Defence Science and Technology Laboratory
Dstl’s Brightest Minds Glimpse the Future of Warfare
Wargaming looks at specialist technology and how Dstl can prepare for the future.
While soldiers took to the streets in Canada for a unique exercise last month, top analysts worked in the background to model how wars might be fought – and won – decades from now.
The Contested Urban Environment (CUE) exercise in Montreal involved scientists and technical experts, soldiers and industry teams. As well as looking at current ‘bleeding-edge’ technology, there was another group working behind the scenes to take a glimpse into the future of warfare.
Wargaming has been in constant use since World War Two, and is – as it sounds – a game in which doctrine and technology experts play to see how future conflicts might play out. It’s a recognised technique and in this context aims to ‘future-proof’ the technology – looking at how a piece of kit might be used before it’s even real.
Some of the brightest minds of the five-eyes nations (UK, USA, NZ, Australia and Canada) gathered round to look at scenarios of the future; what technologies might be available to us or to an enemy, how the enemy might use them and how we might respond.
The British team participated in wargaming activity, modelling the wider concepts of operating in an urban environment and working on ‘missions’ – looking into the future as far as 2035.
The team explored the possible outcomes of using future technologies like through-wall RADAR or co-ordinated swarms of UAVs using ‘technology cards’ – a look into a future reality of things which are coming but are not yet available.
David Kilcullen, the table-top exercise lead for CUE and one of the world’s leading experts on wargaming, recently said:
We’ve been really fortunate to have a true expert in wargaming technique from Dstl, who is an expert in this kind of technology wargaming.
Teams represent the enemy, friendly forces, and city itself (the people that live in it). Like a board game, people have time to plan their action, and then we have a resolution discussion to think through the implications. Who wins and loses is not actually that important. CUE had 41 different technologies, and we wanted to add each of those in gradually to see what difference it makes with multiple runs of the same battle scenario.
The Dstl team that’s here has a lot of technology that is really relevant to the scenario that we’re gaming. Literally everything that happens in a war game, you’re recording it, so you not only know what you think you’ve found out, but you can go back and maybe there’s a different way to interpret that.
Andrew Elliott Dstl’s technical war gaming expert recently said:
Wargaming looks at plausible answers to questions about warfare. It’s an analytical tool, a decision-making technique – the importance is placed on the decisions of the players.
The wargaming team test the scenarios until they’ve reached the edge of what’s possible. This identifies the gaps which need to be addressed when considering new capabilities, making it a cost-effective tool for exploring future investment options in defence science and technology.
Latest News from
Defence Science and Technology Laboratory
Defence Science and Technology Laboratory launches ‘SME Searchlight’ to harness innovation15/02/2019 10:25:00
Dstl aims to attract new small and medium sized enterprises to work in Defence science
Dstl Announce Swarming Drone Hackathon Challenge14/02/2019 12:17:00
In a unique partnership between the UK and the US, the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) in collaboration with the Wright Brothers Institute (WBI), are inviting individuals and teams from across industry, academia and the general public to take part in a special hackathon.
DASA event: invisible battlespace collaboration day12/02/2019 08:10:00
The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) is running an event to encourage collaboration across the Invisible Battlespace competition.
Dstl's latest apprenticeship opportunities are now open05/02/2019 10:15:00
The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory has a number of new apprenticeship vacancies
Dstl tests NATO’s War of Words18/01/2019 10:17:00
Specialists in strategic communications were deployed with NATO troops on Exercise Trident Juncture.
Dstl's latest apprenticeship opportunities are now open11/01/2019 12:10:00
The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory has a number of new apprenticeship vacancies.
DASA delivers innovation in time for Christmas20/12/2018 13:43:00
Contracts in place to support training and education across defence.
Dstl’s life saving work awarded at The Sun Military Awards17/12/2018 11:20:00
Scientists from the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) are celebrating after winning at The Sun Military Awards for their breakthrough work in the treatment for sepsis.