By Maj. Steve Ferenzi Defense and Strategic Studies Program
The Defense and Strategic Studies Program brought 12 DSS, Social Science and Naval Academy exchange students to Princeton University to participate in their 2016 fall crisis simulation exercise titled—“Instability in South Asia” Nov. 19.
The crisis simulation is the annual flagship event of Princeton University’s Center for International Security Studies. Cadets had the opportunity to work through the global security challenges surrounding a scenario of escalating political instability in Pakistan resulting in regime collapse.
In addition to reinforcing core concepts of the DSS and Social Sciences curriculums, this event provided a unique opportunity to foster relationships with future leaders in domestic and foreign civil service and joint military organizations that cadets would not otherwise interact with at the U.S. Military Academy, to include students from Princeton, Rutgers, New Jersey Institute of Technology’s Air Force ROTC and the Naval Academy.
The event offered a “unique perspective on the interaction between the military and the executive power,” Class of 2017 Cadet James Delahunty, a DSS student, said. “I learned how to frame military options and objectives to nest with the political goals of a state.”
Class of 2018 Cadet Mackenzie Williams, a Foreign Area Studies student, describes the value of the simulation exercise as providing “the opportunity to gain an understanding of the civilian role in crisis situations, as well as the military decision making process and course of action development from a big picture standpoint outside of what we learn for platoon operations.”
The all-day event involved teams representing one of five countries with national interests in Pakistani security issues (the U.S., China, Pakistan, India and Iran). Each was divided into a military and civilian executive cell to replicate the civil-military dynamics of national security policy.
Teams competed by crafting policy actions in support of their respective national interests and strategic objectives, allocating limited resources toward priority outcomes. It showcased the difficulties of communications and coalition-building during international crises, specifically highlighting the challenges of imperfect information, the influence of the media, and the importance of aligning ends, ways and means in support of national interests.
The Modern War Institute’s Hungarian Fulbright Scholar Lt. Col. Csaba Bakos and DSS instructor Maj. Steve Ferenzi added value to the exercise by serving as military advisors for Pakistan and India, respectively.
(Editor’s note: Maj. Steve Ferenzi is an instructor in the United States Military Academy’s Defense and Strategic Studies Program and Officer-in-Charge of West Point’s Irregular Warfare Group. He is an Army Special Forces officer with service in the 3rd Special Forces Group and the 82nd Airborne Division in the Middle East and Central Asia. He holds a Master of International Affairs degree from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. government.)