Saturday, April 12, 2014
K - KNOWLEDGE
I am a fan of former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. He has served our nation with distinction in a number of positions in the Executive Branch of our government. He was the youngest Secretary of Defense in our nation's history which has to tell you something about the man's intelligence and skill.
What has this got to do with "Knowledge" you may be asking? Well, Secretary Rumsfeld gave an interview during which he was trying to explain how it was that certain decisions were made, specifically during the Iraq War. He said that when you are considering a decision you never have 100% of the facts. He said (1) there are things that you know you know; (2) there are things that you know you don't know; and (3) there are things that you don't know you don't know. He said it is the things that you don't know you don't know that keeps him awake at night.
Let me give you a practical example of how this might have worked. Towards the end of World War II in the Pacific Theater, the Japanese authorities knew that they were beaten. They knew that the Allies were advancing towards their home islands. They knew that the Allies had air and naval superiority.
What they knew they didn't know with any specificity was how the Allied powers were going to apply their superiority against them. They knew they didn't know how or when the Allies would invade their home islands.
What they didn't know they didn't know was the existence of the Manhattan Project, that the Americans had produced the worlds first nuclear weapon. We all know what happened at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
I agree with Secretary Rumsfeld, what we don't know we don't know can be very frightening. Think about it. What do you think?