War Gaming – Does it Have a Place in Executive Protection? | Nick Drage

There aren’t many second chances in the security industry. If you fail on the job, there’s a good chance that you won’t work again.

At best, this creates the conditions where everyone is on their A-game all the time but the flip is a high-pressure environment where mistakes and the likelihood of failure are more prone.

Given the high stakes, shouldn’t we be more invested in preparing for the career-threatening situations that we may encounter?

This week we’re talking to Nick Drage, a professional wargamer, about whether this is a viable way to increase professionalism and better predict successful outcomes to unknown scenarios.

In this episode, we’ll be discussing…

  • What problem is war gaming trying to solve?
  • How can we create the ‘safe to fail conditions’ that make for the best learning outcomes?
  • How to implement war gaming on your team and overcome objections such as ‘it seeming to be too rigid and military’.
  • How to group participants for more effective results.

More about Nick:

My industries are Cyber Security Strategy, and wargaming in its many forms. Outside of directly relevant work, my interests are many, but most relevant to listeners is my interest in strategic insights that work across disciplines or contexts

Work: I work with organisations on Cyber Security Strategy and immersive exercises, with occasional forays into Adversarial Analysis or Adversary Emulation positions. That’s very much freelance/on-demand work

Quick Bio: BA(Hons) in Combined Studies, followed by a career in internet technologies and cyber security. I tend to gain work through personal referrals, so customers provide better descriptions than my marketing, my favourite customer description of the services I provide is “external security brain”.

Path Dependence

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The Circuit Magazine is written and produced by volunteers, most of who are operationally active, working full time in the security industry. The magazine is a product of their combined passion and desire to give something back to the industry. By subscribing to the magazine you are helping to keep it going into the future. Find out more >

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The Circuit team is:

  • Elijah Shaw
  • Jon Moss
  • Shaun West
  • Phelim Rowe

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Transcript
Nick Drage:

I think of how much you learned through play. Think of how better you are now at, just about anything and think about w w how bad you were when you started. welcome to the Circuit. Maxine. The number one source for information on protection matters. The industry leading magazine for all security professionals who want to stay ahead of the game.

Phelim:

War gaming for the corporate and executive security professional. Sounds a little bit like a play on words really? Doesn't it. I'm here with Jon Moss. And today we're going to be talking to Nick Drage, a professional war gamer about. Whether or not, this is applicable not just to business, but our industry, uh, Jon, uh, what does this conjure up for you? Because for me, it, it, it smacks of Dungeons and dragons and, and, and, you know, basement games, uh, surely, surely there's more to it than that.

Jon:

So when I first saw that this was the topic of the podcast, that's exactly what I thought. I, I thought Dungeons and dragons. Guys sat around big tabletops, um, pushing models around. And then obviously I knew that wasn't going to be the focus of the podcast, so, okay. Think about it a little bit more deeply and yeah, it, it, it, there was echoes coming back from my time in the military. And I know you've done this interview with Sean and I'm suspecting that Shanola probably had a very similar, um, train of thought as well. You know, we, we sort of. It's not so much tabletop yet. Yes. Perhaps if you're an officer, but for the guys on the ground, we do a lot of training where the expectation is that you will be thrown into situations where you might not come out of it's smelling of roses. And, you know, that's, that's one of the hardest parts of it actually that you then sit around in these, uh, debriefs afterwards. Pull apart, everything that went wrong and I'm getting a sense of that. That is what the focus of this is.

Phelim:

It is indeed. And it's, it's a safer or a safe space to fail or to. Uh, look at, look at interesting scenarios, um, ranging from the likely to the very unlikely black Swan type scenarios. Um, and, and, and, and it's a comfortable environment where you're going to be able to make a mistake, but again, you know, you're, you're right. There is that level of, well, people will pull you up on things you haven't done. So is it for the entire team? Is it just for the operational stuff? Is it a management exercise? And I think we'll find that in fact, it's, it's all of those things. Um, and another thing that Nick is a part of place secure, uh, which our friend, uh, James boy, if you, if you remember, James did our, one of our first podcasts, um, trying. Emphasize that play or gamified learning is not only more productive for the learning process, but also it gives that freedom to fail. Why,

Jon:

because we're not comfortable failing, you know, certainly in our industry, if you're failing on the job, There's a good chance that you won't work again. Well, first of all, you know, you fail once. And depending on the size of it, you know, it could result in you not working for that client again, if you fail again, or if the failure is bigger, you might not even work in the industry again, it's, it's literally not a cutthroat and you, you know, there's, there's two sides to that. I suppose. If, if you want to say the good side of it is it causes everybody to be on their, A- game all of the time. But on the flip of that, It creates a lot of pressure and it makes the conditions that we operate in a lot more stressful and pressurized and more likely that people will fail

Phelim:

with no, that's a, that's a great point. And, and then, and then I guess not just why is it not done, but when we see offerings of training out there, maybe, and this is just extrapolating. The topic, maybe it's more difficult to set up a war gaming exercise than it is a PowerPoint presentation. So maybe we don't see enough of it because it's more complicated. It requires much more forethought. And maybe it's something that you can do internally as opposed to having to go externally. I, I don't know. Um, what, what, what do you think the military did well in that respect? Because I think there's lots of lessons to be learned.

