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Wolfowitz, Wal-Mart & the Wehrmacht

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    Lessons from Wal-Mart and the Wehrmacht: Team Wolfowitz on Administration in the Information Age http://www.mepc.org/public_asp/journal_vol11/0406_hudson.asp
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 4, 2005
      Lessons from Wal-Mart and the Wehrmacht:

      Team Wolfowitz on Administration in the Information Age

      Lessons from Wal-Mart and the Wehrmacht: Team Wolfowitz on
      Administration in the Information Age

      Leila Hudson

      Dr. Hudson is assistant professor of Near Eastern Studies at the
      University of Arizona. For a printable pdf version of this article,
      click here.

      Since the attacks of September 11, 2001, the Bush administration has
      introduced a panoply of new techniques of government in the areas of
      intelligence processing, public relations, data collection and
      government secrecy. The blueprint that links many of these
      innovations to a unified theory of information and management can be
      found in an essay entitled "Military Organization in the Information
      Age: Lessons from the World of Business" by Francis Fukuyama and
      Abram Shulsky in a 1999 Rand Corporation volume edited by Zalmay
      Khalilzad.1 While the essay focuses on corporate self-improvement
      tips for the U.S. military, over the last three years these
      techniques have crept into the civilian functioning of the executive
      branch. There they seem to account for some of the most radical, and
      to critics, provocative innovations in domestic security policy and
      government management by the Bush administration.

      Like the policy statements from the Project for the New American
      Century, former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's "A Clean
      Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm," and most recently,
      Richard Perle's and David Frum's manifesto The End of Evil: How to
      Win the War on Terror,2 "Military Organization in the Information
      Age" lays out an ambitious and radical agenda that appears to have
      influenced the Bush administration. Unlike these other
      projects, "Military Organization in the Information Age" is not
      specifically about the Middle East region, nor does it lay out
      directives for strategy and action in international relations.
      Rather it presents a vision for the reformation of the military that
      would take advantage of the information revolution in order to
      maximize efficiency in corporate style.

      Decentralization, specifically the dispersal of authority throughout
      the organization, is the predominant principle of the management
      style advocated by the authors. They cite management guru Peter
      Drucker's credo that "central management needs few if any
      specialists. Bottom specialists will direct themselves."3 The
      reliance on "bottom specialists" rather than the traditional
      vertical hierarchy and central control is reinforced by the
      historical experience of a military that effectively used the new
      information technologies of its time and had a culture of autonomous
      decision making at the bottom of the officer corps: the German

      What is striking about the principles articulated by Fukuyama and
      Shulsky in the late 1990s is how effectively they foreshadow a
      revolution in the post-9/11 world. This is not a "revolution in
      military affairs," which might have yielded dramatic successes
      rather than embarrassing and dangerous logistical failures in
      Afghanistan and Iraq,4 but rather a revolution in civilian
      administration and government. The principles articulated in a paper
      that might have been subtitled "What We Learned from Wal-Mart and
      the Wehrmacht" seem to predict with remarkable efficiency the range
      of the Bush administration's domestic policies and internal
      practices in the War on Terror that have mobilized critics. The
      implementation of the guidelines suggested by Shulsky and Fukuyama
      contributes to the further blurring of the boundaries between the
      military and civilian spheres, and between the realms of public
      policy and legitimate privacy that the declaration of the War on
      Terror initiated.

      These practices include the funneling of intelligence past agencies
      and layers of scrutiny that might have prevented lies, forgeries and
      other misperceptions from speeding the invasion of Iraq; the
      collection of information on U.S. citizens, residents and visitors
      that has alarmed constitutional scholars and privacy advocates; and
      the prevalence of no-bid contracting with corporations linked to the
      Bush administration in the reconstruction of Iraq.

      The empowering aim of corporate decentralization also appears to
      explain the so-called "neoconservative" network inside and outside
      the administration, as it suggests a personnel policy of keeping
      specialists distributed laterally throughout the organization with
      autonomy in decision making, "freedom to fail," and rotation between
      high-pressure practical and low-pressure theoretical positions.5 The
      specialists are not forced to compete against each other for the top
      job, but are kept comfortable in intermediate positions. The final
      component of the decentralization program calls for the appearance
      of strong central control and the activation of rigorous
      investigative and punitive procedures when something goes wrong.

      The authors are themselves associates of the neoconservative network
      that undergirds the Bush administration. According to James Mann's
      Rise of the Vulcans, all are particular protégés of the architect of
      the Iraq War, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz,6 Francis
      Fukuyama, a member of the Project for the New American Century and
      President Bush's Advisory Council on Bioethics, succeeded Wolfowitz
      as the dean of the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns
      Hopkins University and famously announced "the end of history" after
      the fall of the Soviet Union.7 Fukuyama's co-author, Abram N.
      Shulsky, is one of the most influential and least known members of
      the Bush administration inner circle. He is a scholar of China,
      intelligence and philosopher Leo Strauss,8 and heads the Pentagon's
      Office of Special Plans, a murky but very important node in the
      movement of intelligence in the Bush administration.

