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Course Details

Course Details

Course Code: SPST485 Course ID: 4833 Credit Hours: 3 Level: Undergraduate

This course promotes the understanding and effective use of space power while providing insight into the shaping and consequences of strategic decisions made in a space wargame. Students explore critical space issues in-depth and investigate the integration activities of multiple agencies associated with space systems and services. The course includes an overview of wargaming, the reasons why we wargame, and the history of wargaming. It then examines the space environment and why we wargame in space, even though there has never been a conflict in that domain. Next is an overview of Thor’s Hammer (the National Reconnaissance Office’s wargame) and the Schriever wargame series, followed by lessons learned from each wargame and how wargames affect military strategy. This course allows students to think critically about the importance of space assets and how best to protect them.

Course Schedule

Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
03/29/21 - 09/03/21 09/06/21 - 10/31/21 Summer 2021 Session D 8 Week session

Current Syllabi

These are the course objectives:

CO-1: Examine the reasons why wargaming is necessary, not only for the military but also for commercial Industry.

CO-2: Analyze the histories of military wargaming and space wargaming for patterns and trends.

CO-3: Examine the pros and cons of conducting wargames in general as well as space wargames.

CO-4: Differentiate between the two major space wargames.

CO-5: Analyze the strategies of a space wargame.

CO-6: Prepare a limited space wargame scenario.

CO-7: Attribute lessons learned from previous wargames, to include space wargames.

CO-8: Analyze space wargaming results for correlations to overall military strategy.

There will be 8 Forum topics spread over 8 weeks. Forums make up 30% of your grade. One of the most important aspects of a graduate class is conversation. Thus, the forum topics are designed for developing ideas, entering into dialogue with the instructor and/or your classmates on a variety of topics related to the course. The topics offer some initial comments or questions to initiate responses. Although original thoughts on every topic are not required, each student should strive to include original thoughts or opinions on a majority of the topics. The idea is engagement and discussion. Your comprehension of assigned readings will be reflected in your ability to discuss key course concepts. Use proper paragraphs, spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc. No participation earns 0 points.


This short quiz will consist of 10 multiple choice, short answer, true/false, and fill-in-the-blank questions. It will be worth 5% of your overall grade.

Short Paper
Submit an 8-10 page paper on the worth and relevance of space war games and exercises. Given the fact that there has never been a conflict in space, are these war games and exercises a good use of our resources or are they a waste of time and money? Justify your position. The paper is worth 15% of your overall grade.

Although you are welcome to include graphs, photos, charts, etc. they will NOT count toward the minimum requirement of 8 pages of narrative. You must also cite at least 7 references. The paper must be written IAW APA guidelines. Details are in the Assignments Tab.

Wargame Scenario

This is a 2-3 page paper of a draft space wargame scenario, to include the current situation between the U.S./allies and adversaries, capabilities of each side, objectives, participants, and timeframe. The scenario is worth 10% of your grade.

Although you are welcome to include graphs, photos, charts, etc. they will NOT count toward the minimum requirement of 2 pages of narrative.

Research Paper
The research paper will be 12-15 pages of text on any topic we’ve discussed in the class but must be different than your short paper topic. The research paper is worth 20% of your overall grade.

Although you are welcome to include graphs, photos, charts, etc. they will NOT count toward the minimum requirement of 12 pages of narrative. You must also cite at least 10 references. All sources of information must include footnotes. Bibliographies should be complete and include all sources used.

Final Exam

The midterm and final exam make up 20% of your overall grade. Questions will be short essay; you will choose 7 questions out of 12 and respond with 1- 2 paragraphs each. The exam will require you to have a good comprehension of all materials presented.

Writing Expectations

All written submissions should be submitted in one of the following Fonts: 11 or 12-point Times New Roman or 11 or 12-point Arial. Double space the text and indent paragraphs in accordance with Turabian guidelines. Separate your topics for ease of reading and good organization. Include a Title page with your name, course, topic, and date; and a Table of Contents.

