Arnaud Palisson, Ph.D.

is a security strategic advisor and an instructor in intelligence, terrorism and security profiling for Aéroports de Montréal – the Montreal airports authority.
A former intelligence analyst for the French Ministry of the Interior, in Paris, for 10 years, his fields of expertise were cults, then a terrorist group from Asia. His thesis in French criminal law and his book are considered as references in the field of cults in Europe. After settling in Canada in 2005, he was a consultant for the intelligence services at the Sûreté du Québec (Quebec's provincial police force) and for National Defence Canada.

International Association for Intelligence Education 9th Annual Conference

May 20, 2013

International airports are critical infrastructures. They are soft and symbolic targets for terrorist organizations. They are gates for transnational crime. To a lesser extent, they are also places for social unrest. Securing an airport against these threats is not so much a traditional police duty but a matter of intelligence. Airport authorities need intelligence in order to plan and manage their security activities in accordance with all concerned government agencies. In Canada, airport authorities are companies from the private sector. As such, they receive intelligence from law enforcement agencies and intelligence agencies in the field of public transportation. Nevertheless, airport authorities are addressed very little classified information. Moreover, they don't receive enough actionable intelligence about aviation security. At Aéroports de Montréal, we are very conscious of this issue.

The Bellærophon experiment: A boardgame to teach the rudiments of intelligence in an airport context
By Arnaud Palisson, Ph.D.

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International Association for Intelligence Education 9th Annual Conference

May 20, 2013

Unlike other Canadian international airports, at both Montreal airports, security is not the prerogative of an airport police. It is the duty of a security department within the airport authority: the Airport Patrol. Its mission is to protect passengers, operations and facilities against all threats to the public and to civil aviation. The Airport Patrol especially considers intelligence as an essential tool in order to fulfill its mission. So, when we don't receive enough intelligence from external agencies, we have to produce it by ourselves. For instance, I produce open-source intelligence and our investigators produce human intelligence. But these investigators have a wide array of tasks and just can't run by themselves an intelligence network within about 30,000 people working at both airport sites. So they have to rely on our security guards and constables. It is a cliché saying so, but they actually are our eyes and ears in the field, on the whole airport territory. That's why we need to sensitize our officers to intelligence.

The Bellærophon experiment: A boardgame to teach the rudiments of intelligence in an airport context
By Arnaud Palisson, Ph.D.

3

International Association for Intelligence Education 9th Annual Conference

May 20, 2013

Before being assigned, future Airport Patrol officers attend an initial training program, lasting up to 14 weeks. I participate to this training program by giving introductory lessons in terrorism, security profiling and intelligence. The intel class happened to be a specific challenge. Let's consider the kind of faces I used to see on students everytime I started the class. First, a lot of them happened to be skeptic about the relevance of being taught on intelligence. According to them, constables are peace officers. And security guards are nothing more than traffic regulators and gate keepers. They just don't see the point of such a training class. Moreover, some of our future officers have a law enforcement background (as former police officers). Most of them consider that intelligence is just a hollow fancy word. Lastly, some students already have work experiences. Depending on whether they have been previoulsy unionized workers or not, intelligence mainly means to be a stool or a scab.

The Bellærophon experiment: A boardgame to teach the rudiments of intelligence in an airport context
By Arnaud Palisson, Ph.D.

4

International Association for Intelligence Education 9th Annual Conference

May 20, 2013

These students are supposed to become our eyes and ears in the field. We can't afford not to take advantage of them, from an intelligence point of view.

Actually, we even need to turn them into essential assets to our network.
So, my lesson about intel has to: a. avoid officers' initial reluctance about intelligence, b. make them understand the purpose of intelligence in an airport context, and c. prepare them to be eventually recruited as part of our intel network. It seemed to me this intel lesson should not be so much about teaching skills, processes or other knowledge but about addressing the audience's mindset.

The Bellærophon experiment: A boardgame to teach the rudiments of intelligence in an airport context
By Arnaud Palisson, Ph.D.

