sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Wife needs help?

Ray feared his wife Sandra wasn't hearing as well as she used to and he thought she might need a hearing aid.

Not quite sure how to approach her, he called the family Doctor to discuss the problem. 

The Doctor told him there is a simple informal test the husband could perform to give the Doctor a better idea about her hearing loss. 

'Here's what you do,' said the Doctor, 'stand about 40 feet away from her, and in a normal conversational speaking tone see if she hears you.

If not, go to 30 feet, then 20 feet, and so on until you get a response.' 

That evening, the wife is in the kitchen cooking dinner, and he was In the den. He says to himself, 'I'm about 40 feet away, let's see what happens.'

Then in a normal tone he asks, 'Honey, what's for dinner?' 

No response. 

So the husband moves closer to the kitchen, about 30 feet from his wife and repeats, 'Sandra, what's for dinner?' 

Still no response. 

Next he moves into the dining room where he is about 20 feet from his Wife and asks, 'Honey, what's for dinner?' 

Again he gets no response. 

So, he walks up to the kitchen door, about 10 feet away. 'Honey, what's for dinner?' 

Again there is no response.. 

So he walks right up behind her. 'Sandra, what's for dinner?' 

'Damit, Ray , for the FIFTH time, CHICKEN!'


Is a Smaller Intelligence Community a Good Idea?

The US Intelligence Community has grown to the extent that it is too large to be managed effectively.

Yes, it's true that intelligence agencies are too secretive, too leaky, they over collect, they underperform, they compete against each other and hide information from each other -- and far too often the enemy is a rival agency, not America's enemies.

There are more people at CIA Headquarters now than there were when the US defeated the Soviet Union in the Cold War. While it can be argued that a multi-polar world, the collection and analysis problem has become more complex -- most analysts feel that they get in each other's way because of the number of people assigned to the same task.

Redundant collection is not a bad thing in and of itself because it tends to self-verify. However at present, the machine over burdens itself. The bloated bureaucracy slows everything down and makes even mundane tasks complex. 

See Dr. Bridget R. Nolan PhD - for an examination of An Ethnographic Study of the National Counterterrorism Center" http://media.philly.com/documents/Nolan_Dissertation.PDF Overall, Nolan presents a frank account of life in an intelligence agency of a sort that is otherwise mostly unavailable to the public. She identifies obstacles to the prescribed practice of information sharing, and presents a persuasive critique of the NCTC mission statement. She proposes practical steps -- beyond a possible reduction in the size of the IC -- for improving performance as well as quality of life in the intelligence community.
For example, she reports that ordinary conversations between NCTC analysts often involve a kind of competitive one-upsmanship, "in which intelligence officers 'out-correct' and 'out-logic' each other in the course of routine conversation to the point where any increased accuracy in what has been said no longer seems meaningful."
There are five million cleared people in the US. Each one needs to be reviewed and updated every five to ten years. If the security cleared population were around one million instead of five million, then it would be far more manageable, more effective, and less expensive than it is. But that opinion is not mirrored in government studies, which show that the intelligence community is not nearly big enough. http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR114.html It's so bad in many situations that a person is not even allowed to look at a publication that they authored because it was slipped into a secrecy (SCI) compartment that they didn't have access to.

The odd spin-off of this is that CIA and FBI have become closer because they have a mutual hatred for NCTC. Both the FBI and the CIA have their own counterterrorism centers and they don't share liberally with the national clearing house. 


Nobody will read this blog and say, "there you go - that's the answer."

h/t FAS.org