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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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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