Monday, October 6, 2014

Technology Can Only Go So Far!


My job which is by no means critical to the security of the country requires me to get information as quickly and efficiently as possible and disseminate that information in a like manner. The majority of the time email will not deliver the results in a satisfactory manner as it does not permit immediate follow up and the process of obtaining all the necessary information can string across multiple correspondences. Even when a dialog has taken place over multiple emails, a call is sometimes still required. By this time, actionable items have passed and deadlines are sometimes pushed back to those projects with remaining viability.

Picking up the phone can cut out much of the time and get me the answers and information I need to take immediate action on a given topic. However, whenever possible, in person meetings are by far the best means by which to get a complete picture on a subject in an efficient manner. Whenever I am given the opportunity to meet with someone, I always make the time. Quality information and program efficiency are two of the keys to a successful PR campaign. Really, they are the drivers in any high volume industry that requires immediate decisions and actions.

There are times when in person briefings, meetings, and information sessions are not possible but I do everything I can to avoid missing the opportunity. This is why the recent report released by the Government Accountability Institute, a conservative watchdog group, were a little mystifying. In that report they report that President Obama has had in-person intelligence briefings during only 42% of his days in office which is slightly lower than the figure reported in 2012. Previously, the White House has addressed the subject saying that the President “doesn’t feel the need to have a daily in-person briefing, but that he reads his intelligence briefing daily on his secure iPad and often sends emails with follow up questions.”

At the very least he should have taken someone from the intelligence community with him golfing. Even if those were his only meetings he might still be over 42%. Heck, he could even have them get some intelligence on how to play particular holes. That could be a win-win scenario.

While I don’t know the statistics from previous administrations it seems that any executive that conducts his intelligence briefings in such a way would be hard pressed to be an effective, well informed, and overall decisive leader. I can’t effectively do my job without having all of the information in my hands as soon as possible. The percentage seems a little too low especially given how many events that have occurred (that we know about) over the past six years. But, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt, maybe all those golf outings are just a rouse and the real briefings occur at the third bunker to the right of the 17th hole at precisely 10:54am.