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« The Army, the Web, and the Case for Intentional Emergence | Main | Survival of the Best Informed »

February 05, 2009


Joel Jackson

Hi Jim.

One additional thought that comes from reading this is that there are two issues very easy to confound: privacy and control. In the world of proprietary technology, privacy is a given and control is the challenge. In the world of open source, privacy and control are separate, and it's important (for all the reasons you state) to not try to reestablish privacy through over-active uses of control.

Paul Lin

Great post, Jim. Makes me wonder what steps are being taken in the Army's training doctrine to address NetCentricity. If soldiers are going to be the force behind this emergence, the current automation MOS training is woefully inadequate. I think this is one of the major roadblocks in encouraging innovation and creativity at the edge.

Rich Erickson

It's arguable, but I think necessary for the DOD to provide a framework for emergence to flower. In a capitalist society, the government needs to provide certain things to facilitate entrepreneurial emergence. For example, it must provide basic infrastructure, a currency, laws and regulation to promote entrepreneurial activity. Too little regulation and you get something like the current financial fiasco--the equivalent of which, in the SOA world, might be vast pools of SOA services with meaningless SLAs that no one would dare bet their projects on. Of course, the 'return' on regulation varies and has a sweet spot: too little is bad but too much takes you toward rigid central control. So the artful question is what exactly should the DOD be doing centrally to faciliate the kind of emergent environment you advocate? I have some ideas but will save them for another post.

Jim Stogdill

@ Rich. I agree with you. Emergence won't happen in the DoD unless the DoD decides that it is a goal and establishes platforms, policies and practices that encourage it, reward it, and in the appropriate ways constrain it. This post made no effort to say what those things would be because that would be way too much scope for one post. With this post I was just hoping to address why it is necessary. If you post your thoughts somewhere on the lever pulling please post a link here in a comment. I'd love to read it. thx

John Scott

i think this quotes helps:

Any organization that designs a system will produce a design whose structure is a copy of the organization's communication structure.
- Conway’s Law

Jim Stogdill

John, that's one of my favorite "laws" to cite. I've thought for a long time that continuing to organize acquisition programs vertically (e.g. system x) while expecting horizontal outcomes (e.g. NetCentricity) was self defeating. Is this what you are saying?

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