5

International Association for Intelligence Education 9th Annual Conference

May 20, 2013

I had the feeling that I would have to look for non-traditional ways of teaching. I eventually decided to design a boardgame to fill my specific needs.

1. We are going to see why I decided to turn to a game-based learning approach. 2. Then we will take a glimpse at the game itself. 3. And eventually, we will look at the various outcomes of the game.

The Bellærophon experiment: A boardgame to teach the rudiments of intelligence in an airport context
By Arnaud Palisson, Ph.D.

6

International Association for Intelligence Education 9th Annual Conference

May 20, 2013

When I decided to redesign my lesson about intelligence, my approach was merely empirical. Actually, at that time, I had become personally interested in tabletop game design (playcards and boardgames). So, I naturally began considering game-based learning. Using a game to teach intelligence. The idea was very seductive, but I wondered how future officers and the Airport Patrol training department would receive such an approach. Resistance to game-based learning is a well-known phenomenon. So I began a little research about training games.

The Bellærophon experiment: A boardgame to teach the rudiments of intelligence in an airport context
By Arnaud Palisson, Ph.D.

7

International Association for Intelligence Education 9th Annual Conference

May 20, 2013

And this is what I found. In the field of adult learning and professional training for enterprises, authors have established that adults don't want to be lectured at and inundated with data ; they want to be actively involved in their own learning process. And training games can provide this. I also found a dozen of well-documented learning theories that have been put forward by authors to justify the use of games in training sessions. Some scholars even consider games as a universal learning method and one of the most innovative means for professional training. Of course, authors highlight the limitation of training games. But it seemed to me that my project could easily remain within the bounds. So I moved forward.

The Bellærophon experiment: A boardgame to teach the rudiments of intelligence in an airport context
By Arnaud Palisson, Ph.D.

8

International Association for Intelligence Education 9th Annual Conference

May 20, 2013

Considering that I'm not a specialist in education theories, I wanted to base my work on previous research or experiments about teaching intelligence with games. Unfortunately, they remain very rare. A noteworthy exception is the works of Dr. Kristan J. Wheaton, an associate professor at Mercyhurst University (Pennsylvania). In an academic article, he explains why, how and for what results he introduced games in his strategic intelligence classes. The results of his study indicate that : “Games helped the students remember the concepts better. (…) Games-based learning appears to have increased intelligence students' capacity for sensemaking.” Dr. Wheaton's works proved to me that the use of games in order to teach intelligence is an actual subject for academic research. So I moved forward.

The Bellærophon experiment: A boardgame to teach the rudiments of intelligence in an airport context
By Arnaud Palisson, Ph.D.

9

International Association for Intelligence Education 9th Annual Conference

May 20, 2013

What kind of game should I use? Actually, I found that I didn't need a game to really teach intelligence. I just needed a game to explain why we need intelligence at the Airport Patrol. So my training game could consist in showing future officers the impact of not having intelligence in an airport context. The game could be used to sensitize students to intel without focusing on intel. (Because if I focus on intel, these are the faces I am going to have in front of me.) And after all, if I don't want students to express any skepticism about intelligence, why not using a training game about intel... without even using the word Intelligence? So, let's assume we won't talk about intelligence. Fine. But what is the class going to be about, if not intelligence? How am I even going to entitle the lesson (at least for the training program schedule)? And if I use a game, what will be the theme of the game, if not intelligence ?

The Bellærophon experiment: A boardgame to teach the rudiments of intelligence in an airport context
By Arnaud Palisson, Ph.D.

10

International Association for Intelligence Education 9th Annual Conference

May 20, 2013

My solution was to use a decoy: the term threat assessment. For intelligence professionals, it is commonplace to say that threat assessment falls under the realm of intelligence. But in the field of critical infrastructure, people see threat assessment only as a part of a wider risk management process ; they don’t draw a direct connection between threat assessment and intelligence. So, I decided to abandon the word Intelligence for the time of the game – I introduce it later. The lesson has then been renamed Traditional Threat Assessment in An Airport Context. A fancy title, a little bit deceptive... but for an educational cause. That's how I came to create Bellærophon.

