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Wild Blue Yonder on the Air - Ep. 19 - Mr. Sebastian Bae on Wargaming

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Opinions, conclusions, and recommendations expressed or implied within are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of the Air University, the United States Air Force, the Department of Defense, or any other US government agency.

Dr. Megan Hennessey: Welcome to Wild Blue Yonder on the Air, Air University’s podcast. I am Dr. Megan Hennessey, Director of the Air University Teaching and Learning Center, here today with Mr. Sebastian Bae. Hey, Sebastian.

Mr. Sebastian Bae: Hey, good morning.

Hennessey: Sebastian is a game designer and research analyst on the Gaming and Integration Team at the Center for Naval Analyses. Thank you for joining us.

Bae: Yeah, I'm really happy to join you guys this morning. 

Hennessey: Is this your first time down at Air University?

Bae: It is. It’s my first time down in Alabama, actually in the whole state, so this is a special occasion,

Hennessey: Welcome to the Air Force world. So, your edited volume entitled Forging Wargamers was recently published through Marine Corps University Press and I’m wondering if you could please share more about the main message of the book and why it is important to military education at this time.

BaeThe edited volume came out of the Connections working group. The Connections Conference is an annual professional wargaming event. A conference that is held usually in the NCR but bounces around from PME institutions.

As we are working on working groups every year, last year, 2021, seems like forever ago. We were tasked with thinking about how do we think about wargaming in the future in terms of talent management, developing new wargame designers, but also expanding the field in terms of the topics we address and so forth.

So, my working group, which I was sharing with Matt Caffrey, settled on the topic of how do we cultivate, foster, raise new wargamers? And we use the term wargamers pretty broadly in this context.

We included players, sponsors who sponsor board games, analytically or educationally. We included designers who make games and everyone in between. So, we thought about this question of how do we open the aperture? How do we open the gateway for people to enter our field, which is pretty niche, right?

It's pretty small and insular in many ways, but we wanted to open the flood doors or at least start cracking the windows.

That was the question we addressed to all the authors, and all the authors were fantastic because they have come from many different experiences and perspectives.

We had everyone from social scientists looking at it from their perspective of how do we include it into academia, as an academic discipline, how do we use it for experimentation and include political scientists who are not gamers, who have never met or who may have never been exposed to it and they built on work from like Andrew Ready and Jacqueline Schneider at Stanford and Berkeley.

And then, we had other people who were uniformed service officers, like Ian Brown at the Krulak Center, along with Paul Kearney down at the Center for Army Analysis. They looked at it differently.

Paul has a great chapter on how do we develop on the job training and that's how many of us learn, right?

So, it was the first time someone was like, hey, this is how we do it, I see it. Ian talked about how Marine Corps University, MCU, enterprise writ large, is approaching the problem about the different games they're using from all the way down to the enlisted level, all the way up to the Command Staff College that they're using at MCWAR (Marine Corps Wargaming Center) and so forth. So, he has a wide-ranging article on that.

But in reality, the real question was how do we forge wargamers? And we want to open the aperture and be like, hey, this is the field that you can board.

This has many debates about it, about what is a game and so forth, but our question was, what makes a wargamer, whether you're a player, consumer, analyst, a sponsor, or a designer. And we wanted to tackle it from different directions, and I don't think the edited volume gives you any particular answer.

It just gives you many different perspectives. Hopefully, hopefully, it will provide you the perspective that you need from whatever perspective you're sitting at, whether it's at Air University or Army War College or some civilian school like Georgetown, where I come from, or MIT, or anywhere else, right? Or maybe you're in a unit.

One of the things I want to do, hopefully in the future when I have time, is expand the volume to a second edition to include different perspectives, including how do you include different interdisciplinary fields into wargaming as players, but those are experts also as designers, but also how, how do we cultivate and foster and sustain wargaming down at the tactical units, down at the squadron level, at the battalion level, at the company level, and there are more perspectives that way. One of the things I really regret not having in the first volume is having the perspective of a non-wargamer who was an instructor or used it, whether you were a commander or a PME faculty member that used wargaming for the first time and having those challenges sort of codified it to share, right?

