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Hi!! My name is Sisyphus… the Planner!
These are my minions...err, fellow planners...
Top Ten Reason Why I Became a Planner:
- Everyone needs a new concept of Hell.
- I figured a gun to the head was too painless.
- Economics graduates need to work for someone.
- I could easily justify getting fired.
- I volunteered for a sleep deprivation experiment.
- I don't need a social/family life anyway.
- I wanted to leave the world more complicated than I found it.
- I couldn't get into the plumber's union.
- I always had a burning desire to be "doctrinally correct."
- Masochism, masochism, masochism...
Tips For Bosses of Military Planners
Never give me work in the morning. Always wait until 1800 hours and then bring it to me. The challenge of a deadline is refreshing.
If it's really a "rush job," run in and interrupt me every 10 minutes inquire how it's going. That helps. Or even better, hover behind me, advising me at every keystroke.
Always leave without telling anyone where you're going. It gives me a chance to be creative when someone asks where you are.
If my arms are full of papers, boxes, books, or supplies,
don't open the door for me. I need to learn to function as a paraplegic and opening doors with no arms is good training.
If you give me more than one job to do, don't tell me which is the priority. I am psychic.
Do your best to keep me late. I adore this office and really have nowhere to go or anything to do. I have no life beyond work.
If a job I do pleases you, keep it a secret. If that gets out, it could mean a promotion.
If you don't like my work, tell everyone. I like my name to be popular in conversations. I was born to be whipped.
If you have special instructions for a job, don't write them down. In fact, save them until the job is almost done. No use confusing me with useful information.
Never introduce me to the people you're with. I have no right to know anything. In the military food chain, I am plankton. When you refer to them later, my shrewd deductions will identify them.
Tell me all your little problems. No one else has any and it's nice to know someone is less fortunate. I especially like the story about having to pay so much taxes on the new Navigator.
Wait until my annual efficiency report and THEN tell me what my goals
SHOULD have been. Give me a mediocre performance rating. I'm not here for the money anyway.
Immutable Laws of Military Planners
LAW 1: No plan is ever completed on time and with the same staff that started it. It also will not do what it is supposed to do. It is highly unlikely that yours will be the first.
Corollary 1: The benefits will be smaller than initially estimated, if estimates were made at all.
Corollary 2: The course of action that is finally selected will be completed late and will not do what it is supposed to do.
Corollary 3: It will cost more but will be technically successful.
LAW 2: One advantage of fuzzy planning objectives is that they let you avoid embarrassment in estimating the corresponding costs.
LAW 3: The effort required to correct a plan that is off course increases geometrically with time.
Corollary 1: The longer you wait the harder it gets.
Corollary 2: If you wait until the plan is completed, its too late.
Corollary 3: Do it now regardless of the embarrassment.
LAW 4: The plan's mission statement you wrote and understand will be seen differently by everyone else.
Corollary 1: If you explain the mission so clearly that no one could possibly misunderstand, someone will.
Corollary 2: If you do something that you are sure will meet everyone's approval, someone will not like it.
LAW 5: Measurable benefits are real. Intangible benefits are not measurable, thus intangible benefits are not real.
LAW 6: Anyone who can work effectively on a plan part-time certainly does not have enough to do now.
Corollary 1: If a boss will not give a worker a full-time job, you shouldn't either.
Corollary 2: If a planner has a time conflict, the work given by the full-time boss will not suffer.
LAW 7: The greater the plan's complexity, the less you need a Chief of Plans to manage it.
LAW 8: A carelessly planned plan will take three times longer to complete than expected. A carefully planned plan will only take twice as long.
LAW 9: When the plan is going well, something will go wrong.
Corollary 1: When things cannot get any worse, they will.
Corollary 2: When things appear to be going better, you have overlooked something.
LAW 10: Planners detest weekly progress reporting because it so vividly manifests their lack of progress.
LAW 11: Plans progress rapidly until they are 90 percent complete. Then they remain 90 percent complete forever.
LAW 12: If project content is allowed to change freely, the rate of change will exceed the rate of progress.
LAW 13: If the subordinate units do not believe in the plan, a parallel plan will be developed. Neither plan will work very well.
LAW 14: Benefits achieved are a function of the planner's efficiency report.
LAW 15: No law is immutable.
Planner's Rule of Management
Adapted from "Dogbert's Top Secret Management Handbook"
by Scott Adams
The Boss is always right, even when he is stupid.
The physical laws of time and space were meant to be broken.
The problem is not a lack of resources, it's a lack of meetings.
When in doubt, ask for status reports.
If the Boss is talking, then he's communicating.
Low morale is caused by character flaws in the planners.
If ten people can complete a plan in ten days, then one person can complete the plan in one day.
Teamwork is when other people do your work for you.
Sickness in a planner is a manifestation of laziness.
Abuse is a form of recognition. And recognition is what every planner wants.
Indecision is the key to flexibility.
The hardness of the head is directly proportional to the rank of the individual.
You can't tell which way the train went by looking at the track.
There is absolutely no substitute for a genuine lack of preparation.
Happiness is merely the remission of pain.
Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
If its worth doing, its worth doing stupid.
Life is hard. It's harder when you're stupid.
Sometimes too much to drink is not enough.
The facts, although interesting, are irrelevant.
The careful application of terror is also a form of communication.
Someone who thinks logically is a nice contrast to the real world.
Things are more like they are today than they ever were before.
Anything worth fighting for is worth fighting dirty for.
Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no
Friends may come and go, but enemies accumulate.
I have seen the truth and it makes no sense.
Suicide is the most sincere form of self-criticism.
If you think there is good in everybody, you haven't met
All things being equal, fat people use more soap.
If you can smile when things go wrong, you have someone in
mind to blame.
One seventh of your life is spent on Monday.
Every time you make ends meet, they move the ends.
Not one shred of evidence supports the notion that life is serious.
The more you run over a dead cat, the flatter it gets.
There is always one more imbecile than you counted on.
This is as bad as it can get, but don't count on it.
Never wrestle a pig. You both get dirty and the pig likes it.
The trouble with life is, you're halfway through it before you realize it's a do-it-yourself thing.
A day without sunshine is like, night.
On the other hand, you have different fingers.
When the chips are down, the buffalo (CofS) is empty.
Those who live by the sword get shot by those who don't.
Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.
He who laughs last, thinks slowest.
The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
Support bacteria-they're the only culture some people have.
When everything's coming your way, you're in the wrong lane, going the wrong way.
Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.
For every action, there is an equal and opposite criticism.
He who hesitates is probably right.
No one is listening until you make a mistake.
Success always occurs in private and failure in full view.
The severity of the itch is inversely proportional to the ability to reach it.
To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research.
To succeed in the military, it is often necessary to rise above your principles.
You never really learn to swear until you have worked as a planner.
The sooner you fall behind, the more time you'll have to catch up.
A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
If you must choose between two evils, pick the one you've never tried before.
Plan to be spontaneous tomorrow.
Always try to be modest. And be proud of it!
If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple of suspenses.
Everybody repeat after me... "We are all individuals."
Borrow money from pessimists-they don't expect it back.
Half the people you know are below average.
99 percent of planners give the rest a bad name.
Rome did not create a great empire by having meetings, they did it by killing all those who opposed them.
If you can stay calm, while all around you is chaos... then you probably haven't completely understood the seriousness of the situation.
Doing a job RIGHT the first time gets the job done. Doing the job WRONG fourteen times gives you job security.
Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.
We put the "k" in "kwality."
Artificial Intelligence is no match for Natural Stupidity
A person who smiles in the face of adversity... probably has a scapegoat.
Plagiarism saves time.
If at first you don't succeed, try management.
Never put off until tomorrow what you can avoid altogether.
TEAMWORK... means never having to take all the blame yourself.
The beatings will continue until morale improves.
Never underestimate the power of very stupid people in large groups.
We waste time, so you don't have to.
Hang in there, retirement is only ten years away!
Go the extra mile. It makes your boss look like an incompetent slacker.
A snooze button is a poor substitute for no alarm clock at all.
When the going gets tough, the tough take a coffee break.
INDECISION is the key to FLEXIBILITY.
We succeed in spite of management.
Aim Low, Reach Your Goals, Avoid Disappointment.
We waste more time by 0800 than other companies do all day.
You pretend to work, and we'll pretend to pay you.
Work: It isn't just for sleeping anymore.
I can please only one person per day. Today is not your day. Tomorrow isn't looking good either.
I love deadlines. I especially like the whooshing sound they make as they go flying by.
Am I getting smart with you? How would you know?
I'd explain it to you, but your brain would explode.
Someday we'll look back on all this and plow into a parked car.
There are very few personal problems that cannot be solved through a suitable application of high explosives.
Tell me what you need, and I'll tell you how to get along without it.
Accept that some days you're the pigeon, and some days you're the statue.
Needing someone is like needing a parachute. If he isn't there the first time you need him, chances are you won't be needing him again.
I don't have an attitude problem. You have a perception problem.
Last night I lay in bed looking up at the stars in the sky and I thought to myself, "Where the heck is the ceiling?!"
My Reality Check bounced.
