Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The "Army Law of Efficiency" patent pending

If you like nice tidy logical progressions in your reading you may want to skip this blog. This is a satire of the efficiency of the Army.

There's a common phrase in the Army that goes a little something like this. "If the Army wanted you to have _________ they would have issued it to you." You can fill in the blank with just about anything. An opinion, a wife, common sense. You name it and it fits. Things like this lead me to the only logical conclusion there is. Number one, If there is any conceivable thing in life that I need the Army would have issued it to me. Number two, If the Army did in fact issue something then it must be important and it must be used to it's fullest capacity.

There is also a method used by the Army for teaching that involves three parameter. Task, Condition and Standard. As long as you can force your idea to fit into this pattern it must be useful and therefore must be taught to every soldier because it must be valid because it fits the model. For instance the dreaded PT test

Task: Conduct a PT test.

Condition: Given a soldier, a stopwatch, a marked two mile course and a grader;

Standard: Conduct a PT test consisting of two minutes of pushup, two minutes of sit-ups and a timed two mile run.

That's the model. However, according to the Task Condition and Standard all your measuring is the ability to successfully administer a PT test. You aren't showing that a soldier is fit or unfit, only that you can perform the task to the given standard.

So I came up with a concept I call "The Army Law of Efficiency." It started at dinner chow tonight. As you walk out of the Chow hall there are two Third Country National men who stand at the trash cans where you throw your plastic plate and plastic silverware along with any uneaten food into any of the multiple trash cans lining the little walkway. When a trash can is full these guys take it to one of thirteen dumpsters behind the chow hall. As we were walking out today I said, "I wonder how much trash we generate from the chow hall each day?" An understandable question. One of the guys I was walking with has had trash detail before. This is where you escort a garbage truck around and make sure they do what they're supposed to do. So he says' "I don't know about in a day, but after Lunch chow there are always seven full dumpster." According to the Army theory if they issued thirteen dumpsters by God we'd better use thirteen dumpsters. I'm sure there was a committee put to task to find the correct number of dumpsters to place behind the chow hall. If we only needed seven dumpsters then there would have been only seven dumpsters. No more no less. I can draw only one conclusion. We aren't generating trash efficiently enough to fill the required thirteen dumpsters. Being the keen analyst I am I decided I should figure out how we can better utilize the empty dumpster space. After all if we don't fill them then we're just letting the country down. Now all I have to do is force my round idea into the square Army model that must be the best or the Army would have issued a round model for me to use.

Later in the evening while I was perusing the latest port-o-pody nuggets of wisdom scratched on the walls of my favorite plastic cubicle of relief it hit me. Since the Army obviously knows what they're doing in all matters and there is an obvious garbage shortage happening in the chow hall dumpsters, there must be a surplus somewhere else.

At the fuel point we have a certain undisclosed number of fuelers with diesel fuel. It's sort of like a little self serve gas station out of the back of a few big trucks. I know for a fact that we have too many fuelers and some of them go unused. They just sit there with fuel in them. Why did we bring too many fuelers? We couldn't have brought too many fuelers. That's how many fuelers the Army says we need. So, if the Army issued that much fuel we should, according to standards, use that much fuel. Obviously we aren't using the proper amount of fuel. So I figure at the end of the day whatever fuel wasn't put into vehicles and generators should be dumped into the dumpsters thereby alleviating both problems. The total amount of issued fuel is used per day, and the total amount of issued dumpster space is used. The beauty of the Army Law of efficiency is in the simplicity. You really just have to sort of stand back a smile while it works it's magic. A simple solution you would say but faulty on one point. This assumes the fuel is allocated per day. One of the guys I shared this theory with threw the wrench in the works by saying, "What if the fuel is allocated per week and not per day?" This threw me for a second, but I do, after all, have a fool proof model with which to work.

The solution is simple. Monitor the fuel usage for one month. At the end of the month take the average amount of fuel left over at the end of each of the four weeks and divide that by seven. This would give you an average amount of surplus fuel per day to dump into the dumpster. Problem solved you might say. You'd be wrong. As we get to the end of the deployment we would use less fuel as we would go on fewer patrols. This would shift the entire equation. Not a problem though. If you apply the newly invented Army Law of Efficiency you would come up with the obvious answer.

As the patrols dropped off the amount of fuel used would drop but we wouldn't have accounted for this in the previous weeks. The only solution is to have more fuel on hand to make up for the fuel we should have thrown away in the earlier months. However this would probably fill more than the issued thirteen dumpsters. So along with the extra fuel we would need extra dumpsters also. Now don't you feel dumb for not seeing that right away. This would be the most efficient way to deal with the lack of dumpster use that would have gone grossly undealt with had I not applied the simple universal truth of The Army Law of Efficiency.

Task: Implement The Army Law of Efficiency to all aspects of the Army within five years

Condition: given myself, a small handpicked team of experts, one Million dollars a year per person, and 15 years;

Standard: successfully implement the Army Law of Efficiency to all aspect of the modern military within the five year time frame.

Notice I built in an extra ten years in the condition portion for an extra buffer. That's the beauty of the Army Law of efficiency. As long as you can put it into a Task, Condition, Standard format it doesn't matter what you say. It has to be the truth. Of course once the plan is put in place problems will arise and need to be dealt with. That's where I cash in on the Fat government subcontracts to train the Efficiency task forces needed to ensure the Army Law of efficiency is correctly followed. This is gonna be great!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess I do like "nice tidy logical progressions" in my reading, I never knew that. Not that it wasn't a great blog, but it really wasn't for me, I get lost easily. My family and I will be seeing Mickey in a couple of days, first time for the little ones, we will be sure and say Hi for you, I know you saw him not too long ago. Still thinking about you and praying for you and your family. scm

7:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah-wha??? Sounds good to me.
Get an address SOON! I have stuff to send!!!! The Army sure doesn't take into consideration those of us who send you things. They keep moving you and thereby postponing our mailing schedule. I suppose that is part of their plan. Keep you moving so no one can get a solid lock on you. Miss you and stuff. CnH

10:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You think too much. M. Pads Coach

6:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I concur! Now, it is your added responsibility to create an argument to present to your father(earthly) that would create such a balance between my getting diamonds and a decorating allowance. Makes sense, doesn't it? Of course the beginning premise would have to be somewhat greater in measure than what it is now. Ha Ha. Well, my heavenly father owns the cattle on a thousand hills so. . .ZM

8:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

can your standard include an oxymoron " army efficiency"? can one truley achieve what cannot be brought to reality, or is that a thought for another day? That would require divine intervention
Task: make army and war efficient
Condition: thousans of men who miss and love their families and homes, send them far away and to remove hyphans or semicolons from computer docs.
Standard:Sucessfully motivate and train personnel to forget why they actually came and perform in an enviorment conducive to bodily harm and mental anguish

I like this game stay safe


8:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never did care for "nice, tidy, logical progressions". This blog is the "stuff of war" on paper! Or maybe it's more like the "stuff of bureaucratic war"...which ever it might be - keep writing of it!


2:02 PM  

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