Societies in Transition: A Virtual Reality Tour

February 22, 2001 // 11:00pm

Post-Cold War U.S. engagement has increasingly involved countries in jeopardy of sliding into violent conflict as well as countries emerging from war. Based on his recent experiences in Bosnia and Kosovo, General Clark discussed the potential for a training simulation that will enable U.S. policymakers to better understand the engagement tools available for such circumstances. SENSE, Synthetic Environments for National Security Estimates is an interactive virtual environment of a society in transition that simultaneously addresses the interactions of a market democracy: including economics, social, political and security issues. Players assume roles as public or private actors in both state and non-state capacities. The simulation models complex scenarios, much like engagements over the past decade. In fact, this model has been used in Bosnia, the Republic of Georgia, and for training purposes with the U.S. Institute of Peace. (See for more information.). The meeting included speeches and then a demonstration of the simulation.

Major General William Nash and Richard McCall discussed how important SENSE can be in explaining and exploring interagency coordination. Whether the model addresses the international community, the U.S. foreign policy apparatus or countries rebuilding after strife, certain elements remain constant: there must be clear command and control; agencies must be transparent and work in tandem; and human decisions effect outcomes.

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