[Dailydave] The Pentagon Staffs up

dan at geer.org dan at geer.org
Mon Jan 28 20:34:32 EST 2013

Irby Thompson writes:
 | It seems to me the Pentagon should consider following a USSOCOM/JSOC
 | model towards Cyber. For example, instead of trying to 'be more
 | effective' by just growing the number of Cyber Command billets, focus
 | instead on creating and deploying small teams of cyber operators who
 | work together on specific offensive or defensive missions.  In my
 | opinion nation-state level cyber is (and will remain) a specialty domain
 | due to it's extreme technical nature across a breadth of disciplines.
 | To be truly effective (in either offense or defense) you need small,
 | cohesive teams who offensively and defensively simultaneously, and up
 | and down the stack. Once the mission is achieved, these tiger teams move
 | on to the next mission, and the Command backfills with (easier-to-hire)
 | technical staff to hold down the fort.

I hope this does not seem trite, but perhaps this history is instructive:


JANUARY 23, 2013
Rob Long: Stop Connecting, or why the British Empire was so efficient

Last week Rob Long wrote a Ricochet post quoting a Bain Consulting
study that concluded that corporate managers are spending too much
time "connecting". Rob said:

"I've often wondered how much better some meetings would be if every
laptop was shut and every phone switched off."

This article triggered an idea that I have had for a while, that
is best introduced by answering this question: why was the British
Empire so efficient? For there is no doubt about it, it was. A mere
thousand bureaucrats in the Colonial Office managed an empire so
large that the sun never set on it, an empire that included a
subcontinent. How was this possible?

One reason, I think, is that the colonies weren't informatically
connected. No phones, no text messages, no Skype, no e-mail, no
conference calls, no webinars, no meetings. Therefore, no
micromanagement. For reasons of necessity, all decisions had to be
pushed down to the lowest possible levels. This not only had the
effect of minimizing bureaucracy but it also meant that the character
of the Empire's decision makers was more solid.

Consider, say, the Governor of Tasmania. Halfway around the world,
if there was a sudden insurrection or unexpected invasion, it would
take two weeks for your urgent request for help reach Whitehall.
That means that the soonest help could arrive is a month, assuming
the government sends off reinforcements within a day, which it
wouldn't. So who would apply for such a job? Not a bureaucratic
manager, content to transport papers from the inbox to the outbox
and breath heavily at conference calls all day. But a bold leader,
a man of action, might.  Somebody, for whom, the lack of connections
to the home country would be liberating not enervating.

The result was an efficient, adaptable and decisively run empire.

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