Wargaming for Social Science

14 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2021

Date Written: July 16, 2021


The recent surge of practitioners and academics utilizing wargames as methods of social science research warrants further exploration. This approach recreates interdependent foreign policy decision-making given high risk and uncertainty, offering insights into political and military domains often devoid of data. Wargames provide researchers with a method to gather evidence and observations on events otherwise be unobservable or difficult to measure. Wargames can provide a pathway towards novel methods of experimentation, serving as a method to investigate an alternative reality that has yet to occur in the real world. Yet, these methods do not come without controversy and intense pushback from some in the wargaming community. This paper will review both the utility and downsides of using wargames for social science, situating the issue as a novel method not without criticism. As with all methods of social science analysis, knowledge of the possibilities and limitations is critical to understanding how progress can be made on “wicked problems.”

Keywords: cyber security, cyber conflict, wargames, wargames for social science

Suggested Citation

Valeriano, Brandon G. and Jensen, Benjamin, Wargaming for Social Science (July 16, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3888395 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3888395

Brandon G. Valeriano (Contact Author)

Marine Corps University ( email )


Benjamin Jensen

Marine Corps University

2076 South Street
Breckinridge Hall
Quantico, VA 22134
United States

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