The Serious Role of Gaming at RAND
RAND uses gaming techniques to develop insights into a host of 21st century challenges.
In this Events @ RAND podcast, David Shlapak, codirector of the RAND Center for Gaming, describes a recent series of games examining potential results of a Russian invasion of the Baltics. He discusses the strengths, weaknesses, and limitations of using gaming in research.
David A. Shlapak
Senior International Research Analyst and Codirector, RAND Center for Gaming, RAND Corporation
A series of wargames examined the probable outcome of a Russian invasion of the Baltic states. The wargames showed that a near-term Russian invasion could reach the Estonian and Latvian capitals in less than 60 hours.
David Shlapak discusses how using games in research can help improve decisionmaking across a wide range of areas, including national security, health care, and climate change.
The act of designing a game will force you to articulate your theory or to be more specific about it. It will also require you to operationalize your variables and theoretical constructs of interest into a specific context, and prompt you to anticipate the ways in which it may play out in that scenario.
A series of wargames examined the threat Russia may present to the three Baltic republics. As currently postured, NATO could not defend the territory. What might be done to prevent Russia from attempting to reclaim it?
Some famous historical wargames offer a compelling narrative of what wargames can be at their best and worst, but they cannot illustrate the full range of contemporary wargaming that leaders should strive to achieve. A better understanding of how wargames can be helpful — or backfire — is critical.