      The editor of the volume in which the article appeared is the Bush
      admini-stration's low-profile special adviser on both Afghanistan
      and Iraq, a former Unocal executive and the highest ranking Muslim
      in the Bush administration, Zalmay Khalilzad. Like Francis Fukuyama,
      he signed the 1998 Project for the New American Century letters to
      President Clinton and congressional leaders urging the military
      ouster of Saddam Hussein.9 Before they took their positions in the
      shadows of the Bush administration, these theorists offered insights
      that seem to have structured aspects of military policy in Secretary
      of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's Pentagon, from battlefield tactics to
      military outsourcing and contracting for the land wars in Asia, but
      also in the ultimate "military operation other than war," or MOOTW --
      the Bush administration's War on Terror.

      "Military Organization in the Information Age" reviews business
      literature for ideas on how to structure military organizations. It
      employs information-age buzz-words from the business world such
      as "flattening," "informating" and "core competencies" to outline
      techniques by which a lean and responsive organization can take
      advantage of huge quantities of potentially useful data and skills
      without drowning in information or becoming a bureaucratic behemoth.
      The dispersal of skills and responsibilities throughout the
      organization to maximize access to dispersed bodies of information
      is key.

      The authors advocate practices that structure the organization to
      maximize the speed of information transfer and utility and keep it
      flexible and quickly adaptable to new circumstances and experiences.
      Flattening the organization means shortening the paths of
      information movement from sources and other "bottom specialists" to
      decision makers throughout the body. "Informating" means collecting,
      storing and mining huge quantities of data by means of advanced non-
      human data processing systems with minimal additional labor.
      Focusing on "core competencies" like a "virtual corporation"
      promotes outsourcing and contracting of functions in which the cost
      and efficiency advantage is gained not through competitive bidding
      but rather through longer-term -- and not always transparent --
      investment in research and development in the private sector.

      Underlying the entire program laid out by Fukuyama and Shulsky is
      wariness of a wide distribution of knowledge. Applying the corporate
      virtue of efficiency and its information-processing techniques to
      the military allows Fukuyama and Shulsky to envision a military that
      forgoes institutional tradition in order to minimize bureaucratic
      confusion and redundancy. This could create tension and friction
      within rigid military structures. But applied to the realm of civil
      governance, these principles of information efficiency also
      compromise commitments to transparency, free-market competition,
      constitutional protections of personal privacy, and government

      Fukuyama and Shulsky advocate replacing steep hierarchies of the
      traditional military organization with a flatter profile in order
      to "speed up the flow of information within the organization and
      create proper incentives for its use."10 Flattening
      involves "reassigning the functions of one or more layers of middle
      management, either downward toward the bottom of the
      organization . . . or upward toward senior management,"11 so that
      information need not move slowly up and down a hierarchy. This
      allegedly avoids distortions created by what each level thinks its
      superiors want to hear, and minimizes bureaucratic territoriality
      and hoarding of information. As an example, Fukuyama and Shulsky
      cite studies of the German Wehrmacht by Martin Van Creveld.12

      . . . while the German Blitzkrieg strategy of World War II depended
      decisively on the technological advances of the previous decades --
      tanks, aircraft capable of providing close air support, and mobile
      radios -- it also required certain organizational characteristics.
      In particular its fast pace implied that lower echelons had to have
      the authority to take the initiative to exploit battlefield
      opportunities; they also had to have more direct, and more rapid,
      communications with headquarters and other military units that could
      support them. Front-line Panzer units, for example, could request
      air support directly from the Luftwaffe without having to go through
      higher Army echelons. By contrast, the British and French command
      structures required unit commanders to go through several
      intermediary headquarters to communicate with supporting units.13
      This strategy was visible through the fog of war in the early days
      of the Iraq invasion in the battles of Um Qasr and Najaf. In the
      first case, U.S. Marines pinned down by Iraqi sniper fire after
      having failed to secure the port village, directly called in British
      and U.S. air support in order to finally take the town. In the
      second case, U.S. tanks of the Thirty-seventh Cavalry were able to
      secure air cover from Apache helicopters, which resulted in two
      aircraft downed and every one of the 30 others hit by gunfire. The
      ability of ground forces to independently summon air cover pulled
      aircraft away from the larger strategic mission of the aerial
      bombing of Baghdad and other Iraqi cities, winning the battles at
      the cost of damage to aircraft.14

      In a passage that seems to foreshadow the logic behind
      the "revolution in military affairs" of the embedded journalism of
      the Iraq invasion, Shulsky and Fukuyama discuss some of the risks of
      over-shortening the information path, using as an example that:

      the actions of a single squad in a Haitian city could have
      significant repercussions for the entire operation, especially if
      they were to be captured on tape by the Cable News Network and
      broadcast to the world. As a result, the White House officials
      might, under extreme circumstances, wish to be in direct
      communication with units on the ground, both to receive reports
      directly (otherwise, they could find themselves in the uncomfortable
      position of receiving press inquiries about events of which they had
      not yet been informed) and to direct actions on the ground to avoid
      unwanted incidents.15
      This suggests that embedded journalism had its origins not just in
      the reassessment of the ineffective pool journalism of the first
      Gulf War,16 but also in the principle of flattening, which would
      make reports from the "bottom specialists" on the front lines of
      a "military operation other than war" (MOOTW) available to decision
      makers at the highest levels.

