FAO Quotables

"But being right, even morally right, isn't everything. It is also important to be competent, to be consistent, and to be knowledgeable. It's important for your soldiers and diplomats to speak the language of the people you want to influence. It's important to understand the ethnic and tribal divisions of the place you hope to assist."
-Anne Applebaum

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Pentagon-ism of the Week: Bandwidth

Pentagonism of the Week


Ugh.  This word litters the corridors and cubicles of the PGON.  How did people find out how busy other people were before the advent of this word? 

Like any good PGONISM this one is perfectly nebulous and is seldom used properly. 

It might serve us well to first examine a definition of bandwidth in the literal sense. 

Bandwidth: a data transmission rate, the maximum amount of information that can be transmitted along a channel. 

Bandwidth: the carry capacity of a data internconnect.  High bandwidth connections are also called high speed connection because they can transmit large quantities of data very quickly.  

Common usage:
From senior to junior officer: "Hey boss, how's your bandwidth looking next week, mine is already pretty low?"

Translation:  "Hey officer-junior-to-me-whom-I-will-patronize-by-calling-'boss', I am looking to unload a project on someone, are you unintelligent enough to tell me you're not that busy next week?"

    Perhaps, my largest issue with this typical usage stems from the english major in me.  For the most part, one's bandwidth is fixed.  If you are a sharp and intelligent officer who manages his/her time well, then you will always have a 'high' bandwidth (i.e. the ability to process a large or high amount of information or tasks).  When you are task-saturated your bandwidth might already be taken.  In this case, a more accurate and precise response might be that one's bandwidth is already full (vs. the incorrrect high or low) the next week.  

    So I implore you to buck the trend and when someone asks you how your bandwidth is, reply that your bandwidth is a fixed high-speed data connection that is 'full as always.'..... 

FUUO's Pentagonisms:

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