Thursday, April 2, 2015

Military Corruption

Strategy Page has an important article on a form of military corruption that is growing in the US. Unfortunately, some people don't seem to intuitively get how the phenomenon of micromanagement on the field of battle is corrupt and the article doesn't lay out its "j'accuse" thesis clearly enough to make it clear to all. Senior military officials and politicians are offloading their career risk of something bad happening in the field by stretching out the OODA loop of combat troops. This increases the chance that people die and a given combat mission fails. Protecting the career of a president or a flag rank officer with the blood of some private out in the field is corrupt, offensively so. Even if nobody dies and the cost is merely extending a firefight by half an hour, that is half an hour extra that the team is playing the PTSD game of russian roulette. There is no cost free way to micromanage. There are just ways to do it that are visibly cost free for the people in DC.

Here's the comment I put at the article:

We know that delays getting wounded to medical care increase deaths beyond what is unavoidable. The "golden hour" is something that has been identified as a metric that is important and that's right and proper. But micromanagement kills too and that appears not to be as universally recognized with no metrics to track it and blame to apportion when it happens. It is stretching out the combatants OODA loop which increases the chance we lose or at least take greater casualties than otherwise necessary. 
We need to measure the phenomenon and attach consequences to the abuse. The computing power needed to do this is available. When command knows that there is a timer going on every time they stick their nose in and that their names will attach to casualties caused by their intervention, the problem of micromanagement will shrink because we will have a feedback loop to punish those who engage in inappropriate intervention. 
The fact that we have not embedded this feedback loop and are increasing the risk enlisted and junior officers take unnecessarily is a corrupt offloading of risk from seniors who are engaging in career protection to juniors who bleed for it.

HT: Instapundit