I’ve had some interesting discussions with Matt Caffrey at AFRL about the roles and uses of wargaming for S&T investment purposes. This has a lot of potential to be informed by business wargaming, but suffers from the typical desire for an extended time horizon (typically at least 10 to as long as 30+ years). Given our typical decade+ prourement timeline, that is effectively looking at what the next generation and ‘generation after next’ technologies should be. Matt brings up the historical cases of the USS monitor and the F-8 as examples of technology that we happened to procure “just in time”, that easily could have not been avaialble when needed. He asks “Can wargaming help us do at least as well in the future?
The navy used to do a series of long term technology “fight the war of the future” games, but found that after the Cold War, there were just too many variables looking out even 10or 15 years to have any real basis for analytic decision-making based on executing a single warfighting scenario. The Navy has nibbled at the edges of the problem, but not gotten much beyond the “BOGSAT” based “vote on your favorite pet rocks” (a disgracefully bad substitute for real operations reseach…).
The still harder part of the problem, is when to bring cost into the analysis? Can you even do effective cost estimating of lifecycle costs for future systems? What is the time horizon for when that occurs? What other factors shold be invovled? The typical focus on Technology Readiness Levels is grossly inadequate. (Evertt Rodgers seminal “Diffusion of Innovation gets to why…) There are several other aspects of an invnnetion that are far more important to it being adopted as an innovation!
So who is doing what types of S&T realted gmaing out there, and what are the key variables the games are trying to inform? Or is the future just too fuzzy these days and do we need more classic operations research work before we get to the point we can gain information through gaming?