On the keyboard of life, always keep one finger on the escape key.
I don't suffer from stress. I'm a carrier.
You're slower than a herd of turtles stampeding through peanut butter.
Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, 'cuz, like, you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.
Everybody is somebody else's weirdo.
Never argue with idiots. They drag you down to their level then beat you with experience.
I have the power to channel my imagination into ever-soaring levels of suspicion and paranoia.
I assume full responsibility for my actions, except the ones that are someone else's fault.
I no longer need to punish, deceive, or compromise myself. Unless, of course, I want to stay employed.
In some cultures what I do would be considered normal.
Having control over myself is nearly as good as having control over others.
My intuition nearly makes up for my lack of good judgment.
I can change any thought that hurts into a reality that hurts even more.
I honor my personality flaws, for without them I would have no personality at all.
I am grateful that I am not as judgmental as all those censorious, self-righteous people around me.
I need not suffer in silence while I can still moan, whimper, and complain.
As I learn the innermost secrets of the people around me, they reward me in many ways to keep me quiet.
When someone hurts me, forgiveness is cheaper than a lawsuit. But not nearly as gratifying.
As I learn to trust the universe, I no longer need to carry a gun.
Blessed are the flexible, for they can tie themselves into knots.
Only a lack of imagination saves me from immobilizing myself with imaginary fears.
Does my quiet self-pity get to you or should I move up to incessant nagging?
Today I will gladly share my experience and advice, for there are no sweeter words than "I told you so."
False hope is nicer than no hope at all.
A good scapegoat is nearly as welcome as a solution to the problem.
Who can I blame for my own problems? Give me just a minute... I'll find someone.
Why should I waste my time reliving the past when I can spend it worrying about the future?
The complete lack of evidence is the surest sign that the conspiracy is working.
I am learning that criticism is not nearly as effective as sabotage.
Becoming aware of my character defects leads me to the next step~blaming my parents.
I will find humor in my everyday life by looking for people I can laugh at.
I am willing to make the mistakes if someone else is willing to learn from them.
Everybody lies, but it doesn't matter since nobody
Virtue is its own punishment.
In any organization, there will always be one person who
knows what is going on. This person should be fired.
A closed mouth gathers no feet.
When the going gets tough, everyone leaves.
The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that, you've got it made.
Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.
Anything is possible if you don't know what you're talking about.
It is easier to get forgiveness than permission.
History doesn't repeat itself, historians merely repeat each other.
No matter where you go, there you are.
For every action, there is an equal and opposite criticism.
If you're going nowhere, you can't get lost.
If you find something you like, buy a lifetime supply, because they will stop making it.
This is as bad as it can get... but don't bet on it.
It's hard to be nostalgic when you can't remember anything good.
Do unto others.
It is easier to fix the blame than to fix the problem.
Information deteriorates upward.
Experience is what you get just after you need it.
For any given large, complex, hard-to-understand, expensive problem, there exists at least one short, simple, easy, cheap answer.
Anything that can be changed will be, until time runs out.
There's never enough time to do it right, but there's always enough time to do it over.
I cannot give you the formula for success...but I can give you the formula for failure: Try to please everybody.
This isn't an office. It's Hell with fluorescent lighting.
I started out with nothing & still have most of it left.
Sarcasm is just one more service we offer.
Does your train of thought have a caboose?
And your crybaby whiny-assed opinion would be...?
Do I look like a damn people person?
Okay, okay, I take it back! UnF*ck you!
Did the aliens forget to remove your anal probe?
Errors have been made. Others will be blamed.
A cubicle is just a padded cell without a door.
Stress is when you wake up screaming & you realize you haven't fallen asleep yet.
Can I trade this job for what's behind door #1?
I thought I wanted a career, turns out I just wanted paychecks.
Macho Law prohibits me from admitting I'm wrong.
Chaos, panic, & disorder - my work here is done.
How do I set a laser printer to stun?
Do not worry about the bullet with your name on it. Worry about shrapnel addressed to "Occupant."
When the pin is pulled, Mr. Grenade is not our friend.
Cluster bombing from B-52s is very, very accurate. The bombs are guaranteed to always hit the ground.
If the enemy is in range, so are you.
A slipping gear could let your M203 grenade launcher fire when you least expect it. That would make you quite unpopular in what's left of your unit.
It is generally inadvisable to eject directly over the area you just bombed.
Try to look unimportant; they may be low on ammo.
Tracers work both ways.
Five-second fuses only last three seconds.
Bravery is being the only one who knows you're afraid.
If your attack is going too well, you're probably walking into an ambush.
No combat-ready unit has ever passed inspection.
Any ship can be a minesweeper ... once.
Never tell the Platoon Sergeant you have nothing to do.
Don't draw fire; it irritates the people around you.
If you see a bomb technician running, try to keep up with him.
42.7 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot.
More Planner Truisms
It takes one woman nine months to have a baby. It cannot be done in one month by impregnating nine women (although it is more fun trying).
The same work under the same conditions will be estimated differently by ten different estimators or by one estimator at ten different times.
Any project can be estimated accurately once it's completed.
The most valuable and least used WORD in a planner's vocabulary is "NO".
The most valuable and least used PHRASE in a planner's vocabulary is "I don't know".
Nothing is impossible for the person who doesn't have to do it.
You can con a sucker into committing to an impossible deadline, but you cannot con him into meeting it.
At the heart of every large plan is a small plan trying to get out.
If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything.
The more desperate the situation the more optimistic the planner.
If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck.
Too few people on a project can't solve the problems - too many create more problems than they solve.
A problem shared is a buck passed.
A change freeze is like the abominable snowman: it is a myth and would anyway melt when heat is applied.
The Chief of Staff will tell you anything you ask about, but nothing more.
The Chief of Staff is somebody who tells you what they want the day you give them what they asked for.
Of several possible interpretations of a communication, the least convenient is the correct one.
What you don't know hurts you.
The conditions attached to a promise are forgotten, only the promise is remembered.
There's never enough time to do it right first time but there's always enough time to go back and do it again.
The bitterness of poor quality last long after the sweetness of making a date is forgotten.
I know that you believe that you understand what you think I said but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.
Planners do it in groups - bottom up and top down.
Good planners aren't modest: if it's huge they say so.
The sooner you begin planning the later you finish.
A verbal plan isn't worth the paper it's written on.
What is not written in the plan has not been said.
If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there.
If you fail to plan you are planning to fail.
If you don't attack the risks, the risks will attack you.
A little risk management saves a lot of fan cleaning.
The sooner you get behind schedule, the more time you have to make it up.
A badly planned project will take three times longer than expected - a well planned project only twice as long as expected.
If you can keep your head while all about you are losing theirs, you haven't understood the plan.
When all's said and done, a lot more is said than done.
If at first you don't succeed, remove all evidence you ever tried.
Feather and down are padding - changes and contingencies will be real events.
There are no good planners - only lucky ones.
The more you plan the luckier you get.
A plan is one small step for the Chief of Plans, one giant leap for the Chief of Staff.
Good plan management is not so much knowing what to do and when, as knowing what excuses to give and when.
If everything is going exactly to plan, something somewhere is going massively wrong.
Everyone asks for a strong Chief of Plans - when they get him they don't want him.
Comp time is a figment of the naive planner's imagination.
Good planners know when not to manage a plan.
All planners face problems on Monday mornings - good planners are working on next Monday's problems.
Metrics are learned men's excuses.
A planner being behind schedule is as certain as death and taxes.
If there were no problem people there'd be no need for people who solve problems.
Some plans are finished on time in spite of a planner's best practices.
Good planners admit mistakes: that's why you so rarely meet a good planner.
Fast - cheap - good: you can have any two.
There is such a thing as an unrealistic timescale.
The more ridiculous the deadline the more money will be wasted trying to meet it.
The first 90% of a project takes 90% of the time the last 10% takes the other 90%.
The plan would not have been started if the truth had been told about the requirements and timescale.
To estimate a plan, work out how long it would take one person to do it then multiply that by the number of people on the project.
Never underestimate the ability of the Chief of Staff to buy into a bad idea and fail to buy into a good idea.
The most successful planners have perfected the skill of being comfortable being uncomfortable.
You can build a reputation on what you're going to do.
When the weight of the plan paperwork equals the weight of the plan itself, the plan can be considered complete.
If it wasn't for the 'last minute', nothing would get done.
Nothing gets done till nothing gets done.
Warning: dates in the calendar are closer than you think.
There is no such thing as scope creep, only scope gallop.
Anything that can be changed will be changed until there is no time left to change anything.
If the plan content is allowed to change freely, the rate of change will exceed the rate of progress.
If you have time to do it over again, you'll never get away with doing it right the first time.
If you can interpret plan status data in several different ways, only the most painful interpretation will be correct.
A plan gets a year late one day at a time.
A plan ain't over until the fat check is cashed.
Powerful planners don't solve problems, they get rid of them.
If you're 6 months late on a milestone due next week but really believe you can make it, you're the Chief of Plans.
No plan has ever finished on time, within budget, to requirement - yours won't be the first to.
Activity is not achievement.
The first myth of plan management is that it exists.
