December 18, 2009
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Marvelling at the arcane Afghanistan COIN diagram, we half-jokingly remarked that “these guys need Tinderbox”.


Mark Anderson took looked at the problem and channeled his inner staff officer.

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It's a complicated diagram, and there’s no escaping the complexity unless, through analysis and reflection, planners discover ways to simplify the plan. But some things simply are complicated; coping with that complexity when it cannot be avoided is important. (Trying to reduce complexity that cannot be reduced was a frequent blunder of the last administration: see Katrina and the first months of the Iraq reconstruction for examples).

The important thing here is that one can revise the map; moving things around won’t foul up everything, and adding annotations or support data is simply a matter of selecting a note and opening its text window.

Translucent notes, a new Tinderbox 5 feature, work nicely here. One problem with the original think-tank diagram is that some labels completely obscure important information, which Mark Anderson captures here with the label “??”.

Mark Anderson reports that the chart took about 5 hours in all, though much of the time was consumed by obscurities in the original. You can grab a copy at the Tinderbox Public File Exchange.