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02 October 2012


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Have you read "Railroaded?" You'd enjoy the sections of the Knights of Labor.


Been on both sides of the desk. As a clueless group general manager, system integration, of a software contractor I was terrified as I found myself trying to arbitrate disputes ans settle questions that were alien to me. At least I resisted the temptation to fire those who challenged my wisdom.*

Fast forward Fifteen years and I find myself having to patiently explain "the database scam", in words of two syllables, to my manager who was about to spend $250,000 on these charlatans.

If anything Dilbert understates the truth.

* I got that job because the company Directors had been told that what they required was impossible - so they hired someone who was not experienced enough to know that - me.

Al Spafford

Col, You must have smelled this article freshly coming out in the Wash Post!


Pat, I can state with certainty that none of the problems you identified have changed. The managerial classes still reign supreme and will do everything to protect their turf from being encroached by outsiders (people who actually want to change things). Analysis by committee and the endless editing that goes into every national product (PDB, DID, etc.) will suck the life out of any analyst with any sense of pride. Empire building by the careerists at the top of the corporate ladder is rampant even with the dire fiscal situation. I wouldn't recommend the intelligence community to any right thinking young person today.



I suppose that we know each other or perhaps not. Much time has passed. thanks. l


"Bureaucracy tends to propagate itself."



Bureaucracy (as opposed to effective government) is the greatest enemy. It should be crushed. pl


Pat, strictly I love your article, I always did, and Baslisk whom I like too, by the way, compared to Harper, whom for whatever reason I seem to be more hesitant about, although not based on Harper's latest articles, and I don't even know exactly why, but it is somehow stored. I can't help.

But what exactly does the administrative mindset mean, beyond the secure pension historically,at least from a German point of view? Even in the field of the larger administration I sometimes met people that are human and such that for whatever reason seem rule robots to me. Admittedly I have never met people on the social decider layers you have.

Besides I have just met "German Lefty" over at Mondoweiss who called me "an old bag" thus I realize that respect of Indian Americans for their "elders" does not exist anymore. Which ultimately could mean the world is bound to committ the same stupidies over and over again...

And at what point exactly does your administrative routine, or the specific choosen head with his own specific survival agenda touch Kool Aid? I ask, since a "German Lefty" just discovered the term "Cool Aid" on Mondoweiss. I learned it here first, and her definition or its suggested usage did not seem to quite fit for me. I learned the term from you, by the way, and it's definition felt pretty simple: courtiers.

How can any institution today, even without the special recruitment routines remain immune to corruption or the use of the single hierarchical layers? Isn't this all about the larger "human condition"?

Mike Martin, Yorktown, VA

Pat, this post triggers a couple of thoughts for me. One, you'd mentioned a couple of months that a friend told you that TVs in the Joint Staff working spaces were inevitably tuned to Fox News. Couple that with a finding of - essentially - incompetence in fusion centers and I wonder if planners and JTF leaders will now turn to Fox instead of the "2" shops in developing COAs and CONOPs. Two, over many years I came to view about 90% of civil servants as, to be polite, not worth their paychecks. Still, they seemed convinced that they were overtasked (see your excellent cartoon) and insufficiently resourced. The worst example I can cite is a briefing, given over a phone from someone at DISA who actually said, "...and we have no gallery from which to observe orchestrated workflows." I walked out of that briefing.

mary jane

nice. will download it.

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