Kristan Wheaton is the author of The Warning Solution: Intelligent Analysis in the Age of Information Overload (Falls Church, VA: AFCEA International Press, 2001) and is currently busy working on his next book, Failed States: How to Predict Them, How to Prevent Them. He is also a Foreign Area Officer for the US Army who served as an attaché in the Office of the Legal Counselor, US Embassy, The Hague, where he works with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia on war crimes issues. He has served as the Chief of the Office of Defense Cooperation at the US Embassy in Zagreb, Croatia, as the Chief of European Analysis in the Intelligence Directorate of the US European Command, as a US Defense Liaison Officer to the Republic of Macedonia and as a Special Assistant for Intelligence to the Commander of Multinational Division North in Bosnia. His recent publications include ‘Combat by Tria’ in Proceedings, (September 2001), and ‘Evolution, Ethnicity and Propaganda: Why Negotiating with the Innocent Makes Sense’ in Evolutionary Theory and Ethnic Conflict (August 2001). Click on the photograph to reach his current biographic page at Mercyhurst College.
Kristan Wheaton, the Army field grade officer who predicted the Balkan meltdown years in advance but could not get command attention (he subsequently wrote a book,The Warning Solution : Intelligent Analysis in the Age of Information Overload that needs to be updated and reprinted. The bottom line: policymakers are dealing with $50 billion problems “right now” and the intellgence profession has not matured to the point that it can compell attention to $1 billion “peaceful preventive measures” as General Al Gray, USMC, called them in his article, “Global Intelligence Challenges in the 1990’s,” American Intelligence Journal (winter 1989-1990).
The OTHER big problem that the U.S. Government has, apart from the corruption of Congress and the two-party political systems that services special intersts at the expense of the public interest, is the casual acceptance by the U.S. Government of authoritarian regimes. Indeed, of 44 dictatorships on the planet, all but two (North Korea and Cuba) are “best pals” with the U.S. Government because they all support rendition and torture and being “tough on terrorism” in return for liberal unaccountable funds from the U.S. taxpayer.
Achieving a prosperous world at peace demands and end to the concentration of wealth by illicit means. That in turn demands an end to dictatorial governments and a restoration of the rights of indigenous peoples. It is in that context that this paper matters.
5.0 out of 5 stars Solving Major Problems Early for 1/50th of the Cost
July 4, 2001
I first heard Kris Wheaton lecture in Europe, and was just blown away by the deep understanding that he demonstrated of why commanders and CEOs are constantly missing the warnings their subordinates and forward scouts are sending back–the huge cost! Kosovo, for example, could have been a $1 billion a year problem if acted upon wisely and early, instead it became a $5 billion a year problem. I like this book very much because it makes his deep insights available to everybody in a very readable, well-illustrated, and concise book.
I strongly recommend this book because it offers the only thoughtful explanation I have ever seen on the conflict between the senior decision-maker’s attention span (can only think about $50 billion problems) and the early warning that *is* available but cannot break through to the always over-burdened, sometimes arrogant, and rarely strategic top boss. In this regard, his book is a fine complement to the more historical work by Willard Matthias on “America’s Strategic Blunders.”
This book also offers solutions. It is a book that should be required reading for all field grade officers in all military services, as well as state and local governors and majors, university and hospital and other non-profit heads, and of course the captains of industry who spend billions, often unwisely, because they have not established a scouting system that can be heard at the highest levels *in time*. America, among many other nations and organizations, has a habit of ignoring its iconoclasts and mavericks–in an increasingly complex world where catastrophic combinations of failure are going to be more common, such ignorance will eventually become unaffordable and threatening to the national security as well as the national prosperity of those who persist in thinking about old problems in old ways.
There is one other aspect of this book that merits strong emphasis: it focuses on human understanding and human engagement with the world, and makes it clear that technology has almost nothing to do with how well we cope with the external environment that defines our future. There aren’t five people in the US government, to take one example, that adequately understand the rich intellectual history of Islam nor the core difference between the Islamic emphasis on knowledge integration as the core value and the Christian emphasis on love as the core value. The author of this book is one of America’s foremost authorities on the Balkan conflict and the deep importance of historical and cultural understanding as part of current political and operational competency–we need 1000 more intelligence professionals just like him. This book will inspire and provoke and is a great value for anyone who deals with the world at large.