Get access

The Dalig and Vadan Exercise: Teaching Students about Strategy and the Challenges of Friction and Fog


  • [Corrections added November 14, 2014 after original online publication. Grammatical changes have been made to this article to improve clarity.]


For classes which contain a discussion of strategy, war, political violence, terrorism, insurgency, peace operations, or ethno-nationalist conflict to name a few, students must have an effective, foundational understanding of the complexities of using military force. To that end, we have developed an operational “battlefield” exercise, the Dalig–Vadan Exercise (DVE), which allows an entire class of students to get a sense of the dynamics and complexities of command and execution of competing strategies without any military background, any particular emphasis on time, place, or context, and de-emphasizing the consequences of violence. Anchored on Clausewitz's friction and fog, the DVE provides students with a first-person encounter with decision making in a dynamic, multiparty, informational-limited, and time-sensitive environment that can be related to a wide range of courses and course material in international relations and related fields.