Wargaming has been a tool for military planners throughout recorded history, and for decades, militaries have used computer technology to make simulated exercises more complex and fruitful. More recently, the US Department of Homeland Security developed their own wargames with help from the Department of Defense.
One of these tools, first released in 2009, is called Dystopia: Where Bad Things Happen. The toolset is a “…collection of geospecific and meta data…” including a detailed map, which functions like Google Earth, and a Wiki-type encyclopedia called Dystopedia.
Dystopia gives the DHS Center for Homeland Defense and Security the means to practice real-world actions with a wide range of information including in-depth intelligence about private individuals and organizations such as churches and Boys and Girls Clubs.
The overview states that Dystopia “…is continually being developed and extended with people and places…” although from December of 2014 until this week, the only noticeable change has been the addition of cemeteries.
The overview also states that Dystopia is a purely fictional world, comprised of several small communities as well as two large urban areas “…separated by a regional boundary that can serve a county line, state line or national border, depending on the requirements of the scenario.”
However, the territory on one side of this supposedly generic boundary is labeled Mexico and with that information, it becomes clear that the other side is almost certainly Texas.
For instance, the two major urban areas, separated by a border, are called Diablo Valley and Nuevo Diablo; which could represent the two major cities of the Rio Grande Valley, Laredo and Nuevo Laredo.
The Texas side of the map also has a major port city. This city has a U.S. Coast Guard station, several embassies and every oil pipeline on the map leads to the refineries found there. It takes no stretch of the imagination to see this as Houston. The coastline also has geographically significant barrier islands, just as Texas does.
The US side of the map is incredibly more detailed than the Mexican side, which has few strategically important features aside from power plants and a military base. However, on the other side of the border one can spend hours sifting through categorized layers of information.
In addition to utilities, zoning districts and transportation routes, the locations of apartment complexes and civic organizations are also pinpointed. Even organizations that seem unrelated to DHS functions are marked, such as the local chapter of the Hell’s Angels, the West Side Chess Club.
Of course, no domestic training scenario would complete without a contingent of white supremacists; and in Dystopia, the supremacists have a rural compound, which the DHS classifies, as a “house of worship”.
By itself, the Dystopia tool raises many questions, especially given the failure of the DHS to control our southern border. Yet taken in context with the upcoming Jade Helm exercise, the plans for which pre-date 2013, Texans should demand answers from the DHS.
How long have they been training for dystopia in Texas? What scenarios are they preparing for, and what plans do they intend to execute?
-James Franklin 5/15/15