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Subject: The many levels of authority

Thinking about today's discussion, it is not surprising that when we talk about authority, as with governance and management which are closely related, there is both a hierarchy of authority and parallel chains of authority.  

The Commonwealth of Virginia gives the defined role of parent certain authority over a related role identified as child, specifically the child who has a certain biological or legal relationship to the parent.  I satisfy the definition of parent and so I can assume the authority over the children with whom I have the defined relationship.  The public school system under certain circumstances assumes some of that authority with respect to my children but they do not replace me in the role of parent.  I may delegate some of my authority, say to a child care provider, but I do not transfer my role and can only delegate that authority which the Commonwealth of Virginia says I can delegate.  So certain elements of sex education cannot be delegated to the school system.

[Note the difference between the office (role) of the President and the powers (authority) of the President was very gray territory until a recent amendment.  So if the President was temporarily incapacitated, what aspects of the Presidency would the Vice President assume or exercise.  Historically, the VP did nothing because it was unclear whether the VP assumed the office or just temporary power, and if assumed, there was no process for giving it back.]

There are also parallel chains of authority.  The obvious one today is whether the Geneva Conventions apply or take precedence over authority to engage in activities authorized by the US government.  It is obviously an art form to carefully acknowledge that set of authorities that justify the actions one believes are desirable or necessary.

Now I believe all this is relevant but I'm not sure how it all shows up in our models.


Ken Laskey
MITRE Corporation, M/S H305     phone:  703-983-7934
7515 Colshire Drive                        fax:        703-983-1379
McLean VA 22102-7508


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