Managing planners is like herding cats.
If you don't know how to do a task, start it, then ten people who know less than you will tell you how to do it.
A minute saved at the start is just as effective as one saved at the end.
People under pressure do not think faster.
If a plan works the first time, it is wrong.
If you don't plan, it doesn't work. If you do plan, it doesn't work either. Why plan?
Planning without action is futile, action without planning is fatal.
The person who says it will take the longest and cost the most is the only one with a clue how to do the job.
Planning is an unnatural process, doing something is much more fun.
The nice thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise rather than being preceded by a period of worry and depression.
Projects happen in two ways: a) Planned and then executed or b) Executed, stopped, planned and then executed.
It's not the hours that count, it's what you do in those hours.
Good control reveals problems early - which only means you'll have longer to worry about them.
If there is anything to do, do it!
If it can go wrong it will - Murphy's Law.
If it can't possibly go wrong, it will - O'Malley's Corollary to Murphy's Law.
It will go wrong in the worst possible way - Sod's Law.
Work expands to fill the time available for its completion - Parkinson's Law.
Finely chopped cabbage in mayonnaise - Coleslaw.
If there is a 50% chance of something going wrong, then 9 times out of 10 it will.
Furious activity does not necessarily equate to progress and is no substitute for understanding.
A two-year plan will take three years, a three year plan will never finish.
Murphy, O'Malley, Sod and Parkinson are alive and well - and working on your plan.
Tell me what you need and I'll tell you how you can get along without it.
If you are as confused as I am then you know as much as I do.
A lack of planning by you does not constitute an emergency for me.
Give me a date, I won't hold you to it.
We haven't got time to stop for directions - we're late already.
There are two types of plans - bad plans and the next update.
Successful plan management is spotting the plans that will succeed and shouting "Mine" and for the rest ducking and shouting "Yours".
The bitterness of bad quality lingers long after the sweetness of meeting the date is forgotten.
Murphy was an optimist.
Murphy always has the wind at his back.
Accept that some days you'll be the pigeon and some days you'll be the statue.
Planner's Rules for a Gunfight
Bring a gun. Preferably, bring at least two guns. Bring all of your friends who have guns.
Anything worth shooting is worth shooting twice. Ammo is cheap -- life is expensive.
Only hits count. The only thing worse than a miss is a slow miss.
If your shooting stance is good, you're probably not moving fast enough or using cover correctly.
Move away from your attacker. Distance is your friend (Lateral and diagonal movement are preferred).
If you can choose what to bring to a gunfight, bring a long gun and a friend with a long gun.
In ten years nobody will remember the details of caliber, stance, or tactics. They will only remember who lived.
If you are not shooting, you should be communicating, reloading, and running.
Accuracy is relative: most combat shooting standards will be more dependent on "pucker factor" than the inherent accuracy of the gun. Use a gun that works EVERY TIME. "All skill is in vain when an Angel blows the powder from the flintlock of your musket."
Someday someone may kill you with your own gun, but they should have to beat you to death with it because it is empty.
Always cheat, always win. The only unfair fight is the one you lose.
Have a plan.
Have a back-up plan, because the first one won't work.
Use cover or concealment as much as possible.
Flank your adversary when possible. Protect yours.
Don't drop your guard.
Always tactical load and threat scan 360 degrees.
Watch their hands. Hands kill. "In God we trust. Every one else, keep your hands where I can see them."
Decide to be aggressive ENOUGH, quickly ENOUGH.
The faster you finish the fight, the less shot you will get.
Be polite. Be professional. But, have a plan to kill everyone you meet.
Be courteous to everyone, friendly to no one.
Your number one Option for Personal Security is a lifelong commitment to avoidance, deterrence, and de-escalation.
Do not attend a gun fight with a handgun, the caliber of which does not start with anything smaller than "4."
The Seven Phases of a Plan
Search for the guilty
Punishment of the innocent
Promotion of non-participants
The Two Phases of Planning
Too early to tell.
Too late to do anything about it.
When something goes wrong, "Blame the Chief of Plans."
The answer to any question is "It depends."
When a problem arises, "Form an IPT."
When in doubt, "Do it early and do it often."
Riding a Dead Horse
Dakota tribal wisdom says that when you discover you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount. In the military planning world, however, it seems that we often try other strategies with dead horses, including the following:
Buying a stronger whip.
Saying things like "This is the way we always have ridden this horse."
Appointing a committee to study the horse.
Arranging to visit other sites to see how they ride dead horses.
Increasing the standards to ride dead horses.
Appointing a tiger team to revive the dead horse.
Creating a training session to increase our riding ability.
Comparing the state of dead horses in today's environment.
Change the requirements declaring that "This horse is not dead."
Hire contractors to ride the dead horse.
Harnessing several dead horses together for increased speed.
Declaring that "No horse is too dead to beat."
Providing additional funding to increase the horse's performance.
Do a cost analysis study to see if contractors can ride it cheaper.
Purchase a product to make dead horses run faster.
Declare the horse is "better, faster and cheaper" dead.
Form a quality circle to find uses for dead horses.
Revisit the performance requirements for horses.
Say this horse was procured with cost as an independent variable.
Promote the dead horse to a supervisory position.
My Favorite Quotes:
Note: EAP = Echelons Above Planner
"Planners are flexible." Chief of Plans
"Planners must be more than flexible. Planners must be fluid." Chief of Staff
"Fluid is way too stiff...planners must be gaseous!" Anonymous Planner
"I'd rather castrate myself than go back! (to that horrible room at Fort Leavenworth.)" Chief of Plans
"I don't know much but I know I don't want to do that! (OOTW/SASO/PKO seminar at Fort Leavenworth)" Chief of Plans
"Time flies when you don't know what you are doing!" Chief of Plans
"What the hell are they teaching at Leavenworth these days?" EAP
"I'll know what I want when I see it!" EAP
"When the bosses talk about improving productivity, they are never talking about themselves."
"A pat on the back is only a few centimeters from a kick in the butt."
"It doesn't matter what you do, it only matters what you say you've done and what you're going to do."
"Don't be irreplaceable. If you can't be replaced, you can't move on to be a S3 or XO."
"Anyone can do any amount of work provided he/she is the one who doesn't have to do it."
"The more crap you put up with, the more crap you're going to get."
"You are always doing something marginal when the boss drops by your desk."
"You can brief anything you want if you look serious and carry a laser pointer.
"Eat one live toad the first thing in the morning before going to work and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day."
"If at first you don't succeed, try again. Then quit. No use being a fool about it."
"There will always be beer cans rolling on the floor of your car when the boss asks for a ride home from the office."
"Keep your boss's boss off your boss's back."
"Everything can be filed under "miscellaneous."
"Never delay the ending of a meeting or briefing."
"OPLANs and OPORDs that contain no errors will develop errors during reproduction."
"If you are good, you will be assigned all the work. If you are really good, you will get out of it."
"People who go to conferences are the ones who shouldn't."
"If it wasn't for the last minute, nothing would get done."
"At work, the authority of a person is inversely proportional to the work that person does."
"When you don't know what to do, walk fast and look worried."
"Following the rules will not get the job done."
"Getting the job done is no excuse for not following the rules."
"When confronted by a difficult problem, you can solve it more easily be reducing it to the question, "How would the Rambo handle this?""
"No matter how much you do, you never do enough."
"The last person that quit or was fired will be held responsible for everything that goes wrong."
"Most officers have terminal cranial rectal inversion, which can be treated by the surgical installation of a small window in the naval region. In the unlikely event and NCO gets temporary cranial rectal inversion it can usually be treated with a mule and a good rope."
SGM Matt Wade
"Planners are absolutely essential but essentially unimportant."
Marine Logistics Planner
"My primary Battle Task is to Enter and Clear e-mail."
J.C., Infantry BN XO in Iraq
“There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots.”
“Some people dream of success, while other people live to crush those dreams.”
“Much work remains to be done before we can announce our total failure to make any progress.”
“None of us is as dumb as all of us.”
"It takes 43 muscles to frown and 17 to smile, but it doesn’t take any to just sit there with a stupid look on your face."
Excerpted from a brief (EUCOM)
"That was a typo. Instead of 'pot of money,' it should have read 'pot money.' It refers to money spent by OSD after smoking a joint. We have a similar fund we can tap into for financing many of our own ideas. In fact, that's how we got the name ‘Joint Staff.’"
LTC (Joint Staff) in an email
"We don’t have time to do it right the first time, but we always have time to do it again."
"The purpose of a MAJCOM is to imitate the enemy during peacetime."
MSgt Gutjahr, USAF
"Uncle Al recommends Nu Finish Soft Paste for that fine brown nose luster with minimal rubbing."
"Yeah, it was in the middle of the night, rough seas, sharky waters, cold as hell, and someone had to get out [of the boat] and clean the kelp out of the impeller. It was either me or him, so we played 'rock, paper, rank' and he lost."
Attributed to Woody, Senior Chief (E-8) USN SEAL
"You can go up the hill happy, or you can go up the hill mad, but you're going up that f*cking hill!"
