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Germ WarsThe Politics of Microbes and America's Landscape of Fear$
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Melanie Armstrong

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780520292765

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520292765.001.0001

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Simulation Science

Simulation Science

Securing the Future

(p.167) 5 Simulation Science
Germ Wars

Melanie Armstrong

University of California Press

Because no large-scale bioterrorist attack has happened in the modern age, planning for bioterrorism requires imagination. Simulations, ranging from computer-generated models to large-scale role-playing events involving thousands of actors, have gained credibility as a scientific tool for calculating the outcomes of violent events. Expanding use of simulation raises questions about how modeling and scenario planning gain tenacity in the current political climate, used by planners and policymakers to generate knowledge of the future. In bioterrorism preparedness, simulations and scenarios matter because they rationalize political actions that manage human life, individually and collectively, in the present moment. A case study of a terrorism training center in Playas, New Mexico, demonstrates the material and political effects of scenarios and simulation.

Keywords:   scenario planning, simulation, (scientific) models, bioterrorism, preparedness, policy, politics, scientific method, role-playing, Playas (New Mexico)

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