      But flattening has been much more dramatic within the Bush
      administration itself than in its battlefield applications. The
      process of shortening the trajectories of intelligence and planning
      for the Iraq war by the civilians in Secretary Rumsfeld's Pentagon
      illustrates this practice. Bypassing established layers of review of
      plans and intelligence by career professionals led to the Pentagon's
      tension with the State Department in the buildup to war and in
      Secretary Rumsfeld's political difficulties with the career

      In the second half of 2003, investigative journalism and insider
      accounts focused attention on Abram Shulsky's own Office of Special
      Plans (OSP). Seymour Hersh dubbed the new direct information paths
      the "stovepipe."18

      Accounts from investigative reporters of The Nation, Mother Jones,
      The New Yorker and The Guardian depict a Defense Department
      intelligence annex that bypasses the CIA and the Defense
      Intelligence Agency as a lateral appendage to the office of the
      secretary of defense with direct links to the White House and the
      office of the vice president. The OSP is outside the hierarchy, the
      bureaucracy and the standards of the intelligence establishments yet
      directed some of the most problematic intelligence material straight
      from Iraqi defectors produced by Ahmad Chalabi's Iraqi National
      Congress to the highest levels of the American government.19 The
      plans and policies that were cultivated in this 18-person operation
      paved the way to the Iraq War, and possibly determined important
      aspects of its conduct. The OSP seems a prime example of the kind of
      insulated, protected "experimental unit" that Fukuyama and Shulsky
      see as a crucial part of an adapting "learning organization."20

      These investigations have been confirmed and fleshed out by Lt. Col.
      Karen Kwiatkowski in a whistle-blowing series of articles in a
      journal on the other side of the political spectrum, the American
      Conservative Magazine. The retired Air Force officer and Pentagon
      staffer recounts how the Near East South Asia (NESA) branch of the
      Pentagon's policy section was flattened using the metaphor of
      Africanized bees, which "swarmed over the Pentagon, populating
      various hives of policy and planning."21 Her account confirms that
      Shulsky's Office of Special Plans is the nexus of the flattened
      organization and outlines how it positioned itself as such. She
      describes the transformation in late summer 2002 of the NESA Iraq
      desk into the Office of Special Plans headed by Shulsky. According
      to Kwiatkowski,

      . . . we were told that the expanded Iraq desk would become the
      Office of Special Plans and would move out. We were told not to
      refer to this office as the Office of Special Plans and . . . not to
      confirm that it was the expanded Iraq desk . . . . The Iraq-war-
      planning aspect would now be isolated from the rest of NESA and
      would establish its own rhythm and cadence, separate from the non-
      political-minded professionals covering the rest of the
      region . . . . "22
      Layers of civilian control were removed:

      Those who had watched the transition from Clintonista to Bushite
      knew that something calculated had happened to NESA. Key personnel,
      long-time civilian professionals' hold on the important billets had
      been replaced early in the transition. The Office Director, second
      in command and normally a professional civilian regional expert, was
      vacant . . . . To remove that continuity factor seemed
      contraindicated, but at the time, I didn't realize that the
      expertise on Middle East policy was being brought in from a variety
      of outside think tanks.23
      By the winter of 2002, Kwiatkowski accelerated her retirement
      process, feeling that

      civilian professionals and military officers were largely invisible.
      We were easily replaceable and dispensable, not part of the team
      brought in from the American Enterprise Institute, the Center for
      Security Policy, and the Washington Institute for Near East
      Policy . . . .24
      The flattening or shortening of communication paths in the Pentagon
      extended to military allies from the outside. Kwiatkowski describes
      the ease and familiarity with which Israeli generals accessed the
      office of Undersecretary Feith (which Secretary of State General
      Colin Powell denies calling "the Gestapo office" as reported by Bob
      Woodward in Plan of Attack) without observing any of the normal
      protocols of escort and signing in.25 The reorganization that
      Kwiatkowski witnessed streamlined the information flow between the
      former Iraq desk, the office of the secretary of defense and
      ultimately the White House.26 The information that flowed through
      the pipeline included talking points on the later-discredited
      reports of Iraqi agents meeting 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta in
      Prague, on the alleged purchase by Saddam Hussein of yellowcake in
      Niger, and on leaked low estimates of the manpower and troop costs
      of the upcoming war.27

      The utilization of information-processing technologies is crucial to
      institutional reform in the information age. Fukuyama and Shulsky's
      vision of the information-age military sees "informating" or
      digitization to decentralize the organization and "facilitate the
      collection, processing, distribution and use of more detailed and
      more timely information throughout the organization."28 In order to
      collect maximum information without succumbing to the burdens of
      reporting or information overload,

