Then you get to an aircraft carrier. You're the in port officer of the deck. You know the rules. You make sure every sentry is checking ID's.
Then someone tries to get through with a piece of laminated red paper with their name on it. You turn them away. They say, "Hey, I'm a contractor, I'm supposed to be here."
You call the Command Duty Officer. He says, "Oh, if it's a contractor, they have their own ID's, let him through."
You ask, "What do the contractor ID's look like?"
He says, "Oh, they're all different depending on the contracting company."
You ask, "Do we have samples of them, or can anyone just make one up and walk on board?"
Then you peek out and stare at the line of about 300 contractors and dock workers who, if you're doing your job, aren't going to get to work on the ship that day.
Lesson: rules are great but execution really matters.
I too had to memorize these and then once the screaming stopped, I never saw them again.
I think these are a big deal in the Marine Corps and that's it.
Sounds like the start of a NCIS episode.
Exhibit A: Snowden. (while he didn't disclose any really secret information, the NSA/etc. treated the information he disclosed as secret and expected others to treat it that way too)
So one day they spotted a sailboat going south. The request permission to shell it. The permission was granted.
Dad thought it was quite funny, the shower of fish in the air when the shell detonated.
It never occured to me until many years later, to wonder about the crew aboard the fishing boat. It was quite common for entire families to live on their fishing boats for their whole lives.
From his belt, the Auror took a mirror, tapped it once, and then said, "This is Junior Auror Arjun Altunay, I'm calling in code RJ-L20 on cell three."
"Code RJ-L20?" the mirror said in surprised tones. There was a sound of pages being flipped, then, "You want to be relieved because a prisoner is attempting psychological warfare and succeeding?"
(Amelia Bones really is quite intelligent.)
"What'd the prisoner say to you?" said the mirror.
(This question is not part of procedure RJ-L20, but unfortunately Amelia Bones has failed to include an explicit instruction that the commanding officer should not ask.)
"He's -" said the Auror, and glanced back at the cell. The Defense Professor was now leaning in back in his chair, looking quite relaxed. "He was staring at me! And humming! "
There was a pause.
The mirror spoke again. "And you're calling in an RJ-L20 over that? You're sure you're not just trying to get out of watching him?"
(Amelia Bones is surrounded by idiots.)
"You don't understand!" yelled Auror Altunay. "It's really awful humming!"
The mirror transmitted a sound of muffled laughter in the background, sounding like it was coming from more than one person. Then speech again. "Mr. Altunay, if you don't want to be busted to Junior Auror Second Class, I suggest you buckle down and get back to work -"
"Strike that," a crisp voice said, sounding slightly remote due to its distance from the mirror.
(Which is why Amelia Bones often sits in on a coordination center of the D.M.L.E. while doing her Ministry-required paperwork.)
"Auror Altunay," said the crisp voice, seeming to approach closer to the mirror, "you will be relieved shortly. Auror Ben Gutierrez, the procedure for RJ-L20 does not say that you ask why. It says that you relieve the Auror who calls it in. If I find that Aurors seem to be abusing it, I will modify the procedure to prevent its abuse -" The mirror cut off abruptly.
The five paragraph order format: Situation, Mission, Execution, Administrative and Logistics, Command and Signals. Execution always includes the commander's intent, even if it's one sentence. The situation may change, and the lower ranks need to know the goal, not just what to do.
If you like the way the military thinks, read Gen. Krulak's brief memos from when he was Commandant of the USMC. Typical Krulak: "Marines on riot control duty will be armed. If the situation does not require weapons, it does not require a Marine."
Worth reading: "The Defense of Duffer's Drift".
Though it's generally a bit lame to act all military outside of the military, especially if you've never served, and especially in front of serving or ex-serving members.
Seb would last about 10 seconds at USMC officer school before he learned he needs to stop being so mouthy.
That doesn't leave much lead time at the bottom, but the military also uses warning orders - "We're going to move out tomorrow, details to follow" - to get units ready.
EDIT: As dragonwriter (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9682195) correctly points out, it would be wrong to demand that everything written about be the unique best object in its class, and I do not mean to do so. I mean instead that the author literally singles out this document as "one of the finest written processes of all time", which seems to be more than the analysis demonstrates.
Also, because I am that guy, this:
> there's thousands of permeations of things that can go wrong
should be 'permutations' (or, more likely, probably 'combinations'), not 'permeations'.
I was reminded of the Four Rules for Firearms Handling. I think you're selling this sort of thing short, however. It's not as if some junior officer just sat down one afternoon and wrote these rules. Rather, they are the end result of a long process of trial, error, disaster, and rewriting.
I don't mean to do so!—although I see how "common-sense pragmatism" can sound derisive. I agree that it is much harder than it might seem for a document not to get in its own way; sort of the procedural version of Twain's "I would have written a shorter letter if I had had more time." I didn't in any way mean to question the value of this document, only its unicity.
> If I were to apply a de-hyperbolizing filter, I think the post title would be something more like "this document is a pretty good example of how processes can evolve and become perfected over time."
Actually, I wasn't using hyperbole at all: I've studied a lot of operations documents, and this is (literally) my favorite one of all time. It operates on many levels, effectively changes normal human behavior for a number of different actors with very different motivations and communication styles, and it's critically important.
It's also very well debugged. It's really a very fine document, again, my #1 in operations that I've read. (#2 is probably Dalio's Principles at Bridgewater.) If anyone has anything equally good as a candidate though, shoot me an email -- I love studying, corresponding about, and discussing this stuff.
Because its good enough to serve as an example, and the author was familiar with it? If there are many equally good examples, and there is value in an example, then there doesn't need to be anything above the other alternatives (and, if they are equally good, there won't be, by definition) to select a particular one -- doing so at random, or by aesthetic preference unrelated to the function is fine.
> "General Orders for Sentries" is one of the finest written processes of all-time.
seems to indicate an almost uniquely special document, whereas what I saw was a well and carefully written document that nonetheless seems not to be unique (though I have no examples to prove my contention).
To be sure, I agree that the correct outcome is likely to result only from one (or only from a few) of the possible permutations of the correct steps, and "doing the right thing at the wrong time" might as well be "doing the wrong thing"; but, I think, the same is not true of things going wrong (which is of what the author was speaking), where it is unlikely that permuting them will cause a good outcome.
No, but there are still different permutation of things that can go wrong, and different permutations (not just combinations) present different challenges, even if none of the permutations converts "gone wrong" into "good outcome".
Ah, brings me back to my Army days and having to memorize variations of these at every assignment before patrolling some of the most uninviting, inhospitable places on the planet.
What does 'not cased' mean in this context?
Secondly, this could be construed as being on the same continent as a spoiler, which, well, don't do that.
For those who've seen it, they know precisely the content to which I refer, and to those who haven't, I am in no way spoiling because of how vague I remained.
If it was a spoiler, than you can precisely predict what happens in the show in your next comment.