In my last post, I challenged my concept of a political party based on dedomenocracy principles to address the hard problems facing government, problems that can not be reduced to short term rule making. I picked the topic of the debt crisis involving unfunded (or under-funded) entitlements. I came up with an answer that comes from dedomenocracy and may be of some help in the future. That answer was to immediately implement a more transparent accounting of debt increases to identify specifically what program or agency it is funding. This answer does nothing to change the imbalance. It neither reduces benefits, nor increases taxes. The benefit is a future one that provides better data for us to debate about the wisdom of incurring debts for paying off entitlements that may never provide a future return. The benefit is a hope that having better data will make the debate more tractable. However, this suggestion is a clever dodge from the original intent of holding Dedomenocratic Party to provide leadership to solve a pressing problem. The dodge assumes that that crisis can wait 5-10 years to get better data on the debt allocation.
That discussion did not answer the challenge of showing how Dedomenocratic Party can provide leadership. Instead it was a demonstration that the party can act like the existing parties by postponing the hard choices by introducing a diversion based on the concept that something that can not be measured can not be managed. That is not leadership. However, from a party whose platform is based on data technologies, the recommendation is reasonable. To make good decisions based on data, we need better data. The recommendation is also feasible because we are currently not experiencing a crisis, and not sure when the crisis will occur.
To challenge the leadership potential of a Dedomenocratic Party, I need to confront it with an immediate crisis that requires decisive action based on available data.
As I mentioned in my last post:
the concept of dedomenocracy scales up market-analytics (involving programmed decision making) and apply it to government. The discussion of a dedomenocracy assumes all competing governments were similar to competing commercial businesses
A way to challenge Dedomenocratic Party (inspired by dedomenocracy) is to confront it with an international issue where the adversary certainly has no inspiration from dedomenocracy. In this country, the government is preparing to pass a new authorization for force to use in Iraq and Syria. This is going to involve a debate between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, and both with the President.
The challenge to the Dedomenocratic Party is to provide a valuable contribution to this debate involving a choice to pursue immediate action that can not be postponed by diversionary suggestions.
As I outlined in an earlier post, a dedomenocracy focuses its short-lived rules on the most urgent issues. The president’s request for a 3-year non-renewable commitment satisfies the concept of a short-lived rule. The first question for a Dedomenocratic Party is whether there is sufficient urgency to invoke this rule now. It is not entirely clear that the urgency warrants this action now.
As I see it, there are two arguments for urgency.
One is the public demand for action given the war propaganda through the release of horrifying videos of inhumane acts against hostages and prisoners. As I discussed in an earlier post, the urgency for dedomenocracy rules should be based on data instead of popular demand in order to avoid a disruptive path of majority rule for determining actions. In this case, the enemy propaganda is deliberately designed to provoke this type of response. We should not dismiss this information, but we should recognize that that popular demand for action is being manipulated and may distort the perception of an urgent need to act now.
The second argument for urgency is a military one that I have very little information about. My guess is that the military sense of urgency is to intervene earlier to prevent the enemy from gaining more territory and strength. I assume the leaders in government have good information about this military urgency. Assuming that the Dedomenocratic Party would have a position in congress, it would have access to at least enough information about this to persuade the approval for the force. Based on my dedomenocracy concepts, the Dedomenocratic part would defer to the military analytics of urgency because dedomenocracy demands obligation to follow the analytic solutions if they are fully automated. In practical terms, something this complex involves presentations of human computations with an intention to persuade. In other words, we will not get a raw automated calculation of urgency like what I imagine would be available in a future dedomenocracy.
As in a dedomenocracy, the Dedomenocratic party can request access to the input data and the algorithms used to compute the conclusion, assuming appropriate clearances are met. If the data or algorithms are suspect or insufficient, the Dedomenocratic Party may reject the legitimacy of the military’s assessment of urgency. I don’t think this would be the case, but I allow this an option for a principled response by the Dedomenocratic Party.
Assuming that the Dedomenocratic party rejects the case for urgency, this raises the bar for how urgent the issue must be to persuade the party to support an authorization. One argument (apparently operative here) is that the authorization is needed in advance of a serious urgency because if that urgency were to appear there would not be enough time for Congress to authorize a response. This claim is disputed. At least for most cases when an emergency arises congress can authorize a response fast enough. This counter-claim supposes that the convincing data and its analytics will arrive fast enough to support a timely decision in the future, but that that data has not yet arrived to support an immediate decision.
In my discussion of future dedomenocracy, I assume future technical capabilities to support handling far more data volume at far faster velocities that we can currently handle. We need a lot more data to automate federal-level decision making, and this would be especially true for authorization military action. That technology is not available to us now. If we reject the current evidence for urgency as being insufficient, then it seems even more unlikely that we’ll be quick enough in accepting new data that is sufficient.
