Smyth’s organization is growing fast. I was among the first group of actors participating in simulations. Smyth is also working on course customization: If he trains a group of journalists working in Pakistan or Afghanistan, he designs a simulation with resonant cultural components. His courses have hosted journalists going to Bahrain, Afghanistan, Syria, Kenya, El Salvador, Georgia, Iraq, Bangladesh, Uganda, Ethiopia, Mexico, and Russia.

But will training in a Maryland airsoft arena really transfer to life-or-death situations in foreign territory? Smyth notes, “It’s hard to train people in terms of wisdom of age and benefit of prudence.”


Cecilia D'Anastasio is a CJR intern