Last updated: April 27, 2010 - 8:34am
PowerPoint has crept into the daily lives of military commanders and reached the level of near obsession. The amount of time expended on PowerPoint, the Microsoft presentation program of computer-generated charts, graphs and bullet points, has made it a running joke in the Pentagon and in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"PowerPoint makes us stupid," Gen. James N. Mattis of the Marine Corps, the Joint Forces commander, said this month at a military conference in North Carolina. (He spoke without PowerPoint.) Brig. Gen. H. R. McMaster, who banned PowerPoint presentations when he led the successful effort to secure the northern Iraqi city of Tal Afar in 2005, followed up at the same conference by likening PowerPoint to an internal threat. "It's dangerous because it can create the illusion of understanding and the illusion of control," General McMaster said in a telephone interview afterward. "Some problems in the world are not bullet-izable." In General McMaster's view, PowerPoint's worst offense is rigid lists of bullet points (in, say, a presentation on a conflict's causes) that take no account of interconnected political, economic and ethnic forces. "If you divorce war from all of that, it becomes a targeting exercise," General McMaster said.
- Today's Quote 04.27.10
- Mind Over Mass Media
- Afghanistan, Racism Lead the Blogs
- Caution lights for the military's 'information war'
- US military turns to Twitter for Afghan hard news
- The McChrystal Bombshell
- Humvees, UAVs could create route to Internet in Afghanistan
- US general says his forces carried out cyberattacks on opponents in Afghanistan
- President Obama: Don't Just Scold the Media, Fix It!
- Afghan War Tops the News, Edging out Oil Spill
- The Politico Opens the Kimono. And then Pretends it Never Happened.
- Networks Still Hosting Military Analysts Without Identifying Massive Conflicts Of Interest
- Police Contain Afghan Rage Over Film, as Protests Spread Elsewhere
- Pentagon's Cyber Command seeks authority to expand its battlefield
- Cyberwar Nominee Sees Gaps in Law