Government management by manual

Ms. Charlene Lamb from the State Department was identified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee as the person most directly responsible for the rejection of multiple requests by the diplomatic mission in Libya for additional security personnel.  Quoting from the Committee transcript, Congressman Issa, Chairman of the Committee, during questioning said to Ms. Lamb,

ISSA: "Now the problem I have is that the State Department is basically saying Mr. Nordstrom didn't do his job, he didn't make a formal request for justification, the Ambassador didn't do his job, he didn't do a good enough case, and that is what you are standing behind here today in addition to saying "Well, there were five people there, therefore." An embassy, a compound owned by us and serving like a consulate was in fact breached less than 60 days before, approximately 60 days before the murder of the ambassador in that facility.  Isn't that true?"  

LAMB: "Sir, we had the correct number of assets in Benghazi at the time of 9/11 for what had been agreed upon." 

Issa's time had expired.  There were no follow up questions and there have been no requests for clarification from other sources.  The statement made by Ms. Lamb is quoted in most reports of the hearing an then ignored, but it is possibly the most revealing comment made by Ms. Lamb.  She had the correct number of assets in Benghazi.  

Having the "correct number of assets" implies she was guided by a rule to be followed, a binder of instructions, a manual. What supplied her standard for the correct number was never explored.   

Manuals, written instructions to be followed, have become the norm.  Ms. Jody Farhat was the Water Management Chief for the Corp of engineers during the Missouri River flood of 2011. She gives the clearest insight into how the culture of manual management works.  Ms. Farhat was repeatedly warned that the snow pack was 500% above normal in the mountains that drained into the Missouri River and the soil saturation in much of the Dakotas and Montana was at the level of 99%.  Epic flooding was inevitable.  Ms. Farhat says she made no mistakes and operated in accordance with the manual and released water into the Missouri as the manual specified. 

When asked why she did not take the 500% excess snow level and ground saturation into account, Ms. Farhat said that in the manual fluctuations in snow level "doesn't make any difference.  We reached right where we needed to be," she said, referring the reservoir levels measured on March 1st. 

"The way the manual is written, that is always the target.  It's not like we have targets here or there depending on wet or dry years."   

The examples of management by manual are legion.  With the installation of Affirmative Action quotas as the staffing standard for hiring and promotion throughout business and the government, too many in decision making positions are incapable of making decisions.  

But they have a manual they can follow regardless of circumstances.  CYA