Because I think a lot of times, as we discussed yesterday at the workshop, a lot of people are afraid of it. They're like, hey, I don't know this uncomfortable thing. I never heard about this. I don't know how to use it. I have limited time, so failure costs a lot in my curriculum, and I think it is reassuring and also helpful when you have a bit of a road map saying, hey look, this other person trotted a path similar to mine, maybe not exactly, and maybe there are lessons learned that I can learn from them to include in my PME course or how I implement tactical wargaming down at the squadron or company level.

Hennessey:  Thank you. You use the word cultivate and I know we're having lots of conversations throughout military education about lifelong learning and the continuum of learning and the learning ecosystem. The word cultivate suggests a lifelong process, almost like farming or growing something from the ground up. Can you say more about what that means for wargamers?

Bae: Yeah, so for me, the way the reason I use cultivating is because not every student in a war game class will go on to be a war game designer or even an analyst or you know, use war gaming in any way.

Using analogy that I've recently talked about with colleagues at Georgetown was, I roughly have anywhere between a dozen to 18 students in my wargaming design course. My class is a design course, so its primarily focus is on producing designers. Of let's say a dozen or 18 students, probably 1/4 of them will want to do it beyond the class. Others will be like, oh, this was a great experience. I've learned a lot, but thank you, goodbye. And that's OK. That's totally OK, because their literacy in gaming has increased by taking the course, which isn't really important, but of the quarter that will want to do it, only maybe one or two will really take a job in game design.

If you think about it, as you cultivate the field, only small portions of it will enter the designer bin of actual apprenticeship and so forth and all those, some may even attract along that way right? So, this is why a training pipeline is really important. Just like we have rank retention and rank attrition as certain points, some ranks are really hard, like captains just fall out of the sky like flies. So, that's why you have so many. Similarly I think as we are thinking about attrition across that pipeline as jobs are limited experiences, they're limited, and skills are hard to get and time consuming. We have to think about how do we build this continuum of learning and cultivate them.

Because getting them into a place like CNA, where I work, where we have hired young war game designers, but it takes time when they walk through the door, even if they take my class, it doesn't mean that they can design a game right away by themselves on $1,000,000 budget.

It means that they know a lot more than the average person and the average analyst, and they can design games and can help with games, but there's lots to learn about. Like how do you design a game for a particular sponsor, or how do you adjust timelines or how do I manage a budget or where is the information I need?

And so forth. So, there's still a lot to learn and there's a long apprenticeship before they will go on and lead their own designs and take on apprentices of their own.

But if you think about it, it's already a years’ long process and they will continue cultivating. Like even I am. I was talking with Phil from LeMay, and we're considered like senior designers in many regards and we are probably one of a handful of people, who are under the age of 40, with that sort of distinction and we still feel, sometimes in some rooms, like, we are the youngest people and we don't know anything.

When you're sitting at a table with Peter Perlow or Ed McGrady, who have literally decades of learning and games and experiences under their belt, we are always learning at their feet, as well as learning from our own experiences and also adjusting to different sponsors and different environments. I'm always constantly learning myself, and I try to think about that as well as, how do you grow from a journeyman to an expert to a master?

And I think that is true for the PME side as well. Just because you took one class at your squadron school, and you graduate, you're like, oh, I've mastered it all and there's nothing more to learn.

It's just the beginning. Often formal education is just the beginning for you to really build on that systemic structure, learning to go and build, build higher, and that's what it's all about.

