Military War-games and World War III – The Narrative Design Exploratorium™

Military War-games and World War III

 Putin, Bush, and Cheney play a War-game in the parlorAccording to The Department of Defense a war game is “a simulation, by
whatever means, of a military operation involving two or more opposing
forces, using rules, data, and procedures designed to depict an actual
or assumed real life situation.”[1]  It seems that Russia, the European Union and the United States of America, are in a very real war-game about the future of new Europe.  Grabbing “living-space” for Russia in Georgia must be a move made with a greater strategy.  Certainly it must be part of a larger campaign, but what is the goal? 

Not long ago, ‘total annihilation’ had the United States and the former USSR both engaged in war-games to determine the outcome of such a scenario should it escalate to “World War III”.  Thanks to war-game strategic studies by the likes of Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), only three outcomes where determined to be possible in the confrontation between the two powers: “1. Loss of Command and Control 2. Unleashing Tactical Nuclear Weapons 3. Gas or Biological Attack“. [2]

SHAPE, located in The Hague, runs
possibly the largest gaming operations outside the United States with
the aim of providing “analysis at the strategic level to identify
capability shortfalls and to assign priorities to them.”[3] 
Out of game-play, combat models are generated and ultimately used to
create global military strategies.  The Lanchester equations used by NATO shows
when a game of Tactical Nuclear Weapons is played out using a “simplified force” that the United States must be 9 times as
effective to win a duel of nuclear tactics with Russia.  The narratives generated by these equations, strategists
and their war-games are quite compelling, and frankly very scary.

“Simultaneously, the Central Army Group
and 4th Tactical Air Force launch conventional and nuclear strikes
against the following tank army and severely disrupt it’s advance,
throwing its command and control into chaos. Again, the improved
effectiveness of NATO’s new classes of nuclear warheads achieves a high
level of military effectiveness. The reduced collateral damage [death
and injury of civilians] of these warheads couple with the West German
civil defense program and keeps civilian causalities relatively low.”

words about serious military war-games.  We don’t live in 1987, but
when this material was published, the reality of such warfare was
daunting. Frankly at times it seems like it’s not far off for us even
in the present.  War-games help strategic peoples make decisions. 
a doubt the current situation is influencing serious games in war-rooms
across the globe.  What strategies are emerging from these games, and
being employed in this dance of international diplomacy? Is this a
game, or is it real?  Asked exactly what measures Russia would take, Putin was quoted as answering “You’ll see.” [4]

1. The Military Dictionary, Diane Publishing, 1987
2. Thomas B. Allen, War Games, McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1987
3. SHAPE Website,, 2008
4. VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV, Putin vows ‘an answer’ to NATO ships near Georgia,YahooNews 2008

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This page contains a single article by Stephen E. Dinehart published on September 2, 2008 4:30 PM.

Masters of Narrative Design™ 5: Scott Miller was the previous entry in this blog.

Training for War: on the origins of serious war-gaming is the next entry in this blog.

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