Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Army Skeptics Corps

"In the wake of chaos and a lethal insurgency in Iraq, blamed in no small part on poor decisions and a lack of planning at the highest levels, the U.S. Army has had a startling insight that is upending conventional thinking about how the military works. That epiphany is that the force needs fewer yes men. ... 'What we're really doing is producing an in-house skeptic, and that creates instant antibodies,' says Greg Fontenot, the program director. ... The program at Fort Leavenworth's University of Foreign Military and Cultural Studies is more commonly known as Red Team University. ... The Red Teamers' job is decidedly less sneaky but often equally unsettling. It involves questioning prevailing assumptions to avoid 'getting sucked into that groupthink,' says Fontenot. ... To prepare Red Teamers, the program's curriculum calls for about 220 pages of reading a night. ... 'We want them to understand that their view of the world is very narrow,' says Bob Topping, who develops the curriculum at the university. ... Indeed, Red teamers are generally taught to raise issues, then drop them. If they are too hard-charging in their role, says Fontenot, 'a Red Team can also make it impossible for a decision to be made--the question is how do you accomplish the mission without bringing the organization to a halt,'" my emphasis, US News & World Report, 26 May 2008.

This looks like a joke. The Bush adminstration military wants no skeptics. 220 pages, a cakewalk. Any skeptics would have been swept away with the Iraq invasion. How serious can Red Team University be? I wasn't asked to teach. The curriculum includes: Carl von Clausewitz, and a case study on McArthur's decision not to topple Hirohito. I'm familiar with both. Another possible instructor, if he's interested: Mencius Moldbug. Not gonna happen.

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