Saturday, March 03, 2007

Disasters made to order


Here (hat tip: Samizdata) is a wonderful article on military (non-) intelligence by William Lind.
Sometimes, single words can say more than whole essays. The Swedish captain in the Fourth Generation War seminar I lead at for the U.S. Marine Corps at Quantico, Va. recently introduced me to such a word. It is the Swedish word for military intelligence: underr├Ąttelser. The literal translation of underr├Ąttelser is "correction from below."

Now there's a principle that could be applied to almost all management. Learn to listen to the people who see what's happening. The world might be an awful lot better if our politicians worked like that too.
Can you imagine how education could improve if politicians talked to the countless people who had not learned to read at school?
Now, what about this:

The question facing any military is how to deal with the inevitable difference between what military intelligence thinks about the enemy and what is actually the case. Our approach, the wrong one, is to seek ever-increasing amounts of "information." That information is funneled into various intelligence "functions" and "fusion centers," almost all of them remote from the fight, where the intel weenies sit around in their purple robes embroidered with moons and stars, staring into their Palantirs. They wave their wands labeled "IPB," and presto!, out comes -- well, for the most part, garbage.

Regrettably, in this Second Generation War model, the garbage cannot be acknowledged as such. The motto is, "Garbage In, Gospel Out."
Again, do you know a single politician who doesn't (at least sometimes) practise `Garbage in, Gospel out'?

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