In 1986 I was staffed as part of a team reviewing procurement protocols for the DOD, the purpose of which was to exam existing processes, chart the flow-thru matrix, controls (pricing, inventory, security, inter/intra service demands and dependencies, paper-trail etc) and controls-enforcement. The purpose of the assignment was to deliver on a request by the then Office of the Secretary who in response to the (then) Administrations “top-down-bottom-up review” of military expenditures was looking to streamline the process and “cut the fat.” In essence we were hired to perform an analytical review and reporting on any/all confiscatory practices, processes, systemic bottle-necks, abuses and other bureaucratic excesses the elimination of which would promote efficiencies; I would later, over a period of years and Administrations, work on similar (type) reviews of several other government agencies with the same or similar priorities in mind.
The result of our review, initially clinically revealing and enlightening, however what I would later discover thru subsequent follow-up and later reviews was that the dysfunction we expected to be an exclusive resident of the DOD, we initially believed to be an extension of Military chain of command routines, was not merely an isolated event but actually an endemic condition of government; Federal, State and Local. The following is an abbreviated summary of conditions/attributes and conclusions the Report identified:
- Bureaucracies are always submissive to a senior Political Ideology.
- Bureaucracies act first to preserve the controlling Political Ideal and then to the preservation of the bureaucratic structure within which it operates.
- Overtime Bureaucracies often mature beyond that of mere servants to/of the political ideals/order and as being integral to the general belief that they are servants to the public interest instead developing distinct policies and protocols that are resistant to if not outright counter to government, political, ideological, policy or even legislated authorities (established law.) We discovered that even within, and there are many that operate as distinctly autonomous government agencies, a large government agency (e.g., the DOD) there existed well established bureaucratic-based allegiances that have become imbedded within the agency substrate so much so that their tenure is now cross-generational and are now fully integrated to and within this system of co-dependency. This condition is now referred to as the “Deep State.”
- Bureaucracies are never or are the naturally able to be responsive to or in any way able to be orientated to efficiency protocols whether in terms of their actionable policy directives or in fiscal terms and this directly related to the overriding influences of both Political Ideologies and Self-preservation routines mentioned previously.
- Bureaucracies left to the inertial force of their native tendencies/temptations will, when presented with a results-oriented challenge (a performance demand) or function, tend toward adapting (altering) the challenge or function specified to a form accommodative of the Bureaucracies Systemic Defects; directives/strategies designed for adapting or streamlining the Bureaucracy’s Systems for the purpose of meeting the demands of the specific challenges/functions will routinely be viewed as a direct and ominous threat to its survival and it will act in a predictable manner.
For these and many other reasons the Public should never become intoxicated with the illusion that licenses government co-dependency. Looking back I’m also reminded of one other troubling condition: That even after a nine year period during which, as I recall, I had also worked on the review of an additional eight separate government departments, independent agencies or government owned corporations and discovered that no single agency/department bothered to implement any of the truly significant recommendations offered in these reviews. In two instances I specifically recall seeing the sealed envelope (containing the Agency Directors copy of our Report) still sitting in the exact same locations they were placed the day they were delivered. The only danger greater than co-dependency is to believe that this type of congenital dysfunction can be fixed by throwing more money at it; all it does is reinforce the errant behavior.
Now then, I’ve presented the above to provide foundational support for what I intend to be a valuable tool for orientating your thoughts about the following: Given the contra-inertial force native to the government organism I am amazed at how effective the Trump Administration has been at blasting thru the entrails of government and to strategically move thru the obstacles native to these various organism of government most specifically to native congestion common to both the FDA and the CDC. Trump quickly recognized, in late January, that there was a rapidly developing problem and when the CDC was sill holding to the backward belief that continued traffic from Wuhan (China) would aid in studying/tracking the virus, Trump countered their actions and by February 2nd when he shut down travel from China.
Now, to grasp the significance of this one single act consider what is happening in Italy, a nation of 60 Million (one sixth the size of the U.S.). Italy’s greatest concentration of infections/deaths is occurring in the northern part of the country by no coincidence the very location of Italy’s greatest concentration of industry a good portion of which (labor intensive) is owned by the Chinese. What you may also not know is that the Chinese rotate large slave-labor pools in and out of Italy which, unfortunately, have originated from the most infected areas of China. No, the Chinese don’t hire Italians to work the factories they now control, the Chinese openly traffic slave-labor in and out of Italy and by the time the Italian Government brought the air-trafficking of the virus to an end it was too late. Trumps quick thinking/actions, despite the preferences of the CDC and the warped pathogen of political hubris, is precisely why the problem, in the U.S., isn’t far worse.
Trump is, fortunately, smart enough to know that sound leadership doesn’t require an all-knowing mindset in fact that ego-centric temptation is a critical impediment to effective crisis management. The willingness to suspend the ego in favor of surrounding oneself with informed talent and accurate/up to date information allows the Individual at the helm to keep one eye on an over-the-horizon goal. People who are self-reliant as to outcome develop a intimate relationship with cause and effect and the need for surgically-precise-as-possible forms of decisive and informed targeting; once a human becomes detached from these critical relationships they loose the tactile intellect required to be both reliable and reliably self-reliant. Think of it this way: Who does government have to compete with to earn your patronage? How accountable does a Politician have to be to its constituency when the focus of their efforts is directed to outcomes that advantage interests that never need vote for them? How truly reliable and reliably self-reliant does Boeing have to be to the higher cause of the paying public when all that all it needs to do is maintain its position in the bloated trough that is the Military supply-chain?
The processes required to deal with the Wu-V infestation will need to continue cycling thru various evolution of trial and refocus and then trial and refocus again and again until a treatment (cure) and vaccine are perfected. Hopefully, while at the same time, the organic propagation of the virus fatigues to the point where its ability to multiply is defeated by our combined efforts. In the meantime, it is so good to see the American Public actively engaged in the expressing of a Common Ideal, it’s welcome display of wonderful character-trait that seemed to have been forgotten; let’s keep it up.
Blessing to one and all and may these challenges be a tool for drawing each of us to a deeper awareness of the Infinite Love that binds each of us to one another and that this brilliant and omniscient light is within and about you, always. Be cautious of your exposures and do make it your purpose to be part of the cure and not the crisis.
Curtis C. Greco, Founder