      Information is collected automatically or as a by-product of other
      operations. One of the best known examples of this is the Wal-Mart
      system, in which the information that a particular product has been
      sold, which is obtained at the checkout counter when the bar code is
      scanned, is used not only to calculate how much the customer owes
      but is also transmitted to a companywide database. Without
      increasing the workload of the checkout clerk, and without burdening
      other company employees, timely and detailed sales information is
      collected for processing and use.29
      The military analogue of this digitization process envisioned by
      Fukuyama and Shulsky prior to the Afghan and Iraqi wars involved
      Global Positioning System (GPS) locating devices, which provide a
      constant stream of information to a central data bank to be
      extracted and used as necessary within the laterally linked,
      flattened organization. According to the authors, because of "the
      vast amount of very specific and low-level data reported from each
      unit (e.g., the petroleum, oil and lubricant levels for each and
      every vehicle), the resulting database contains altogether much more
      information than any one user could possibly use,"30 but would allow
      instant pinpointing of problems.

      The risks of the enormous dependence on non-human processing systems
      entailed in Wal-Mart-style informating are considerable. Since the
      vision is based on a general idea of information technology rather
      than specific technical systems, applications produce unforeseen
      complications. One possible negative effect on the battlefield was
      the number of friendly-fire incidents reported in the first week of
      the Iraq war as fighters dependent on data-processing technology
      removed a critical layer of human judgment and often failed to
      distinguish targets from allies. A slowly emerging consensus that
      the logistics of the war effort were seriously hampered by confusion
      and unclear lines of responsibility highlight the danger, recognized
      by Fukuyama and Shulsky, of information swamping in a lean,
      flattened organization.31

      The deployment of new techniques of information collection, storage
      and processing in the civilian realm entails different risks than
      their use in real time on the battlefield and with wartime
      logistics. A prime application of the Wal-Mart-style informating
      technique in the civilian realm is the Terrorism (formerly Total)
      Information Awareness project spearheaded by pardoned felon Admiral
      John Poindexter. Personal and financial data from credit card
      companies, banks and mailing lists would be collected in order to
      mine patterns for indications of terrorist risks.32 Although this
      project was renamed and shelved due to concern about the
      constitutionality of data collection on citizens, even in the wake
      of the empowerments of the PATRIOT Act, development of data
      collection, storage and processing systems continues at the local
      level. This is done through corporate initiatives on visitors to the
      United States through the U.S. Visitor fingerprinting and
      photography program, touted by the Department of Homeland Security
      as a mere 15-second delay in the processing of visa holders at U.S.
      ports of entry.33

      This aspect of the "information revolution in military affairs" has
      two parts: focusing on the organization's competitive advantages
      and "disencumbering oneself of functions that can be performed
      better by others."34 The military, it is argued, can benefit from
      outsourcing peripheral and even core functions if the transaction
      costs of contracting are less than the costs of integrating the
      function in-house. The model of the virtual corporation divested of
      all but a few key functions is invoked.

      In the invasion of Iraq we see the continuation and escalation of a
      decades-long trend -- the use of contractors to assume some of the
      key functions of the war.35 Thus Halliburton subsidiaries provide
      troop-support services36 and Vinell and Dyncorp provide military and
      security training for the new Iraqi police force and army.37 Those,
      in turn, would ideally take over from the U.S. military the
      frontline role in the War on Terror in Iraq and security enforcement
      under the occupation. Since the killing and mutilation of the bodies
      of four civilian security workers for Blackwater, the extent of the
      provision of security by such private firms in Iraq is beginning to
      become apparent.

      Peacetime procurement of weapons systems in the information age is
      another major instance of focusing on core competencies of the
      military organization and outsourcing without the cumbersome process
      of bidding:

      In an era of rapid technological advance . . . . lead times (for
      major weapons systems such as a new fighter or tank) can seriously
      hinder the ability of the armed forces to field the most effective
      weapon systems possible.38
      The authors write almost wistfully about how a government-owned
      corporation could bypass federal procurement regulations. Their tone
      is even more clearly regretful when they acknowledge that

      the underlying view is that a long-term relation on the basis of
      which it is possible to share information and expertise, will
      produce a better quality and price mix in the long run than will
      an "arms-length approach" that constantly forces suppliers to
      compete with each other. In general this strategy may not be
      available to a government agency . . . The philosophy guiding
      government contractors, on the other hand, is very different: In
      principle, they are supposed to be open to all bidders regardless of
      the costs or benefits involved.39
      Shulsky and Fukuyama go on to suggest several ways around the
      inconvenience of the open-bidding principle, which holds government
      back from corporate-style efficiency. This would have the advantage
      of facilitating "timely acquisition and utilization of equipment."
      In addition, providing clear examples of what is possible with this
      greater efficiency "might change the political climate in ways that
      would ultimately make a full-scale reform more feasible."40

      The techniques presented to infiltrate, undermine and subvert
      procurement regulations include "skunk-works concept,"41 a form of
      umbrella contract in which new weapons systems are included under
      cover of preexisting contracts.42 They also suggest taking advantage
      of wartime exceptions to procurement rules:

      In general, opportunities of this type should be sought out, both to
      exercise the system so that it will be better able to operate
      rapidly in case of war and to highlight the cost of the current
      regulatory regime. One might attempt to institute a system whereby,
      in the case of any ongoing operation, some amount of money would be
      made available for the development and procurement of equipment
      under "wartime" rules . . . .43
      To the authors, this conveys another secondary advantage: the
      mobilization of popular sentiment behind the executive branch for
      the state of perpetual war.

