I'm spending the next couple of days at Fort Monroe, VA, attending (and addressing) a session run by the Center for Army Lessons Learned on knowledge technology. The US Military has as much information, and more computers, and as many networks, as any other organization in the world. I think they think they're not getting enough mileage out of what they have; I'm inclined to cut them some slack because of the sheer scale of the problems they're addressing. I do think, though, that problems of this scale aren't going to be addressed properly without better user interfaces, which is why I'm visiting.

For those who aren't Americans, or those Americans who haven't worked much with the Defense Department, it's a unique and somewhat puzzling experience. An organization this large naturally develops its own culture and lingo and way of doing things, and there's just no easy way to figure out what these people are talking about without spending a lot of time listening.

I have occasionally been horrified at what the US chooses to do with its military, and in a better world we wouldn't need to have one, but on the other hand there's nobody here who's in it for the money, and I can certainly respect that.

If I were going to change one thing, I'd make them use fewer acronyms, and hand anyone who tried to put more than 30 words or 3 graphics on a Powerpoint slide over to the iron wheels of military justice.


author · Dad · software · colophon · rights
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February 18, 2003
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