Consider it a new version of death by PowerPoint. The NATO command in Afghanistan has fired a staff officer who publicly criticized its interminable briefings, its overreliance on Microsoft’s slideshow program, and what he considered its crushing bureaucracy.
Army Colonel Lawrence Sellin, a 61-year old reservist from New Jersey who served in Afghanistan and Iraq prior to this deployment, got the sack yesterday from his job as a staff officer at the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command in Kabul. It was barely 48 hours after United Press International ran a passionate op-ed he wrote to lament that “little of substance is really done here.” He tells Danger Room, “I feel quite rather alone here at the moment.”
The colonel’s rant called into question whether ISAF’s revamped command structure, charged with coordinating the day-by-day war effort, was much more than a briefing factory. Or, as Sellin put it, “endless tinkering with PowerPoint slides to conform with the idiosyncrasies of cognitively challenged generals in order to spoon-feed them information.” According to Sellin, when his commanding general (whom he doesn’t want to name) saw that Sellin described IJC as a blinkered bureaucracy, he informed the colonel that it was time to pack his things. “He was very polite and shook my hand and wished me luck,” Sellin says.