Attributed to Woody, Senior Chief (E-8) USN SEAL
"You can't take a mulligan on a round of Tomahawks."
Forget who said this one, but thankfully it was during an exercise...
The following was typed out in an official chat message during an exercise:
Man in the field: "Hey, if you got rid of that [several very good expletives deleted] General XXXX, maybe we'd be able to get something done out here."
Man back at higher HQ: "Hey, Bob, you know that chat thing can be seen by everyone here, including General XXXX. Might want to tone it down a bit."
Man in the field: "Oops..."
Submitted by MAJ W, PACOM
"Which one of you would not want to do this once a month?"
Rhetorical question - good thing no one answered - made by General Officer during the middle of a ball-busting, 23 hour-day, thrash/exercise.
Submitted by MAJ W, PACOM
"Sir, will you fire me?"
Attributed to numerous O-4 planners during same exercise. The 3, of course, was asking the commander the same thing. No one was successful.
Submitted by MAJ W, PACOM
"If I get fired here, is it real or notional?"
See above quote.
"Bullshit! No one is getting any sleep until (insert laundry list of "problems" with plan here - only about 72 hours worth of work) is done."
Said by General Officer immediately prior to laying down for a 6 hour nap.
Submitted by MAJ W, PACOM
"He's the Typhoid Mary of stress."
Referring to USN O-4 who was in charge of putting said exercise together.
Submitted by MAJ W, PACOM
"Good coffee is a combat multiplier!"
MAJ W, PACOM
Said during a recent exercise where the host nation only had instant coffee to offer.
"Coffee is for closers!"
LTC C, PACOM
Also heard in same context (as above), as the supply of instant ran out, and the planners in the 3 shop claimed that they were entitled to increased coffee rations.
"I'm currently on an exercise OCONUS. However, I work in PACOM, so our exercises are not in really lousy places... think friendly women, good beer, kangaroos..."
MAJ W, PACOM
"I work in PACOM; you know, kind of like CENTCOM - lots of sand, but no one shoots at us over here."
MAJ W, PACOM
"It doesn't matter what is true ... it only matters what people believe is true."
"Just because nobody complains doesn't mean all parachutes are perfect."
"Get the facts, or the facts will get you. And when you get 'em, get 'em right, or they will get you wrong."
Chief of Staff
"I love the smell of toner in the morning… it's the smell of victory!"
It was around 1800 hours when I went back to the Plans Shop to turn-in my Annex for the upcoming exercise. Tony was just sitting down to eat dinner (microwave crap) when I noticed that he was pulling out his wallet. He then opened his wallet to the picture section and laid it out in front of him while he ate dinner. "Tony, what are you doing?" I asked. "I'm having dinner with my family." You gotta love being a Planner…
"It's not that I should succeed... it's that others should fail."
"I just pulled it out of my rectal databank."
"She has a way to go to get to butt-worthless."
J.B. (Civilian Soothsayer)
"At least have the courtesy to come up with a good lie when you lie to us!"
J.B. (Civilian, BBA)
"I am so far down the food chain that I've got plankton bites on my butt."
Chemical Officer (EUCOM)
"I work at EUCOM. I know bullsh!t when I see it."
LTC (EUCOM) in a game of office poker
"I've become the master of nodding my head and acting like I give a sh!t, and then instantly forgetting what the hell a person was saying the moment
they walk away."
Flag-level Executive A$$istant
"If we wait until the last minute to do it, it'll only take a minute."
"You're not a loser. You're just not my kind of winner..."
"I'll be right back. I have to go pound my nuts flat..."
Lt Col (EUCOM) after being assigned a difficult tasker
"Nobody ever said you had to be smart to make 0-6."
"The only reason that anything ever gets done is because there are pockets of competence in every command. The key is to find them...and then exploit the hell out of 'em."
"I finally figured out that when a Turkish officer tells you, "It's no problem," he means, for him."
"Never in the history of the US Armed Forces have so many done so much for so few..."
MAJ (Task Force Warrior) on the "success" of the Free Iraqi Forces (FIF) Training Program, where 1100 Army troops trained 77 Iraqi exiles at the cost of, well, way too much...
"Our days are spent trying to get some poor, unsuspecting third world country to pony up to spending a year in a sweltering desert, full of pissed off Arabs who would rather shave the back of their legs with a cheese grater than submit to foreign occupation by a country for whom they have nothing
LTC (JS) on the joys of coalition building
"OSD will continue to drive this cart into the ground long after the wheels have been sold on E-bay."
MAJ (JS) on the progress of FIF
"Please don't laugh. This is my job."
MAJ (EUCOM) from Protocol, explaining in great detail the approved procedures for dropping off VIPs
"I guess the next thing they'll ask for is 300 US citizens with Hungarian last names to send to Iraq..."
MAJ (JS) on the often-frustrating process of building the Iraqi coalition for Phase IV
"Mark my words, this internet thing is gonna catch on someday."
"Working with Hungary is like watching a bad comedy set on auto repeat..."
"Between us girls, would it help to clarify the issue if you knew that Hungary is land-locked?"
CDR to MAJ (EUCOM) on why a deployment from Hungary is likely to proceed by air vice sea
"We are condemned men who are chained and will row in place until we rot."
LtCol (CENTCOM) on life at his Command
"Right now we're pretty much the ham in a bad ham sandwich..."
"So, what do you wanna do?"..."I dunno, what do YOU wanna do?"..."I dunno, what do YOU wanna do?," etc.
COL (DIA) describing the way OUSD(S) develops and implements their strategies
"Let's face it: Africa sucks..."
DOS representative (Bureau of African Affairs) at a conference on Africa
"One of the secrets to maintaining my positive attitude in this job is this: I complete no tasker before its time..."
"It is nothing for US soldiers to be in the desert for a year without a woman. It is different for us, though, because we are Latin..."
LTC (LATAM country) on one of the differences between Latin American soldiers and their US counterparts
"I guess this is the wrong power cord for the computer, huh?"
LtCol (EUCOM) after the smoke cleared from plugging his 110V computer into a 220V outlet
"OK, this is too stupid for words."
"When you get right up to the line that you're not supposed to cross, the only person in front of you will be me!"
CDR (CENTCOM) on his view of the value of being politically correct in today's military
"There's nothing wrong with crossing that line a little bit, it's jumping over it buck naked that will probably get you in trouble..."
LtCol (EUCOM) responding to the above
"I may be slow, but I do poor work..."
"Great! What we really need are some more 0-5s around here..."
MAJ (EUCOM) on the release of the list of 0-5 promotables
"Don't ever be the first...don't ever be the last...and don't ever volunteer to do anything...."
CDR (EUCOM) relating an ancient Navy truism
"Hey, somebody should really do that..."
CDR (CENTCOM) on the CENTCOM tasking process
"Are you sure they aren't writing about us? Hell, at least we should jump on that wholesale desertion thing..."
Maj (CENTCOM) on the following report from a newspaper: "(The Iraqi military was crippled by)...a multitude of erratic orders and strategic miscalculations, while its fighting units barely communicated with one another and were paralyzed from a lack of direction...these woes were compounded by incompetence, poor preparation, craven leadership and (the) wholesale desertions of thousands of soldiers..."
"Cynicism is the smoke that rises from the ashes of burned out dreams."
MAJ (CENTCOM) on the daily thrashings delivered to AOs at his Command
"WE are the reason that Rumsfeld hates us..."
LTC (EUCOM) doing some standard, Army self-flagellation
"South of the Alps and East of the Adriatic, paranoia is considered mental equilibrium..."
"The chance of success in these talks is the same as the number of "R's" in "fat chance...""
"His knowledge on that topic is only power point deep..."
"We have no position on that issue. In fact, your position IS our position. Could you tell us what our position is?"
CDR (TRANSCOM) at a policy SVTC
"Ya know, in this Command, if the world were supposed to end tomorrow, it would still happen behind schedule."
CWO4 (ret) (EUCOM)
"Even if Al-Qaeda nuked this place, the Chief of Staff would approve a 4-star visitor the very next day!"
"Never pet a burning dog."
LTC (Tennessee National Guard)
"It's basically announcing to the world that I've completely given up."
LT (USN F-14 squadron) on his initial feelings behind the wheel of his brand new minivan
"A staff action is like getting an out of state check, countersigned by a fraud on a phony ID: some of the time it clears, but most of the time, you're screwed."
Lt Col (USAF)
"I need intelligence, not information."
"Ah, the joys of Paris: a unique chance to swill warm wine and be mesmerized by the dank ambrosia of unkempt armpits..."
"'Status quo,' as you know, is Latin for 'the mess we're in...'"
Attributed to former President Ronald Reagan
"We are now past the good idea cutoff point..."
MAJ (JS) on the fact that somebody always tries to "fine tune" a COA with more "good ideas"
"Who are you talking to? ...Hang up the phone!"
LTC mentoring MAJ (EUCOM) on how to stay in his own lane...
"The hardest thing about having a third child is switching from 1-on-1 to a zone defense."
"I haven't complied with a darn thing and nothing bad has happened to me yet."
"Whatever happened to good old-fashioned military leadership? Just task the first two people you see."
