There is no substitute for first-hand experience when it comes to learning how to think strategically. Books, lectures, and discussions can teach a lot about strategic decision making, but even the best classroom cannot replicate the uncertainty, pressure, and friction that decision makers face in the real world.

Students in hallway

SEI's crisis simulations close this gap between theory and practice. Although they vary in context and format, all are based on realistic scenarios and challenge students to work against tight deadlines, incomplete information, and bureaucratic friction. SEI sponsors two simulations each year, one held in the fall semester and one in the spring semester. The simulations are open to all Princeton undergraduate and graduate students, regardless of year or major.

The goal of each simulation is to recreate the experience of making foreign policy decisions under conditions of strategic and bureaucratic uncertainty. Each student is assigned to a country team, with each country having military and civilian decision cells. To make the simulations are realistic as possible, active duty military officers, intelligence officers, and private sector experts also participate in the simulations adding a unique dynamic with their real world experience.

Crisis Simulation Team Meeting
Participants discuss