There are many pathologies present in the American bureaucracy and bureaucratic agencies. The major pathologies are red tape, conflict, duplication, imperialism, and waste. Each of these pathologies had at least some sort of roots in the case of the 9/11/01 terrorist attack. Had these pathologies not been prominent in the pre-9/11 bureaucratic government, it is very likely that our intelligence communities would not have failed to detect the terrorists. The first and quite possibly the most prominent pathology is known as the red tape pathology. Red tape results from all of the complex rules and procedures that must be done in order to get anything done.
Although these rules and procedures are often necessary to maintain order and to keep the government running smoothly, they often hinder an agencies' ability to carry out necessary action. Such was the case with the terrorist attack on 9/11. For example, the 9/11 Commission Report stated that the combination of an overwhelming number of priorities and an outmoded structure resulted in an insufficient response to the challenge of terrorism. Also, accessing information on specific persons posed as a problem. The procedure was very difficult, so if one wanted to investigate the background of a suspicious person, they would have to go through a lot of paperwork and permission would have to come from the government. Thus, due to red tape, agencies such as the FBI had to battle limited intelligence collection, a limited capacity to share information, inadequate resources, and there was difficulty mobilizing armed forces.
Another pathology is known as conflict. Conflict between different agencies exists because some agencies seem to be working at cross-purposes with other agencies. Conflicts usually occur when certain agencies have very different goals from other agencies, and those opposing agencies set up opposing stipulations or give opposing advice. Conflict often gets in the way of letting agencies get done what they need to get done, and this was also the case for agencies before the attacks on 9/11.
For example, because the DCI and the intelligence community (such as the Department of Defense) often had conflicting immediate interests, the two did not work well together and did not prevent the attack. Also, some agencies wanted looser security for airlines in order to gain revenue, so the aims of those advocating security were ignored. Because of the common tendency of one agency to block out another with its own interest, such as was the case in the 9/11 attacks, conflict between agencies often stops necessary action from getting done. An equally dangerous pathology present in bureaucracy today is what is known ad duplication. Duplication involves two government agencies seem to be doing the same thing, and thus wasting time and money. Oftentimes, if the two agencies were working on more specific and at least separate things, more will get done and more people will be satisfied.
Duplication was a major problem in planning against a terrorist attack. Although very much information was being gathered, the U. S. government did not find a way of pooling intelligence and using it to guide the planning and assignment of responsibilities for joint operations. So, while the FBI, CIA, the military, and the State Department were all gathering information, they did not use all their information collectively, and essentially wasted time doing the same thing.
If there had been a better system where each agency had specified aims and each agency knew what the other was doing, it is very likely that an attack could have been prevented. A fourth type of pathology is imperialism. Imperialism refers to the tendency of agencies to grow without regard to the benefits that their programs confer or the costs that they entail. Basically, imperialism involves one agency becoming too powerful and it often results in its going out of control with not much to constrain it. Imperialism helped attribute to the inefficiency of the government to be able to use its information that it gathered. Agencies such as the FBI would work solely to obtain more information with its own prestige being its own priority, and would thus not pool its information with other sources to allow America to effectively plan for a terrorist attack.
Also, because of each agency trying to promote itself, many agencies ended up doing the same thing, which was a waste of time and money. Finally, the last bureaucratic pathology is known as waste. Waste specifically means spending more than is necessary to buy some product or service. This was a major issue in the pre-9/11 world because of the rules of government revenue sharing.
When a government gives an agency a certain amount of money, all the money that the agency does not use goes back to the national treasury. Because of this, agencies see no point in saving any money, and just spend all they want without restriction. Money that could have been used to efficiently gather information and that could have helped prevent an attack was thus wasted, and this need not have been the case. Red tape, conflict, duplication, imperialism, and waste all helped contribute to the United States' government's inability to prevent a terrorist attack on 9/11/01. All of these are pathologies that hinder the ability of the bureaucracy in America to run effectively, and this is evident in the terrorist attacks that this nation has faced. In fact, the 9/11 attacks are a perfect example of how serious an issue these pathologies are and how prominent they are in the bureaucracy, and hopefully this awareness with assist in their being prevented in the future..