The Strategic Economic Needs and Security Exercise (SENSE) is a powerful and cutting edge experiential learning tool. It is a computer-facilitated simulation that focuses heavily on human interaction.  SENSE provides a dynamic but safe environment for experiencing firsthand the interconnected nature of working in a post-conflict environment.  Particularly, it emphasizes the need for a unity of effort between and among all parties involved.  

Read a firsthand account from a recent SENSE participant>>

SENSE models the economic and social conditions in an imaginary country called Akrona that is emerging from destructive conflict and that can be programmed to include an ethnic component when appropriate.  The players, each playing a role ranging from government officials, private firms, civil society, and international actors, are challenged to identify and coordinate policies aimed at advancing recovery and reconstruction in Akrona. 

View a map of Akrona>>

Provides a platform for participants to experiment with various scenarios and situations giving real-time feedback for their actions and/or inactions. Using the computer system as a source of information and a window into the actions taken by their colleagues, the participants must then determine how best to achieve their goals. 

View a photo gallery from a USIP SENSE simulation>>


SENSE was first developed by the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) in response to a need for tools to assist in implementation of the Dayton Accords following the end of the war in Bosniain 1995.

High-ranking government officials in Bosnia and elsewhere have participated in SENSE following their respective countries' conflicts, and the simulation helped them to understand the long-term implications that their decisions could have on their citizens and nations.

SENSE remains the most sophisticated and comprehensive “peace game” simulation. Since its original development, SENSE has been successfully employed (by USIP and/or IDA) with participants from around the world.

Read about past and present SENSE simulations conducted in Iraq, Poland, and in the U.S. for interagency audiences.


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