Friday, October 9, 2009

CNA - Wargaming Strategic Linkage and Conversations with Wargamers

Two recent papers from the Center for Naval Analyses are great examples of the benefits of robust professional dialogue in the gaming field.

Wargaming Strategic Linkage was the result of a project conducted for the Naval War College, looking for ways to structure wargames to include more than one level of war (strategic, operational, tactical). While this was undertaken in support of the revived Global War Game, most of the ideas involved would apply equally well to gaming outside of a military context. Traditionally, the divisions between the levels of war have been more clearly specified than those between the policy and implementation levels of other issues. However, there has been a blurring of the lines between strategic, operational, and tactical concerns, an ambiguity that Wargaming Strategic Linkage has to deal with.

As noteworthy as the results of the project is the process by which it was undertaken. As a part of their research, Peter Perla and Michael Markowitz consulted a number of other wargaming experts (including CASL's Erik Kjonnerod). Even better, they decided to release their notes on these discussions as a separate paper, Conversations with Wargamers. These detailed interviews provide a great deal of insight into the gaming process, not all of which was directly relevant to the problem Perla and Markowitz had set out to address. Together, these two papers are a testament to how much different gaming practitioners have to teach one another, especially when guided by a targeted research question and researchers who are themselves experts.

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