The fallacy takes the form of:
- politicians have objective X. They may legislate a program to achieve X, or they may just want the executive branch to achieve X.
- there is a bureaucracy that has existed for a while. It has staff, budgeting and accounting procedures, offices, computers, photocopiers, an organization and a culture.
- the politicians look at the bureaucracy and say (to themselves): "No, we can't entrust our baby, our precious, to this existing bureaucracy. They wouldn't understand it, they don't share our view of its importance, they won't work hard to achieve the objective. What we really need is a new organization. We can pick the people who run it, getting those who believe in the objective, we can dispense with the old bureaucratic rules, we can get something done.
- and they do so, except the new organization has no cohesion, no procedures, no memory. Everything, and I mean everything, is new to it. What does any organization do when it faces something new--it has a meeting, to elicit ideas, to get everyone on board, to see if anyone has an answer to the question of how to turn on the lights. Net result--the new organization staggers along.
The post is also based on my experience at USDA, where we spent years and millions trying to integrate operations of the agencies that service farmers. And when we get the books on the post-war Iraq, I suspect we'll find the creation fallacy operating both at DOD and State.