Hennessey: Along with simulations and other immersive learning techniques, wargaming is specifically called out in the recently published DoD Instruction 1322.35 on military education. And in that DODI, it says that wargaming should be used as a way to “Ensure military professionals demonstrate proficiencies, remain intellectually agile, and can identify and incorporate emerging technological, organizational, and operational innovations.” So a pretty tall order. How can we know educational wargaming actually works and is helping students to achieve these outcomes and build these competencies?

Bae:  I jokingly tell people that I keep a copy of joint pub 1322.35 like in my back pocket. It's on my Google Drive that I always show people I'm, like, let me show you this new joint pub. But joking aside. It is one, that document among others for the, let's say, the Marine Corps and the Commandant’s Planning Guidance and the recent Forces On 2030, and other services have been leaning into similar learning, experiential learning or what we call 21st century learning, which no one has really fully defined for me yet. But I think those are all really important to understand.

In the classroom, in schoolhouses, in units, learning has to be multi-method, right? Interdisciplinary lectures and the hip pocket classes are just not enough. If you’re only getting one year in your part of your learning experience, then you need a full complement.

So, with that said, formal evaluation of the learning outcomes of wargaming is honestly, admittedly, and sadly understudied. This is problematic because often we don't have long in total studies of saying like we follow this group of people and we discover how they learn and so forth.

A lot of the wargaming benefit, in terms of quantification or qualification in either regard has been focused on the historical, often looking backwards, and from participants from like the Naval War College, and Interwar period gaming and has been famous for its educational gaming prior to World War Two. Or it relies on like depressions or other institutions that have done it and looked backward like, hey, that was really important to us.

But that kind of historical perspective is useful, but also flawed and biased in some regards, right?

You find the points that you want to, even from first-hand accounts. The problem is that first-hand accounts are not always reliable, and they can have their own biases towards it and so forth.

Like for example, hypothetically, let's say we were reading a journal from a Naval War College graduate and it says hey, the interwar periods were great and helped me as a squadron commander in the Pacific in your main whatever battle.

And we read that and we're like, oh yes, this is proof right there in someone's handwriting, who lived and breathed during that time, but also at the same time he may have thought about other courses as well.

Or he may have not remembered a professor or anything else, or maybe it was really, truly profound.

Although we as war game designers, as we preach the gospel right, we point to those instances, we also have to be critical of them as well. And we as a field must always be like, hey, these historical analogies and case studies are great to humanize them, to contextualize them, to give real-world applications and instances, but at the same time, we were like one of the things we as, if you'll have to do is like, OK, then where are the numbers?

But also where is the structure quantification over years? We discuss things like, hey, is there a method of where we can even survey students who go through the service academies or any of these PME schools? And then be like, hey, you did wargaming, how did you think about it every year that you went through a schoolhouse? Or have surveys across SOS, Squadron Officer school, and survey them and see if in one year or in one cohort, have we done in the past like surveys and feedback from student.

It's about war games in particular instances and courses that have more gaming in smaller batches. Like we will do it for a class and so forth, but we have not truly implemented them across a systemic like schoolhouse and across time.

There's great work at MCU right now for Dr. Kuehn, who is trying to do a lot of that work, and I'm eagerly waiting for her to do more. And I was like, yes, do all the things I say we should do, but I don't have time to do and she's doing fantastic job working on it and I think that is a step in the right direction.

But honestly, we need like three or four of her across all service academies and PME and schoolhouses. But that is admittedly a hole in our literature, but I think that'll be really rich.

There's a lot of rich literature on broad based game-based learning that we have often relied on as resources of showing how game based experiential learning is really powerful and that has been useful in filling the gap in the literature that we have now provided ourselves in the military context.

Look at the Inter-War period. Look at Dunn-Kampf. Look at TAC war.

These are great instances, and we'll say hey and then game-based learning writ large has said these are good methods of experiential learning and even from my presentation yesterday, I filled in a lot of that qualification, and you know, sort of, how do we know if this works with civilian broad based game-based learning and sort of educational theory but also at the same time, what we have to ask ourselves from the military PME side is, does this still work the same way on the PME side?

