Saturday, April 14, 2007

Taming the Turf Wars

The following is an outlook paper by The Jacksonian Party

The text of this message is one sent in response to an e-mail by Bruce Kessler which was the text of a Mark Safransky post at Democracy Project on Fourth Generation Warfare on 12 APR 2007.  I can say that I did the old 'quick read' and probably missed much, but the reading caused some thinking and some basic integration of ideas posted for The Jacksonian Party.

Some spelling changes and much cleaning up of original HTML was done thanks to NVU and HTML Tidy. Final scouring of the resultant text was done in Open Office. Twisted logic, syntax and outlook remain as-is. It is as follows:

Another pet topic of mine, but one that receives less than stellar attention due to the fact that most folks forget what foreign policy is and who sets it. While Agencies within the Federal Government may execute Foreign Policy, the Congressional role is limited to Treaty Approval & Ambassador Approval at the Senate level, and regularizing trade at the Congressional level. That is it.

I go over that concept in Congress Empowering Tyrants. The Constitution and the SCOTUS ruling of US v. Curtiss-Wright Export Corp. is extremely clear on that.

The topics cited in the Article I cover in Reforming the Intelligence Community, which looks at the massive and internecine 'turf wars' as the main problem for the IC and getting the best cross-specialization INTEL available for multi-level analysis and then synthesis of knowledge. This would require not only a complete overhaul of how work is approached, but remove the Agencies from the 'product ownership' area and put them into a 'skills management' role. By enforcing the idea that certain types of INTEL can stand alone, the entire IC is dysfunctional as there is no lower level cross-agency working system. Thus each Agency gets its own view of the INTEL it *has* but no ability to synthesize across many Agencies and outlooks. Here non-traditional INTs such as economic and agricultural forecasting would also come into play for a full synthesis of necessary knowledge types available. By removing the Agency fiefdoms and making INTEL gathering and analysis a shared Community Level activity, the internecine turf wars are removed and Agencies are judged on how well they manage contributed skills within the Community at large, not how much work product and viewpoint they turn out. This does require moving clandestine ops back to something directly under Presidential control, like the old OSS. They can be sent to gather specific INT needs, but only with full knowledge and approval of the President.

The main and over-riding problem is that The Lack of Foreign Policy. The United States no longer has a Foreign Policy based on a principled stand *for* anything, but, instead, has substituted programmatics in the place of policy. Long standing Federal programs are now the guide point of Foreign Policy, not the follower *of* Foreign Policy. In this realm, as Curtiss-Wright clearly demonstrates, the President is the sole organ of Foreign Policy for the Federal Government and the United States. By not doing a programmatic overhaul nor review, all past technical 'fixes' remain in place, but what they are 'fixing' has been lost. With many programs dating back into the Cold War, the actual utility of them is in doubt. Even worse is the actual organs of the Federal Government, particularly CIA, FBI and NSA, but also State Dept., all promulgate programmatic outlooks and even use such programmatics to undermine Presidential Authority in this realm. What results is Government by program and sinecured bureaucracy that need not adjust *to* any incoming President and feels free to *know better* than the Elected Representative of the American People.

This, somehow, was not what I think this Nation was intended to do as seen in the Constitution and ruled upon by the Supreme Court. By seeing Presidents as 'temporary' bosses, the entire Foreign Policy apparatus cannot easily shift from the focus it had from 20 years ago and moves at a glacial pace to change that would threaten the inherited fiefdoms of outlook. Institutionalization of programs and making jobs dependent upon them, now is the main source of inactivity by the actual organs of the Federal Government. As seen in Iraq and the Turf War, the main stumbling block to getting the Federal Government in Foreign Policy projects is that each part immediately looks to carve out its own, new niches. Basic and vital help and outlooks, along with contracting and programmatic oversight of projects that would help the Dept. of Defense are not made high priorities within the bureaucratic structure, side-tracked and the very first thing that these organs of government look to do is ensure a steady, new funding supply so as to justify increased staff. That is *before* they actually step in to help. Thus you have the Dept. of Agriculture looking to open a Baghdad office to help in *marketing* farm goods, not in helping find better and new crops and methods to farm. The Dept. of Transportation has under its view an entire gamut of capabilities, engineering outlook, program oversight, design work, and so on that could be used for the entire transportation network of Iraq, and yet sees little need to pitch in or do much of anything. Rather to defend one's current turf than to help the Nation.

