View Full Version : Does defence gobbledygook conceal a lack of thought and competence?

Rising Sun*
04-03-2010, 08:37 AM
Bean counters and bureaucrats have worked out what they think is a better way of supplying food to Australian Navy ships, expressed thus:

The Frigate HMAS Newcastle has been the guinea pig for the proposed changes, conducting what Defence calls a "revalidation of the recommended scales of issue of victuals that contribute to the formulation of a ship's menu". (My bold) http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/national/bean-counters-put-navy-in-a-stew/story-e6frea8c-1225849050284

Which the newspaper article reporting this cosmic flash of logistical brilliance summarises as:

In other words, each ship will be supplied with the same food.

Which might be an accurate summary, but I don't know because I'm buggered if I can understand the original statement.

Why do we tolerate such incomprehensible bullshit from such morons, and how did we allow them to take control of public and private corporations where they wallow in such meaningless gobbledygook as, worse, the basis for expenditure of public and shareholders' dollars?

How can people who produce such idiotic statements about things as simple as supplying food to ships be competent or trusted to administer the sinews of war and to administer the defence of a nation when they can't even express themselves or their thoughts in anything approximating clear language or logical thought?

Or would they be part of the same bureaucratic, financial and genetic disasters which are responsible in each generation for coming up with brilliant ideas for the latest super weapon which invariably is not delivered on time or on budget, and which may not work, but which sucks squillions out of the public tit upon which these inarticulate leeches feast?

It is beyond imagination what these zombies would say if confronted with a complex problem, let alone something as overwhelmingly grim as Britain's position when Churchill took power in May 1940 when he stated Britain's direction for the future of a massive conflict in few clear sentences.

I say to the House as I said to ministers who have joined this government, I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat. We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many months of struggle and suffering.

You ask, what is our policy? I say it is to wage war by land, sea, and air. War with all our might and with all the strength God has given us, and to wage war against a monstrous tyranny never surpassed in the dark and lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy.

You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word. It is victory. Victory at all costs - Victory in spite of all terrors - Victory, however long and hard the road may be, for without victory there is no survival.

Instead, we're being suffocated by gobbledygook from all levels of government and business: http://www.weaselwords.com.au/index3.htm

What happened to the basic military requirement of writing a clear and concise appreciation of the situation?

Who knows? Even attempts within the Australian Army to revive clear and simple writing have failed.

The Australian Army Journal itself has been something of a revolution for the ADF. Ten years ago Australia's professional military journal seemed like little more than a clearing house for articles begrudgingly written by senior officers as part of their checklist for promotion. Coinciding with both the appointment of Peter Leahy as Chief of Army and with the increase in operational tempo of the Australian Army, the Australian Army Journal was revived in 2003 with a mandate to develop professional military debate.

Writing in the most recent edition, Lieutenant Colonel Richard King looks at critical underlying factors in the way Army officers think, speak, and more importantly write. He concludes that problems in Army's thinking culture 'result in officers expressing forceful, persuasive, but dull opinions and ideas that are given greater credibility than they deserve'.

To prove his point, King uses the Flesch-Kincaid method of determining ease of reading and applies it to Army documents that explain the recent Adaptive Army initiative, which plans to make Australia's army 'the best small Army in the world', according to the current Chief of Army. The Flesch-Kincaid method analyses a document and provides a score that indicates ease of readability. Flesch-Kincaid also identifies how many years of education would be required to understand what is being read.

The Adaptive Army documents fail on both counts, requiring the reader to possess between 4 and 7 years of university education just to understand what they are reading. This is problematic for a document that aims to drive cultural change in an organisation with an average education level at the Year 10 mark. For anyone who has ever read current Australian military publications the news that they are dense and incomprehensible will come as no surprise.