|Photography / Travel|
President Johnson and Secretary of Defense McNamara (1965)
The Whiz Kids: How 10 Men Saved America
by Tim Darling (email) - July, 2008.
As an alum of 30 years at Ford and a decade at GM, I am sure that the key flaw of whiz kid/MBA logic is failure to know and anticipate that "every yin has a yang"; eg there will always be secondary consequences of any action, human or product/process. Short form: "S**t happens"; technical version: always there are byproducts. Related scuttlebutt: McNamara was only apptd Pres. of FoMoCo to validate his credentials for Secy of Defense 6 weeks later. HFII detested McNamara's aloof manner, would have never had him as real Co. pres in place. Provenance avail if desired. My MBA was during Arjay reign at Stanford. My class included Susan Packard (now Orr); while her Dad was in Washington as the Dept. of Defense "do-er". Without him to actually make things happen McNamara's ethereal fraudulence would have been evident years & many lost lives earlier. Cheers.
-- Phil Smith, Feb 22, 2009
Hi. I had read about the whiz kids when I was studying for my MBA. Since then I have always wondered what it was like to be part of them....like a club I could only observe...but never be part of. This article revives memory's of that.
-- rahul shah, Aug 5, 2009
Giulio Douhet begat Airpower theory. The experience of applying airpower theory in WWII begat Joseph Heller s "Catch 22." At the same time that "Catch 22" was being published, McNamara and the "whiz kids" were formulating theories of the application of Statistical Process Control (SPC) to warfare and more specifically the counter insurgency campaign in Vietnam. The USAAF strategic air campaign had begotten the "whiz kids" during WWII where the group was part of a management science operation within the USAAF known as Statistical Control, organized to coordinate all the operational and logistical information required to manage the waging of war. McNamara's and the "whiz kids" focus was on kill ratios (which was one American or Vietnamese soldier for every 2.6 Viet Cong or North Vietnamese killed) and People flows abstracted the war into simple numbers that could be fed into the statistical process model and also gave us the "body count." The "whiz kids" and the air war doctrine that emerged from Vietnam begat Effects Based Operations (EBO). EBO was the warfighting theory used by the USA entering into the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The theorists of EBO viewed the success of the First Gulf War and the political validation of the press as proof that the Millennium had arrived and the theories of Douhet, Trenchard, Mitchell, The "whiz kids" and those who walked in their footsteps were triumphant and air delivered bombs had become smarter than infantry soldiers. But what really hurts my head is that if the sequence number for the letter of the alphabet is used, "E" becomes 5, "B" becomes "2" and "O" becomes 15, so EBO = 22. I guess no one caught that EBO is equal to 22. So we entered the war in Iraq and Afghanistan caught on 22.
-- Chris Isgrig, Sept 7, 2009
While we may find all kinds of fault with the whiz kids, and there is plenty, it is evident that they knew more than Hnery Ford I did and they saved Ford from failure. There is no doubt that he could have done more. I was employed with Ford for 40 year and I lived through the reign of the whiz kids and I cannot forget how diverse they were in their talents and skills. Creating a cash mangement program and an accounting system earned my respect. Most employees thought Robert McNamara to be fish out of water and could see very little of his merit.
-- gerald adcock, Jun 4, 2012