"The first question I ask myself when tasked to do something that's not obviously and overwhelmingly in my own best interest is, 'Exactly what happens if I don't do it?'"
"Accuracy and attention to detail take a certain amount of time."
"No need to tip our hand as to how responsive we can be."
CDR (EUCOM) in a passdown to his replacement
"I seem to be rapidly approaching the apex of my mediocre career."
"I think that my next set of orders will take me to Iraq. My career's going so badly that I'm considered a 'dead-ender.'"
Lt Col (EUCOM)
"I just realized that this War on Terror might take a little longer than we thought, so I am developing a new system of hanging charts on walls to solve our problem and win the war."
LTC (EUCOM) after a review of long range Counter Terrorism (CT) plans
"Much work remains to be done before we can announce our total failure to make any progress." "None of us is as dumb as all of us."
Excerpted from a brief (EUCOM)
"Things are looking up for us here. In fact, Papua-New Guinea is thinking of offering two platoons: one of Infantry (headhunters) and one of engineers (hut builders). They want to eat any Iraqis they kill. We've got no issues with that, but State is being anal about it."
LTC (JS) on OIF coalition-building
"It's not a lot of work unless you have to do it."
"I'm gonna have to leave work early today and probably stay home tomorrow. I'm fighting off a cold and I want to beat it before I start my leave in two days."
"Creating smoking holes gives our lives meaning and enhances our manliness."
LTC (EUCOM) at a CT conference
"Interagency is a process, not a noun."
"Eventually, we have to 'make nice' with the French, although, since I'm new in my job, I have every expectation that I'll be contradicted."
DOS rep at a Counter Terrorism Conference
"Everyone should have an equal chance, but not everyone is equal."
"You can get drunk enough to do most anything, but you have to realize going in that there are some things that, once you sober up and realize what you have done, will lead you to either grab a 12-gauge or stay drunk for the rest of your life."
"Once you accept that a dog is a dog, you can't get upset when it barks."
LtCol (USSOCOM), excerpts
"That guy just won't take 'yes' for an answer."
"Let's just call Lessons Learned what they really are: institutionalized scab picking."
"I can describe what it feels like being a Staff Officer in two words: distilled pain."
"When all else fails, simply revel in the absurdity of it all."
"Never attribute to malice that which can be ascribed to sheer stupidity."
"They also serve, who sit and surf the NIPR."
"I hear so much about Ft. Bragg. Where is it?" "It's in the western part of southeastern North Carolina."
LCDR and CPT (EUCOM)
"He who strives for the minimum rarely attains it."
"I'm tired of waiting on somebody who I know is just going to ignore me once they arrive."
LtCol (EUCOM), while waiting to start a brief for a visiting VIP
"If I'd had more time, I'da written a shorter brief..."
Derived from the writings of Mark Twain
"Vision without funding is hallucination."
"You only know as much as you don't know."
"I'm just livin' the dream..."
EUCOM staffer response to the question, "How's it going?" or, "What are you doing?"
"I'm just ranting...I have nothing useful to say."
"Why would an enemy want to bomb this place and end all the confusion?"
"How soon before we can give this guy a medal, a good OER, and send him on his way?"
GS-12 (EUCOM) referring to his boss
"Other than the fact that there's no beer, an early curfew and women that wear face coverings for a reason, Kabul is really a wonderful place to visit."
"It was seen, visually."
LTC (EUCOM) during a Reconnaissance briefing
"Let me tell you about the benefits of being on a staff..."
"This should be a short conversation."
LtCol to LtCol (EUCOM)
"If you want to take down a country, gimme a call. We'll get it done."
GO/FO (EUCOM) to a gathering of US Amba$$adors
"Hello gentlemen. Are we in today or are you just ignoring my request?"
GS-15 (DSCA) in an email to EUCOM staffers
"After seeing the way this place works, I bet that Mickey Mouse wears a EUCOM watch."
"Your Key Issues are so 2003..."
CPT (CJTF-180) in January 2004
"USCENTCOM commanders announced today that they intend to maintain their presence in Qatar "until the sun runs out of hydrogen," thus committing the US to the longest duration deployment in human history. When asked how they planned to maintain the presence in Qatar for a projected length of 4 to 5 billion years, planners said "we're working on a plan for that. We don't have one yet, but not having a plan or an intelligent reason to do something has never been much of an impediment for us in the past; we don't foresee it being a big show stopper for us in the future either."
Among the options that were being discussed was an innovative program to "interbreed" the deployed personnel. "We are going to actively encourage the military members in Qatar to intermarry and raise children that will replace them in the future. Sure, it may be a little hard on some of our female service members, since there currently are about 8 men for every woman over there, but we expect that to be OBE as the sex ratios will even out in a generation or two. In any case the key to the plan is to make these assignments not only permanent, but inheritable and hereditary. For example, if you currently work the JOC weather desk, so will your children, and their children, and their children, ad infinitum. We like to think of it as job security."
COL (CENTCOM), Fu--ed Up, But I'm Just a Reservist...
"As far as I'm concerned, I'm the only one that matters in here."
"No matter how hard this Command beats me down, I am still able to get it up."
"I keep myself confused on purpose, just in case I am captured and fall into enemy hands!"
"Cheese-dickery abounds at this Command."
"Does anybody around here remember if I did anything this year?"
LTC (EUCOM) preparing his Officer Evaluation Report support form
"This is all happening because we had the sympathetic detonation of a stress grenade."
Maj (EUCOM) after an insignificant issue became a theater focus because somebody used the "Reply all" function
"I'd be happy to classify this document for you. Could you tell me its classification?"
GS11 (EUCOM) in an email from the Foreign Disclosure office
"Nothing is too good for you guys...and that's exactly what you're gonna get..."
LTC (EUCOM) describing the way Army policy is formulated
"The only thing that sucks worse than being me is being you..."
"Why should I worry? Nobody here outranks me by that much."
MAJ (SOCEUR) briefing a group of 0-6s
"I have to know what I don't know..."
Col (CENTCOM) during a shift changeover briefing
"No. Now I'm simply confused at a higher level..."
Foreign GO/FO when asked if he had any questions following a transformation brief at JFCOM
"I'm planning on taking the weekend off...notionally..."
LT (EUCOM) midway through a huge, simulated command exercise
"'Leaning forward' is really just the first phase of 'falling on your face.'"
"I've heard of 'buzzwords' before but I have never experienced a 'buzz sentence' or a 'buzz paragraph' until today."
Maj (EUCOM) after listening to a JFCOM trainer/mentor
"We've got to start collaborating between the collaboration systems."
"Our plan for the Olympics is to take all the ops and put it in the special room we have developed for ops."
"Did you hear that they're canning Bob Edwards on NPR?" "Why? Did they catch him standing up for the National Anthem or something??"
COL to CDR (EUCOM)
"Not to be uncooperative, but we're just being uncooperative."
CDR (EUCOM) in an email response to a request for information
"We're from the nuke shop, sir. We're the crazy aunt in the closet that nobody likes to talk about ..."
LtCol to GO/FO (EUCOM) in briefings
"We the willing, led by the unknowing, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful. We have done so much for so long with so little, that we are now qualified to do anything with nothing."
Anonymous, but classic...
"The 'L' in CENTCOM stands for leadership..."
"At this Command, we have written in large, black letters: DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) on the back of our security badges."
"He cloaked himself in an impenetrable veneer of terminology."
Lt Col (JFCOM) describing the Jiffiecom alpha male
"Transformation has long been the buzzword for those that are dispossessed, dispirited and disillusioned..."
Chaplain (EUCOM), allegedly talking about the Disciples...
"There are more disconnects on this issue than CENTCOM has staff officers."
"Is that a Navy or a Marine admiral?"
"We trained hard...but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams we would be reorganized...I was to learn later in life that we meet any new situation by reorganizing, and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency and demoralisation."
Petronius Arbiter, 210 B.C.
"I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by."
"The more time you spend in reporting on what you are doing, the less time you have to do anything. Stability is achieved when you spend all your time doing nothing but reporting on the nothing you are doing."
"Nothing gets done till nothing gets done."
"Planners will not get the staff they need so long as they muddle through with overtime, ulcers and super-human effort. Only when deadlines are missed will the Chief of Staff approve the additional staff planners who, had they been available at the outset, would have prevented the missed deadlines."
Chief of Plans
"And it ought to be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. Because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions, and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new."
Nicolo Machiavelli c.1505 (trans. W. K. Marriott), Machiavelli's caution for Planners
"If you are not getting enough sleep, sleep faster."
- "When fighting with sharpened Bronze, or harder metals from the Heavens, it is wise to kick thy opponent in his Man Sack, that thou mayst defeat him more handily than by Arms. So sayeth INNAMURUTUSHIMMILODEK, who hath slain threescore Ammelekites."
"Life isn't like a box of chocolates, it's more like a jar of jalapeńos. You never know what's going to burn your ass."
"Tell me what you need, and I'll tell you how to get along without it."
"I don't have an attitude problem, you have a perception problem."
"We're just a FRAGO away from the perfect order."