Personally, I think it does because I think education works pretty broadly, and even though each subject and each community and sort of application is unique, there's a general ability that applies across the spectrum.

But at the same time, one of the key criticisms we always get is how does this help the warfighter in the future?

This is true for any education. This is probably true for PME, and I think as we as on the educational side, are able to advocate and quantify but also qualify what education does for the war fighter in the future, I think that it is really important.

The way I always say it is that we always talk about training our bodies for combat training or running PFTs quarterly and so forth. But I always argue like we should put like even half the energy that we do for your body mass indexes and PFT scores, and how many crunches you can do, to measure not only the ethical, but also the intellectual character of our officers and NCOs, we would be a tremendous force multiplier. Because how fast you can run doesn't make a difference if you make bad decisions. If anything, that just means you run into bad decisions faster.

So, the real question is, how do we cultivate and have our officers or NCOs and our enlisted really exercise their brains on a daily, monthly, yearly, quarterly basis in engaging in powerful ways just like we have them go to the gym?

The brain is a muscle, and we need to train it and keep it up and cultivate it throughout their whole career.

Hennessey:  Is there anything that educational wargaming cannot do?

Bae: Oh, so much, all right. As someone who loves educational gaming and loves gaming, as both a player and as a designer, I will tell you all the great benefits of gaming. I will also tell you where it fails.

Educational gaming is great, but it is not a panacea to learning. It's not like this is the best method, only method they should ever use. I think there is always a little fear of it in PME schoolhouses and curriculums writ large, was like, oh my God, gaming is going to eat all the curriculum and we'll never do traditional lectures or seminars or any of these other like staff rides or things.

I'm like, no, no, no, no. Just like your diet, you need a balance. I mean a portion of everything. You need lectures, you need that discussion of seminars, and you need more gaming. You need staff rides. There is a power to staff rides and being able to walk the hills of Gettysburg or whatever, and I think that is important because each of those methods have their own weaknesses. Lectures are pretty passive.

I can see, even when I'm lecturing right, and I'm pretty loud and engaging, that like some of my students right around like nearly 8:30 PM where my electrodes are going towards the end and we end at 9, they're glossing over there. It's hard, especially since I take all their laptops away, so they can't be on like Tik Tok and things.

And then for seminars when you have group discussions, those are great for extroverted learners, but the shy person, the quiet person, they're not engaged as much because it doesn't lean into their strengths.

Same thing with wargaming, it is great for experiential learning, but if you don't have that knowledge or if you are, again, not super or leaning or the group dynamic may be bad for you, or certain personalities may push other personalities out. Like, there are weaknesses to gaming as a method, but the point is, is that if you hopefully have a full complement of little bits of everything, sort of like a dim sum approach, right and finding the right balance for your schoolhouse and your curriculum.

Because one class at Air University may have lots of war gaming. It may be 80% war gaming and 20% lectures, another maybe 80% lectures and nearly 20% gaming, or some other combination of other mixed methods.

The point is finding the right balance and understanding what each educational tool offers to the instructor and to the student and how to mix and match them to have the right flavor profile that adds to the learning objectives of your course.

Some things that educational wargaming and wargaming writ large can't do is like, provide you a simple answer.

If you're asking games to be like, hey how can I win the war against China or how will Ukraine win against Russia? It can show you one possibility, but has anyone with academic or research background asked, what can you do with one data point? Draw a line in any direction.

So, the idea is that it is powerful. The process is powerful because the process of dissecting and interrogating your own logic as you make decisions, is the powerful portion.

It doesn't really matter who wins in games and especially in educational games, it only really matters because competition will force players to come back and learn again.

But as a teacher, you don't really care, right, if one side wins over the other. You care about how they did it and if they're introspective of their process. About that hot wash, the hot wash is as important as the game.

