Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the leader of American and NATO forces in Afghanistan, was shown a PowerPoint slide in Kabul last summer that was meant to portray the complexity of American military strategy, but looked more like a bowl of spaghetti.
"When we understand that slide, we'll have won the war," General McChrystal dryly remarked, one of his advisers recalled, as the room erupted in laughter.
The slide has since bounced around the Internet as an example of a military tool that has spun out of control. Like an insurgency, PowerPoint has crept into the daily lives of military commanders and reached the level of near obsession. The amount of time expended on PowerPoint, the Microsoft presentation program of computer-generated charts, graphs and bullet points, has made it a running joke in the Pentagon and in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"PowerPoint makes us stupid," Gen. James N. Mattis of the Marine Corps, the Joint Forces commander, said this month at a military conference in North Carolina. (He spoke without PowerPoint.) Brig. Gen. H. R. McMaster, who banned PowerPoint presentations when he led the successful effort to secure the northern Iraqi city of Tal Afar in 2005, followed up at the same conference by likening PowerPoint to an internal threat...
More at The New York Times.
More and Related:
We Have Met the Enemy and He Is PowerPoint - NYT comment section
The TX Hammes PowerPoint Challenge - Starbuck, Small Wars Journal
Essay: Dumb-dumb Bullets - TX Hammes, Armed Forces Jorunal
Does the Military Overuse PowerPoint? - The Tank
Quagmire! - Jules Crittenden, Forward Movement
PowerPoint Is Evil - Edward Tufte, Wired
"Dumb-Dumb Bullets" and Information Processing - Adam Elkus, Red Team Journal
PowerPoint, Decision-Making, and Useless Staff Work - Reach 364, Building Peace
Who PowerPoint Empowers - Tom Ricks, The Best Defense
How Many SWJ Writers Can You Spot in this Article? - Starbuck, Wings Over Iraq
Hollow Point Power Point? - GSGF, GrEaT sAtAn"S gIrLfRiEnD
When Technology Is The Problem - Bill Egnor, Firedoglake
Guns and Bullet Points - Julie Weiner, Vanity Fair
Army Discovers PowerPoint Makes You Stupid - Preston Gralla, Computer World
Afghanistan: The PowerPoint Solution - Julian Borger, The Guardian
The Battle for Hearts and Bullet Points - Michael Evans, The Times
The U.S. Military's Fight Against PowerPoint - Althea Manasan, National Post
Beautiful, Pointless Graphs - Andrew Sullivan, The Atlantic
Why the Military Declared War on Powerpoint - Max Fisher, The Atlantic
Pentagon Uses its Noodle to Win War - Brad Norington, The Australian
Baffling PowerPoint Presentation - Daily Mail
PowerPoint Backlash Grinds Onward - David Perera, Fierce Government
The US Military's War On PowerPoint - Kyle VanHemert, Gizmodo
And of course a blast from the past ppt that got many thinking WTF?:
The Gettysburg Powerpoint Presentation - Peter Norvig