The end of the Cold War coincided with a major jump in PC and game console graphics. That caught the attention of people in the Pentagon. But there was also a generation of officers and troops who grew up playing wargames and console games. So when someone mentioned to the head of the Air Force Command and Staff College that the air force sponsor a weeklong meeting of commercial and military wargame designers, to generate some useful cooperation, and other stuff, for air force wargaming efforts, the answer was to do it. The first "Connections" (between military and commercial wargame designers and developers) took place in 1993. It kept going. This year there will be Connections 2010.
Since 1993 Connection's goal has always been to advance the art, science and practice of wargaming - the strategy always to do so by bringing the diverse elements of the field (military and commercial) together to exchange information on new developments, best practices and needs.
This year's theme is enhancing wargaming ability to help anticipate the future of warfare. To explore that theme there are four panels; Anticipating Military Technology Needs & Opportunities, Innovations in Military Wargaming, Innovations in Civilian Wargaming, Methods of Future Warfare Adjudication and analysis. Still, Connections veterans know it is more than simply a series of briefings. Hands on demos and actual wargame operations will allow participants to learn by doing. Social events will allow all participants to actually get to meet individuals you may have previously only read about.
Many of the leaders of the wargaming field will be participating; Dr Peter Perla, author of the Art of Wargaming, Dr. William Lademan Director of the Marine's Wargaming Division, Dr John Tiller, the most prolific computer wargame designer today and John Gresham, co-author of Tom Clancy's seven non-fiction books.
This year Connections will be part of, "Big Week." Big Week will produce several synergies, creating win/win opportunites. The week will begin with an offering of the Air Force Research Labs Wargame course, 22-23 March. Through this course folks new to wargaming can receive a foundation that will allow them to get more out of the conference. Similarly, on Thursday Connections will include a test of a Air Force wargame, providing civilians an insight into military wargaming and the Air Force fresh perspective on their draft wargame.
Finally, this will be our best location and the lowest registration fee to date. The venue, Wright Brother Institute's brand new Tech^Edge facility, was designed specifically to facilitate the type of interchange Connections has always worked for. As we get the room for free and they provide no host snacks at about cost, we can charge a very low registration fee.
For information about the program contact Matt Caffrey, Matthew.Caffrey@WPAFB.af.mil.
For information on registration contact Erin Kavulich, Erin.Kavulich@WPAFB.af.mil.