The entire problem is government-wide systemic, not point bottlenecks by this or that advisor or 'Czar' or Director. The temporary positions are stymied by the entrenched bureaucracy, and the entrenched bureaucracy sees no need to adjust itself to changing National Outlook, even in time of War. Luckily, the entire Civilian Senior Executive Service serves not as bureaucrats, but as high-paid individuals that can be *fired* by the President. That highest echelon over the immediate Civil Service, and often having worked its way up through its ranks, and that shows allegiance to the Agencies it serves need to be heavily reminded that they serve the President and NOT their Agencies and Departments. Further, as Treaties are entered in by the President and the Senate, either may remove such Treaty obligations, and the President can do *that* without any further consultation or advisement. That said a actual, real Foreign Policy that has goals and objectives for the US needs to be stated and clearly, by the President. This is patently *not* this or that agreement or treaty, but the entire outlook of the US in a broad sense towards the rest of the world. It can and indeed should be discriminatory in outlook, so as to reward those Nations that have shown good will and fealty towards us over years or decades, and require those that do not have such to actually pay for the privilege of such things as market access. And Enemies need also be clearly stated so that the US can identify who they are and work with others to marginalize them and cut off their supplies. A simple but not *simplistic* Foreign Policy that the Average American can understand and comprehend.

A clearly stated outlook with the back-up of removing Treaties that do not serve the good of the People and firing Senior Executive echelons at entire Agencies that do *not* follow through becomes a wake-up call to the Government, itself. Congress cannot back programs that do not have Treaty standing and cannot over-rule the President on those actions. Similar outlook towards the entire INTEL Community to remind them that they are a 'service group' for the President is necessary. And as multiple stake-holders are involved, a first action to inform them that the entire Community needs to begin *acting* like a Community with comity and friendliness and start working across-agency lines to design necessary service documents on activities required by the Executive and then by the Cabinet and then by other needful groups, such as Congress, is a priority and that giving a soda straw view and then combining soda straws does *not* give a total and comprehensive picture of *anything*. The entire IC lacks competence in that combination and weighting of evidence, while their distributed analysts have that necessary competence. Here, again, programmatics need to be tied to Policy and Outlook, not to sinecured programs. This is one of those cases of 'fire until competence is found' is a useful standard, and during those interims directives are handed directly to the *staff* of those Agencies with hard and set deadlines to get cross-agency work done. Agencies with entrenched outlooks will find their budgets hit and their authority moved to Agencies that *can* show nimbleness. Doing that requires stepping on toes, feet, ankles, legs and often giving blind-sided hip checks to entire Agency staff. Petty and entrenched partisan outlook that hinders getting good analysis *done* is de-funded and completely with such funds and responsibilities moved to other Agencies that have proven ability to actually *do what they are told to do*.

We do not see this in politics today as it is harsh, results-oriented, extremely basic and makes good sense. Plus it endangers pet projects by Congress, who are loathe to give up same. Until such time as that can be done, trying to reform the system from the *inside* is a non-starter and any added 'oversight' organization immediately looks to create its own, sinecured fiefdom, put in further blocks to actually producing work products, and increase the overall overhead of the entire affair in time, money and wasted man hours. Process reform from bureaucracies and those empowering them do not work, as the Federal Government has demonstrated for decades. If it did then the Dept. of Education could tout 100% reading for all Citizens and that overall reading comprehension rate is above that of the 5th grade. Unfortunately those exact same problems remain just where they were in 1958 when Johnny couldn't read. Putting in a Director of National Intelligence hasn't seemed to have made the flow of INTEL any faster and, in point of fact, is allowing Agencies to further propagate their *own* outlook on things contrary to that of the President. More oversight is leading to less accountability. The Dept. of Agriculture, originally set up to research better ways to actually manage crops and to have a goodly sized fund to support farmers in case of emergency, now has that portion of its budget as the smallest part of it and over 20 times that amount going to crop subsidies and paying farmers not to farm. Somehow I can imagine better uses for those funds and skills in Afghanistan than in paying for crop subsidies here.

This will not change until an Executive is elected that is willing to take huge amounts of political heat on these matters, gather the bi-partisan ire of Congress and, generally, act to give the Nation outlook in its affairs. I have 50 questions for those running for that office, and I doubt that any of them can even reasonably answer 5 of those... although one coming in and seeing this role as an Executive would need to have good outlook and outline on *all* of them. Because the President does not *create* laws, but executes them, and similarly with budgets, in which Congress routinely throws away the Presidential one and makes their own. A President needs to find the Federal Government's RESET button and hit that poor thing until it gets a government that can be recognized. Until then we shall forevermore remain stuck with all sorts of oversight and almost no accountability in the Federal Government.

And that does the Nation no good at all...


Peregrine John said...

