Harry Sarles | Army University Public Affairs
The Command and General Staff College will host the virtual Connections USA 2021 conference June 21-25. Connections is an annual non-profit interdisciplinary conference with an enduring mission to advance the art, science and application of wargaming as a means to understand the real world.
CGSC plays a significant role in the Department of Defense wargaming community, with expertise in the areas of using wargames in education and in educating wargamers. Leaders and instructors from the Directorate of Simulation Education have attended and assisted in running Connections for decades. Hosting Connections at CGSC is an extension of the college’s long participation in the conference.
Ethics and Wargaming is the theme of this year’s Connections conference. The conference will feature talks by Joe Miranda, editor of Strategy & Tactics, a leading wargame simulation magazine; retired Lt. Gen. Richard Keller, former chief of staff of the U.S. European Command and former general manager of Cubic Applications; and Dr. Shannon French, who directs the first master’s degree program in military ethics in the United States. In 1973, French published “The Code of the Warrior,” which examined ethics and warfare in warrior values.
The conference was originally planned to be live at Fort Leavenworth but was changed to virtual so that planning and scheduling could continue in keeping with COVID-19 guidelines.
“When we planned for Connections to be live at CGSC, we hoped to bring many of the CGSC faculty and interested personnel from other organizations across post in to Connections,” said Dr. James Sterrett of CGSC’s Directorate of Simulation Education.
“Run virtually, that has not happened to the extent we had hoped,” he said. “Even so, over half a dozen CGSC faculty outside of DSE are presenting on their use of wargaming at CGSC, including a talk on Land Power, CGSC’s in-house designed wargame used in the Advanced Operations Course.”
The focus on ethics came about because of its importance in training, education, military operations and wargame conduct.
“This year, we put it in the spotlight. How do we use wargaming to train and educate ethical leaders? How do we effectively include ethical dilemmas into wargaming?” Sterrett said.
The conference is free and the presentations will be available on YouTube. Game labs and demos will be available throughout the conference. Working groups include Unethical Wargaming, Gaming the Irrational, Educating Wargamers, Wargaming for Education, and Gaming to Build Ethical Leaders.
This year, Connections will have a joint session during the conference with the Military Operations Research Society (https://www.mors.org/) highlighting common organizational goals and synergies.
The conference is co-sponsored by the CGSC Foundation. To register, visit at https://www.cgscfoundation.org/connections-2021-registration.