      Under the rubric of concentrating on core competencies and
      increasing efficiency, well-established contracting procedures are
      pushed aside for the conduct of and preparation for war, but also
      for civilian functions such as the reconstruction of Iraq. Post-
      conflict private policing, oil-services and infrastructure-
      reconstruction contracts have been awarded to companies with ties to
      the Bush administration. They have been denied to corporations from
      countries that declined to support the war, and they are also
      subject to no-bid procedures.44

      Irregularities with the Iraq and Afghan war-contracting process have
      begun to register with watchdog groups and to leak into the
      mainstream press and even into burgeoning presidential campaign
      rhetoric. The recent closure of the investigation into Halliburton's
      alleged overcharging of $61 million for oil imports into Iraq
      suggests, however, that the principle of concentrating on core
      competencies and favorably comparing the financial costs of
      outsourcing to the time and opportunity costs of in-house service or
      competitive bidding is alive and well in the Bush administration.45
      The well-documented cronyism that accompanies no-bid contracting
      seems to provide the financial rewards that reinforce the personnel
      policies described below by materially rewarding key personnel far
      beyond the limitations of any public entity.46

      The Fukuyama and Shulsky essay provides insight into the staffing
      policies of the Bush administration, which have drawn attention to a
      network of policy makers referred to as "neoconservatives." As is
      now well-known, they are a coterie of hawkish pro-Israeli unilater-
      alists with association to the late Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson (D-
      WA), the Israeli Likud party, the philosophies of Leo Strauss and
      Albert Wohlstetter, and conservative think-tanks, especially the
      Project for the New American Century. 47 The management principle of
      employee empowerment advocated by Fukuyama and Shulsky is apparently
      based on Prussian and German military practices of encouraging
      autonomy and responsibility in the lower officer corps inculcated
      with a common military culture. In this Teutonic spirit, the "right
      and duty of subordinates to make independent decisions" is
      emphasized over a vertical hierarchy of command and information
      flow. Trusting the discretion and intuition of individual officers
      and men requires a general military culture of fraternity,
      homogeneity, identity and trust. It also explains the unique
      features of the Bush administration, particularly the Pentagon under
      Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, famous for his clashes with the
      career-military hierarchy presumably trained in non-Wehrmacht

      In the January/February 2004 issue of Foreign Policy magazine, the
      historian Max Boot argues that accusations of neoconservative
      influence on U.S. foreign policy are disproved by the absence of
      neoconservatives in the top tier of the Bush administration.49 But
      the empowerment and trust placed by higher-ups in second- and third-
      rank civilian officials and consultants comes directly
      from "Military Organization in the Information Age." An important
      component of corporate efficiency through personnel management
      involves a wide distribution of skills throughout the organization
      rather than a concentration of key specialists at the heart or the
      top. The lateral and horizontal tendencies are accentuated by not
      requiring that promotion be the reward for success. Modern
      management principles cited by the authors keep specialists in place
      and do not squander their talents and energies by making them
      compete for the few top spots.50

      This accounts for the improbable prominence in the Bush
      administration of such widely spaced second- and third-tier
      appointees as Deputy Secretary of Defense Wolfowitz and Defense
      Policy Board former Chairman Richard Perle, but also Deputy
      Secretary of State John Bolton, Pentagon Undersecretary for Policy
      Douglas Feith, Vice Presidential Chief of Staff Lewis "Scooter"
      Libby and National Security Council staff member Elliot Abrams, not
      to mention Abram Shulsky himself and other less well-known members
      of the network in domestic and international policy formation. There
      is no easily identifiable leadership core, but the culture of trust,
      common politics and "freedom to fail" that unites key actors across
      the organization produces a coherent set of policy tracks.

