthew Stevens was invited to speak at the 13th NATO OR&A (Operational Research and Analysis) Conference in Ottawa, Canada, on 7 Oct, 2019.
Matt presented on the importance of modeling the behaviour of actors not traditionally represented in “wargaming” exercises, such as civilians and refugees or humanitarian workers. All too often, civilian or refugee behaviour is abstract (a die roll or a card flip) rather than embodied, experienced, and analysed by a participant. As humanitarian and military action is increasingly entwined, understanding the decision-making spaces of non-military actors has direct impact on military decisions. LLST’s work in humanitarian simulation could contribute to building military wargames with more humane training and analysis outcomes. As an exercise, the presentation included a walkthrough of the development of a matrix exercise on the increasing pressure and realistic potential for return of Syrian refugees to Syria (and explored how a simulation exercise demonstrates that return continues to be unlikely).
It was a fantastic honour to speak among (and in front of!) some of the most experienced wargamers in NATO and the world. The warm reception of NATO teams to humanitarian concerns (and the LLST method) was both humbling and extremely exciting!
Matt’s slides can be found here: http://www.llst.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2019-10-04-LLST-NATO-ORA-Ottawa-Conference-d2.pdf