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Colonel who slammed Afghan HQ PowerPoint culture is fired

A US Army colonel who published a splendid attack on top-heavy bureaucracy and PowerPoint culture at NATO's top headquarters in Afghanistan has been sacked.

Colonel Lawrence Sellin, in his critique of the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command (IJC), suggested that the IJC exists primarily "to provide some general a three-star command", and that it will soon be enlarged because "an officer, who is currently without one, needs a staff of 35 people to create a big splash before his promotion board".

Wired magazine now reports that less than 48 hours after the colonel's article was published by wire service UPI he was fired.

Colonel who slammed Afghan HQ PowerPoint culture is fired • The Register

Original article: Outside View: PowerPoints 'R' Us


There are posts all over the place, at all levels, that could be culled. Especially when we're trying to save money.

All sorts of posts could be looked at, with the view of "If you never turned up for work ever again, what would be the impact?". I seriously suspect a vast amount of money could be saved by getting rid of people who are working for the sake of doing work, and not actually contributing a single thing. The MOD is rife with it.
When in Bastion you always see the same old faces getting a tan outside the tier 1 accomodation or remfing it up outside pizza hut, I would be suprised if any of them did a full days work in a week.

Even if they are working hard and it's just a coincidence that they're there it's not a good image when you've done a 5 day patrol, or worse been rotated through a fob and seeing the same faces sitting in the same place when you left.

Because of people like them taking the piss they're binning the food chains which harms those who go out on the ground more in my opinion.

If they're not that busy they should stag on or work as sangar fairies.
The MOD is rife with it.
Absa ******* lutely, The MOD has dozens of senior officers sitting around doing nothing waiting for war to happen. There are 10,000 employed in Defence Procurement!!!! Thats a a ******* DIV!! And what have we got to show for it??
Does anyone here not know just how many meetings are involved in changing all the TLA`s that we are used to?
It doesnt just happen on it`s own. NBC had to be CBRN, APWT-CMT etc.
Do you not realise how many staff officers are working overtime to accomplish this?
No gratitude
Does anyone here not know just how many meetings are involved in changing all the TLA`s that we are used to?
It doesnt just happen on it`s own. NBC had to be CBRN, APWT-CMT etc.
Do you not realise how many staff officers are working overtime to accomplish this?
No gratitude
It's the invisible "Planned and implemented change" box of every SO2's OJAR ;)

--The downfall of civilized states tends to come not from the direct assaults of foes, but from the internal decay combined with a reliance on Power Point.
- Sir Basil H. Liddell-Hart

--Paperwork will ruin any military force. Power Point means you are already ruined.
- General Chesty Puller

--In the absence of orders, go find something and kill it. Unless you're a planner, then kill yourself - because if there are no orders- what good are you!?
- Erwin Rommel

--No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard learn to brief using Power Point.
- George S. Patton

--England has been offered a choice between war and Power Point. She has chosen Power Point and will get war.
- Winston Churchill

--In Italy, for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In America they invented fast food, they had 234 years of democracy and peace, what did they produce? Power Point.
- Orson Welles

--In war there is no prize for the runner-up. The winner gets to rule the world for about fifty years, then turns into a country dependent on systems, bureaucracy, and process- afraid to trust its own soldiers, and therefore becomes its own worst enemy. I predict this great army will one day wear reflective safety belts and be more afraid of dying than beat cops from Berlin.
- General Omar Bradley

--It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it. It is also fatal to enter a war wherein most of your soldiers are more likely to attend a briefing than hear a bullet fired in anger.
- General Douglas MacArthur

--It is well that war is filled with briefings, meetings, and slideshows or we should grow too fond of it.
- Robert E. Lee

--Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more, Or close the wall up with our English dead!
In peace there's nothing so becomes a man As modest stillness and humility; But when the blast of war blows in our ears, Then imitate the action of the tiger: Stiffen the grammar, summon up the right font, and voila! Perfect erudition is no match for a well-formatted slideshow.
- William Shakespeare

--Politics is war without Power Point, while war is politics with Power Point.
- Mao Zedong

--When the enemy advances, withdraw; when he stops, harass; when he tires, strike; when he retreats, pursue; when he briefs slideshows, laugh.
- Mao Zedong

--The art of war is simple enough. Find out where your enemy is. Get at him as soon as you can. Strike him as hard as you can, and keep moving.If we ever forget that, I predict our commanders will be more like politicians and our soldiers employed more like an occupying Roman legion: focused more on garrison rules than killing.
- Ulysses S Grant
Great article and absolutely recognisable to anyone who has worked in a NATO HQ (including our own '1st among equals' - HQ ARRC). There are actually some top young staff officers there being thrashed to death sleepwalking from battle rhythm event to event. Ironically ARRC is supporting IJC next.

SO we have a couple of thousand staff (+) at HQ ISAF commanding another couple of thousand staff (including the extra USA shadow posts to cover for NATO non-swimmers...) across town at HQ IJC. All are pushing staff work down to a few regional HQ of 500 to 800 odd? who are pushing that staff work to Bde HQ of say 200 odd? down to a BG HQ of what? 10-20??? Ha ha! Of course they are all necessary.

I had a thought that maybe we could divide HQ ISAF and HQ IJC into multiples and have quarter of the staff on any one day on patrol in Kabul. It's only a one in four patrol rotation, would free up all the security troops in Kabul to head off to tougher taskings as still leave Kabul saturated with troops! Bet we wouldn't even notice a blip in the HQ battle rhythm! Of course some of our NATO partners won't send their staff officers outside the wire........
I heard a rumour from several credible sources that a number of the generals slammed in this article made a point of commiserating with the Col before he left and strongly hinting that they agreed with his sentinments.

My theory is that HQ ISAF is a gas, we were supposed to contract it when IJC was stood up, but yet the camp is now bigger than ever. Allegedly as part of the surge the US are pushing out fairly senior officers (Col level) and telling them -you are working in this part of the organisation, find yourself a job to do.

Ever was it thus. As has been said above, the ARRC only exists to provide the British Army with a 3-Star command position.
In Iraq we managed to employ a Div HQ to supervise a Bde HQ which, certainly on TELICs 12 and 13, managed to field just a single battle group (the MITT) and we still managed to have a 3-Star in Baghdad. It was ridiculous.
Op CHARGE OF THE KNIGHTS exposed our smoke and mirrors when the Yanks realised that having a Div HQ running the province did not mean there was a Div in the field. They could not take over and send us home quick enough after that.

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