February 11, 2008

Classifying Criticism

Kip has much to say about how stupid classification hurts counterinsurgency efforts (another day), but an NY Times article points out our rush to classify criticism.

The Rand study had some apparently good recommendations on strategic planning but was rapidly buried due to its criticisms of senior officials and the Department of Defense itself.

In its recommendations, the study advocated an “inverted planning process” in which military planners would begin by deciding what resources were needed to maintain security after an adversary was defeated on the battlefield instead of treating the postwar phase as virtually an afterthought. More broadly, it suggested that there was a need to change the military’s mind-set, which has long treated preparations to fight a major war as the top priority. The Army has recently moved to address this by drafting a new operations manual which casts the mission of stabilizing war-torn nations as equal in importance to winning a conventional war.

Once again, three cheers for bureaucracy's ability to bury criticism.