Spring 2021 Crisis Simulation

On April 23-24 2021, students from the Schar School of Policy and Government met virtually for CSPS’s semi-annual crisis simulation. This semester the NATO, Russia, and a Political-Military Crisis in the Baltic States simulation was refashioned to heighten tension and place students under greater pressure. The CSPS control cell split participants into six country teams that navigated three progressive “rounds” of a crisis designed to force participants to navigate escalation in the near future. Each team grappled with public diplomacy in the age of social media, political decisions in uncertain conditions, and military coordination with an alliance in jeopardy.

The challenge to participants peaked when a nuclear weapon was set off in Paris by an unknown actor, bringing the teams to the precipice of nuclear war. Impressively, the students were able to avert a catastrophe with admirable prudence and careful signaling. After the final round it was revealed- to much surprise- that the attack on Paris had resulted from a country team’s opening moves. The CSPS control cell and moderators enjoyed the dynamism brought to the revised exercise and eagerly anticipate the outcome of a new simulation to be hosted in Fall 2021.


For more information on the university’s COVID-19 response, please visit GMU’s website here.