Are you sure we can't cajole you into running? Accepting a cabinet post, mayhaps? Failing that (or even including it), collection and publication of all this?

I know, I know, I've asked before...

A Jacksonian said...

John - My thanks! I will be taking my life in my hands just moving to a better climate... DC is *not* a healthy region for me and I have this strange feeling that beyond my health it is time to 'get out of Dodge while the getting is good'. Taking an hour or two to fight past the morning haze in my head and only having it function 'so-so' is a daily victory. So is Yellowstone being quiet!

As to collecting this detritus, it is open to any to steal it with attribution. Let folks find the originals and fix up spelling, syntax and such and maybe add more thoughts to it and make it your own.

I am looking at the CafePress site for some trinkets and such and may be able to get a few things there up and ready. As to *publishing* there... well... that I will think about, but no promises. Purely vanity stuff, in any event, no real outlet for sales and such. And I seriously doubt that any commercial publisher would touch this stuff with a titanium steel 10' pole and lead lined gloves and blast suit.

If nominated I will not run.

If elected I will not serve.

If served, hand over the menu!

Seriously, I know my own defeceits and defects of body and personality. The Nation needs 24/7 leadership, not someone half-in and half-out of the waking world. Of course the benefit of that is that I would convene Congress, ask them to do something simple and, when they didn't, send them all home to think about it until the last week before the fiscal year. I mean if they are going to do nothing of value, they might as well do it at home...

Yes! Homebound government to save on greenhouse gases!! Now *that* is a rallying cry for this modern era. Oh, wait, that IS my proposal for the House of Representatives! Knew it sounded familiar. 'Keep your Congresscritter at home where you can keep an eye on them'. 'Send the House Home!' Oooo! Bumpersticker that baby...

Probably need the old Jacksonian Handbook of Good Government - Build up your friends, Hunt down your enemies, make the Neutrals pay for trade, and Send Congress Home to atone to their constituents. Or put them up on the National Lawn and have them take complaints directly, without staff, for one month, rain or shine, in tents with MREs. Show some of that 'sacrifice' thing that so many Congresscritters complain about the lack thereof.

I have, at most, more fingers than supporters... just enough to keep me from getting committed, but not enough for a 4-on-4 basketball game... well I would need to sit that out, in any event.

My main suspicion, however, is that it is going to take a State that actually takes their Art. I, Section 10 Right seriously along with Amendment II, and basically starts to enforce the laws and start asking for payment and a *what gives?*. The threat of a single State calling the Federal Government on its inabilities and then saying it is time for a New Convention to sort things out... I am against that sort of thing for 'single issues', but this is the will of the Nation to be a Nation and that is traditionally a State thing to call. Putting the meat cleaver on the table and saying: well first the entire bureaucracy can go... the Federal side is losing its internal accountability structure and that means it is up to the States and the People to do their bit.

Its a thought, at least... probably discount it, finally, due to the partisan biases involved and the move any such would have towards polarization. That *might* be good if it prevents a Civil War, but the Blue Fringes would not have much in the way of sustainment by the vast sea of Red between them. That is a bad gamble at present, however, and I don't see much favorable coming from it. But 'troubleshooting' the Federal side is no longer 'problem solving' it, and by now it needs the latter.

Not Reform.

Overhaul, with large limbs chopped off of the structure.

The Public has been so bribed by that structure with things that we are heading into that place warned about at the founding: mob rule and dismantling of society for mere bread and circuses.

A 24/7 President willing to invoke the 'fire until competence is found' would help. And one unwilling to actually continue signing bills for some of these vast bureaucracies, like Agriculture, Education, Energy, SBA... that is a very,very tough sell, for all the fact it needs be done. A simple statement like: "Well, if it was good enough for 1900 then it is good enough for now, and those are the *only* things I will sign for." That would overturn so many applecarts that sauce would soon be found amongst the trampling. That is not a simplistic statement as it requires that Congress *justify* each thing they wish to spend money on. And Presidents decide if that is *good* justification or not. Been a long, long, long time since anything like that has been seen. Damn near President Washington for stuff like that.

Still for me to run is a strange form of personal suicide in the very real sense. I have no deathwish for myself nor my Nation. I wish the Nation would gain a 'survival sense', however. I gots one of those but what we have today, in DC, does not. And no President can infuse that in the Nation as it must come upwards from We the People. No matter how much Congress pushes, top-down fails and bottom-up works. So I shall think on things, when I am off of drugs numbing my mind and body even more than usual, which has been the case now for a the past couple of weeks.

Grey has me and holds me and now I dig my fingers in to stay with this waking world. Small victories every day, and that is a *good thing*.