Jon:

There's a few big differences with the military and it's kind of going back to my last comments. One of them is for the most part, you don't really need to fear about being sacked you know, you can fail in the military and it's only remembered as long as it takes for the next person to fail. And, uh, it kind of, that's how it works in. Ironically, I feel like when you're in the military and you're working under those kinds of conditions, you grow stronger because of that, because of this culture of acceptance, that it's okay to fail. And I don't want. Why it is that we have encouraged that better into the commercial world, except for, like I said, you know, people's livelihoods rest on it. And in the commercial world also, you know, teams are smaller, right, right down to solo operators. But as I say that, it makes me think that in a sense. We do kind of do this war gaming. We might not even realize we do it, but you know, it's, it's called an after ops debrief, you know, where we'll sit around and yeah, I know th this is slightly different because we talking about something afterwards, rather than for. Uh, a situation that may never even happen. Um, and whereas we're talking very specifically about a set of circumstances, but is better than nothing. And I do think there's echoes of the war game in principle. It would seem that that would be a logical next step. And I think, um, think about, well, where does the responsibility lie? I mean, it rests on all of our shoulders, but ultimately, you know, you want somebody. Who is in a position to take control, take command, and also perhaps has a budget as well. If we're bringing in somebody from outside,

Phelim:

it often comes down to budget, doesn't it. But as I'm sure we will find out from Nick, you can do it on a budget and it doesn't have to be all bells and whistles. It could just be something terrible. Uh, based, and maybe not those little metal figurines that's we imagine people playing with nothing, nothing wrong with that. I love a bit of, uh, you know, gaming, but, uh, but yes, it's perhaps something that corporations and businesses need to, uh, appreciate more than, than, than feeling. It's just another playtime. Nick Drake, great friend of the industry, at least on the cyber side, he's had his eyes on the EAP community for a while. He has attended a bunch of our events. So it's not without context that he is explaining to us what war gaming could do to benefit our industry. Very much. Looking forward to this Shauna, myself with Nick page.

Nick Drage:

and now let's meet one of the contributors to the circuit magazine.

Phelim:

War gaming and its applicability in the business and security environment. Today, we are here with Nick. Drage a director at path dependence and play secure, which is, uh, another initiative. Um, it's a pleasure to have you one where we're really excited about this topic. How are you doing very well? So, so Nick, let's just get to it because automatically when we hear war gaming, we assume absolutely. It is in the wheelhouse of security. We heard the word war. We remember that lots of colleagues used to be in the military and they must've done some more gaming. So what problem is war gaming actually trying to solve

Nick Drage:

anyway, uh, war game. And he's trying to solve the problem of not being prepared for the situations you encounter. The there's there's, there's so many problems. War gaming is trying to solve and in so many different ways, but I will endeavor to keep it short and digestible in the same, especially in the world of executive protection, your, you wouldn't dream of reading a book on how to do it, and then you go out and protect an asset. You actually want to go through that. However, To actually, but also imagined that then that you only do real-world training and that you therefore what you actually get shot at, or you're driving up and down, especially purpose-built area day in, day out just to learn the basics. There's a, there's a halfway between that. And war gaming is the way to do that, to. Either through a discussion or go, or an organized discussion, or even a board game, play through a scenario, try out different things and especially be in a safe to fail environment. The thing you want during training and during a war game is for your participants to make mistakes and learn from those mistakes so that when it comes to a real. Uh, context, a real scenario. They've already been through it anywhere between sort of five and 500 times, to the extent that they then react automatically. That's what a, that's what a war game is. And war game meant in the widest sense, it could be a training, it could be an immersive exercise. It could be scenario planning. It could just be sitting around a table talking through a situation. The, um, the, the problem with the term. Is that people imagine you're pushing metal figures around a table, reenacting the battle of Waterloo or something. When actually it covers a wide rent, a wide range of different immersive interactive exercises to help you perform better when these situations happen in real life.

