Friday, April 09, 2010

Why "Humint" Is Hard to Get

Very interesting article here.

...The CIA is filled with brave, talented, patriotic, and energetic people, but the system does not encourage clandestine work. Clandestine work is hard and lonely, and it takes place in dingy hotel rooms in dysfunctional countries, far from family. Any CIA officer who goes to hunt bin Laden, for example, will be living in tough and dangerous conditions for long periods of time. Absence from CIA headquarters means the officer will not develop the connections, friendships and administrative skills necessary for advancement. Any CIA officer who goes to hunt bin Laden will return years later, unknown and unpromoteable. Espionage has come to be regarded as low-level work, meant for newly trained employees or the naive. It's much better to become a headquarters manager, with regular hours, low stress, plenty of time with the family, and stronger promotion possibilities. ...

Back about 10 or 15 years ago, the very same core issue dominated HR 'compensation' discussions. Talent was hard to find and even harder to retain--after all, senior individual contributors (such as machinists, tool-and-die builders, programmer/analysts, bio-chem developers, etc.) simply were not paid as much as were their managers--so when another opportunity arose, those senior folks left.

And they left a big hole in the company when they took off.

One solution was "two-track" compensation structures, which allowed larger salaries/wages for high-skilled non-managers, sometimes equal to or more than the salaries of their managers.

May be worth looking at again...

HT: PowerLine

1 comment:

Jacob said...

Are the humint guys from Operations still bound by federal law/executive order to not solicit information from 'criminal' sources?