Jim Lunsford, the President of Decisive-Point, is an expert in the design, development and use of “serious games”. His extensive experience as a leader, trainer, educator, and game developer enable him to create powerful simulations which help develop and hone individual cognitive and team skills. He has developed serious games for the Army, Air Force, and Marines, and was a key participant in the DARPA DARWARS program.
Jim was one of the early innovators in the development and use of serious games. He created a tank identification game in 1990 to help train soldiers to quickly and accurately identify tanks in a battlefield environment. In 1992, the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) officially recognized Jim’s skills for his PC-based game, Airborne Wargamer, a simulation of modern airborne operations.
In 1998, while he was an assistant professor at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College (CGSC), Jim created Decisive Action (DA), a PC-based simulation of division and corps-level warfare. DA enables students to practice the art of warfighting in the classroom with minimal external support. Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) used Decisive Action in Army Experiments 5 and 6 to train leaders and showcased the game and the results of their research in the Chief of Staff of the Army’s personal exhibit at the annual Association of the United States Army conference in Washington, DC in 1998 and 1999. CGSC has used DA for the past fourteen years to support the annual student exercise. In 2017, the US Army purchased an enterprise license for Decisive Action.
Since 2002, Jim developed and sold more than ten different games to the US Army for education and training. In addition to CGSC, clients include the United States Military Academy at West Point, the Captains Career Courses, Sergeants Majors Academy, and the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC). In 2017, the US Army Central (ARCENT) purchased a Decisive Action Brigade Level (DABL) license to train commanders and staffs in the Egyptian, Omani, Saudi Arabian, and Kuwaiti armies. Foreign military clients include the German, Ukrainian, British, and Australian armies. Although most of Jim’s work has been for the Department of Defense, he has also developed serious games for organizations such as the Houston Texas School District and the National World War I Museum.
In addition to design and development, Jim continues to refine the art of using serious games for training and education. He routinely uses Explore!, his simulation of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, to teach leadership and critical thinking skills to groups as part of Decisive-Point’s leader and team development seminar program. The insight he gains from these seminars enables him to increase his expertise in developing effective instructional strategies and serious games for unique training audiences.
Jim graduated from the Virginia Military Institute in 1980 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering, and from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in 1993 with a Masters of Military Arts and Sciences. He is a retired Army officer with twenty years of active service. His military experience includes command and staff positions in numerous airborne infantry units, a tour as an exchange officer with the British Parachute Regiment, and an assignment as a tactics instructor at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.
Baxter, H.C., & Lunsford, J.R., (November 2005). Creating JFACC Aces: Utilizing Cognitive Requirements to Develop Effective Training Simulations. Paper presented at the Interservice/Industry Training Simulation and Education Conference. Orlando, FL.
Eastman, A.E., & Lunsford, J.R., (November 2003). Intermediate Desktop Training Simulations for Education and Training in United States Army Units and Proponent Schools. Paper published by the Interservice/Industry Training Simulation and Education Conference, Orlando, FL.
Jensen, R., J. Lunsford, B. Presnell, M.G. Cobb, D. Kidd, (November 2013). Generalizing Automated Assessment of Small Unit Tactical Decision Making. Proceedings of the Industry/Interservice, Training, Simulation & Education Conference (I/ITSEC 2013).
Lunsford, J.R. (March 2007). Best Practices for the Design and Use of a Serious Game to Conduct Dynamic Target Cell Training. Paper presented at the Spring, 2007 Simulations Interoperability Workshop, Norfolk, VA.