....................."Devil's advocates". Full post here. Conclusion here:
It’s a scourge to be led by a great man, then, unless the great man is open-minded and big hearted enough to encourage others to take issue with his thinking. If not, the collective military mind closes. Doubt dissipates when it’s needed most—in the topsy-turvy realm of violent interaction among combatants determined to impose their will on one another. An institution unable or unwilling to entertain second thoughts about its assumptions or reasoning is an institution that has set itself up for failure. So it was for the Imperial Japanese Navy at the Battle of Midway. So it could be for today’s U.S. Navy, or any other institution.
Certitude is the bane of group decision-making. Physicist Richard Feynman beseeches researchers to “leave the door to the unknown ajar,” even when a scientific law appears settled. That’s doubly true for military and naval bureaucracies. After all, martial science is never settled. We should all be doubters—and seek out skeptics of Feynman’s ilk to poke holes in our schemes. Whether his input is right, wrong, or somewhere in between, the devil’s advocate invigorates strategic and operational discourses—subjecting proposals to penetrating scrutiny and bolstering the final product.