SYNTHETIC ENVIRONMENTS FOR NATIONAL SECURITY ESTIMATES
Since 1998, SPP’s Peace Operations Policy
Program (POPP) has been associated with the
for National Security Estimates program (S.E.N.S.E.).
S.E.N.S.E. trains leaders from countries that have
recently emerged from civil wars and are undergoing
reconstruction by staging simulation exercises
structured around a fictitious country called
S.E.N.S.E. was developed by the Institute for Defense
Analyses and used to train leaders from Montenegro,
Georgia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as
officials from the World Bank and US Agency
Development. Since the United States Institute
of Peace (USIP) took over the program a few
it has conducted trainings for Kosovar Albanians
and Serbs, in 2002, and Iraqi officials in 2005
SPP Assistant Professor Allison
the director of POPP, has been working with S.E.N.S.E.
since before she arrived at George Mason. In May
1999, she was hired to serve as a trainer for Akrona
parliamentarians in the S.E.N.S.E. simulations.
Two years later, she started working at SPP, and
in February 2004, USIP asked her to consult as
the manager and facilitator of their Iraqi training
program. Her work involves teaching principles
of governance and market economics to an audience
familiar with a centralized government and command
economy. USIP provides two days of conflict resolution
training at the start of the five-day program,
particularly in developing negotiating skills.
The players then receive a role for the simulation.
On the domestic side, one might serve as the president
of Akrona, government minister, parliamentarian,
head of the Akrona Central Bank, commercial bank
or business executive, or member of a local nongovernmental
organization; international simulation roles include
World Bank, US, EU, and UN agency representatives,
or executives within a transnational corporation.
S.E.N.S.E. simulations can represent more than
10 post-conflict years so that players learn to
gauge their goals and objectives in the short-,
middle-, and long-term. Decision-making is performed
without all necessary information, to approximate
real-world conditions, and made urgent by deadlines.
Review sessions bring the participants together
to examine individual or group policies, and to
think about how they impact bringing about peace
and security to Akrona, or their own country.
May of 2005, Frendak and her team—including
POPP students Tia Wheeler, Yuriy Gavryliuk, Melanie
Spillane, Carrie Sue Casey, Daniel Langberg, and
Behzad Roohi; MAIS students Fatima Hadji and Patricia
Anton; ICP student Farnoush Ahramizadeh; and SPP
adjunct professor Kirk Johnson—traveled to
Amman, Jordon to train a team who would carry out
the S.E.N.S.E. program in Iraq. And in 2006, Frendak
spent time in the Kurdish region of Iraq, where
she performed follow-up training with the Iraqi
Dr. Frendak-Blume is a leading researcher in the
field of peace operations and is the developer
of the fifth version of the Conceptual Model of
Peace Operations, a domain model capturing the
functions, tasks, relationships, and organizations
involved in these operations. She regularly consults
with agencies such as NATO and the National Defense
University to assess the performance of civilian
military actors in peace operations in countries
such as Liberia, Sierra Leone, Bosnia, Kosovo,
Iraq, and Afghanistan.