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August 28, 2010

Death by PowerPoint [XBradTC]

I was kind of lucky I left the Army when I did. PowerPoint was just coming into vogue. In fact, it was still something of a useful tool back then. Even cutting edge.

Sadly, like almost every other tool at the bureaucrats disposal, it became bloated and went from being a means to an end in itself.

Most of you have seen some interminable training or marketing presentation at work. Guess what, the Army is even worse. There are a slew of officers at work who do nothing but generate PPT presentations.  And we aren't talking about stateside staffs, or offices buried deep in the bowels of the Pentagon. We're talking about the operational forces in theater in Afghanistan or Iraq.

With that much information, virtually all of it useless, you are almost certain to attain paralysis by analysis. But that is the nature of a bureaucracy.

So it is more than a little surprising that a Reserve officer has thrown the bullshit flag.

For headquarters staff, war consists largely of the endless tinkering with PowerPoint slides to conform with the idiosyncrasies of cognitively challenged generals in order to spoon-feed them information. Even one tiny flaw in a slide can halt a general's thought processes as abruptly as a computer system's blue screen of death.

The ability to brief well is, therefore, a critical skill. It is important to note that skill in briefing resides in how you say it. It doesn't matter so much what you say or even if you are speaking Klingon.

Not surprisingly, COL Sellin has been relieved.

Hat tip to the invaluable War News Updates. Be sure to watch the video.

Crossposted at my place.


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posted by Open Blogger at 05:35 PM

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