The Data Collection and Management Plan
A Data Collection and Management Plan (DCMP) is developed with issues decomposed into sub-issues, and further into questions. The decomposition may continue through essential elements of analysis (EEA) and the measures of merit (MOM) that might be used to assess them. If appropriate, a DCMP can be decomposed to a very fine granularity, usually called a data element (DE).
For seminar war games, where data collection may be limited largely to a record of the discourse between players, the MOMs would not often be quantitative measures. Data collection is more likely an assessment of qualitative views or of military judgement. Even though most seminar wwar games would require a far simpler DCMP than seen in many other forms of game, a DCMP is still valuable in designing a scenario that will hit on the issues that emerge from discussions with the sponsoring organization. During the conduct of the seminar war game, the DCMP provides a useful checklist to ensure that no relevant issues have been overlooked; using a DCMP should ensure that the study team will avoid reaching the end of a game only to discover that data on some important issue was never collected.
Across a row in a DCMP spreadsheet, one should find an indication of the issue to be addressed (derived from the sponsor's ojective). If an issue is particularly complicated, it may be decomposed into a number of sub-issues. Then further to the right of the issues/sub-issues will be the essential element of analysis (EEA). And to the right of this will be a measure of merit. Note: there may be more than one EEA for each sub-issue, and more than one MOM for an EEA. For a MOM, there may be several data elements (DE), if the decomposition is to that level of details.
For example, an EEA may deal with casualties, which could result in a collection of several MOMs or DEs. It may be necessary to collect BLUE and RED casualties, and these casualties might be sub-divided by personnel and vehicles. And there could be further categories for BLUE-on-BLUE casualties or collateral casualties to the civilians population.
While the obvious purpose of a DCMP is to develop an inventory of expected data (at the levels of MOM and DE), by extending the DCMP to the right, the DCMP encourages the development of elements of the scenario -- clearly no data can be collected for an issue/sub-issue if there is not a point in the scenario where the players are confronted by it. To extend the previous example, no data will be collected on casualties unless something in the scenario creates the potential for casualties. And further, if collateral casualities to a civilian population is a concern, there has to be potential within the scenario for such casualties to occur.
Methods, models, and tools.
The DCMP provides a mechanizm to schedule certain events. There can be "Location" and "Time" indicators in the right hand columns to indicate where, during a scenario or in a MSEL (master scenario event list), an opportunity would arise to observe the issue in question. If the issue were important and there had been no opportunity to collection reactions to it, then the MSEL would have to be adjusted accordingly. Hence, the scenario design must accommodate the analysis plan.
While not necessary within a DCMP, a developing DCMP may be elaborated with various additions. For example columns can be added for the following:
• titles of doctrine or training manuals that should be consulted so observers have more contextual information on some potential event
• external agencies that might need to be consulted or that might needed to approve some activity, e.g., range control or air traffic control.
The Analysis Handbook also provides a mechanism to crosswalk from the issues that are the focus of a war game to scenario design -- from the Essential Areas of Analysis within the Data Collection and Management Plan (DCMP) to the Master Scenario Events List (MSEL). This is the means to do a double check that important issues for data collection will be afforded opportunities within the scenario to see how participants deal with them. Note that it is probably risky to have an important issue without some corresponding activity in the MSEL, although it could come up merely by chance. However there may be entries in the MSEL that have no corresponding issues from the DCMP; specifically, there may be items in the MSEL that provide some extra realism for the players, or that can provide some other secondary function, e.g., events to develop team cohesion or to practice a routine that may be necessary later in the scenario.