The Bellærophon experiment: A boardgame to teach the rudiments of intelligence in an airport context
By Arnaud Palisson, Ph.D.

11

International Association for Intelligence Education 9th Annual Conference

May 20, 2013

The Bellærophon game is supposed to take place in a risk assessment context at fictitious Greater Montreal Sir-Wilfrid-Laurier International Airport (YSL).

Students are told that a previous vulnerability assessment has just taken place at this airport and has determined 16 particularly vulnerable zones.
The classroom is divided into three teams of 5 to 6 students each. Each team is tasked to make a threat assessment and accordingly allocate security resources on vulnerable zones to protect the airport site against upcoming attacks.

The Bellærophon experiment: A boardgame to teach the rudiments of intelligence in an airport context
By Arnaud Palisson, Ph.D.

12

International Association for Intelligence Education 9th Annual Conference

May 20, 2013

Each team has at its disposal 100 dice, of 4 different colors – each color depicting a type of threat: Terrorism – Common crime – Protest – Airport competitors.

We also have three dozens of special cards, that are shuffled and evenly dealt between teams. Those cards are of three types:

Type 1 cards reproduce an International or Canadian standard for aviation security. Type 2 cards feature excerpts from the general interest press, about aviation security. Type 3 cards feature excerpts from documents about aviation security produced by various government agencies, police forces and airport security departments.

To do their threat assessment, the players may use the cards to help them:

determine the natures of threat and place dice of the corresponding colors in the vulnerable zones, evaluate the threat level and pile up the dice of a same color.

On every zone, threat levels will be represented by piles of dice of the same color: from 0 die – very low threat – to 3 dice – high level threat). Once it is complete, remaining dice are then allocated to better secure chosen zones, should attacks occur.

The Bellærophon experiment: A boardgame to teach the rudiments of intelligence in an airport context
By Arnaud Palisson, Ph.D.

13

International Association for Intelligence Education 9th Annual Conference

May 20, 2013

Then, the vulnerable zones are under attack! To play the role of the attackers, in each team, a player is chosen to go and sit at another table. Each attacker gets her own box of dice. The attacks on the airport are resolved as follows. On the presentation screen, all vulnerable zones are successively considered. The screen depicts the actual nature (colors of dice) and force (number of dice piled up) of the attacks that take place on that very location. Each color of attack is resolved successively. At each table, the attacker rolls the number of attack dice as shown on the screen. One of the players in the defensive team rolls the dice of the same color that have been placed on the same zone of the game board. ● If the defence roll is over or equals the attack roll, the attack fails. All dice of this color are removed from the hex. No point is scored. ● If the attack roll is over the defence roll, the attack succeeds. All dice of this color are removed from the hex, but one die of this color is left near to the zone, as a marking die (for keeping the score). Once all attacks have been resolved on all 16 zones of the board, the score is kept by counting the marking dice on the board – each color of marking die has a specific value. Points are added up to establish the final score of each team. The team with the lowest number of points wins. Its members receive a symbolic award and the game ends here.

The Bellærophon experiment: A boardgame to teach the rudiments of intelligence in an airport context
By Arnaud Palisson, Ph.D.

14

International Association for Intelligence Education 9th Annual Conference

May 20, 2013

Now, the question is: What did we learn from the game? Actually, we learned from it on several levels: • In the intel class; • For expanding the experiment to other airport employees; • For considering the relevance of using training games for vulgarizing security concepts.

The Bellærophon experiment: A boardgame to teach the rudiments of intelligence in an airport context
By Arnaud Palisson, Ph.D.

15

International Association for Intelligence Education 9th Annual Conference

May 20, 2013

First, let's see what the students learn from the game itself. All authors in the field of game-based learning agree on the fact that the game doesn't teach anything by itself. The learning takes place during the debrief phase. In the case of Bellærophon, teams are now told to sort their cards by type and to grade each type of cards according to their usefulness for assessing the threat. They use between 0 and 5 dice to mark the grade (0 die: useless – 5 dice: essential). Students eventually find out that the most adequate information actually comes from intelligence products. At that point, the word intelligence is introduced to the students. Now that they have experimented the need for intelligence in order to adequately secure an airport, the lecture about intelligence may begin. Classroom chairs and tables go back to their initial configuration. Students are then taught about the rudiments of intelligence and the importance of their role in the Airport Patrol's intelligence activity.

