Maybe PowerPoint Isn’t The Enemy…

by Justin

Everybody remembers this thing right?


“When we understand that slide, we’ll have won the war.” -General Stanley McChrystal

The New York Times ran a front-page story in April about General Stanley McChystal’s reaction when he was briefed this PowerPoint slide. It also highlighted the “PowerPoint backlash“[also linked in NYT article] that is happening in different places in the military.

The other morning I found THIS gem in the first article of the March-April issue of Military Review [Article: “Unleashing Design: Planning the Art of Battle Command” by BG Edward C. Cardon, U.S. Army]

What exactly IS the context of the situation???

So it turns out that this kind of tangled visualization chaos is something close to doctrine when describing the operational environment, which is what I imagine Gen. McChrystal’s briefer was trying to do.

Jeering at his briefer about a his PowerPoint slide doesn’t seem very helpful (jeering hasn’t really served Gen. McChrystal well lately anyhow) at trying to understand what the briefer was doing – portraying the situation with the most recent planning design strategies.

General McChrystal was looking at the war. In light of this, perhaps he should have been quoted: “When we understand that war, we will have won the war.”