Phelim:

Wow. And I love, I love what you said, you know, scenarios that are five to 500 variables, you know, that's, that seems, uh, the, uh, you know, quite, quite a complex thing to arrange. What about you, Nick? Let's let's tell people a little bit about yourself, you know? W where does your passion for this area actually come from?

Nick Drage:

Um, because art by accident kind of, kind of Braxton kind of, because my father, uh, helped run an outdoor education center where some professional war game is basically get together every weekend. And he said to me, you're like these people, they were a bit weird and they're playing these weird games that they've mostly made themselves. You should come along and meet them. So I went along and I was just astounded. At professional war gaming, proper consideration of military or business situations, extrapolating from those situations. See what the consequences were playing around with ideas. Rather it completely open my eyes rather than games for fun, or rather than sort of very, um, Formulate training, for example, the difference between being on a thinking of the context you're working in the difference between being on a firing range and actually operating a weapon under fire, uh, two different things in the same way that industry training and war gaming to me just. Opened my eyes. And as you can tell, by the tone of my voice and the length of my answers by enthusiasm for it, it's just grown ever since, because you can become so confident in a situation, you almost become. Detached. You see people who say run through cybersecurity incident response. So often that when it actually happens, they're almost bored because they've got that level of learning where they know exactly who to contact what this is, and they just step through the process. That's why I'm so excited about it. You want people in those, in situations that difficult to be that competent.

Phelim:

Fantastic. Yeah, absolutely. Bring it to life and, and get, you know, competence before it's, uh, it matters. Um, I suppose, uh, just briefly then, and, and then, and then I'll hand over to Sean. Um, what do you want, or would you like the uninitiated in this topic to better know, and actually by that I'm thinking of quite a lot of security professionals, maybe they already know about, uh, war gaming, but, but, but, but maybe they don't call it that. So what should they actually know? Oh,

Nick Drage:

Damn good question. Um, I, I wouldn't say want them to know anything. I would say I want them to have the mindset of give it a chance. Think about the younger, maybe much younger people, you know, and think of your own history. Think of how much you learned through play. Think of how better you are now at, I mean, just about anything. And think about w w how bad you were when you started anything from the work you do to creative pursuits, like being an artist to say, playing sport. And it's just through playing through experimentation that you have just got better and better and failed and got back up and learn. And so on. Bring that kind of attitude to this very wide and very variably defined area of war gaming and see how it can benefit you. Yeah. I think, I think

Shaun:

I agree with everything you said there, Nick, I think having an open mind to these things. Is fantastic. I know during my time in the military, we used to use a as a young soldier before we used to embark on trips to see, for instance, Northern Ireland they'd have a system which was, I can't remember the name. I think it was called small arms trainer, which had a big white screen. He would stand in front with your and you would patrol the streets. An incident would happen. And, you know, through that incident, a number of scenarios. Could spin off that, depending on how you dealt with the scenario, you know, you may completely deescalated or you may end up opening fire, and then immediately, once the situation came to an end, you would get pulled to one side and you would get interviewed and grilled by the, then all you see police officers and they would ask you what happened. Did you do in the scenario? Why did you open fire? And you'd be getting grilled in front of, you know, a lot of people and you, you know, you could see what was this person wearing? You miss here, you had a purple t-shirt, black jeans, blah, blah, blah, this up. And then everyone else is watching. They can see it on the screen, what this person was actually wearing. And you can see after your getting interviewed, you can see the pressure, the individuals come on. And then they'll clear the video button of what actually happened and you can see where your rounds landed. Um, and you know, it, it just puts you in the scenario, which like you described, if you haven't been through a scenario, you don't know how you're going to react, but once you've done it, five, 10 times, you're a lot more confident you have the ability to think you lose that rubbed in the head. Like. Uh, scenario once you've run through it, which, which I think is great.

Nick Drage:

That's um, just to bounce off that that's brilliant and horrible, like Northern Ireland for what I know of that situation from being British and a certain age is just an awful situation for everyone to be in. So to think. What, what you want is the situation you described. People make mistakes and you replay those mistakes back to them is exactly the kind of training you want. And then, I mean, for war game, what I would describe as a war game would be on a much larger level, like the manipulation of squats around the streets and so on. But you can see, you can see the mistakes and especially because it reminds me of a war game, I was once. Getting the interview afterwards and replant things to you is a very necessary and horrible thing to do to players. Usually you're playing war games, like, especially in a kind of semi hobbies and professional context, you just kind of take your actions in you. Soldiers to a situation and whatever, but then we had a situation where the Mo the, some players then started playing members of the media and interviewed us afterwards and said, basically, well, why did you do this? Why did you think that was a terrorist vehicle? Why did you attack that? And to have your. Decisions questioned in that way for war game was like a wonderful and terrible surprise, especially sat in front of the rest of the players, but also in the situation you described really brings home those lessons and makes, makes them make such an impact to the participants, which is so much more effective to them than just being on a firing range and say hit this target. Not that target. Yeah. I mean,

