Are These the 8 Worst PowerPoints the Government Has Ever Produced?

Why the new secretary of defense (temporarily) banned slide decks.


After barely two weeks on the job, new Defense Secretary Ashton Carter issued an unexpected order to commanders preparing to brief him: ditch the PowerPoint. The request, which broke with the Pentagon’s tradition of slide deck-driven presentations, only applied to a meeting in Kuwait on anti-ISIS efforts. Carter was seeking “thoughtful analysis and discussion, not fixed briefings,” a spokesman told Military Times

We’ve all sat through PowerPoint presentations that suffocate any chance for deep thought, let alone comprehension. But defense and intelligence agencies are in their own league when it comes to slide-based warfare. In honor of Carter’s small step toward less terrible meetings, here are some of the worst military and intel slides to ever see the light of day.

Afghan strategy. Or something. This slide was shown to Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal in the summer of 2009.

 

Continued. This is from the same presentation McChrystal suffered through above. Check out the entire thing here.

 

Hurrican Katrina relief efforts. It’s not clear who deserves the credit blame for this.

 

Does this make any sense? This doozy was highlighted by dataviz thinkfluencer Edward Tufte.

 

Many slides from the NSA, released by Edward Snowden, deserve to be on this list. Here are a few (via the Washington Post):

 

 

 

Honorable mention: The Pentagon’s guide to “Integrated Defense Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics Life Cycle Management System.” While not exactly a PowerPoint slide, this wall chart, found by Wired, shows just how crazy military graphics can get.

 

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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