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Strategic Gaming Facilitation: Dark Networks — Peruvian War College and CORE Lab (NPS)

Date: July 6, 2020
Location: Online

Members of the CORE lab from the Naval Postgraduate School will be facilitating the game, Dark Networks, for the course titled, "Trust, Intelligence, and Networks"  at the Peruvian War College. 

This course examines the basic principles of trust and influence, especially as they relate to social networks. Students will acquire a theoretical foundation for these concepts and how they apply to a broad spectrum of areas. The course also introduces the basic concepts discussed in the class—trust, influence, and social networks—and how they are interrelated as well as explores various ways that trust, influence, and networks play themselves out in different aspects of life and irregular warfare, such as small groups, military teams, social movements, dark networks, and so on.

The Dark Networks game focuses on the organizational structure of terrorist groups and how these structures can be altered to make the terrorist group more or less effective. It reinforces many of the concepts and ideas from the field of social network analysis (SNA). It is a two-player, strategic game between the state and the terrorist. Each player may have a strategy to defeat the other, but they must adapt their strategies over time to maximize their advantages. The core tradeoff in this game is between security and effectiveness for the terrorist group. Measures taken to increase effectiveness (growing, centralizing) will diminish the terrorist group's security, and vice versa. This forces players to think about which attribute (security or effectiveness) they wish to maximize. This will change depending on the timing in the game and players' strategies.