Wargaming at National Defense University
Tell us about a unique project you are working on and the impact it will have?
Over the past month I was tasked to help redevelop an older wargame exercise designed to test flag officers at the 0-7 level and above with decision-making skills for anti-terrorist/force protection (AT/FP) issues. The original game focused on AT/FP at a Marine installation in the south-eastern U.S. whereas the new simulation will feature a Navy base in the southwest that is more embedded within a civilian area. The game forces officers to understand, among other lessons, how coordination and cooperation with local law enforcement and emergency services can be crucial to ensuring the safety and security of both military personnel and local residents during a terrorist attack. Such training is of critical importance to base commanders, especially in the wake of past attacks on military installations in Washington, DC, Texas and elsewhere.
Did anything surprise you? What?
What was most surprising to me about the CASL office was its relatively linear management style. Many government offices suffer under the weight of terrible bureaucratic strictures that can stifle innovation and disenfranchise even the most gung-ho employees. CASL has none of that. Every person from intern through the Director is immensely approachable, open to any new ideas and willing to help out on every project. Despite having only been at the office since the beginning of June, I have had opportunities to work on a number of different projects and have had interactions with all levels of staff.
How will this experience help you in your job search and career?
The job market, for better or worse, is less about what you know and increasingly about who you know (or who you’re willing to reach out to). This is the second internship I have worked during my time at SSP, which helps immensely as I grow my professional network in the security field. NDU in general has too many specialized departments to name but I have had the opportunity throughout the summer to meet with staff from a number of different offices to learn about the work they do and hear their advice on everything from career goals to the best sushi in town (which is, after all, quite important information). Whether or not wargaming, in any capacity, fits in my future path is still to be determined, but having the chance to learn more about the field and see games in action has definitely opened a new and interesting career discipline to explore.