Shaun:

it's fantastic training. You know, better than learning on the job. It's a little risk because you've run through these scenarios, you know, it's highly effective and helps individuals better understand their roles and how they're to react when something happens. And in some of the scenarios as well, you know, maybe the team leader gets taken out and then the young soldiers have to step up into that role. So, you know, you're always kind of learning a level up of people in front of. So it's, you know, it's, it's great, highly effective training, but I've just invested in know how has it became war game? It became a feature.

Nick Drage:

Business environment. I think partly military people moving into, uh, civilian areas and realizing, well, this was a benefit to us in these kinds of situations. Therefore there's other business situations. For example, something that doesn't feel appropriate for a war game, as in a, you're considering a merger with another company. You usually people just get together, have a big meeting, sort of, and probably a typical loudest person or highest paid person wins kind of meeting. Then they'll decide whether to do it or not. And then they'll actually see whether it was a good idea. Just in the actual progress of did that merger work, did their billion-dollar companies succeed or fail? I think people with a military background is that situation thought, well, why not play this through? Why. Uh, first of all, sit together and sort of just talk through the conversation, talk through in a conversational way, what step would happen then? What do we do then? What issues do we face? What do you have from your experience? And the kind of what's known as like a free Creek spiel style, but then you can bring in more complex rules around that. And also. As in many situations in business, bring in competitors and adversaries and suppliers and people role play in those positions. So suddenly your merger, that looked really good. It looks great. Unless you think of that while Amazon are going to see, this is a good idea and they move so much faster and they've got so many more resources. If we do this, they will then do that. And in three months, salary reach their objective. And it's going to take us nine when this isn't going to help us. If we consider the wider context, getting businesses, to be able to think that. I think is why war gaming has, has kind of taken off. But also it hasn't because it feels like playing, which is, uh, for some reason, adults are afraid of being seen to think around as, uh, scenarios, through play it's seen as two military. And therefore to rigid, whereas, you know, BNX services, the military, isn't the way it's perceived by, uh, civilians is sort of a bunch of drones being led by one person at drones as in mentally, rather than literally, and also, um, It's kind of seen as sort of pushing figures around a table or something fun. You do a weekend, especially by nerds when actually get professionals together. Think through a situation in a structured way, you can make much better decisions than you. Then you could just buy. Like I say, having the report, the reason I'm so enthusiastic about this is I get frustrated by those conversations. I hear about where the loudest or highest paid person just had a dis had the thought in their head on the golf course, made the decision. And now the company is in a terrible position because nobody thought through or planned or war games, the results of that.

Shaun:

Yeah, I think for a lot of these bigger companies and organizations really, it should be looked at as an essential part of business continuity planning, I guess, but it's stepping away from that. Anyway, I'm just thinking back to my time before I left the military as well. So treating that I thought was really valuable when people are leaving. You've been almost, if you spent a long time in the military, Institutionalized. And it's, it takes a lot of preparation for a soldier to leave the army and bulk on a new career path. And I remember one of the things we don't, I think it was, it was called the Korea transition partnership, where they brought in professionals and you would go through the motions of applying for a job and they would interview you. The interview would be recorded beyond video would ask you the questions you're drawn through the interview in real time. And they were through. Some questions, which may throw you off. You may think you have the grit. And then when you watch back the interview, you'll see, maybe you've got a tick or you keep, you keep touching your face or, you know, you're tapping your feet and you don't realize these things until you've actually, we didn't call it war gaming, but until you play these

Nick Drage:

scenarios out, that's kind of the same thing. I mean, again, that's. That's even worse. Cause that's role-playing and role playing is nerd sat around playing D and D when actually it turns out a lot of us are far more nerdy than we expected. And also just the amount you can learn from role-playing in general, both those games and in that specific situation, I mean, that's disgust, you wouldn't want. Someone leaving the services to fail their first 10 interviews, but learn a lot. You'd want them to go through 10 role playing exercises, make all their mistakes, especially in front of a video in front of trainers and then nail the first interview they get, because it's actually the 11th interview they've had. That's yeah, that's that's just another. Example of this kind of exercise being so useful to people. If, like I say, you just be a little bit more open-minded experiment with the format, see what you can get out of it. Yeah. When you talk to them

