“… the final theme present… throughout the armed forces today is KAFCA, pronounced Kafca (since this is a military book I have made up an acronym.) KAFCA is Keeping the Able From Contributing to the Action. Inside the armed services, this problem is more politely referred to as “personnel mismanagement.” – Arthur T. Hadley in The Straw Giant

I recollected reading that book and nodding in sober agreement when it first came out, A lot of what Mr. Hadley wrote in it was congruent to what I experienced as a member of the military, beginning in the mid-1970s, when the military was just beginning to recover from the demoralization of the Vietnam era. I was reminded, though, of that particular expression upon reading these two links, posted at Bayou Renaissance Man; the first which outlined what happens when the competent operators at any given company or organization decide to walk away, and the second outlining how the unending quest for a properly diverse workforce at the expense of competence, task knowledge and skill.

“…The combination of new employees hired for diversity, not competence, and the declining engagement of the highly competent sets the stage for failures of increasing frequency and magnitude … In straightforward work, declining competency means that things happen more slowly, and products are lower quality or more expensive. In complex systems, declining competency results in catastrophic failures.”

We have just had a demonstration over these few days of what can happen when exciting, politically-correct diversity in employees is prized by management over competence, unsparing attention to detail and professional expertise. It appears that the missing submersible on a deep dive with a cargo of wealthy spectators down to take a first-hand look at the wreck of the RMS Titanic imploded, instantly killing all aboard it, just as the fired marine expert, one David Lochridge feared that it would, and for the reasons that he specified. But the CEO of OceanGate Expeditions wanted to go for more diverse, younger experts in deep-dive marine cutting-edge technology … well, at least, he put himself and his money where his mouth was, in his own submersible unit. Comment as you wish … do you think that after this widely publicized disaster (and others, like the meltdown of Tranhauser-Busch) will cause the soberer members among our corporate overlords to think twice before embracing diversity and mediocrity?)

1 Comment

  1. Jim Bartlett

    USN said it imploded Sunday. Why did USCG jerk everybody around all week? Not Confirmed? Exactly how many survivors of failed pressure vessel are expected at 12,000 feet?