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Scenario Planning Software, Civil

Discussion in 'Technical' started by meduseld, Nov 28, 2014.

  1. meduseld

    meduseld Monkey

    A few of us have been discussing how much longer we have to prep for social instability in South Africa. If we lose another 10% of our electricity grid, if we achieve the predicted shortfall of 10% of our budget next year, and if our water system’s current crumble accelerates, if El Nino 2015 ruins crops and food prices soar, if our credit rating is lowered again and inflation increases and poor people become poorer, and if unemployment reaches 30% (from 25%), what could happen in our society? Will civil insurrection result? And how soon will it happen?

    We have drawn up our own quasi-scientific scenarios, but now we are looking for the software to do it properly.
    (Preferably free, preferably able to run on both Windows and Linux. It’s just a hobby and we are new to it).
    Those of us who were in the old Defence Force are familiar by reputation with the civil stuff which military intelligence used to do: “If such-and-such place has a riot, and if so-and-so industry goes on strike, and if X power station gets blown up, then what will be the resultant reaction amongst the militant civilians in Y region?” So, the exact stuff which we want does exist. Now it is a matter of finding it, even if it is a basic/freeware model to begin with. Any advice?
  2. VisuTrac

    VisuTrac Ваша мать носит военные ботинки Site Supporter+++

    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 13, 2015
    Yard Dart likes this.
  3. Witch Doctor 01

    Witch Doctor 01 Mojo Maker

    Are you looking for statistical analysis? modeling? or design?
  4. meduseld

    meduseld Monkey

    Um, I am not familiar enough with the field to give you an answer in professional terms. I think that I am looking for "a civil version of real-life war gaming software". In other words, I'd like to input all of the prevailing factors in my country and receive outputs such as:
    1) Threat Type
    2) Likelihood of Threat Manifesting
    3) Scale of Threat
    4) Timing or Imminence of Threat

    In other words, I am looking for precisely, precisely, precisely what our old defence force would have used for scenario planning in our townships during civil unrest, i.e. when X school was burned down, Y transformer blown up, and Z bus company went on strike - what was the likely threat to emerge from such events in a certain region. Can we expect riots? Will the liberation movements become more active, are bombings more likely, should we send in the troops, how many troops?

    In principle, it would be much like a risk analysis done by a Disaster Management consultant on a building site (how tall is the scaffolding, how windy is the site, how many people are on the scaffolds, what is the risk of the scaffolding collapsing, how many ambulances should be on standby at all times, whatever...), but instead taking national factors such as GDP, population, unemployment, infrastructure, utilities, growth, debt, arable land, rainfall, availability of water, food security, and - I dunno - length of coastline and amount of annual sunshine for all I know, into account. Then, if I tweaked the variables, such as a 10% loss in the electricity grid, such as we are experiencing now, or such as a drought and 3% crop failure, my outputs would change, and I'd be able to "prophecy", in a reasonably scientific way, do what degree the likelihood of social unrest is increased.

    To Give You a Frame of Reference
    This all stems from the fact that at the moment in my country many of us are beginning to think that the current electricity failures, combined with the slow but accelerating crumbling of our water treatment plants and reticulation systems, combined with massive ongoing fights in our parliament, and the steady decline in foreign investment, and a looming shortfall in our balance of payments, will lead towards civil unrest, and we'd like to be able to play the game in advance, so to speak.

    Is that helpful? I hope so, and look forward to your thoughts.

    Last edited: Nov 29, 2014
  5. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    While I don't doubt that the military has developed something that will yield some sort of gross level results to the inputs you intend, I have to say I think you are looking for something that isn't available. To get any kind of forecast, the equation would include a slew of both linear and non linear variables, each of which would contain more variables in the fashion of a decision tree, and each of those would branch even further. Then you face the question of random input data, meaning gut feelings by the operator. (Sorry about this snarkiness) taken to the extreme and absurd, we get to the level of finding the odds of a fluttering bat wing stirring up the Indian Ocean.

    Quite frankly, I think your time would be better spent sitting around the table building decision trees for your individual group, sorta playing out mentally a run of "what if" (and "if then") scenarios in much the way the military does at strategic (and tactical for noncoms) levels. I think you'll find that the first and possibly the second level decisions are fairly easy, but beyond that things will be too fuzzy for any level of certainty. All that is one of the reasons that planning for war goes out the window at first contact on a tactical level, even if the strategic objective isn't affected.
  6. Witch Doctor 01

    Witch Doctor 01 Mojo Maker

    Current Civil defense software that you are requesting is not available to the public. Each area of threat planning is handled separately with advanced statistical analysis and run on super computers that have more processing than individuals are likely to have access to. I agree with @ghrit your best process is to develop several specific "what if" scenarios and plan for them as best you can. if you want to do some basic probability analysis you would need software such as excel, and SAS along with data that can be used to accurately forecast the possibility of a particular event. the data collection would be extremely difficult to develop with any accuracy as much of the information is proprietary. I would recommend table top gaming and running scenarios on how you would respond to them. Afterwards debrief to determine what worked and what didn't... then run the same scenarios in a "real life" manner taking each scenario and living it... (no power for a weekend, no water/water purification/ distribution for a weekend... etc.) and see how you do then change you methods to better improve you capabilities. if the planning goes poorly use the fice why, and herring bone trouble shooting processes to determine the issues.
    chelloveck likes this.
  7. VisuTrac

    VisuTrac Ваша мать носит военные ботинки Site Supporter+++

    @meduseld , I guess I misunderstood your query. Sounds like you are looking for pre-rolled software as opposed to writing your own.

    do a google search on FOSS and Disaster management or Disaster Management Planning software. It might get you close to what you are looking for. Be ready for a steep learning curve and some expense. Typically NGOs and Governments have access to lots of data that you will not be able to afford (parcel data for the United states runs about 250K per year).

    Data such as GIS (terrain, cityscape, flood plains, etc.), Imagery, Census (population density, income, housing type, employment), historical disaster information, and other touchpoints are going to be necessary to fill out your what if planning. Your area may or may not have detailed data available.

    Good luck in your adventure. Keep us informed of what you find.
    meduseld and chelloveck like this.
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