      Shulsky and Fukuyama cite the importance of a "freedom to fail"
      personnel policy to encourage taking risks and thinking outside the
      box.51 Promotion is to be based on patronage and demand, not on
      fairness, routine or supply.52 Similarly, the "freedom to fail"
      attitude involves interchanges of personnel between conventional and
      experimental postings in order to disseminate ideas and protect
      careers.53 Drs. Wolfowitz and Shulsky themselves exemplify the
      movement between academic and governmental postings that spreads
      their ideas through contact with others in various settings, and the
      inconspicuous shifting between the world of theory and the world of
      action. This is not unlike the revolving door between government and
      industry that the first-tier members of the Bush administration have
      made an increasingly prominent feature of the landscape of power.54

      The "freedom to fail" policy helps explain the prominence of key
      administration political appointees such as Elliot Abrams and
      Admiral John Poindexter, for whom pardoned felony convictions were
      not a serious barrier to reinstatement.55 The continuing prominence
      of neocon-servative ideologue Richard Perle after conflict-of-
      interest scandals forced him out of the chairmanship of the Defense
      Policy Board to a less noticeable role in the same body suggests
      that the cronyism that the virtual corporation promotes actually
      finances the "freedom to fail" policy in a very direct manner.56

      Shulsky and Fukuyama acknowledge that the larger political culture
      requires the appearance of what they call "the pervasive zero-
      defects mentality -- which tends to regard every error as a scandal"
      and of the "top-down method of control,"57 which seems to the
      observer to provide a reassuring measure of unified and accountable

      This appearance may be illusory, but it has its political uses --
      when something goes wrong, the existence of a complex set of rules,
      not all of which . . . will have been obeyed, means it will be
      possible to find someone to blame. Furthermore in the event of a
      disaster, one can always add a new layer of regulations or controls
      to show that one is doing something to prevent the problem's
      The casual acceptance of the necessity of illusion and outright
      deception in the worldview of Fukuyama and Shulsky provides insight
      into the culture that produced the Jessica Lynch made-for-TV story
      and numerous other fictions about the Iraq war and the larger War on

      But the assiduous cultivation of the image of top-down control,
      covering for but conflicting with dispersed authority, throughout
      the organization was most visible in White House responses to the
      potentially disastrous exposure in the summer of 2003 by Ambassador
      Joseph Wilson of false allegations that Saddam Hussein attempted to
      buy uranium from Niger.60 In this case, stovepiped intelligence
      linked to the vice president's office made its way into President
      Bush's State of the Union address and the building case for war.61
      The subsequent leaks to Robert Novak of the covert position of
      Wilson's wife as a CIA operative was a hasty and ill-conceived
      response emerging from somewhere in the Pentagon or vice president's
      office which itself required the formation of an investigation. Too
      much "freedom to fail" by lower-level decision makers seriously
      threatened the illusion of central control. CIA chief George Tenet
      fell unconvincingly on his sword in an attempt to absorb the blame
      for the scandal.

      Most recently the WMD intelligence manipulation came to a head with
      the acknowledgement by Chief U.S. Weapons Inspector David Kay that
      no WMD were to be found in Iraq.62 In these cases, the CIA was very
      publicly blamed (and even compromised through the punitive outing of
      an operative) for lapses for which it was arguably not responsible.
      The highly visible responses by the head of the intelligence agency
      make a convincing show of "top-down control" covering for "freedom
      to fail."63

      The essay by Shulsky and Fukuyama provides insight into the
      techniques that have distinguished the Bush administration: a
      flattened architecture of specialists with autonomy and freedom to
      fail located laterally throughout the organization, collecting and
      mining information and shooting it through stovepipes while other
      functions are preferentially outsourced and the appearance of
      central control is assiduously maintained. The original model is
      corporate, and the only application suggested by the authors is to
      the military, but the evidence of these principles in action in the
      civilian administration is ominous, as management technique
      encroaches on the realm of public accountability. The War on Terror
      has allowed corporate and military organizational principles to
      creep into civilian administration, but the actual practice has
      revealed some major problems.

      The application of these techniques in the Bush administration shows
      some risks and internal contradictions as well. Even as the
      organization is vertically compacted so that information can flow
      from bottom to top more quickly, it is laterally expanded, and often
      the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing. Cutting
      out the middle has led to disastrously faulty intelligence, just as
      cutting out human data processing has led to confusion on the
      battlefield, and the freedom to fail has outstripped the illusion of
      central control as scandals multiply in the ranks of the
      neoconservatives. Critics of the Bush administration can hope that
      the unfolding scandals resulting from poor information management,
      too much dispersed autonomy and freedom to fail in the White House,
      the vice president's office and the Pentagon will prevent the
      ultimate triumph of a homegrown American military corporatism.