So, if you're running a full day game, a good portion of it should be about discussion. About having those questions of like, Megan, why did you make that decision? And you're like, you know what, I made these sorts of risk calculus, and I was like, sometimes you just got to roll with it.

And I was like, well, that's interesting. What does everyone else think about that? Or you're like, hey, I did some weird thing.

I mean, I remember from our lectures about these things, and I was like playing a game with a mixed group of civilian students from my Georgetown class and some Marines and we're playing OWS, which is an operational war game by Tim Barrett, designed by the Marine Corps and they use it pretty predominantly at Marine Corps University.

It's a great game, has different modules and we're playing the Assassin's Mace, the Pacific version of it and one of the Marines, later on his carrier structure was destroyed because he was very hesitant to enter the DF range ballistic missile defense. And we were dissecting why. We were like, why were you doing this? And he's like, well, like, you see these sort of range rings on PowerPoints and just think like, they are just going to kill you no matter what you do.

So he didn't and he was like paralyzed by his own knowledge and sort of the things that he'd been told.

But then we're like, but at the same time, his other, there was a parallel CSG run by another Marine, and he was saying the same thing, and I was like, well you guys are from the same cohort. Why did you go sort of straightforward and he sort of lingered on the outside and really sort of missed the fight and he was just like, well, I'm not going to be able to do anything at this range, so either I go in and risk it, and in his words, risk it for the biscuit right, or I get left behind. And there's probably a balance between those two mentalities.

Well, the point is, is that the games allow us to dissect those lessons. They both went to the same lectures, saw the same PowerPoint, the range rings of death, but the question is where is the balance? Where is four leaning or aggressive mentality important? Where is sort of caution and being patient at the same time, and I don't think either one is wrong, it's really the question of context.

In this context, the aggression was rewarded, but at the same time, maybe in other instances that strategic patience is really important. And that discussion was really fruitful.

Hennessey: Thank you. We've talked about this a little bit already, but you mentioned earlier that failure costs a lot. And much of the criticism of educational wargaming that we hear at the Teaching and Learning Center at Air University seems to focus on concerns over limited time or what I've heard referred to as “the tyranny of content.” Faculty believe that in order to put wargaming into a course, something else must come out, and the sacrifice of time or content might not always pay off.

So how would you counter this argument?

Bae:  The tyranny of content is a great term, and I will steal that shamelessly. I think the first rebuttal to that is the notion that, that is true for anything. When the Ukraine war broke out earlier this year, I bet you there's a bunch of PME classes changing their syllabus and curriculum to add discussions about the Russian conflict in Ukraine. Discussions about wearing long range fires and ISR, about airpower. Ground based air defenses are as powerful as we always assume they were given past instances, or if it's just Russian incompetence. There are fruitful and powerful discussions still happening with very few answers.

And I bet you there are classes who change their syllabus, they scratched out things and added things, and curriculum adjustment and adaptation is just part of the term. If your syllabus has not changed in 10 years, it's probably problematic. If it hasn't changed in five years. There's almost never a year that I don't go changing my syllabus for my design course.

Because I will add a new article, replace the old one, add a new lecturer with a new perspective, or even switch up the lecturers because I'm like, well, I've learned that this order is better.

And I think you should always be willing to take a critical eye to your syllabus and to your curriculum.

And some of that's harder because, some of the PME courses are mandated with what their syllabus can do and yeah, I mean, there's no solution to that. When the powers that be says you shall teach this sacrosanct syllabus, right? I'm sorry, like, will watch you and pray for you and root for you, but, there's nothing any of us can do to help you on that one, right?

But if you have control over your syllabus right, and you're struggling with the trade-offs, the question is experiment a little, right? You don't know right? Maybe it will be a hit, maybe it will be an epic failure.

But the point is, is that even from failure, just like in games, right, we'll teach you something. Like you know what, I tried and maybe the execution was wrong, maybe the content was wrong, and so forth.

