How do we go about understanding operational and policy decisions about cyber? They involve a complex mix of human decisions, technical capabilities, and social interactions. As we have seen from recent events, peoples’ reaction to cyber can be as important as the capability.
One-way government and industry professionals go about understanding the complex linkages in cyber operations is through gaming. Games allow you to bring together all of these diverse aspects of cyber policy. Games place people in decision-making roles during a simulated real-world problem—historical, contemporary, or projected into the future. These “professional games” are used by decision-makers within government, industry, and academia to examine policy issues and potential outcomes. They also allow operational professionals to assess requirements, plan budgets, and practice response procedures. Professional games on cyber policy and operations are run by a variety of agencies as part of an effort to develop national strategies, permissions, and capabilities.
In this course we examine the challenges of gaming cyber. How do you develop games that address the challenges associated with cyber? Why are cyber games inherently difficult to do well, and how do you match technical layers of game play with the operational and strategic layers? What is the role of computer simulation in cyber games, and how do cyber games differ from exercises? How do you assess player actions given the potential political, social, and technical impacts of game play?
We will do this through a combination of lectures and practical exercises. Lectures will focus on games and game design, along with the application of game design to cyber issues. We need to understand how to think about cyber technology and processes in order to build effective games. So cyber security will be discussed in this course: but this is not a course on cyber security. Practical exercises will give students the chance to experience different types of cyber gaming, with the expectation that students will research, design, and present their own cyber game as part of the course.
Successful students will learn how game design can be used to address challenges of cyber operations and policy. They will build an understanding of how to represent cyber capabilities in games, as well as build games directly addressing cyber operations. The goal is for students to become aware of the gaming tools available for cyber, and to begin to associate specific game techniques with various cyber gaming requirements.