      1 Francis Fukuyama and Abram Shulsky, "Military Organization in the
      Information Age: Lessons from the World of Business," The Changing
      Role of Information in Warfare, ed. John P. White (Santa Monica:
      RAND Corporation, 1999).
      2 Thomas Donelly, Donald Kagan and Gary Schmitt, "Rebuilding
      America's Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New
      Century" (Washington, DC: Project for a New American Century, 2000);
      David Frum and Richard Perle, An End to Evil: How to Win the War on
      Terror (New York: Random House, 2004); and Richard Perle, et al., "A
      Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm" (Jerusalem and
      Washington: Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies,
      3 Peter Drucker, "The Coming of the New Organization," Harvard
      Business Review, Vol. 66, No. 1, 1988.
      4 "U.S. War Machine Nearly Fell Apart, Army Reveals," Sydney Morning
      Herald, February 4, 2004.
      5 Murray Friedman, "The Rebirth of Neoconservatism," The Forward,
      December 13, 2002, Ari Shavit, "White Man's Burden," Haaretz, 2003.
      6 James Mann, Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush's War Cabinet
      (New York: Viking, 2004). See pages 22-26, 75, 113, 209-213 for an
      understanding of how the influence of Alan Bloom at
      Cornell/Telluride and Leo Strauss and the Wohlstetters at University
      of Chicago would flourish through social and professional networks
      of protégées rather than directly through intellectual or emotional
      proximity to the professors themselves.
      7 Francis Fukuyama, The End of History and the Last Man (New York:
      Penguin, 1992).
      8 Abram Shulsky, Silent Warfare: Understanding the World of
      Intelligence, 3rd ed. (Brassey's Inc., 2002), Abram Shulsky and Mark
      Burles, Patterns in China's Use of Force: Evidence from History and
      Doctrinal Writings (Santa Monica: RAND, 1999), Abram Shulsky and
      Gary Schmitt, "Leo Strauss and the World of Intelligence (by Which
      We Do Not Mean Nous)," Leo Strauss, the Straussians, and the
      American Regime, ed. John Murley (Rowman and Littlefield, 1999).
      9 See the Letter to President Clinton and Letter to Trent Lott and
      Newt Gingrich (1998) at
      http://www.newamericancentury.org/iraqletter1998.htm. The signers of
      the two letters are a "who's who" of neoconservatives in academia,
      journalism, government and business.
      10 Fukuyama and Shulsky, "Military Organization in the Information
      Age: Lessons from the World of Business."
      11 Ibid.
      12 Martin Van Creveld, Fighting Power: German and U.S. Army
      Performance, 1939-1945 (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1982).
      13 Fukuyama and Shulsky, "Military Organization in the Information
      Age: Lessons from the World of Business."
      14 Al-Jazeera, "Um Qasr and Zubair Resisting the U.S.-UK Invasion,"
      2003 (cited March 21, 2003), online at http://aljazeerah.info/News%
      15 Fukuyama and Shulsky, "Military Organization in the Information
      Age: Lessons from the World of Business." p. 334.
      16 Jacqueline Sharkey, U.S. Military Restrictions on the Military
      from Grenada to the Persian Gulf (1991).
      17 Jane Perlez, "Bush Team's Counsel Is Divided on Foreign Policy,"
      The New York Times, March 27, 2001; and Thomas Ricks, "Desert
      Caution: Once Stormin Norman, Gen. Schawarzkopf Is Skeptical About
      U.S. Action in Iraq," The Washington Post, January 28, 2003.
      18 Seymour Hersh, "The Stovepipe," The New Yorker, October 27, 2003.
      19 Julian Borger, "The Spies Who Pushed for War," The Guardian, July
      17, 2003; Robert Dreyfuss, "More Missing Intelligence," The Nation,
      June 19, 2003; Robert Dreyfuss and Jason Vest, "The Lie Factory,"
      Mother Jones, January 26, 2004; Seymour Hersh, "Selective
      Intelligence," The New Yorker, May 12, 2003; and Mark
      Perelman, "Pentagon Team on Iran Comes under Fire," Forward, June 6,
      20 Fukuyama and Shulsky, "Military Organization in the Information
      Age: Lessons from the World of Business," pp. 347-49.
      21 Karen Kwiatkowski, "In Rumsfeld's Shop: A Senior Air Force
      Officer Watches as the Neocons Consolidate Their Pentagon Coup," The
      American Conservative, December 1, 2003.
      22 Karen Kwiatkowski, "Conscientious Objector: An Air Force Officer
      Watches Civilians Craft the War Plan," The American Conservative,
      December 15, 2003.
      23 Kwiatkowski, "In Rumsfeld's Shop: A Senior Air Force Officer
      Watches as the Neocons Consolidate Their Pentagon Coup."
      24 Karen Kwiatkowski, "The New Pentagon Papers," Salon.com, 2004.
      25 Ibid.
      26 Mike Allen, "Bush Aides Testify in Leak Probe," The Washington
      Post, February 10, 2004.
      27 Kwiatkowski, "Conscientious Objector: An Air Force Officer
      Watches Civilians Craft the War Plan."
      28 Fukuyama and Shulsky, "Military Organization in the Information
      Age: Lessons from the World of Business." p. 330.
      29 Ibid.
      30 Ibid.
      31 "`Friendly Fire' Hits Kurdish Convoy," BBC News, April 6,
      2003, "U.S. War Machine Nearly Fell Apart, Army Reveals."
      32 "Report to Congress Regarding the Terrorism Information Awareness
