Things Your SgtMaj Hates: “Briefs”

“PowerPoint makes us stupid.” – Gen. James N. Mattis

Imagine the man hours put into a slide meant to say two words: “It’s complicated.”

In the military we refer to briefs and other meetings by various three letter acronyms. These range from MUA, BUB, CUB, back rub, IPC, MPC, FPC, VTC, rescue me. There are also in briefs, out briefs, libo briefs, and boxer briefs. I am renowned for my absolute distaste for attending any of these.  This is usually due to the fact the person briefing has no concept of what the word ‘brief’ actually means.

There is a particular kind of officer who feels the more he drones on the more it will seem like he knows what he’s doing. Here’s a news flash, the CO doesn’t equate your brilliance with the amount of time you yammer on about things he doesn’t need to hear.

“Yes sir, we switched from Folgers to Starbucks at the coffee mess and it seems to have improved morale by 37%. This is pretty good, particularly since we stopped using toilet water to brew it. Our new water is bottled fresh from an artesian aquifer. It contains ground water under positive pressure in order to achieve hydrostatic equilibrium.”

Even scarier are the brain surgeons who boast about the number of slides their brief contains. My habit is to deduct one IQ point from the briefer for every slide they inflict on their audience. I’ve heard of baffling people with bullshit,  but numbing us with nonsense is not helping anyone accomplish the mission.

I had a company commander nearly commit ritual suicide after a full day of meetings at the battalion CP. Suffice it to say there was nothing ‘brief’ about his experience. He related how they were briefing the battalion commander about various subjects throughout the morning. That afternoon they were still in meetings, though now labeled with a different three letter acronym. When the CO was briefed about the same issue he had heard about in the morning he remarked with irritation: “How come we can’t make any progress on this!” None of the officers had the courage to point out they’d all been trapped in the conference room the entire day.

I could go on, but I didn’t upload my slides.

Semper Brevis!
America’s SgtMaj

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  1. Imo, this is a failure related to lack of leadership at the command level responsible for the briefer AND the command level receiving the brief.

    No one listens to bloated briefs. Allowing briefs to become bloated is incompetence.

    – Grimmy

  2. I hate to burst anyone’s notion [if they so hold such], but it’s no better on the outside. After a career of being a simple Infantryman trying to dodge .ppt and the hell of staff…..working in the Intelligence Community, simply subjects me to all that I had previously missed.

    There’s not enough bandwidth available for us to fight and win the next conventional war. I thank China has us beat already.

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