While driving the battlestaff of the 25th ID, I would often hear complaints about the hours we worked and something called a "shift" that others
appeared to be on in the DMAIN. I would often remind them that the planner's battle rhythm was simply "Startex to Endex" and begin wargaming the next CONPLAN.
Three men sitting stiffly side by side on a long plane flight to Korea for a military planning exercise. After 30 minutes the man on the left suddenly says distinctly and confidently in a low voice: General, United States Army, married, two sons, both surgeons.
A few minutes later the man on the right reveals through a tight-lipped smile: General, United States Marine Corps, married, two sons, both judges.
Several minutes pass before the one in the middle with eyes twinkling, loudly proclaims: Chief Warrant Officer, United States Army, NEVER married, two sons, both generals.
"Never trust a Cav guy to tell you when he can execute a mission. Remember, the Cav thought the COFM (Correlation of Forces Matrix) at Little Big Horn was favorable."
"No tree is ever too big for the littlest dog to take a piss on it." General Officer
Literal translation = Don't ever think you more important than anyone else, especially as a planner.
"Hope is not a course of action... We lived by it!"
"Talking about an [M9] ACE that is hurting is like talking about a leper that is sick."
"A dime dropped is a dime well spent" General Officer
"If you are not a planner, you are just support!"
"I'm sorry if I ever gave you the impression your input would have any effect on my decision for the outcome of this project!" Quote from the Boss after overriding the decision of a task force he created to find a solution.
"The facts are meaningless. Just make the graphics look right!" An O6 to an Action Officer
"We are going to continue having these meetings everyday until I find out why no work is getting done." Quote from a recent meeting.
"I didn't say it was your fault. I said I was going to blame it on you." Quote from the Boss.
"The beatings will continue until morale improves." A motivational sign at work.
"We passed over a lot of good people to get the ones we hired." Boss
"My Boss frequently gets lost in thought. That's because it's unfamiliar territory." Planner
"What you see as a glass ceiling, I see as a protective barrier." Boss
"My Boss needs a surge protector. That way his mouth would be buffered from surprise spikes in his brain." Planner
"I thought my Boss was a bastard, and quit to work for myself. My new Boss is a bastard too, but at least I respect him."
"He's given automobile accident victims new hope for recovery. He walks, talks and performs rudimentary tasks, all without the benefit of a SPINE."
Personnel Officer to job candidate "I see you've had no computer training. Although that qualifies you for upper management, it means you're under-qualified for our entry level positions."
New Doctrinal Terms
New terms are developed everyday in the planning world. These new terms put things in their proper perspective. Most are eloquent and protect you in today's PC environment. Some are more apropos than others. Here are a few that are relevant today....
ASSMOSIS: The process by which some people seem to absorb success and promotability by kissing up to the commander. This process can be observed first-hand whenever senior field grade officers are near general officers.
ASS-CLOWN: A leader who demonstrates comedy to effectively wow the seniors to believe he actually has operational knowledge of the task at hand. In actuality, he has no clue and truly doesn't understand the training criteria.
CRANIAL RECTAL INVERSION (CRI): Most officers have terminal cranial rectal inversion, which can be treated by the surgical installation of a small window in the naval region. In the unlikely event and NCO gets temporary cranial rectal inversion it can usually be treated with a mule and a good rope. (Contributed by SGM Matt Wade)
DEJA MOO: The feeling you've heard this bullshit before. Usually heard during USRs, QTBs, etc.
DICK DANCE: When two guys named Richard want to dance and never get it done because both of them want to lead.
BLAMESTORMING: Sitting around the headquarters discussing why a suspense was missed or a mission failed and who was responsible. Typical activity among general staffs...
SEAGULL COLONEL: A colonel who swoops in, makes a lot of noise, and shits all over everything.
SALMON DAY: The experience of spending an entire day swimming upstream (i.e., briefing a plan) only to get screwed and die in the end.
CHAINSAW MET: A team brought in from a higher headquarters to reduce your manpower authorizations, leaving the organization and unit leadership with clean hands.
CRM - Career Restricting Move: Used among planners to describe ill-advised activity. Trashing COA guidance or discussing civilian sector employment/pay scales while your boss is within earshot is serious CRM.
ADMINISPHERE: The rarefied organizational layers beginning just above the Plans Shop. Decisions that fall from the adminisphere are generally profoundly inappropriate or irrelevant to the problems they were designed to solve.
DILBERTED: To be exploited and oppressed by your boss. A common event for most planners in most organizations. Derived from the experiences of Dilbert, the geek-in-hell comic strip character. "I've been dilberted again. The old man changed my leave schedule for the fourth time this month because his wife couldn't make up her mind."
FLIGHT RISK: Used to describe officers/NCOs who are suspected of planning to retire or separate from the service soon. Alternatively, any O-6 or above that gets behind the controls of an airplane or helicopter.
404: Someone who's clueless. From the World Wide Web error message "404 Not Found," meaning that the requested document could not be located. "Don't bother asking the G3... he's 404, man."
GENERICA: Features of any service installation (Air Force base, Army post,..) landscape that are exactly the same no matter which base one is at, such as Burger King, Robin Hood, the PX/BX, and the AMC pax terminal. Used as in "We were so lost in generica that I forgot what base we were at."
OHNOSECOND: That minuscule fraction of time after hitting the "enter" key in which you realize that you've just made a BIG mistake.
PERCUSSIVE MAINTENANCE: The fine art of whacking the crap out of a $20,000 Xerox machine to get it to work again.
40% REDUX RETIREMENT: The new retirement plan that will result in reduction of service (Army, Air Force, etc) manning to 40% of wartime requirements.
Planner's Recommended Changes (#3) to FM 101-5-1
DECONFLICT: A polite term generally used the following way in briefings, "Yes sir, we need to deconflict that land piece for the occupation of the assembly areas." This actually means, "No sir, I did not think about the problem enough to realize that I couldn't fit the entire brigade into one square kilometer. Let me go unf*ck myself."
SHOOT: A term that used to stand for the act of engaging another human being with some form of dangerous projectile. Now most commonly used to refer to the act of sending an e-mail to another staff officer. How it sounds, "Hey, I'll shoot that piece out to you on e-mail tomorrow." What it really means, "Hey, my life is so pathetic, and so far from warfighting, that I am going to spend tomorrow in front of an electronic display. While doing so, I will alternate my thoughts between convincing myself that I am doing something useful with daydreams about commanding an intergalactic starship that I control through my keyboard."
COMBINED ARMS: IAW FM 101-5-1 "The synchronized or simultaneous application of several arms, such as infantry, armor, artillery, engineers, air defense, and aviation to achieve an effect on the enemy that is greater than if each arm was used against the enemy in sequence." In the real world this means that an entire infantry battalion will be held in place to die at the hands of an angry Krasnovian with a mortar tube while the FSO diligently flips through a 100-page synch-matrix to determine the EFST for this particular sub-phase of the operation.
LETHAL/PSYCHOLOGICALLY DEVASTATING/PHYSICALLY OVERWHELMING: The definition is currently unclear. Believed to describe a rabid mole-rat that is rumored to be harassing senior members of the division staff.
CHEESECON: (Updated) Level of preparedness for a briefing or presentation that indicates the number (and rank) of officers attempting to wedge an OER bullet into a training exercise. The level of cheesecon generally increases exponentially the closer the exercise. The upper-limit of cheesecon is unknown and the high-water mark increases with each visit of an important foreign national or the National War College.
GOOD IDEA WINDOW: Definition currently under revision. Formerly, this term was used to imply that events would not grow out of control at the last minute. Upon closer inspection by the division engineer, however, the 'window' has been discovered to be rusted open. In fact, nobody can even remember the last time they saw the window closed. Suggested definition: good idea fountain.
RESOLUTION: Easily defined- this is a popular phrase because it sounds much better than its literal definition. To translate, just substitute the words "a f*cking clue" whenever you hear an officer speak of 'resolution.' Example: "No sir, we don't yet have resolution on how we are going to execute the deployment sequence." This equals: "No sir, we don't yet have a f*cking clue about how we are going to execute the deployment sequence."
TOC OPs: Term used to describe the actual priorities of work that will take place within any assembly area or TOC location. Priorities include, 1) build large and elaborate hooches 2) dig pit and gather wood for large bonfire area 3) eat/sleep. All soldiers conducting TOC OPs are expected to use white lens flashlights when maneuvering in the area. Helmets and protective masks are expressly forbidden. The outergarment will usually include a t-shirt or sleep shirt along with some form of do-rag, but should never include web gear or the BDU top. Security when conducting TOC-Ops will consist of sending the newest private, without a radio or ammunition, 300m out on the perimeter to provide early warning of any visits from higher headquarters. Radio watch will consist of one soldier asleep within ten feet of the radio. Upon compromise by higher HQ, all soldiers will immediately start hopping and popping.
RECON CLUSTER: A large gathering of recon assets from several echelons of command. Normally given the task of observing an NAI the size of Texas, but kept together because nobody trusts the COLTs enough not to get lost. Command relationships for this element are normally ignored or muddled, allowing the element to commence TOC OPs.