Citation and Reference Style

All assignments for this class should follow the APA Style guidelines. You may cite your sources using footnotes OR endnotes but include separate pages for References and the Bibliography.

Late Assignments
I understand there are times in your personal and professional lives that may preclude you from completing assignments on time. I want you to submit quality work and not work that is rushed just to meet a suspense. Try to stay ahead of the assignments so you can stick to the set guidelines. However, if you need more time, ask for an extension.I am typically flexible with suspenses, but ONLY when there is a good justification. All I ask is that you let me know BEFORE the assignment due date that you require additional time. Don’t request additional time two hours before the assignment is due or the day after. Students who submit assignments late without pre-coordination with the instructor will have points deducted from that assignment. Routine submission of late assignments is unacceptable and will result in points deducted from your final course grade.

***If you have questions about the course grading, don't hesitate to contact me either by email or through the Sakai message system.***

NameGrade %
Introduction Forum 2.50 %
Forum 2.50 %
Forums 27.50 %
Forum 2 3.93 %
Forum 3 3.93 %
Forum 4 3.93 %
Forum 5 3.93 %
Forum 6 3.93 %
Forum 7 3.93 %
Forum 8 3.93 %
Short paper 15.00 %
Relevance of Space Wargames 15.00 %
Wargames Scenario 10.00 %
Space Wargame Scenario 10.00 %
Short Quiz 5.00 %
Quiz 5.00 %
Research Paper 20.00 %
Research Paper 20.00 %
Final Exam 20.00 %
Final 20.00 %


Bracken, P. and Shubik, M. (2001) War Gaming in the Information Age. Naval War College Review, Spring 2001, Vol. LIV:2. Accessed at

Caffrey, M., Lt Col (2000). Toward a History Based Doctrine for Wargaming. Aerospace Power Journal, Fall 2000. Accessed at

Conrad, Dr. W. (2013). Space Wargaming Prepares U.S. Forces for Battle in the High
Frontier. American Public University System. Accessed at

Danilenko, G. (1989). Outer Space and the Multilateral Treaty-Making Process. Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California at Berkeley, Space Policy, 321-329 (1989). Accessed at

Lastowka, G. (1999). What is a Wargame? University of Virginia School of Law. Accessed at

Rubel, Robert C. (2006). The Epistemology of War Gaming. Naval War College Review, Spring 2006, 59:2. Accessed at,-The---Rubel,-Robert-C-.aspx

Shah, A. (2007). Militarization and Weaponization of Outer Space. Global Accessed at

Starr, S.H. (2001). Good Games: Challenges for the War Gaming Community. Naval War College Review. Spring 2001, Vol LIV:2.
Accessed at:

Watman, K. (2003). War Gaming and its Role in Examining the Future. Brown Journal of World Affairs, Summer/Fall 2003, Vol X:1. Accessed at

Zenko, M. (2014). Dangerous Space Incidents, Contingency Planning Memorandum No. 21. Publisher Council on Foreign Relations Press (April 2014). Accesed at

PowerPoint Presentations:

Conrad, Dr. W. (2014) - Wargaming Overview, Derived from Multiple Sources

Conrad, Dr. W. (2014) - NRO Wargame, Derived from Thor’s Hammer 14 Wargame Initial Planning Workshop Read Ahead

Conrad, Dr. W. (2014) - Schriever 12 Wargame, Derived from Schriever Wargame 2012 Operational Assessment Report

Conrad, Dr. W. (2014) - Schriever 12 Wargame Lessons Learned, Derived from Schriever Wargame 2012 Operational Assessment Report

Conrad, Dr. W (2014) – Schriever 14 Wargame, Derived from Draft Schriever Wargame 2014 Operational Assessment Report

Book Title:Wargaming for Leaders: Strategic Decision Making from the Battlefield to the Boardroom - the VitalSource e-book is provided inside the classroom
Publication Info:VS-McGraw-Hill
Author:Herman & Frost
Unit Cost:$25.45
Electronic ISBN:1259585867
Electronic Unit Cost:$35.00

Previous Syllabi

Not current for future courses.