A Dedomenocratic Party perspective is probably equally skeptical that sufficient evidence exists for urgency for immediate authorization or that congress can respond fast enough when more persuasive data becomes available. Either decision can be equally dissatisfying to the Dedomenocratic party. This is not helpful in the debate.
The Dedomenocracy Party can suggest a different approach that mimics a dedomenocracy but specifically for this purpose of authorizing force when needed in the future. I base this model on the recent complaints that the President’s execution of current actions in the region involve micromanaging the military without setting a larger strategic objective. This kind of micromanagement is consistent with what I would expect from a dedomenocracy approach to the problem. As I discussed in the earlier posts linked above, the dedomenocracy issues short-lived rules at high frequency without being burdened by a need for a larger human comprehensible Truth, or even for consistent from one rule to the next. The rules coming out of a dedomenocracy will appear to be the same kind of micromanaging.
In other words, the current administration’s execution of the war by micromanaging the military is consistent in behavior to a dedomenocracy system of automated rule making, except the rules are made by humans instead of algorithms. The explanation for the deliberate vagueness of the President’s request for formal authorization is consistent with continuing this exact policy of short-term decisions responding to the most immediate information without an overarching strategy or objective.
The President’s approach is very similar to what will happen within a dedomenocracy with the exception that a dedomenocracy would be automated decision making instead of having humans make the decisions. The Dedomenocratic party could find common ground with the President’s plan because it is similar to how a dedomenocracy would execute the war (if there were sufficient data volume and velocity to give confidence it can make good decisions).
To address this particular threat, we need a system in place to respond to immediate opportunities and risks. Congress can authorize a concept that will make this kind of system operate but only for a short 3-year period such as the President recommends.
However, the complaint about non-military trained humans micromanaging military decisions remains a valid problem. To maintain civilian control of the military, the directions must come from the executive branch instead of the military. However, the to address this particular threat, the orders must be very narrow, changing several times a week without any well defined overall strategy. Such narrow decisions are more efficiently handled by the military. We need a solution that maintains civilian control (and accountability) for military actions while having those detailed actions informed by military expertise.
A possible solution may be to create an independent board of civilians that will make these day-to-day decisions to direct the military. The board would be staffed with military professionals but not in active service (such as senior military consultants). The board would make its day to day decisions independently of the President or of Congress although either can terminate the board when there is no longer a need for their actions.
I was thinking of the IPAB (Independent Payment Advisory Board) of the affordable care act as a model for this military action board. It may be a weak analogy, but the idea is to set up a panel of experts empowered to make well-informed decisions but in a civilian capacity. The board can act independently for the duration that the President and Congress allows it to operate. Congress or the President can shut down the board entirely, but otherwise they would not be able to interfere with the board’s decisions while it is active.
The Dedomenocratic Party could contribute to the current debate for authorization military force. Instead of agreeing with an immediate urgency for authorizing military force, the proposal would be to set up an independent board of military and foreign policy experts who are civilians (not currently active in military). This board will decide when there is an immediate need for action and what exact short-term action is needed. This board can provide the civilian but expect micromanaging of military operations needed to address the rapidly evolving asymmetric non-state threat. The solution is similar to the President’s request except for a creation of a new board with staff dedicated for this particular purpose alone. The staff should have credentials and expertise confirmed by congress (the Senate) and approved by the President. Once the board is in operation, it will operate independently until the entire board is dissolved.
Such a board will operation similar to the automated rule-making algorithms in a dedomenocracy, but staffed by humans due to the current reality that we lack the technology to automate these decisions. Like the dedomenocracy automated algorithms, the board will operate independently and have the authority to impose the short-lived rules it makes.
One thought on “Dedomenocratic Party in a democracy facing external enemies”
Here is a counter argument opinion that makes the case for why the president and not the congress controls and directs the military. He lists three reasons based on original intent based on the international threat environment at the time during the late 18th century and concludes:
This is more or less what I’m proposing in the above post. That congress create a deliberative body of civilians who are military experts to direct the daily operation of an asymmetric and ambiguous war. I am not sure if the constitution forbids this kind of interference with the presidential powers, and if so we should consider amending the constitution to permit a modern dilemma of warfare unforeseen by the founders: were we are a superpower with a global role in maintaining world-wide stability facing dangerous but non-state enemies. The concept of how we need to use the military does not fit the neat little definitions of war as it was perceived in the 18th century. It is foolish to constrain ourselves to outdated concepts that are clearly not suited for the current environment.