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Center for Regional and Global Study

Joint Forces Staff College Purple Hope and Purple Lightening Wargaming Exercises



GPIS student Emily Schott is interning with Lt Col. Tim Smith at the Joint Forces Staff College (JFSC) to help coordinate the fall semester exercises. JFSC is seeking volunteers to work with them during the Purple Lightning and Purple Hope Exercises. These are a great way to learn more about Africa and how the U.S. government, the military and international non-profit organizations work together in crisis situations.

What is it?
For Purple Lightening, JFSC requires twenty-eight volunteers to role-play Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) representatives or UN representatives during the exercise. The Purple Lightening scenario involves a humanitarian crisis in Nigeria, with flooding and fighting displacing people from their homes. The Nigerian government has invited the US and other NATO countries to help assist them as they try to care for displaced persons, as well as help stabilizing their oil fields and handling a hostage situation. The US and other NATO countries must work out a plan to assist the Nigerian government before the problems escalate into international conflict with Nigeria's neighbors. The NGO representative holds key information about the region that the military does not have, so he or she will be critical to the success of the military's operations there.


The Purple Hope exercise is similar and occurs more frequently throughout the year than Purple Lightening.  In this exercise the crisis occurs in Cameroon and features a volcanic eruption.  A few volunteers are needed to role-play Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) representatives who work with the US and other NATO countries to organize a plan action during the crisis situation.

When do we need you for Purple Lightening?
Exercises occur about once per semester.  The day before the exercise you will receive a short briefing at the JFSC for students to learn about the scenario and what is required of them in the NGO/UN role. It will probably take about an hour to ninety minutes to cover everything. Dr. Sarah Archer, a career NGO officer, will be there to give us some insights. Each volunteer will have a chance to meet his or her military counterparts as well. The actual full-day exercise follows, and will last from 7:30am until mid-afternoon.

When do we need you for Purple Hope?

Exercises occur several times each semester.  The exercise begins at 7.30 and lasts until mid-afternoon.

Why participate?
These exercises are an excellent opportunity to expand your knowledge of NGO operations and UN responsibilities during crises and how they interact with the military. As a participant, you will have a chance to learn about the roles of the NATO forces, the Department of State, CIA and FBI from members who will be here as part of our panel of guest speakers. If you are interested in working for any of these organizations in the future, this will be a good chance to come and ask questions. Also, it's a lot of fun.  Participants in Purple Lightening exercises receive modest compensation.

If you would like to participate in future PURPLE LIGHTENING exercises, or for more information, e-mail or call:

Emily Schott



Joint Forces Staff College

7800 Hampton Blvd.

Norfolk, VA 23511-1702

Cell: 804.349.5485


To participate in future PURPLE HOPE exercises, or for more information, call or e-mail:


Gary McCorkindale
JFSC 443-6235