      Program," Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, 2003; and Paul
      Rosenzweig, "Defending the Pentagon's Information Awareness
      Program," Fox News, September 8, 2003.
      33 Brian Bergstein, "Several States Embrace Matrix," Associated
      Press, February 1, 2004; Ric Feld, "Foreign Visitors to USA Get
      Fingerprinted, Photographed," USA Today, January 4, 2004; Sara
      Kehaulani Goo, "Northwest Gave U.S. Data on Passengers," The
      Washington Post, January 18, 2004; and Pat Kossan, "Phoenix School
      First to Install Face Scanners," The Arizona Republic, December 11,
      34 Fukuyama and Shulsky, "Military Organization in the Information
      Age: Lessons from the World of Business," p. 330; and Francis
      Fukuyama and Abram Shulsky, The "Virtual Corporation" and Army
      Organization (Santa Monica: RAND Corporation, 1997).
      35 Peter Singer, Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized
      Military Industry (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2003).
      36 Jane Mayer, "Contract Sport: What Did the Vice-President Do for
      Halliburton," The New Yorker, February 9, 2004.
      37 Kevin Baron, "Windfalls of War" Center for Public Integrity, 2003.
      38 Fukuyama and Shulsky, "Military Organization in the Information
      Age: Lessons from the World of Business," p. 354.
      39 Ibid., p. 354.
      40 Ibid., p. 354.
      41 Ibid., p. 356.
      42 Suneel Ratan, "Mars Mission a Trojan Horse?" Wired News, January
      16, 2004.
      43 Fukuyama and Shulsky, "Military Organization in the Information
      Age: Lessons from the World of Business," p. 357.
      44 Jackie Spinner, "Halliburton Gets More Iraq Work," The Washington
      Post, 2004.
      45 Naomi Klein, "The $500 Billion Fire Sale," The Guardian, January
      17, 2004; and Sue Pleming, "Army Issues $15 Billion of Building
      Deals," The Washington Post, January 13, 2004.
      46 Baron, "Windfalls of War"; Mayer, "Contract Sport: What Did the
      Vice-President Do for Halliburton"; and Abigail Rayner, "New Inquiry
      Examines Hollinger Bonus Plan," London Times, 2004.
      47 Friedman, "The Rebirth of Neoconservatism"; and Shavit, "White
      Man's Burden."
      48 Kwiatkowski recounts hearing General Zinni denounced as a traitor
      inside the policy section of the Pentagon, calls for Secretary of
      State Colin Powell's resignation from the administration, and
      belittling of Admiral Trago. Kwiatkowski, "Conscientious Objector:
      An Air Force Officer Watches Civilians Craft the War Plan."
      49 Max Boot, "Think Again: Neocons," Foreign Policy, 2004.
      50 Fukuyama and Shulsky, "Military Organization in the Information
      Age: Lessons from the World of Business," p. 352.
      51 Ibid., p. 349.
      52 Ibid., pp. 350-1.
      53 Ibid., p. 348.
      54 Mann (p. 35) points out another instance of this policy, the
      effective teamwork of Wolfowitz on the inside and Perle on the
      outside through decades of policy work. Mann, Rise of the Vulcans:
      The History of Bush's War Cabinet.
      55 Ari Fleischer, "Press Briefing, Admiral Poindexter," 2002.
      56 {Wolf , 2003 #54}Rayner, "New Inquiry Examines Hollinger Bonus
      57 Fukuyama and Shulsky, "Military Organization in the Information
      Age: Lessons from the World of Business."
      58 Ibid., p. 358.
      59 Glen Rangwala, The Thirty-Six Lies That Launched a War (Centre
      for Research on Globalisation, 2003), online at
      http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/RAN307B.html; and Leslie
      Stahl, Bush Sought `Way' to Invade Iraq (CBS 60 Minutes, 2004 [cited
      January 11, 2004 2004]), online at
      Other possible instances of mendacity are emerging in the inquiry
      into President Bush's military record from the 1970s. Ralph
      Blumenthal, "Move to Screen Bush File in 90s Is Reported," The New
      York Times, February 12, 2004.
      60 CNN, "Text of CIA Director George Tenet's Statement," 2003.
      61 Julian Borger, "Cheney's Future at Stake," The Guardian, February
      11, 2004; David Johnston, "Top Bush Aide Is Questioned in CIA Leak,"
      The New York Times, February 10, 2004; ABCNet Online, "Pentagon
      Offices Face Probe on Iraq Claims," 2004 (cited February 19), online
      at http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/s1048656.htm; David
      Sanger, "President to Order Inquiry into Iraq Intelligence Lapses,"
      The Washington Post, 2004; also Mark Tran, "Pentagon Launches
      Halliburton Inquiry," The Guardian, December 12, 2003.
      62 Jessica Mathews, et al., WMD in Iraq: Evidence and Implications
      (Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2004);
      and Greg Mitchell, "Editorials Question Bush's Role in `Cooking' up
      a War," Editor and Publisher, January 28, 2004.
      63 William Branigin, "Tenet: Analysts Never Claimed Imminent Threat
      before War," The Washington Post, 2004; Sanger, "President to Order
      Inquiry into Iraq Intelligence Lapses"; and Eric Rosenberg, "`Heads
      Should Roll over Iraq' Adviser Wants U.S. Intelligence Chiefs to
      Quit," Toronto Star, February 18, 2004.



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