Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The military and agency life.

There's a front page article in today's New York Times about the US military's obsession with powerpoint. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/27/world/27powerpoint.html?hp

What's surprising about the article is that it seems there is a bit of a backlash among the military's higher-echelons against powerpoint. Unfortunately within agencies, no such backlash is evident.

Here's a smattering of quotations from the article:

“PowerPoint makes us stupid,” said Gen. James N. Mattis of the Marine Corps, the Joint Forces commander.

“It’s dangerous because it can create the illusion of understanding and the illusion of control,” General McMaster said. “Some problems in the world are not bullet-izable.”

"Commanders say that behind all the PowerPoint jokes are serious concerns that the program stifles discussion, critical thinking and thoughtful decision-making."

Junior officers are tied up making PowerPoint slides. To the point where they're derisively called "PowerPoint Rangers."

Here's my favorite: "Thomas X. Hammes, a retired Marine colonel, whose title, “Dumb-Dumb Bullets,” underscored criticism of fuzzy bullet points; “accelerate the introduction of new weapons,” for instance, does not actually say who should do so."

Ah. How agency-esque. Put it on a slide but assign no responsibility.

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