Army Times, By Andrew Tilghman – Staff writer
Posted : Thursday Sep 9, 2010 8:29:12 EDT
Army Reserve Col. Lawrence Sellin has no regrets about publishing a rant about the military’s overreliance on PowerPoint presentations — despite the fact it got him fired from his job at joint command headquarters in Afghanistan.
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Sellin said his controversial article was the last of several efforts to find something meaningful to do at ISAF headquarters.
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Sellin’s screed highlights a long-simmering controversy inside the military bureaucracy.
Marine Gen. James Mattis, currently chief of U.S. Central Command, told a military conference earlier this year that “PowerPoint makes us stupid.”
And Army Brig. Gen. H.R. McMaster banned PowerPoint presentations as a brigade commander during his successful efforts to secure the northern Iraqi city of Tal Afar in 2005.
Sellin said his complaint is not solely about PowerPoint, the presentation software created in 1987.
“I don’t hate PowerPoint. It’s a useful tool,” he said. “But it can be a crutch as a substitute for thinking. It’s too easy to produce a lot of slides and create volume, not quality. You really think that with a lot of detailed slides that you’re making progress, when you are actually not.”
Phi Beta Iota: This is not about PowerPoint. This is about the integrity of intellect, institutions, and the role they are supposed to play in mission accomplishment, i.e. are they doing the right things righter, or not? This also raises the question of why multinational partners are allowing the US to play theater with their highly-trained officers as role actors.