Shaun:

different, different formats. Um, how does war gaming differ from say, you know, desktop planning where your mood w where you are moving pieces around the table? You go back to the military. Again, you things, if you are going on an exercise and you are planning to see a company attack, you would build a model of the area. You are going to carry out that attack and you'd, you'd move the pieces about you'd give your order. So everybody knew what they were doing. So is there a difference in tabletop planning to, yes, it's a computerized war gaming and run into

Nick Drage:

scenarios. Oh, okay. I was going to say the, to be much shorter than my previous answer. In answer to your question. Is there a difference? The answer is no like that format that can, yeah. I mean the, the term covers so much, but that kind of course of action planning. I mean, there's the three types isn't that there's CRA or there's a red team. And then in the middle of these rock drills for. Uh, most of business war game. And I think comes into that course of action planning, like, well, this is what we intend to do. Let's move figures around. I mean, you could be in the same kind of situation except you've got your organization chart laid out and you've got resources, small. I mean, just use some wooden counters representing money or people or administrative effort and you move them around and you see. What difference that makes to how you think the organization is going to develop. And also, I mean, as you would have had in the services you get used to having limited resources, companies often think they can achieve so much, but they don't, um, appreciate the limited resources they've got and the operational effort just to assign those resources correctly. So they come up with grand plans and then realize that just, I mean, without the context of adversaries, without the context of competitors, they realize they don't have. As many resources as they thought they had, or they do, but they don't have the operational ability to move those resources around correctly. It's

Shaun:

been addressed. When you talked about the limited resources as an organization or a security team, I could run exercises for my security teams, you know, penetration tests. Various sites, you know, then we get someone to break into the site and then without informing the security team and just watching their actions on how people have dealt with it, or, you know, you can have different scenarios where the principal is attacked and watch out the different guys, interrupt them. There's different scenarios, but that would be me running these tests for my teams. Does, I think there's a lot of value as well and bringing in professionals. So cause sometimes you, you think you look at your TBS, you saw heavily involved in invested in it. I'm guessing you, you from that spear. So there'd be a lot, it's fine sitting around the table and talking through things yourself with your team and then doing training. But I think the value of that as when you got so much on your benefit, more. An external.

Nick Drage:

Experts. Just any external viewpoint. Yeah. I mean like the same way that if you do that kind of testing, you can look around a building and say, it looks secure. Then you can have, when your employees with that kind of mindset, actually look around the building. And it's like, um, I mean, I use various terms sometimes I sort of call it maliciousness as a service. It's like for your benefit and with a friendly approach, I'm going to make your life as difficult as possible. I'm going to expose all your mistakes, and then I'm going to write a report afterwards of all the mistakes you made. But the reason to do that is to help you prevent genuine attackers exploiting those issues in the same way that you do that as a security testing organization. Part of the requirement for me as a professional war gamer, is that when we say step through a war game and the organization says, well, yeah, we just call them. Or we just grab that resource is to think about those assumptions and say, well, actually, how would that work? How much, how long does that take? How long has that taken in practice? So that way, the, um, that way the, the, the customer. Actually has someone step back and say, are you sure this process always works that way? I can see issues with their process in advance rather than when an incident actually occurs. Uh,

Shaun:

have you seen any uptick in services since the pandemic started? I mean, as companies have business continuity plans, You know, you have all of these scenarios, throw it in. And if someone had thrown it in a scenario, what would she do during if we've got a global pandemic and the next year, most people would just pay it lip service and yeah, that that's never going to happen. But now I guess things I look back differently because it has happened. I'm just wondering. Do, do you find businesses, tick war gaming, scenario planning, business continuity more serious now, have you had more.

Nick Drage:

Yeah, it's, it's getting that way. And I think my answer would be that the sensible ones do the ones that, I mean, some organizations are quite understandably focused on just getting through day by day. And you can understand why they've got that short term view, but the better prepared organizations are actually planning farther and farther ahead, so they can, um, they can, um, They can, I don't know how to put it so they can. The reason I'm still, who always is, it sounds bad, but they can take advantage of the pandemic because in this kind of situation, uh, people rethink a lot of ideas that taken for granted. For example, there's something I think it's been called like the great epiphany and that lot of people are looking at their careers. Do I want to commute four hours a day every day. Do I want to do this job for another 20 years? And the choosing a lot of different plans and ideas and approaches to their career in the same way organizations have looked around and go, well, we can't change. Everybody always comes to these offices and our teams always located this way. A shifts always operate in this way. The pandemic has messed all that up and they've had an opportunity to rethink the way they work as an organization. So they've been forced to think more experimentally. So now they're thinking, well, right. Exercises, war games, let's experiment more. Let's see what else we can do to make your organization better because we've been given this opportunity whether we wanted it or not to rethink our processes. So there's been. A slight increase, but also a lot of organizations are understandably, but regrettably sort of focused on getting through, uh, the, these issues day by day.