WORK: Formerly a verb, used to refer to action and activity directed toward a specific goal or purpose, although in recent times the meaning of this term has degraded significantly. One will often hear this term in briefings (as with all excessive verbiage) in the context of "Yes sir, we need to work the logistics side of the exercise." What this really means, "Sir, I will execute at least one IPR and send out a minimum of 10 e-mail messages in order to cover my ass should this stupid issue that you brought up ever rear its ugly head again."
OFFLINE: Yet one more term regularly heard in briefings. This term is used to convey a polite attitude towards another staff officer in order to spare everyone else in the meeting from having to endure staff-to-staff coordination. Usually when a briefer says, "That's a good point, let's talk about it offline," he is really saying, "Listen dickhead, you try to sharpshoot me in a meeting one more time I'm going to hit you so hard that I kill all your relatives."
HOP AND POP: Means to move about excitedly with no real purpose or direction. Used in one of two ways, 1) when being entirely overwhelmed by the enemy and the unit has lost all discipline and control. At this point individuals are expected to 'hop and pop' in an effort to keep themselves alive at the expense of all else. High rates of fratricide are the norm with this type of operation. 2) When senior officers show up on-site unexpectedly. Units are normally conducting 'TOC OPs' in this situation and the only recourse is for all parties to move about with stern looks and weapons/briefing slides at the ready in an attempt to make the visitor
believe that something important is actually going on.
LAZE AND BLAZE: This is the execution portion of 'hop and pop.' while it implies a cavalier and competent use of tactical skills (e.g., using the BELRF and 25mm to maximum efficiency) it more accurately describes the act of simultaneously sluing the turret and mashing the trigger on any and all weapon systems in a desperate bid to kill something.
SUPER-DUPER PCI: Like 'laze and blaze', this definition implies a competent use of doctrinal troop leading procedures. What is really means is that the unit will cross the LD with no ammo, no antennas, three layers of hot gear, and 2 DOS of chow stuffed into every gas mask carrier.
POUND THE SHIT OUT OF: (updated) One of several terms that vaguely refers to fighting the enemy. It is generally used in pep talks prior to the beginning of a battle. When used, a sure indicator that your unit is about to lose.
DRIVE BY: (updated) The act of simultaneously fixing and bypassing an enemy unit. It is generally executed when some brilliant IOAC grad on brigade staff decides to send your battalion through a reinforced MRR.
KABUKI DANCE: (updated) Deceptive movement technique used on the battlefield and/or creative verbiage used in briefings or explanations to higher headquarters. It is designed to baffle the enemy as to actual intent or axis of advance. Works to our advantage because foreign armies generally find it hard to believe that the American army could be so screwed up. In briefings, this dance normally entails use of such terms as 'flex, hop and pop, and EFST'.
BUTTLOAD: (updated) A large quantity. A lot. Used to refer to the number of vehicles in a recon cluster. Also refers to how much artillery is necessary to disable an enemy force.
SHITLOAD: (updated) Double the quantity of a buttload. Used to refer to the number of vehicles in a BCT TOC, or BN UMCP. Also refers to a battalion-6 mission. An alternate use of this term is when a unit is being overrun. This allows the RTO to succinctly call in an accurate estimate of the enemy's size as he grabs his MRE and attempts to free himself from his sleeping bag.
KITCHEN SINK: More artillery support than you will ever see.
Planner's Recommended Changes (#2) to FM 101-5-1
POLICE-UP: An infantry operation to defeat the remaining enemy on an objective after Armor forces by-pass or attempt to avoid confrontation.
THE HAMMER: A cool operational term to impress a superior when describing the main effort.
BACK-STOP: A term used to cover a staff failure to properly wargame a course of action. Also a term used by infantry showing how "hope" is a method incorporated to defeat the enemy. "If the enemy gets through the engagement area, we have Delta Company placed here to back-stop the Battalion defense.
FAN-OUT: A dismounted operation involving soldiers on the ground maximizing the amount of terrain they can cover or disperse over.
PAINT THE PICTURE: A term used to gather information and assess the situation. Usually asked by senior leaders to junior leaders. Usually invoked after the senior leader has gotten sleep and knows absolutely nothing of the tactical situation, while the battle captain has been up all night.
CRITICAL TERRAIN: Terrain that if not secured, grabbed, taken or camped out on - you are screwed. A new category to describe terrain in FM 34-130 (Critical - Decisive - Key).
KICK-OUT: An armor technique used to employ light infantry to clear severely restricted terrain in order to allow the armor to pass.
HEY DIDDLE DIDDLE: Group of words used to describe a possible COA that allows for no analytical thought and ensures a minimum 75% casualty rate.
BLAH, BLAH, BLAH: Short for "You know what I'm going to say anyway, so I'm not going to waste our time to actually say it." See also YADA YADA YADA or HOMINA HOMINA or HUMMA HUMMA HUMMA.
FLAIL-EX: Also known as the planning process.
SQUIRREL-EX: The wargaming phase of the MDMP after all Cheetah-Flips are completed, briefed and refined. The Squirrel-Ex phase normally culminates with a massive PowerPoint briefing called a Cheese-Ex."
CHEESE-EX:The 542 slide briefing that results at the conclusion of the of MDMP that outlines what can be clearly said in a well-written paragraph (formerly known as the Commander's intent and/or concept of the operation). This is the Force XXI cause of the "Fog of War."
SELFCON: This is when a junior commander (usually a captain) comes to the realization that his higher is completely clueless (perhaps even befuckled) so he simply attaches himself and his command to another unit.
CHEETAH-FLIPS: The course of action development phase of the Military Decision Making Process (MDMP) in an imagined crisis environment (often replicated by headquarters during daily operations).
TAKE-DOWN: An aggressive former wrestling term used to describe your actions on the objective an inherent lack of regard for the enemy's capabilities.
SWEEP: A fluid, noncontinuous form of battlespace dominance, usually combined with zippin' around or getting' jiggy with it.
MOP-UP: A term for the actions occurring just after you discover you are actually on the objective, in the enemy's fire sack, that implies a willingness to expose oneself to lethal fires.
PHASE: Infantry term for we don't know how to write paragraph three.
HIT: Term for applying massed effects against the enemy. As in "First we'll hit these guys over here then we'll hit these guys, and then the guys over here will be hit with asymmetrical dominance from assets from EAC.
BONED: A term used in response to orders issued from a higher commander. As in "I am the counter-reconnaissance company and the battalion reserve at the same time - I got boned!"
TRIPLE-HULL DOWN: A term associated with force-protection, fratricide, and/or self-preservation. Used in order to prevent being fired on by friends when saying something really stupid, hiding from the boss who has a task that only you can fill, or covering your butt from being smoked by anyone.
Planner's Recommended Changes (#1) to FM 101-5-1
BUTTLOAD: Slightly less than a shitload.
SHITLOAD: The amount of money Michael Jordan makes in a minute.
GOB: Shitload +1.
POUND THE SHIT OUT OF: Somewhere between disrupt and destroy and slightly more than neutralize. Typical Cavalry mission.
FLEX: A really cool sounding non-doctrinal term used to maneuver a unit from one location to another. Used primarily when you don't have a clue where you are or how the hell to get to the new location.
TECHNIQUE: A noun, used in the phrase, "That's a technique." Translated, "That's a really f***ed up way to execute this operation and you will probably kill your entire unit. But if you want to do it that way, go ahead." Term is usually used by the ADC(M) or CG when briefed a plan for the first time.
HANG OUT: To establish a position characterized by a total lack of security, soldiers asleep in hammocks and a huge BBQ pit turning out chow. A task usually accomplished by Air Defenders.
BELLS AND WHISTLES: An inordinate amount of cheese, not required to get necessary information communicated to another individual or group of individuals. Commonly associated with Canine and Equestrian Theater. Typical at most Division and Corps-level Plans briefings.
LET'S ROCK BABY: Radio Communications proword for, "Guidons, this is Black 6, FRAGO follows, acknowledge, over."
GETTIN' JIGGY WIT IT: A friendly oriented, offensive form of maneuver that simultaneously utilizes at least three maneuver elements.
DRIVE BY: Engaging the enemy while bypassing. Meets both the destruction and bypass criteria given in the OPORD. May also refer to when a certain general officer stops by your unit or motor pool.
ZIPPING AROUND: An aviation movement technique in which the helicopters appear to fly around aimlessly at a high rate of speed impressing the ground combat troops with their speed and dash. Occasionally encompasses "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It" and usually used in a zone reconnaissance.
GUCCI MOVE: Altering Commander's intent, commander's guidance, or violating the fundamentals of reconnaissance or security operations.
JUMP BACK OFF YOUR BAD SELF: The correct response to anybody pulling a "Gucci Move."
BEFUCKLED: Confused, characterized by a state of genuine, profound disorientation; perpetual state of all Chemical units.
GET UP AND HAUL ASS: A movement technique that requires all elements within the organization to cross the LD yesterday.
KABUKI DANCE: Deceptive movement technique and/or creative verbiage used in explanations designed to baffle enemy forces as to the main axis of advance as well as perplex higher chains of command on what the true purpose of your mission really is. Common most among the Field Artillery and Division/Corps-level planners.
