FREE e-Newsletter
Important News - Hot Topics
Get them Now!

Departments : Best Practices For...

Wargaming as Training

Small agencies in particular benefit from table top exercises that accomplish important training with few resources.

October 11, 2010  |  by Amaury Murgado - Also by this author


There is a school of thought that suggests good training is proportionate to the amount of money you spend; the more you spend the better the training. But effective trainers know that's not the case. They know the will to train is far more important than any other factor. They also know that the responsibility to train remains the same regardless of agency size or budget.

A successful strategy therefore starts by leaving excuses behind and continues with identifying specific goals and objectives. The final step is figuring out how you can meet them with the resources you have.

Training is an issue you meet head on and build upon over time. The trick is not reinventing the wheel but keeping it rolling. We can keep our training rolling forward with wargaming.

Though any agency can benefit from wargaming, it tends to be more beneficial for smaller agencies because they start off with fewer resources. It's simple, cost effective, and highly adaptable to individual needs. The reason it's so cost effective is that in its most basic form, the only resources an agency needs are time and imagination.

What Exactly is Wargaming?

Wargaming is a simulation based on theoretical strategic decision-making. It is used primarily by the military. A similar technique is used outside the military and is commonly referred to as table top exercises. This approach of working through scenarios with key players is used by Fortune 500 companies and the federal government.

A table top exercise can be as low-tech as using pen and paper or as high-tech as a computer simulation spanning several days. It is a proven training vehicle that allows you to evaluate your effectiveness during a critical incident before one happens. Instead of waiting for the real thing to surprise you, you run through it theoretically first.

The intrinsic value of this process is it allows you to train at any level and work on any issue. Since your only limitations are time and imagination, funding and agency size can no longer be viewed as obstacles.

In his book "Leadership," former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani attributed much of his response tactics after the attack of the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001, to this type of training. Members of Giuliani's key staff routinely participated in many table top exercises. One in particular revolved around a single engine aircraft slamming into one of the twin towers.

Obviously that simulation was not on the same scale as the terrorist attack, but it did give Giuliani's staff an opportunity to work out some of the bugs in their overall response planning. By the end of the exercise, the group was able to resolve many important issues that had not been confronted before. Many key issues were simply identified from casual conversation between participants.

I can only imagine the number of what ifs and I never thought of that befores going on. When the terrorist attack did come, Giuliani and his crew responded with a higher level of preparedness than had they not done their table top exercise.

Tags: Best Practices, Reality-Based Training


Be the first to comment on this story





POLICE Magazine does not tolerate comments that include profanity, personal attacks or antisocial behavior (such as "spamming" or "trolling"). This and other inappropriate content or material will be removed. We reserve the right to block any user who violates this, including removing all content posted by that user.

Other Recent Stories

Williamsburg: Policing Where the Present Meets the Past
A former NYPD cop, Hamilton moved to this quiet Tidewater community more than 15 years ago...
Dealing with Confirmation Bias
One of the biggest things you can do to correct confirmation bias is to try to disprove...
Good, Bad, and Awful News: A Month on the Job
Each week, the staff here at POLICE posts a couple dozen or more news items on...
Policing Tourist Areas: Working Where Others Play
Law enforcement officers who work in tourism towns have a two-fold mission, protecting the...
Tactical Medicine in Transition
So if emergency medical response during critical incidents is now going to be performed by...

Get Your FREE Trial Issue and Win a Gift! Subscribe Today!
Yes! Please rush me my FREE TRIAL ISSUE of POLICE magazine and FREE Officer Survival Guide with tips and tactics to help me safely get out of 10 different situations.

Just fill in the form to the right and click the button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.

If POLICE does not satisfy you, just write "cancel" on the invoice and send it back. You'll pay nothing, and the FREE issue is yours to keep. If you enjoy POLICE, pay only $25 for a full one-year subscription (12 issues in all). Enjoy a savings of nearly 60% off the cover price!

Offer valid in US only. Outside U.S., click here.
It's easy! Just fill in the form below and click the red button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.
First Name:
Last Name:
Rank:
Agency:
Address:
City:
State:
  
Zip Code:
 
Country:
We respect your privacy. Please let us know if the address provided is your home, as your RANK / AGENCY will not be included on the mailing label.
E-mail Address:

Police Magazine