Friday, October 07, 2005

All Those Al Qaeda Number Twos: Get Me a Consultant!

All Those Al Qaeda Number Twos: Get Me a Consultant!
RJ Eskow

With all these captured or killed Number Twos and Threes we keep hearing about, Al Qaeda must have more Vice Presidents than an ad agency. Bet there are some nasty fights over office (or cave) size. They wouldn’t have name plates on the doors, though, would they? I’ve heard Disney doesn’t, either.

(Hmmm …) While today’s New York scare and all the “Number Two” claims raise the usual questions about government credibility, maybe the explanation is simpler: the terrorists have a management problem.

Al Qaeda seems to be a top-heavy organization, like Enron. So all those local “franchises” we keep hearing about must be getting hit with some heavy corporate overhead. Somebody’s paying the cost for all these Number Twos, and you know the kind of friction that can create. Soon the guys in the field start resenting the Home Office, and the snide, half-whispered comments begin - “I’m from Corporate and I’m here to help,” ha ha. “Why are Corporate guys like pigeons? Because they fly in, crap on everything, and fly out again.” Boy, if the water coolers at the branch office could talk ...

Now Michael Bloomberg – who certainly knows how to run a company – says there’s a terror threat in New York, but officials in Washington disagree. The Feds say the Iraq-based source of the New York threat isn’t well-placed enough to know about this kind of plot – but then, they can’t be sure. That’s the problem: All those billions for intelligence, and there isn’t even a decent org chart we can consult.

Maybe we need a few dozen consultants in starched shirts to go over to Aghanistan or Pakistan to clean up their management structure. We don't even know who's in charge of what over there. So let’s draft some guys and gals from McKinsey and get that outfit straightened out. A little B-school expertise could go a long way to making Al Qaeda a solid, well-run organization we can understand – and then crush.

Where’s that “MBA President” when we need him?