“Baltic Storm 2025: NATO and Russia on the Brink” is a simulated intelligence and policymaking crisis that IWP offers as an extracurricular opportunity to its students. This program is offered in partnership with Waymark Intelligence Solutions, LLC, usually in the fall and spring semesters.
Baltic Storm is an opportunity for students to gain firsthand experience in learning the skills of both intelligence analysis and policymaking in a crisis scenario. It was originally created by two IWP alumni, Jeremy Boss and Nathan M. Kerr.
About the Crisis Scenario
In this crisis scenario, Russia has annexed Eastern Latvia, triggering an international conflict between NATO states and Russia. Students are divided into three teams: NATO West, NATO East, and Russia.
Students participate in two phases during the exercise:
1) Intelligence Analysis Phase
In the Intelligence phase, students assume the role of an intelligence analyst. Teams assess over 1,000 intelligence reports during a two-week period. Students learn the different intelligence roles including: HUMINT, IMINT, SIGINT, and All Source Intelligence.
After gathering information from the intelligence reports, the teams brief their assessments to a simulated policymaking panel including representatives from Waymark and professors from The Institute of World Politics.
2) Wargame and Policymaking Scenario
In the second phase, students shift their roles from intelligence analyst to policymaker pursuing national security goals in a crisis environment. The teams develop comprehensive policy solutions based upon their previous intelligence acquired in conjunction with the ongoing conflict in Latvia.
The policymaking scenario consists of a two-day event divided into four phases, in which the two NATO teams merge to face Russia. Students write policy memos and move military units for both tactical and strategic purposes. During the wargame, students can utilize their knowledge of political warfare, public diplomacy, economic statecraft, propaganda, military strategy, cyber warfare, and much more.
I don’t know of any other organizations that offer war games that are dependent on how you perform in an intelligence component.
-Jeremy Boss, IWP alumnus and co-creator of Baltic Storm
Integrating the Arts of Statecraft
Baltic Storm is a valuable opportunity to learn effective skills desired in the intelligence and policymaking communities.
It also gives students an opportunity to put into practice a holistic strategy, integrating various arts of statecraft.
When Jeremy and I joined the IC, we were thrown into the deep end and expected to swim… The people who try to figure out problems are the ones who succeed. We want IWP students to know that in the first few years, they will be relied on for big decisions. This exercise was meant to prepare them with the skills they need to provide good analysis.
-Nathan M. Kerr, IWP alumnus and co-creator of Baltic Storm
Student Feedback on Baltic Storm
“I could not have imagined a better hands-on experience to understand the responsibilities and roles of an intelligence analyst and policymaker. I was blown away by the amount that I learned in such a short period of time. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the unique backgrounds and talents of my fellow classmates and working closely with a team to bring our goals to fruition in the simulation. I highly recommend this simulation to every student at IWP!”
“Coming from an academic background, my understanding of the strategic approach is strong. But this exercise gave us tactical experience with challenging issues that forced us to demonstrate a multi-dimensional thinking by developing analytical, problem solving, and critical thinking skills. Working in a fast-paced environment with students who are eager to participate, demonstrate their knowledge, and bring forward their background was rewarding in the end.”