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High-level seminar aims
to create viable economy

By Maj. Juan A. Pina
First published in
SFOR Informer #80, February 2, 2000

Dr. Richard White from the Institute for Defence Analyses (IDA) in Alexandria, Virginia, USA is the economist who designed the simulation. He explains the game: " The purpose of the S.E.N.S.E. simulation is to assist in beginning a dialogue among government, private sector and other officials in BiH to understand economic, social and political issues. It also assists understanding governance issues. The game consists of a computer network which allows the participants to act out or act as a government, transnational corporations, foreign governments, local firms, local bank and the notion is that through the simulation we can actually show how a government in a country functions."

Sarajevo - Sponsored jointly by the George C. Marshall European Centre for Security Studies and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Mission to Bosnia and Hercegovina (BiH), the Seminar of Synthetic Environments for National Security Estimates (SENSE) was held Jan. 16-21 in the Holiday Inn.

The conference included seminars on various economic topics, and offered computer-driven simulation of factors affecting the economic, social, political, and military development of an imaginary nation. It also examined the interrelationships between prosperity, security, and stability in a multi-polar world where threats and non-traditional security issues must be considered. The use of battlefield modelling and simulation for analysis is commonplace to the world's modern militaries. It is used in military training to provide realistic experiences and allow leadership skills to be tested effectively while avoiding the risk of injury and the need for large amount of troops and equipment to be assembled on land, sea, or air. The philosophy behind SENSE is to knit together existing commercial and government information system technologies and modelling capabilities. The technical challenge for the attendees in the context of the seminar is to assemble a seamless simulation environment from differing parts. In a broader security context, SENSE aims to ensure that the economic, social, political, and military modelling and simulation are employed to provide policy makers with important insights about the implications of their proposed courses of action. Also, analysts and senior officials are immersed in synthetic environments prior to, and time permitting, during crises, to more effectively characterise available options. The resulting interactions among participants and the implications of their individual decisions are addressed in real time by analytical tools with an instantaneous policy feedback for analysis and evaluation.

The aim of this week of SENSE in the BiH capital city was to give to the people of BiH, especially their leaders, a realistic insight on the effect of decision making in a variety of areas on the future development of the country. These circumstances, indeed the very fact that SENSE took place, reflect support of the international community to keep the peace and produce economic prosperity. The agenda of the conference was focused on an imaginary country called "AKRONA," in which the attendants tackled: planning in an uncertain world; establishing national security objectives; trade-off in moving to a market economy; recovery, reconstruction, and developing plans of action; and implementation and reflection.

AKRONA is modelled to resemble BiH in many aspects such as history, terrain and so on. It even shares similar borders to BiH with one special difference - it has a neighbour called BiH. There was a great deal of high-level interest in the Seminar. High Representative Wolfgang Petritsch, UN Secretary General's Special Representative Ambassador Jacques Klein, COMSFOR, Lt. Gen. Ron Adams, and DCOMSFOR, Lt. Gen. Charles-Henri de Monchy visited the Holiday Inn to observe the SENSE. They received a briefing and a tour around the simulation area under the expert guidance of Robert Kennedy, director of the George C. Marshall Centre.

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