Saturday, March 24, 2007

Hanley: On Wargaming

John Hanley's 1991 poli sci dissertation at Yale (On Wargaming: A Critique of Strategic Operational Gaming) is one of the best single sources I have found.

Unfortunately, this dissertation is not available online. It might be difficult to get a hold of via interlibrary loan, as well. I had to order it from the University of Michigan's dissertation express site, and have it printed from microfilm and shipped to me. But for me it was worth it, and I highly recommend this dissertation to anyone serious about studying pol-mil gaming.

Particularly helpful are Hanley's chapters analyzing the Naval War College's Global War Game from its debut in 1979 through 1990. I'll write some more about the Global War Game soon. Hanley provides a lot of information about how the games were organized and structured, what the critiques at the time were, and how the objectives of the games changed over time. This is in contrast to most publicly available game reports, which often focus on substantive results rather than the methods employed during the game. This can be a major frustration for those of us who would like to learn more about the way these tools are employed. There is much, much more to this dissertation, which will hopefully show up from time to time as I go forward with this blog.

The only journal article to cite Hanley's dissertation, as far as I can tell, was Robert Rubel's piece I discussed here. To date, it appears that no one has cited the Rubel article in a journal. In part, both Hanley's dissertation and Rubel's article aimed at starting a certain type of conversation about epistemology and methodology within the gaming community. That doesn't seem to have happened yet, at least not in magazines and journals. Why is that? I have some thoughts, but I'll save them for another time.

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