Shaun:

Yeah. I think organizations, when they embark on this sort of trading, they have to keep an open mind to get the real benefits. I think you have to have right from the top and the bottom involved in these war gaming scenarios. You know, if you're a team leader and you're just booking it for your stuff, it's kind of almost taken the easy way out. I think you need to be there with your ground troops suit. You could be tested maybe alongside them and maybe it's. In different, you know, you have your scenario training for your we'll call them ground truths. You have your scenario training for your, your management level and then some scenario training for your senior manager level. But then I think so it doesn't cause the embarrassment when you're all thrown together. Exactly. So I think there's benefit of breaking it down into chunks between the different levels and then you come together at the end and you have say the final exercise. Whatever that may be.

Nick Drage:

No, you're, you're, you're absolutely right. Because war gaming is always described as a safe to fail environment. Whereas I would describe it as a safer to fail. Dangerous to fail because still, if you're in charge of that organization and you make a mistake, you will have visibly made a mistake in front of everyone. You're in charge. Now they should be open-minded and understand what this is. This is where we experiment. This is where we play. Um, but still. They may have an issue, um, with, uh, in sort of being kind of exposed publicly. So how quite, how you do that in choir, you sell it to an organization. Yeah. I mean,

Shaun:

yeah, I was just, I was just going to say, yeah, it's called being a negative experience because if it's a negative experience that the company won't want to and bolt on the training again. So I think you've got to make it as positive as you can, where everybody could learn and it's not, it's not embarrassing. It's a learning process. And if this incident you haven't dealt with it correctly, you've been shored. Maybe you could have thought about it this way, or you could have done that. And there's no embarrassment of individuals carrying over.

Phelim:

I had an anecdote that I thought would be perfect to share on this. Some people in the industry know Bob Shaw, um, big, you know, big friend of the industry, longtime friend, but also a counter ID specialist. He very calmly came with me to a conference I did for the Nigerian army and we were doing an after event specialist, desktop workshop on counter. Dedicated for the counter ID specialists and I'm a vehicle specialist and a, uh, major general said, no, everyone will participate. I said, no, this is not for, uh, flag offices. This is for specialists. And I really, really tried to ensure that they did not participate, but in the end he got his. And guess what? They were not happy to reveal their thinking process in front of subordinates at dust as I had predicted. Um, so, so, so, so anyway, it's a tangent, but it's my little anecdote that I thought I'd slotted.

Nick Drage:

Absolutely spot on. I mean IED training, I would imagine is very clear, very clear processes and very clear wind conditions. So if you fail, it's very obvious you failed rather than you can argue. Well, you can understand why I made that decision. It's like, no, you, you have died and you have killed those around, you know, that's, that's a great example. I should be, uh, citing that in future is just, do you want to look like this in front of your, like you said, Sean, ground troops. Uh, if the answer's no. Leave them alone, let them, and also let them play and make mistakes without a senior officer or senior member of the management team. Seeing them, it works both ways. So like you said, Sean, doing it at different levels is the way to go because you can

Shaun:

play out the scenarios. With your management level, you can play out different scenarios with your ground troops as we call them. And then, you know, you can make everyone aware, you know, come next week, we are going to have a organization-wide exercise or team-wide exercise where we'd all be together. And it's nothing to worry about. It's scenarios. We've all spoken about. We've all been through them and you know, it makes people up their game. No, because people will want to stand out and look good. If you are a manager, I think, or a team leader, you want to build the lead, but you won't be, as we mentioned the rabbit in the headlights, um, scenario, if you've cleared it through the previous week, you'll have a bit more confidence in dealing with the situation as opposed to it being thrown on you in front of everyone without any prior preparation. Yeah.

Phelim:

Yeah. So Nick, obviously, I'm very pleased that you're here. Obviously. I love this cross-pollination because the world of war gaming, the world of EAP, I mean, it seems like a natural fit. You specifically, of course, you're, you're a great guy and I know it's great to work with you, but you, you have a soft spot for EAP, at least from being an outside observer. Um, you you've been at least, uh, you know, looking in on some of the EP conferences and, and, and I thought that might be. Way to sort of round it all back to our circuit magazine audience. Um, w what have you observed, um, about our EP community from, from the outside? Um, and, and, and, and how is war game going to be beneficial to them? I thought I thought that that'd be a nice angle.

