5 RULES: Information, Communication, Coordination, Command and Control
December 29, 2009 Leave a comment
5 RULES: Information, Communication, Coordination, Command and Control
This article was written by Douglas Castle for publication in TAKING COMMAND! The article may be reproduced, re-published or transmitted without the author’s permission provided that 1) the article is reprinted in its entirety (without editing, deletion or addition) with proper attribution to the author and the original publication, and that 2) all hyperlinks are left intact and live. Douglas Castle is a Featured Columnist with THE NATIONAL NETWORKER Newsletter. You may subscribe and receive this publication for free at http://twitlik.com/IN.
This is actually a brief article on effective management technique…but the title intriqued you, eh? Thought so.
It would seem that the ultimate managerial objective in life (aside from being "happy") and in business is to control things; to control, if possible and to the greatest extent possible, everything from our own selves (through discipline and self-mastery) to the environment and all of those variables which surround and impact us.
Obviously, this includes exerting our control upon others to some extent. Humans generally fear a loss of control, and despots throughout time have enslaved entire races, built great empires and destroyed whole civilizations because of their addiction to the very notion of control. For many of these people, and for most of us, control equates to power. In the military and throughout the world’s vast network of self-important members of the Intelligence Community, the conversation is often about Command and Control methods, tactics and strategies.
When the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York were demolished on 9-11 in an act of incredible inhumanity, politicians, agency directors and other proficient high-profile blame-dodgers and blame-placers were quick to point out to the information-hungry public that the extensive loss of life (in excess of 3,000 souls perished in that single incident of terrorism) was far greater than it should have been due to a failure in the system of command and control among the various responding security and safety agencies when they were put to the ultimate real-time test.
When various intelligence agencies do not share information and do not coordinate their efforts through effective communications and monitored feedback, a loss of control invariably results. This deficiency of control can mean that a hostile individual or force can penetrate our most well-conceived defenses. When various department heads within a business enterprise do not share information and do not coordinate their efforts through effective communications and monitored feedback, a loss of profit or marketshare results.
To utilize what we have learned from our mistakes in the War on Terror and the Global Recession, we must be ever-mindful to incorporate these processes in every aspect of managing any multi-party process; whether it relates to Homeland Security or to operating a chain of supermarkets:
1. Collect as much information as possible about every relevant variable. In fact, we should ask our counterparts in other agencies or departments for the type of information that they are looking for in order that we may help them; of course, they should reciprocate. This increase the overall probability of success in the early but crucial campaign phase of gathering intelligence. We are less likely to overlook things and more likely to find things.
2. We must frequently share and compare information. This is a synergistic process which makes every agency or department better-informed, and it allows more eyes and minds to evaluate data in terms of trends and implications from a greater number of meaningful perspectives. Hoarding information can be very counterproductive when teamwork is required for success.
3. In deciding to respond to information, we must advise our counterparts as to what we are planning to do. This maximizes the opportunity for constructive feedback and cooperation, while it minimizes the risk of working at redundant or opposing purposes.
4. It is imperative that there is a heirarchical command structure in order to avoid conflicting directives, orders and actions. Every organization is a multicellular organism. When each "cell" (in this moronic metaphor) decides to go its own way, chaos ensues, and "body" is riddled with multiple cancers [you may wish to click on the link over the picture immediately beneath my signature, below]. While intellectual independence is to be commended and encouraged, it must be tempered when circumstances require a system of command and control.
5. We must constantly and openly share our lessons and learning with our counterparts. After evaluating our respective and collective successes and failures, we must cooperatively and collaboratively be innovative and proactive in finding ways to duplicate and enhance the successes, and to avoid or at least mitigate the failures.
This would all seem to be common sense. As I have said before, "sense is not common." That is precisely why someone has to write these things. I just happened to be available.
Before you run off to the bowling alley or to the corner bodega to buy a lottery ticket, please take a moment to read the article below, which was excerpted from THE NEW YORK TIMES today. It has some relevence.
I wish you all a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year, filled with learning, growth and love.
Below: Depiction of Apoptosis in a cancerous cell.
Obama Cites ‘Systemic Failure’ in U.S. Security
HONOLULU – President Obama on Tuesday blamed a “systemic failure” in the nation’s security apparatus for the attempted bombing of a passenger jet on Christmas Day and vowed to identify the problems and “deal with them immediately.”
Making his second public statement on the matter in as many days, Mr. Obama said a preliminary assessment already has made clear that there was a breakdown in the intelligence review system that did not properly identify the suspect as a dangerous extremist who should have been prevented from flying to the United States.
“A systemic failure has occurred and I consider that totally unacceptable,” Mr. Obama told reporters here in Hawaii, where is in the middle of a 10-day holiday vacation. The president said he has ordered government agencies to report back to him on Thursday about what happened and said he would “insist on accountability at every level,” although he did not elaborate.
The president’s blunt words came just two days after his secretary of homeland security, Janet Napolitano, drew criticism for saying that “the system worked” after Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab tried to ignite explosive chemicals aboard a Northwest Airlines flight approaching Detroit. Ms. Napolitano quickly recalibrated her statement to make clear she meant that the system worked in its response to the incident after it occurred. But Mr. Obama’s sharp assessment Tuesday sent a signal that he was not satisfied by the government’s performance.
Mr. Obama made no reference to Ms. Napolitano’s statement and took no questions. He made sure to praise the professionalism of the nation’s intelligence, counterterrorism and law enforcement officials. But he spared little in his withering judgment of what he called a “mix of human and systemic failures” that did not catch Mr. Abdulmutallab.
The president suggested that he would overhaul the nation’s watch-list system. “We’ve achieved much since 9/11 in terms of collecting information that relates to terrorists and potential terrorist attacks,” he said. “But it’s becoming clear that the system that has been in place for years now is not sufficiently up to date to take full advantage of the information we collect and the knowledge we have.”
Mr. Abdulmutallab, a 23-year-old Nigerian who claims links to a branch of Al Qaeda, came to the attention of American authorities when his father went to the embassy last month to report that his son had become radicalized. The father, a respected retired banker, did not say his son planned to attack Americans but sought help locating him and bringing him home, according to American officials.
The embassy sent a cable to Washington that resulted in Mr. Abdulmutallab’s name being entered in a broad database of 550,000 people with possible ties to terrorism. But he was not put on the much smaller no-fly list of 4,000 people, or a list of 14,000 people who require additional screening before flying, nor was his multiple-entry visa to the United States revoked.
“It now appears that weeks ago this information was passed to a component of our intelligence community but was not effectively distributed so as to get the suspect’s name on a no-fly list,” Mr. Obama said of the father’s warning. “There appears to be other deficiencies as well. Even without this one report, there were bits of information available within the intelligence community that could have and should have been pieced together.”