Saturday, November 03, 2007

Risk Aversion and Blackwater

R.J. Hillhouse is a respected academic who comments and writes on national security issues. She has an opinion piece in the latest issue of the Christian Science Monitor where she speculates that part of the blame for Blackwater's behavior in Iraq rests on the shoulders of the State Department because of its risk aversion. Since State has adopted a zero tolerance for employee casualties in Iraq, this essentially gives Blackwater carte blanche to act in whatever manner it deems necessary. An interesting theory.

Looking beyond the Blackwater situation, risk tolerance and its impacts are one of those topics that never seems to be discussed very often in the humanitarian community. Does the organization you work for do a good job of understanding its own tolerance for risk, communicating that tolerance to staff so they know what it means, and then basing decisions on the tolerance level?

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Blogger Jeff Allen said...

A little update to my last comment... it turns out that I was wrong that State Department workers in Iraq are volunteers. They used to be. But due to lack of volunteers, it seems that they are being compelled to serve in Iraq.

3:12 PM  

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