I think that's really important. I've never experienced an instance of me helping someone else adapt ourselves to incorporate any type of games. From micro games to big games to Capstone games to tackle decision games, there are many different tools and brands of games that don't have to be like full like 2-3 week versions of games.

Like we play Bombdiggity, which is a microgame where you can finish it in like 20 minutes, and that's easily fitted within a classroom. It's just like, hey, what portion of this, or maybe I’ll just replace the seminar portion of one lecture, or reduce the lecture time, or by a few slides to do this short exercise.

And it doesn't always have to be games. It can be other little learning exercises like breaking them into small groups. Again, it's all about that multi-educational approach. And the tyranny of content is real.

And I think for us on the PME side, we have to ask ourselves what is the systemic processes that we need to implement to evaluate, assess and adapt our curriculum on the fly, right? Whether it's finding the right support and the right sort of expertise and the question for here at Air University is, like if I was a faculty member here at Air University teaching somewhere at, let's say, Air Command and Staff College, how do I find, who do I find in my Rolodex, or on the global to ask about support?

More than anything, the tyranny of content is often an excuse because they don't know how to do it, because we all adapt our syllabus in some way or form, and the question is like often they're afraid that you will blow up your well curated garden right of that is your syllabus, by trying something unexpected and untried in your classroom, and that ease and anxiety can be eased in many regards by help. Be like hey, I come to the Teaching and Learning Center.

I ask for help. I ask for your expertise of who have done this or connect me to a faculty member that had a great experience or had a bad experience with it. Just to help me ease into the right sort of track or to understand that not all games gave to be hex encounter, maybe a matrix game is great for you. It really is a version of like a discussion-based game.

So, it really depends and I think I would encourage people to be brave and forward leaning in many regards.

Hennessey: I think the bottom line is reach out to the TLC.

Bae: Yes, yes. Absolutely.

Hennessey: In the introduction to your book, you mentioned that “for the enlisted force, wargaming is a tragically rare commodity.” Of course, Air University educates a huge number of enlisted service members each year. So, what can an instructor at such places as the Senior NCO Academy or the Chief Master Sergeant Leadership Academy do to integrate these war games, and where should they begin?

Bae: So, the way I think about it is. First off, to the rare commodity comment is, it's true. It's tragically true.

I say this as a former enlisted Sergeant in the Marine Corps, is that wargaming very much, even still today, is a domain of learning almost restricted exclusively to officers. If you look at where all the PME wargaming houses are, NPS, Command General Staff College or Army War College, you see a trend that they're all officer schoolhouses. Marine Corps University, at Command and General Staff College and MCWAR.

They're all, or even EWS, all officer schools and then it is great at how educational wargaming has grown on the officer PME side and I'm all about it, but as a former enlisted person, right, I am also about like, hey, how do we push this down to the other 90% of the force who are enlisted, who are supposed to be your senior military advisers? And there is some great progress happening in that regard. So, it's not all doom and gloom, in the sense like the College of Enlisted military education see me as part of the Marine Corps University Enterprise, has really embraced wargaming.

Johnny Lancaster and others have really pushed for it, and they have been advocates for it, and they've just recently hired wargame specialists and designers to help them push it out to virtually to all the campuses, both at Quantico and other bases across the enterprise.

So there is really good and fruitful work happening on that side, but it is lagging behind the officer side. And I think the question really is what kind of gaming do you need to educate your senior enlisted and NCO's and what other games do you want to teach them so they can run it for their subordinates?

I think that is also a really big portion is that maybe Sergeants, we teach them how to use tactical decision games, both as players, but also when they go back to their units they can run it for their Corporals, for their Lance Corporals, for their PFCs, maybe at schoolhouses for Gunnies and 1st Sergeants, we teach them how to think about operations, right?

The same way we teach Captains and Majors about Staffs because that's where they're going to be, advising. Maybe OWS is great for them. Or maybe we have more tactical decision games for Master Guns and Gunnery or your Master Sergeants to talk about your CSRT and how to complete the kill chain or how to do logistics.

