Gaming Simulation: Project S.W.A.R.M.

Focus Area: Risk Prevention & Risk Response

Project Title: Simulations of Catastrophic Food and Agriculture Events for Readiness

Status: In progress

Overview: The Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases (IIAD) and the Learning Interactive Visualization Experiences (LIVE) Lab, both members of the Texas A&M University System, collaborated to develop a food animal disease outbreak game prototype with funding provided by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction (CWMD). The primary goal of the prototype was to understand how to use gaming as a tool to evaluate preparedness and response activities for intentional catastrophic agricultural events. The prototype incorporates many of the most important emergency management capabilities – most importantly applying a time-based game mechanic to capture the concept of readiness. Readiness is an essential concept of intentional Foreign Animal Disease (FAD) and food contamination response as the impacts of such an event will worsen in a cascading fashion if response is not performed in an effective and timely manner to contain exposure and spread. Players must perform tasks at the required capacity within a set timeframe if they want to achieve success. Moving forward, the goal is to develop a digital version of a catastrophic animal disease response game that builds off of the foundation laid by the prototype. The development of a digital version would involve extensive collaboration with food animal production industry representatives as well as regulatory officials, insurance industry representatives, and other stakeholders such as emergency management, public health, and law enforcement. The team is currently meeting with the aforementioned representatives to gauge interest in this game-based concept and to find partners interested in working on the next iteration which would involve greater depth of play, opportunities for training, and exploration of potential scenarios.

Project Duration: September 2019 – December 2020

IIAD Project Team: Jimmy Tickel, Sarah Caffey

Consultants/Partners: Learning Interactive Visualization Experiences (LIVE) Lab, U.S. Department of Homeland Security for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction (CWMD)

Outcomes, Solution, & Impact: TBD