The Bellærophon experiment: A boardgame to teach the rudiments of intelligence in an airport context
By Arnaud Palisson, Ph.D.

16

International Association for Intelligence Education 9th Annual Conference

May 20, 2013

So far, I have used the game twice. Bellærophon turned out to be an excellent incentive. The game allowed a much larger proportion of students to participate in the class, instead of just sitting quietly in the classroom. More important: after the game, no student has expressed skepticism about being taught on intelligence. The very good reception the game received now allows me to reiterate the experiment on a longer term. Moreover, in the purpose of enlarging our intelligence network, it has been decided to extend the use of the game to other departments at Aéroports de Montréal. Several groups of field staff have already been targeted. The ultimate objective is to be able to deliver the training session to the airport bluecollar workers. Because of their critical situation in the field, they can get crucial information related to security and criminal activities. So, they would be essential assets to our intelligence network. They sure will be a tough audience to convince. But I rely on the Bellærophon approach to ease the challenge.

The Bellærophon experiment: A boardgame to teach the rudiments of intelligence in an airport context
By Arnaud Palisson, Ph.D.

17

International Association for Intelligence Education 9th Annual Conference

May 20, 2013

After designing Bellærophon, I have designed two other training games, one about terrorist groups classifications , and another one about the purpose of risk-based information security. In the process of designing these games, I came to consider an intriguing aspect of game-based learning. For not cognizant people, some topics may appear as conceptual – to say the least. Having to teach them on such matters, I choose not to transmit a knowledge directly, but to use a game as a medium. By designing a game, I actually turn the initial concepts into game materials and rules, that is figures and algorithms. After the game, through the debrief phase, I allow students to turn these figures and algorithms into applied concepts. That is they incorporate the concepts in a way that fits their professional needs. To me, this process may explain why vulgarizing with games can be a powerful learning tool.

* * *

The Bellærophon experiment: A boardgame to teach the rudiments of intelligence in an airport context
By Arnaud Palisson, Ph.D.

18

International Association for Intelligence Education 9th Annual Conference

May 20, 2013

You remember that we started today by considering that during their initial training session, Airport Patrol's future officers used to express skepticism about being taught on intelligence.

The Bellærophon experiment: A boardgame to teach the rudiments of intelligence in an airport context
By Arnaud Palisson, Ph.D.

19

International Association for Intelligence Education 9th Annual Conference

May 20, 2013

We also have seen that the Airport Patrol relies on intelligence to adequately secure both Montreal airports.

To produce actionable human intelligence, our investigators must rely on security guards and constables, as information collectors.

The Bellærophon experiment: A boardgame to teach the rudiments of intelligence in an airport context
By Arnaud Palisson, Ph.D.

20

International Association for Intelligence Education 9th Annual Conference

May 20, 2013

In order to sensitize our future officers to the purpose of intelligence – while avoiding their initial reluctance –, a boardgame has been specially designed. We have seen the reasons why I turned to a game-based learning approach, we have taken a glimpse at the game and considered various outcomes for using it.

The Bellærophon experiment: A boardgame to teach the rudiments of intelligence in an airport context
By Arnaud Palisson, Ph.D.

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International Association for Intelligence Education 9th Annual Conference

May 20, 2013

We have seen that the Bellærophon game proved to be effective and that this could be explained by the use of the game as a means to turn theoretical concepts into applied concepts. This is just an hypothesis. But it is fully consistent with the conclusions of authors who determined that game-based learning is one of the most efficient forms of teaching when dealing with changing or reinforcing enterprise values and culture. Thank you for your attention.

The Bellærophon experiment: A boardgame to teach the rudiments of intelligence in an airport context
By Arnaud Palisson, Ph.D.

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