Nick Drage:

I think for EP professionals. For me, first of all, I've been impressed and surprised at the level of professionalism, which I think shows that my information is from movies and TV rather than sort of, of her any, um, um, Like people stopping me getting into clubs. Cause I'm too scruffy is basically my interaction with that sort of community. So seeing the level of thought, the level of strategy and also how much training is required for relatively few actual incidents. So that level of attention that's required all the time that you might never use is where to me sort of walking in. Uh, it strikes me as useful to the P community as well as. EPA work is so potentially dangerous. So being able to think it through, so mentally you get yourself in the right way of thinking, and then you drive the vehicle around the circuit, then you figure out far in angles and how you would defend it. Um, so just, uh, transferring from their vehicle into a hotel lobby, that sort of thing. Being able to do that on a board, being able to think that through, like I say, five to 500 times. So when it actually happens, you've got EAP practitioners. You've got experience of that ineffective in a set of fictitious contexts can transfer that to the real world. To me, that's where it's useful rather than you have to spend so much money setting up like fake hotel, lobbies or running real world exercises or getting everybody in, just in the same physical space, regardless of pandemics, the, just the travel expenses and time and scheduling required, do all online, over a shared same Myro board or a concept board or something. You can get people beyond that initial lack of knowledge. In such a cheap and convenient way.

Shaun:

Yeah, no, I, I agree with everything you said there. I mean, EP is a bit like. Insurance, the principal peers for their service. A lot of the time he, he wouldn't need it, but when it's needed, you need to build the action that you're supposed to deliver. If, if something goes wrong, um, um, you know, you could be a body guard for 7, 8, 9 years, and nothing's ever happened in your whole career as a body guard. And if you'd be. Not sloppy, but you know, you've gone so long without any incident. Some people will get into that false sense of security and mindset, you know, it's Monday and day-to-day and nothing ever happens. And in that time that it does happen, you get caught out. So as you've just said, you know, it's. It's a very low risk. We have running through different scenarios and getting people's brains to stay a shop with different incidents and scenarios. That me.

Phelim:

I like it. All right. Well, every good conversation has to come to a close and I think that's a nice place to, uh, to, to leave it. Um, Nick, I hope this is a, you know, good for you as, as, as much as it is good for us, because obviously we're benefiting from all your, all your war gaming experience. I think obviously play. Uh, unprofessional to maybe the untrained ear, but there's other ways of saying place that allow you to fail in a safe environment. And, uh, and, and, and war game is absolutely something that people should consider. And I know already people are saying, oh, but I do it already in this way or that way. Well, all right. But there is a structured war gaming formula. There are professionals out there. Uh, Nick of course is one of them. And, you know, I think that is where we can add value. So from Sean and myself, Nick, it's been a pleasure having you on and yes, we look forward to seeing you again soon.

Nick Drage:

Great. Thank you very much.

Phelim:

Well, I want to go and play some games now. I'm back with Jon Moss and hopefully together, we can draw a few lessons from this fascinating talk with Nick Drudge. I think it's upon us to convince our communities that gamified learning, immersive learning, or, you know, even the word play is an acceptable term. What do you think. Yeah, I

Jon:

thought this was a really great interview to have today. I didn't necessarily see it beforehand. Uh, but then, you know, in our intro, when we were talking about it, it was, uh, it was questions were presenting themselves. And then listening to you guys, unpack this topic. It made me realize that this is probably something we should be doing a lot more of. And. You know, one of my concerns that we spoke about before the interview was really addressed, and I think this kind of culture of safe to fail or safer to fail, I was, it was good to hear Nick actually go back and kind of revise that with, you know, the safer to fail, understanding, showing that he understands the kind of industry, um, that we work in, where perhaps, It's not just okay to totally fail outright. And, uh, and also that the kind of groupings that we run through these scenarios with, I think that's really important.

Phelim:

It is isn't it. And people need a safe space to experiment and, and, you know, you could say, well, what new scenarios could come their way? Well, as we mentioned in the podcast with the. Uh, pandemic. Right. Um, and, and also, you know, there's, there's a lot of far-flung black Swan type events. Where do you know what they would be an engaging, uh, war gaming exercise? Um, yeah. All the way from the things that you might think are science fiction to some of the more likely things, but. I feel that those are natural candidates for war gaming. Um, obviously we can't predict, uh, the next crisis. A lot of people are talking about how do we prepare for the next crisis? Well, there's always preparing for the old, you know, the former war that, you know, you're stuck into, but at least this is a relatively harmless way of achieving. But obviously we're going to see a lot more from Nick and, uh, and of course, uh, James Bore, who, you know, contributed to the magazine a lot. Um, but what else do we have coming up? Because I I've got the feeling that I have some exciting things, John,

Jon:

well, something that's right on the agenda, uh, coming up next week, in fact, is the international. Security expo and the BBA it's going to be there. The circuit magazine is going to be that, and I believe we've also got something special happening on one of the evenings of the event.

