Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Crisis in the Moot Court

Briefing in the ANU Moot Court.
Tom Worthington CC-BY 2023
Greetings from the Australian Crisis Simulation Summit at in the Moot Court at the Australian National University in Canberra. A team of ANU students are running simulations of national security situations (with cyber-attacks, grey-zone & information warfare, plus natural disasters), for teams students across Australia to respond to in real time. I am mentoring some local teams, using my experience working at HQ ADF. 

The Moot Court turns out to be ideally suited to running such an exercise. The main room, which is set up like a mock courtroom is used for briefings, which are sent out via Zoom. The setup resembles the sort of government briefing rooms used for real briefings. The room has a folding wall which has been deployed, so one crisis team can work in half the room. Outside is an area used for breaks. Opposite are two small Harvard style tutorial rooms, being used for smaller mentor briefings, and team work. There is a glass walled kitchen at one side of the tutorial rooms, which the student team is using as their HQ. This way they can look out to see what is happening. 

The students are wearing black lanyards resembling those worn by public servants, adding to the authenticity. Some have earpieces and walkie-talkies, looking very James Bond. ;-)

ps: It easy to dismiss the simulation as just a training exercise, and the students as just students. But some of the students work in major government security agencies, and the mentors have experience in various government roles. The scenarios they have prepared are disturbingly close to current regional and world events. At the outbreak of the Falklands War the UK Royal Marines were conducting Mountain and Arctic Warfare training. The class and trainers were sent to the Falklands to put the training into immediate practice. Hopefully a crisis in the region will not require the ACSS participants to do the same.

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