Implementation of the Planner Burnout Prevention Program
(Air Force versus Army)
1. STOP DENYING.
AIR FORCE VIEW: Listen to the wisdom of your body. Begin to freely admit the stresses and pressures which you have manifested physically, mentally, or emotionally. Meditate even more frequently.
ARMY VIEW: Work until the physical pain forces you into unconsciousness, then you can't hear your body.
2. AVOID ISOLATION.
AIR FORCE VIEW: Don't do everything alone! Develop or renew intimacies with friends and loved ones. Closeness not only brings new insights, but also is anathema to agitation and depression.
ARMY VIEW: Shut your office door and lock it from the inside so no one will distract you. They're just trying to hurt your productivity.
3. CHANGE YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES.
AIR FORCE VIEW: If your job, your relationship, a situation, or a person is dragging you under, try to alter your circumstance, or if necessary, leave.
ARMY VIEW: If you feel something is dragging you down, suppress these thoughts. This is a weakness. Drink more coffee.
4. DIMINISH INTENSITY IN YOUR LIFE.
AIR FORCE VIEW: Pinpoint those areas or aspects which summon up the most concentrated intensity and work toward alleviating that pressure.
ARMY VIEW: Increase intensity. Maximum intensity means maximum productivity. If you find yourself relaxed and with your mind wandering, you are probably having a detrimental effect on the recovery rate.
5. STOP OVERNURTURING.
AIR FORCE VIEW: If you routinely take on other people's problems and responsibilities, learn to gracefully disengage. Try to get some nurturing for yourself.
ARMY VIEW: Always attempt to do everything. You ARE responsible for it all. Perhaps you haven't thoroughly read your job description.
6. LEARN TO SAY "NO".
AIR FORCE VIEW: You'll help diminish intensity by speaking up for yourself. This means refusing additional requests or demands on your time or emotions.
ARMY VIEW: Never say no to anything. It shows weakness. Never put off until tomorrow what you can do at midnight.
7. BEGIN TO BACK OFF AND DETACH.
AIR FORCE VIEW: Learn to delegate, not only at work, but also at home and with friends. In this case, detachment means rescuing yourself for yourself.
ARMY VIEW: Delegating is a sign of weakness. If you want it done right, do it yourself (see #5).
8. REASSESS YOUR VALUES.
AIR FORCE VIEW: Try to sort out the meaningful values from the
temporary and fleeting, the essential from the nonessential. You'll conserve energy and time, and begin to feel more centered.
ARMY VIEW: Stop thinking about your own problems. This is selfish. If your values change, we will make an announcement. Until then, if someone calls you and questions your priorities, tell them that you are unable to comment on this and give them the number for PAO. It will be taken care of.
9. LEARN TO PACE YOURSELF.
AIR FORCE VIEW: Try to take life in moderation. You only have so much energy available. Ascertain what is wanted and needed in your life, then begin to balance work with love, pleasure, and relaxation.
ARMY VIEW: A balanced life is a myth perpetuated by liberal arts
schools. Don't be a fool: the only thing that matters is work and productivity.
10. TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY.
AIR FORCE VIEW: Don't skip meals, abuse yourself with rigid diets, disregard your need for sleep, or break the doctor appointments. Take care of yourself nutritionally.
ARMY VIEW: Your body serves your mind, your mind serves the Institute. Push the mind and the body will follow.
11. DIMINISH WORRY AND ANXIETY.
AIR FORCE VIEW: Try to keep superstitious worrying to a minimum - it changes nothing. You'll have a better grip on your situation if you spend less time worrying and more time taking care of your real needs. If necessary, listen to more Barry Manilow!
ARMY VIEW: If you're not worrying about work, you must not be very committed to it. We'll find someone who is.
12. KEEP YOUR SENSE OF HUMOR.
AIR FORCE VIEW: Begin to bring job and happy moments into your life. Very few people suffer burnout when they're having fun.
ARMY VIEW: So, you think your work is funny? We'll discuss this with your commander on Friday, at 1900!
Implementation of the Plan... or How Shit Happens
In the beginning, there was the plan.
And then came the assumptions.
And the assumptions were without form.
And the plan was completely without substance.
The planners told the Chief of Plans: "It's a crock of shit and it stinks!"
The Chief of Plans then told the G3: "It's a pail of dung and none may abide by the odor."
The G3 then told Chief of Staff: "It's a container of excrement and it is very strong such that none may smell it."
The Chief of Staff then told the ADC(M): "It is a vessel of fertilizer and none may abide by its strength. It contains that which aids plant growth and it is very strong."
The ADC(M) told the CG: "It promotes growth and it is very powerful. It will promote the efficiency in the system and victory for the future."
And the CG reviewed the plan and said: "This is good."
And the plan became an order.
And this is how shit happens.
Top 10 Signs You Work in the Military of the Nineties
10. You lecture the neighborhood kids selling lemonade on ways to improve their processes.
9. You get all excited when it's Saturday so you can wear "civies" to work.
8. You find you really need PowerPoint to explain what you do for a living to your civilian friends.
7. You normally eat out of vending machines and at the most expensive restaurant in town within the same week.
6. You think that "progressing an action plan" and "calendarizing a project" are acceptable English phrases.
5. You know your functional manager at Branch better than you know your next door neighbor.
4. You're no longer capable of putting on a briefing without a computerized slide presentation.
3. You ask your friends to "think out of the box" when making Friday night plans.
2. You think Einstein would have been more effective had he put his ideas into a matrix.
And, the number one sign you work in the military of the nineties...
1. You think a "half-day" means leaving at 5 o'clock.
ROGER'S RANGERS STANDING ORDERS
Revised for 2000 and beyond
(from Hackworth's "Defending America", 23 Jul 97)
For those of you unfamiliar with Roger's Rangers, he was a French and Indian war leader who first applied guerrilla tactics in the US (which later became our current light doctrine). He is a GOD in the minds of warriors everywhere. His Standing Orders are still published in every Ranger handbook.
Don't shred nuthin'.
Have your files virus scanned, disks formatted, sixty minutes worth of paper and toner, and be ready to print at a minute's warning.
When you're leaving work early, act the way you would if you was sneakin' up on a deer. See the enemy first.
Don't never lie to your rater. You can tell tall tales all you want to your senior rater/reviewer, but remember that you have an OER/NCOER in the balance.
Don't volunteer for an additional duty you don't have to.
When you're on a march to the podium, we march single file, far enough apart so no single shot from a laser pointer can blind two men.
If we strike on uncertain ground, we spread out our stories, so its hard to track us.
When we use the telephone, we keep a busy line until dark, so as to give the enemy the least possible chance at us.
When we brief, half the party stays awake while the other half sleeps.
If we are investigating the staff for a late suspense, we keep 'em separate 'til we have had time to interrogate them, so they can't cook up a story between 'em.
Don't ever brief the same way. Update your slides so you won't be ambushed.
No matter whether we travel in big parties or little ones, each party has to have a site survey party 2 weeks in advance, an ADVON element to cover the flanks, and a Rear Detachment to generate retroactive travel orders, so the Main Body can't be stranded without per diem.
Every night you'll be told where to meet for choir practice.
Don't sit down to eat without locking the office door and unhooking the phone.
Check your e-mail at dawn. Dawn is when higher HQ elements like to send without warning.
Don't cross a river by a regular Ford. (POV's are not authorized -- use the Staff Duty vehicle instead.)
Don't stand up when the enemy's coming against you. Quibble, deny, make counter-accusations, hide behind rank, etc.
Let the enemy come 'til he's almost close enough to touch. Then, let 'em have the floor and jump out and finish him with obscure facts from your "Smart Book".
A 21st Century Ranger
ANSWERS TO SWA OPLAN RFIs
Q: What do Baghdad and Hiroshima have in common?
A: Nothing, yet.
Q: What does Saddam want for Thanksgiving?
Q: What do Miss Muffet and Saddam Hussein have in common?
A: They both have Kurds in their Whey.
Q: What do Saddam Hussein and General Custer have in common?
A: They both want to know where the hell those Tomahawks are coming from!
Q: What is the best Iraqi job?
A: Foreign Ambassador
Q: How many Iraqis does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: None. They can't turn them on anyway.
Q: How many Americans does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Only one, but he does it from 30 miles away using laser targeting, and at a cost of $800,000.
Q: "How many members of the coalition does it take to screw in a light bulb?"
A: "We are not prepared to comment on specific numbers at this time."
Q: Did you hear that it is twice as easy to train Iraqi fighter pilots?
A: You only have to teach them to take off.
Q: How do you play Iraqi bingo?
Q: What's the difference between Aeroflot and the Scud Missile?
A: Aeroflot has killed more people.
Q: How is Saddam like Fred Flintstone?
A: Both may look out their windows and see Rubble.
Q: Why does the Iraqi Navy have glass bottom boats?
A: So they can see their Air Force.
Q: What do Saddam Hussein, Muallah Omar, Trent Lott, and Harvey Pitt have in common?
A: Regime change.
E-mail me if you have any more terms!
Copyright (c) 2001-2011 Placke & Associates.