Phelim:

That's right. Absolutely. I'm conscious that people will be in town anyway, uh, for the expo in Olympia. Um, we're going to have an informal, uh, but no social get together between 3:00 PM and 5:00 PM on Tuesday, the 28th. Uh it's uh, basically just five minutes. Walk from Olympia. And, you know, it's, it's it's well, weather permitting. We've got pagodas anyway, it's outside. It's a it's lighthearted. It's a nice way to get back in touch and specifically useful for community members who are already at the, uh, the ISC. So, so, so really looking for.

Jon:

Yeah, I'm looking forward to that one too. I mean, it's been a long time. I think, um, the last time I was at an event poem was you, you can probably tell me which one it was, it was one of your events and it must be two years ago. Now, was that the, uh, the cyber EAP, uh, convergence

Phelim:

or it was the fifth annual AP tech forum. January. Yeah.

Jon:

Well, either way, we're going back, uh, some way. And whilst this isn't on the same scale, at least what's happened under the pagodas, won't be, uh, it would be a great opportunity to see some familiar faces

Phelim:

absolutely goes. There are people that know us, of course, from before. There's this there's a strong community strong list and the community is still there, but there will be new faces and it will be great to meet you and to. Get get that more personal touch, um, and maybe persuade them face to face that they should contribute to the magazine.

Jon:

Yeah. And I know you create a segue now. However, I just wanted to say it just, um, just when you were talking about new listeners, that just made me realize that actually, you know, we started this podcast. This is episode 37. We started at the beginning of the year. So this, the last time we all met up this, this podcast didn't exist. Now. We haven't seen people for a long time, but there's a lot of people who've been listening to us, you know, every week. And. Um, I know that's obvious and I'm not just taking a shot in the dark here because I did, I was actually speaking to an ex colleague a few weeks ago and I hadn't heard from him in quite some time. And if he's listening, that's James, a great guy. And he actually said, It it's like you've never been gone. Cause I listened to yourself and Sean every week. And that just blew my mind. That was the, that was the first time that I kind of realized, uh, the, the impact of being on the podcast to me, it's just, you know, I turn up every week. I sit and have this great conversation with you. And a guest and it's so easy to think of it in those terms. So yeah, it's going to be crazy to meet up with people. Who've been listening to us over this journey and, you know, to, to hopefully for the first time get some real world, uh, you know, feedback. So hopefully some honest, but not too scathing feedback,

Phelim:

indeed, please, please do. Um, obviously it's, it's, it's a safe space or a safer space as a war game exercise. So, um, so please do that. And of course, please do contribute to the magazine. The ISC will provide lots of fruitful content and angles for articles. Um, I'm, I'm, I'm sure of it because, you know, we haven't actually all met up to them here

Jon:

for some time. Yeah. That's that's, that's going to be a big, a big mission of mine actually. W when I go to the event is to start harvesting, uh, for upcoming issues. We were actually in production now for issue 60. So if, if there's probably still a couple of spaces in there. So if anybody wants to get into a big landmark number, like number 60, you know, you've got probably a couple of weeks to get your submission across to us. But if not, there's plenty more coming after that.

Phelim:

Love it. I'll be there. I'll have my recorder there. So runaway, if you don't want to be recorded and, uh, yeah, absolutely. We'll we'll we'll we'll see you at this informal it'll you know, no pressure and just an informal get together. Three to 5:00 PM UK time, uh, you know, by Kensington Olympia, I'll send you some details. Um, and of course, uh, you will see it on the BBA connect app and the NAB app, probably not possessed as relating to a London event, but absolutely love the content and love the, uh, discussions going. Oh, and one thing I should say, uh, two of our industry, friends at least are speaking at the ISE and we hoping to catch up with them, um, Miranda, Kaposi, and over it, uh, just, uh, just a shout out. So let's see if we can get them along to the, uh, to the informal drinks. They're not, they're not officially coming. I haven't really got any confirmation, but at least we know the next two at the ISE. Perfect. All right. This week it's been wargaming. Thank you to Nick Drake. And, uh, from John and myself, this has been another fantastic edition of the circuit magazine podcast. We look forward to seeing you in person or at least some of you next

Nick Drage:

week. you have been listening to the circuit magazine podcast, be sure to subscribe and be sure to not miss an episode.

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