The U.S. military's PowerPoint addiction

The U.S. armed forces are obsessed with PowerPoint, and some commanders say it's hurting the war effort. Really?

Army's PowerPoint madness
(Image credit: Defense Department, via MSNBC)

"PowerPoint makes us stupid," says Marine Corps Gen. James N. Mattis, summarizing a growing concern in the armed forces that U.S. commanders' "near obsession" with the Microsoft presentation software is becoming a big problem. It oversimplifies complex issues, gives an illusion of easy solutions, dumbs down analysis, and sucks up human resources, PowerPoint haters say — and it could be hurting the war effort. Is PowerPoint really a military threat? (Watch Americans struggle to read the complicated PowerPoint slide)

It's not just the armed forces: The military's concern about PowerPoint is "basically dead on," says Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry in Business Insider. In fact, "it applies to pretty much any organization that cares about productivity," not just the army. Still, the program is "too damn convenient" to disappear on its own — the military has to "fight it tooth and nail" to win the war on PowerPoint.

"The biggest enemy in the War On Terror? PowerPoint"

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The problem is the haters, not the software: "It's a poor craftsman who blames his tools," says Ken Houghton in Angry Bear, and any military commander who complains that a PowerPoint slide is the problem should go look in the mirror. Take the "bowl of spaghetti" graphic that has some "generals' panties in twists" — if they think that's too complicated, they have no business overseeing the Afghanistan war.

"The NY Times jumps the shark—again"

Same garbage, different day: The complaints about PowerPoint "cracked me up," says John Cole in Balloon Juice, because the military hasn't learned anything. "In my day, it was all about what we called 'cheese charts,'" which featured bullet point presentations printed on "pads of paper the size of Montana" perched on giant, military-issued easels. "All they’ve done now is gone high-tech."

"PowerPoint IS evil"

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