We can do MOS specific games about education. Maybe a Master Guns or Master Sergeant has a long range Myers game that he teaches you how to do, like the F2T2 EA process. How do I find, fix, track, target, execute, and assess a target?

Maybe that's the learning process. The question is not only how do we educate senior NCOs and senior enlisted, but also, how do we prepare them to teach other because they're the teacher in the units, right?

I have learned a lot from my Lieutenant and my Captain, but I learned a lot more from my Staff or my Gunny, and they're the ones who have their hands on the Marines all the time.

So, the question is, how do we prepare them to be better mentors, better teachers, better tacticians, and operators down at the lowest level possible? And the question is, I think it's like one of the favorite things I love is, like tactical decision games.

They're easy. You could put them on an 8 by 11 piece of paper and be like have a great discussion about it right? You can also have it have versions of Microgaming push down. One the greatest responses to the microgames has been at the enlisted level because they're like, this is great. Like I could just print it out, have it near me in the morning. Cut it. Have my enlisted cut it out right? And we'll play a game and then we'll have a discussion. Or you can pair them up with reading, right?

There's a lot of great ways to pair reading and historical gaming, right? A colleague of mine who's over at three maps was looking at how to incorporate gaming.

So, he does this sort of weekly gaming session, like hey anyone, enlisted, PFC, or officers, come in and we'll run, you know, a four-hour game. I will teach you how to play, and it has garnered a lot of interest, slowly but steadily, and I think that's a powerful element.

It's also great to have enlisted leaders and officers at the same table, sort of the same playing ground like one of my favorite portions that I've loved is watching young enlisted like Corporals and Sergeants face off against their officers in a game.

And they're like, you ever want to see, like, true bloodlust, right? Like these enlisted are like, yes, we finally get to prove our worth. And you can be surprised about what you learn about your enlisted, who are sharp, who are listening, and how engaged they are with the problem, and I don't think we give the enlisted ranks enough credit. I think these games are a great way to engage them intellectually.

Hennessey: Thanks Sebastian. At this point, is there anything else you want to expand upon?

Bae: I guess I'll reiterate one point, which is there's no one-size-fits-all model for gaming. This is true for there's no rights size game that hits both tactical and strategic and operation at an equal level. If there was, I would have designed it and retired. In many regards, you have to have bespoke solutions.

There are some things that will be applied across certain levels. A great game about Microgaming, about aviation may be applied to many squadrons, but if you are a maintainer squadron, maybe you don't care about like you're in the fighter jet.

Maybe I care about something like Kingfish, which is talking about how do I set up airbases, how do I maintain that supply line, how do I survive in the WEZ, the weapons engagement zone.

And so, the real question is how do we prepare the tools and equip our leaders in the enlisted ranks on the officer ranks to be better leaders, better mentors, better wargamers, but also better facilitators?

Because my goal is not to only just have them be players and learning, because you also learn being a teacher yourself. I think that's really important. So, in my ideal world, a Captain and Lieutenant will do a lot of wargaming, but they will turn around and go to their units after they go to the schoolhouses and do it with their subordinates, with their senior enlisted, with their Gunnies, with their Staff Sergeant.

And similarly, staffs do it with the Majors and Lieutenant Colonels, who are on. Staffs do it with not only their peers and their peer group, but also with your senior enlisted and other units, and hopefully have that exchange of knowledge from the two shop to the three shop to the five shop to the six shop.

Because too often we stay in our lanes and we don't talk to each other. Shockingly, games are great to have that table talk, and I think that is one of the great underrated values of gaming. It's not always just about the outcome, it's a lot about the process.

Hennessey: Well, thanks so much, Mr. Bae. For our listeners, if you're interested in joining the educational wargaming community of interest, please send us a note at AUTLC at and thank you for joining us today for Wild Blue Yonder on the Air.

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