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National Level Exercise 2010,Operation Blackjack and Shared Situation Awareness

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posted on Apr, 22 2010 @ 05:17 AM
Last year, one phenomenon that took several conspiracy or alternative sites on the internet by storm was "Operation Blackjack". Threads in various discussion forums ran into hundreds of pages with many posters frantically decoding information and searching for clues. Operation Blackjack was nothing but a set of slides that depicted acts of nuclear terrorism being perpetrated in various cities across the world. This set of slides was uploaded in a relatively obscure section of The Daily Telegraph website. Although there was a disclaimer saying that the slides were a work of art, the presence of a hidden reference to a website opened up the floodgates of speculation. No one really gave much attention to those slides until some one said that there is a website mentioned in one of the slides. In the end, one man came forward and said that he was responsible for the whole affair and thus the entire matter was brushed under the carpet.

In the past few days and weeks, I had created the following threads related to the upcoming (or ongoing) NLE 2010 exercise:

"No-notice" or mysterious NLE 2010

FEMA Requests Removal of National Level Exercise 2010 (NLE 10) Document

Now while I was perusing the internet for any new information or updates about NLE 2010,I came across a list of subcontractors who were selected for the NLE 2010. While the entire list is quite big, I found the work profiles of some of these subcontractors to be quite interesting. They are as follows:

Washington D.C Media

Our clients and portfolio span a broad range of markets: broadcast media; museum and fine arts; political; government; agency; independent production and corporate video. Whether it’s producing feature films that touch the heart; video museum exhibits that expand the mind; designing, original branded websites or executing viral marketing campaigns, IMG thrives on uniqueness and delivering excellence.


Development and implementation of web-based games for research, analysis, and team training.

Evaluation of education and training technologies – including models, games, and simulations.

Effective implementation of technologies and processes for distributed teams.

Here, I came across a term called as Shared Situation Awareness and situation assessment. Following are some of the critical factors in situation assessment process:

• Perception-acquiring the available facts
• Comprehension-understanding the facts in relation to our own knowledge of such situations
• Projection-envisioning how the situation is likely to develop in the future, provided it is not acted upon by any outside force
• Prediction-evaluating how outside forces may act upon the situation to affect our projections

Source: Shared Situation Awareness

Okay let me guess or make a rough estimate at this point. Many of the posters who played Operation Blackjack might have implemented some or all of the critical factors mentioned above while analyzing the pictures and Shakespeare quotes that were posted on the website. Anyways, coming back to the current topic:

Apparently, there was a game or a project that was initiated specifically to study Shared Situation Awareness. This game was developed by the Center for Naval Analyses or (CNA).The Center for Naval Analyses is a federally funded research and development center serving the Department of the Navy and other defense agencies. The objectives and the nature of the game are described as follows:

This work, done for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, explores how distributed teams build shared mental models, or shared situational awareness (SSA). The study specifically examines the effects of using different modes of communication and visualization.

This study involved an experiment using a web-based, multi-player game called SCUDHunt. SCUDHunt was designed by CNA and developed and implemented by ThoughtLink and CNA. SCUDHunt is a simple game of command, control, communication, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C3ISR) played by distributed players (similar to the popular game Battleship - but with multiple players each playing from their own computers). In SCUDHunt, each player commands one or more information assets and the objective is to work with other team members to find the 3 hidden SCUD launchers on a 5 X 5 grid map representing the fictional country of Korona.

The game is designed so that the distributed team members would need to share information in order to do well and so that the players' interpretations of the information would be easy to record and measure

Source : SCUDHunt

The main objective of SCUDHunt was fulfilled because analysis of shared mental models or shared situation awareness was achieved using small amount of money as compared to the millions that would have been spent in a full fledged exercise.

Now it is a matter of speculation whether Operation Blackjack was just a simple (or not so simple) prank played with a set of slides and an obscure website with images and hidden text. When I read about shared situation awareness and the SCUDHunt game, I found a certain degree of similarity between SCUDHunt and Operation Blackjack.

Peace and Regards

posted on Apr, 22 2010 @ 09:00 PM
Any corrections or additional inputs by fellow ATSers would be definitely helpful.

posted on Apr, 23 2010 @ 08:32 AM
I guess I'm not sold on BlackJack being a "game". I'm not disagreeing with your thesis, maybe I don't know enough about the BlackJack piece you describe.

This SCUD hunt sounds very similar to the DARPA balloon hunt:

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency announced that the MIT team was the first group in the contest to report the latitude and longitude coordinates of all 10 balloons, which were scattered across the United States. DARPA is the U.S. military's research arm. Saturday's challenge is the latest in a series that the agency has hosted since 2004. This contest was designed to test the way social networking and lesser-known Web-based techniques can help accomplish a large-scale, time-critical task.

I am very interested in the info about NLE 10 having media companies subcontracted ... for what? Strange. Could you expand on that?
Thanks for the posting.

posted on Apr, 23 2010 @ 08:48 AM
reply to post by jcrash

So far, the two media companies that I have found out who are associated with this exercise are Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide and IMG.

I think that Ogilvy PR is a well renowned company in the field of marketing and advertising. Little is known about IMG media group, although they mention in their web site that they are capable of creating "viral marketing campaign" across all media platforms, whether it is television or the internet. Now the big question here is that NLE 2010 is supposed to be a "No Notice" or "under the wraps" kind of exercise. Secrecy has been associated with this exercise from the start. In such circumstances, one wonders as to what is the role or necessity of having marketing or advertising companies enlisted for the drill.

As far as Operation Blackjack is concerned, here is the link to Daily Telegraph that contains all the slides.


posted on May, 11 2010 @ 05:54 PM

Looks like the Telegraph got something right.... I remember when this was Huge last summer(2009). And when the Telegraph changed a few slides, people were going nuts!

Well, the one slide that changed from PM Gordon Brown to David Cameron, has now happened. And the Project Blackjack date is right around the corner.

I personally thought that the transistion would take longer and not having Gordon Brown step down so suddenly. Anyways, just another thing to keep an eye on...

Cameron Blackjack

posted on May, 11 2010 @ 06:26 PM
Eerily enough, this seems more possible then you might believe.

Remain Vigilant, Friends.

posted on May, 11 2010 @ 07:51 PM
reply to post by JWash

Yes, it is strange as to how the dots are getting perfectly connected. I remember that in one of the earlier versions of the slides, Brown was shown as the PM but suddenly the slide was changed and it was shown that Cameron was addressing the parliament as the PM.


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