Category Archives: Planning

Bureaucracies are slow, cumbersome, and self-defeating

LBJ meeting with “Blowtorch” Bob

By Kevin Black

I just read Bureaucracy Does Its Thing: institutional constraints on U.S. -GVN performance in Vietnam by Robert W. Komer.  This is a great summary of how the US and its Ally, South Vietnam, undercut their efforts to stop the spread of communism during the Vietnam War. A ten page executive summary is available.

The message is simple, clear-cut: bureaucracies are slow to innovate as well as reluctant to reevaluate themselves. Mistakes in strategy development and decision-making are inevitable.  Here are a few of my observations from the reading:

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