you cut my estimate by 25% and I still have to win? (Uh Oh.)

Bad outexecuting Chaos_to_structure


“Don’t tell me what you value, show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value.”



Joe Biden






I file this somewhere in the absurd logic file <which is a really big fat file somewhere in the government fling cabinets>.


The Pentagon estimated they needed a certain amount of soldiers to achieve their objective. Sounds fair <not so fast my friends>.


The government says … “well, no can do … we are gonna cut it … don’t worry … just by 25% … now go and win this sucker for America and freedom.”





In general this is crazy.



I hope the Pentagon padded their estimate a little. What I mean is … I hope they asked for 40,000 soldiers knowing they only needed 30,000 to reach the objective.


In my world, if I had to cut 25 percent off my original estimate I am in one of two places:


1. Yeah. I can do the job but I have absolutely no margin of error. None.


2. Nope. Can’t do the job unless you change the objective.



Unfortunately for the Pentagon we know the objective has remained the same.



Oh. (by the way)


And win in 18 months (and unsaid. “oh, and by the way, win in 18 months but I really want all of the 30,000 to come back ok?”).


<note to everyone: there are days I bet the shooting range underneath the Pentagon is chockfull of more stars than you can imagine shooting out some major (or general) frustration.>



Oh yeah, I almost forgot … as the generals were heading out the door … one of the government goons called out … “Hey guys. While you’re driving around that hospitable tourist trap called Afghanistan make sure you don’t shoot, or kill with any weapon we may have, any civilians.”


Here is a truth.


The box the military has been put in would make a private company put in the same situation say:


“Well, that request is unreasonable and I not only won’t do it but … well … I frankly can’t do it”.


But that’s right. These are our guys (and gals)


Our military has done some pretty impossible things before.


“The difficult we do immediately. The impossible take a little longer.”

US Army

(actually not originally their quote)


I am not ex-military but I know Marines. I know National Guard who went overseas.

I admit it. I love these guys. I cannot imagine a better group of people fighting in the name of our country. The people in the Pentagon would amaze you with not only their smarts (the military academies are no University of Vermont – apology to my Catamount friends – but … you get the point.) And their ability using common sense to distill things down is amazing.

So they are smart and have good common sense. Nice mix.


Ladies and gentlemen … I started this little rant not to support the military (but I am okay with that) but rather they told everyone they needed 40,000 soldiers obama military stand up for the uniform politicsto do a job and the non-military said “sorry, you can only have 30,000 to do the job.”


We are once again asking them to do the impossible. And you know what? I bet they either do it or come close.

Or they will do their damndest to do it.


So let’s all try to keep this in mind over the next 18 months or so and keep things in perspective.



It is a fact … I would have walked away from the job if it had been my company. The Pentagon doesn’t have that choice. And, you know, they may actually figure it out. I am rooting for them.

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Written by Bruce