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The U K Defence Forum has entered a team in a new wiki-based competition that could revolutionize grand strategic planning.
Thirty-five teams of students and analysts from leading academic and military institutions including Columbia, Georgetown, Oxford and the United States Air Force have already registered for Wikistrat's Grand Strategy Competition. It will take place throughout June and will be judged by Dr. Thomas Barnett, former senior adviser to the US secretary of defense (and a previous speaker at a U K Defence Forum briefing dinner), and Michael Barrett, former director of strategy at the White House Homeland Security Council.
Wikistrat CEO Joel Zamel, who together with fellow Australian expat Daniel Green founded the company in Israel last year, said the competition, which they have dubbed "Grand Strategy 2.0," would provide participants with a "Wikipedia meets Facebook collaborative space for generating content."
"Generically this kind of work [strategic planning] is done in the form of static reports: that's the industry standard," Zamel told The Jerusalem Post recently. "This is different because it's wiki-based, allowing strategists and analysts from around the world to collaboratively generate content."
"There's a methodology that we've developed that is set up to guide them through the competition, so they're able to look at the work of other teams that they're competing against," he said. "They're also able to leverage off the content analysis that's in our system.
"We have developed an integrated model of globalization in all its complexity: flows of investment, political trends, country interests and strategic forecasting that's in our wiki," which they'll be able to "integrate" with their strategies."
The competitors will be challenged to come up with long-term national strategies for selected countries based on five issues: global energy security, global economic "rebalancing," Jihadist terrorism, the Sino-American relationship and nuclear proliferation in the Middle East.
"The competition is focusing on very broad-scale trends and developments," Zamel said, naming the emergence of new economic powers in Asia and the resurgence of Turkey as a regional power as issues that would need to be considered by competitors when they decide on policies for their selected countries.
Scores will be tallied at the end of each of the four weeks of the competition, with competitors judged by their level of analysis and by how well they achieve their stated objectives.
The team with the highest score at the end will win a $10,000 cash prize.
The U K Defence Forum team is led by Research Co-ordinator Dr Robert Crowcroft, with Director of Research Dr Jeffrey Bradord, Research Co-ordinator Adam Dempsey, Director General Robin Ashby and Researchers Dr Tom French, Oliver Jones and Ron Adelo.
Robin Ashby commented : "We're pitching ourselves against the world's best academic researchers, which will be a severe test for us. But mainly we're doing it for fun."