Tabletop Exercises
& Trainings

Valens Global offers a variety of scenario-based learning services, such as our tabletop exercises (TTXs). TTXs provide participants with the opportunity to apply and internalize new information in a dynamic, immersive, and life-like environment. Compared to standard pedagogical techniques (e.g., lectures, presentations) which encompass passive learners, TTXs are engaging and interactive simulations that facilitate communication, collaboration, and problem-solving in time-sensitive and novel circumstances.

Scenario-based learning also allows participants to evaluate the extent to which they have internalized new knowledge. This style of earning enables participants from diverse backgrounds to consider how they would apply new knowledge in their own contexts; a widely applicable TTX ensures that participants have the freedom to grapple with opportunities and challenges unique to their own perspectives.

Examples of Past Tabletop Exercises

Valens Global has a wealth of expertise in producing world class TTXs and other scenario-based learning exercises. Past and current clients include: The Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), among others. See below for summaries of the aforementioned exercises.

Global Counterterrorism Forum

Valens Global designed a TTX for the GCTF’s Watchlisting Guidance Manual Initiative that was administered in January 2021 during one of its virtual conferences on the Application of Watchlists of Known and Suspected Terrorists, including Foreign Terrorist Fighters. The TTX leveraged participants’

diverse backgrounds and expertise to draw out Good Practices for the implementation of terrorist watchlists in a creative, dynamic, and operationally relevant setting. Based on a fictional country named Atlantis, the TTX presented the kinds of challenges that arise in the real world when fashioning policies for and managing a watchlist and watchlisting events. In small groups, participants discussed the policy, operational, and legal implications of the scenarios of the TTX, adding to the Good Practices for the GCTF Watchlisting Guidance Manual Initiative Toolkit (to be produced later in 2021).

Foundation for the Defense of Democracies

In January 2020, Valens hosted a TTX for FDD which addressed increased economic cooperation between China and Israel and its implications for U.S. national security. The TTX brought together 25 individuals with expertise on China, Israel, economics, technology, and other areas. Valens

developed primary materials for participants and supplementary materials for facilitators. The primary materials came in the form of a 43-page packet which: 1) introduced the exercise, 2) provided participants with supplementary reading on the issue, and 3) included vignettes of Chinese-Israeli economic cooperation. The supplementary materials provided facilitators with a schedule, note-taking template, and questions to ask participants as they discussed each of the vignettes. Dr. Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, Valens’ CEO, moderated a plenary discussion at the conclusion of the exercise, which identified areas of agreement, disagreement, and key insights from the exercise. 

The exercise received overwhelmingly positive praise from both FDD and the participants for its educational value and professionalism. After the exercise, Valens’ point-of-contact at FDD wrote that Valens’ “professionalism, diligence, attention to detail and get-it-done attitude made the workshop a success.” Several participants, including experts from the Atlantic Council, Hudson Institute, and other leading think tanks also indicated that the exercise was enjoyable and deepened their understanding of the complex issues at play.

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