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26 October 2006

Those who hold the spear

Haft of the Spear also has a few interesting observations on the various and sundry aspects of the human equations in the intelligence community. Worth reading, even if we might disagree with some of the precepts. For example, the idea of a reserve is an interesting one; but frankly in the end this is a lifestyle, not a job. Part timers of the wrong sort – retired on active duty, or those more focused on vacation and outside interests - are already a large component of the problem. The idea of bringing outsiders in for consulting type expertise could be useful if done right, but we do not feel a military style reserve is the way to go there. However, the suggestions are at least stirring the pot and trying to get towards innovations – a far cry from the generalized rehash of centralization arguments and the endless org chart shuffles.

We do echo his statements on leadership issues. Nothing is more corrosive than bad management, and when you sandwich ineffective middle layers below empty suits you have a toxic mélange indeed. Running a good unit is hard. Doing so without the ability to choose people directly, or weed out non-performers, is nearly impossible.

Also the very dream of a workforce that isn’t tied into the deadening cycle of the commute is one worth fighting for. The exodus has already begun in some quarters, it’s just part of the unnoticed attrition. And for now there are always plenty of new bodies to feed into the grinder, so no one cares. But when the music stops….