Preppers Preparing

Preppers

A very interesting article in the Washington Post on the prepper movement.


People are concerned about the inaction, misdirection, and chaos of where things are going, and they are preparing for a potential post-apocalyptic America and world.


Grave worries seem to be coming from a multitude of concerns whether about an eventual bursting of the bubble of our national debt and the downfall of our economy and associated good jobs, an outbreak of ebola or a deadly influenza, a dirty bomb by Iran or North Korea, a cyber attack or EMP that takes out our critical infrastructure including electricity and anything with computer circuits, or a devastating natural disaster, many of which are considered “overdue.”


The preppers are moving to the American Redoubt (pacific northwest–Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Washington and Oregon.


They are buying and building defensible homes (bunkers and “fortresses”), stockpiling food, weapons, and ammunition, and preparing for life off the grid with water sources, solar farms, and secure storage.


While survivalists have always existed, the numbers of concerned, disaffected, and generally disgruntled citizens seems be growing exponentially along with prepper network shows, books, blogs, websites, and sales of survival gear.


Many people seem to either feel insecure, fearful, uncertain, or that we are simply going in the wrong direction, and that it is only a matter of time until there is some sort of major earth shattering, society destabilizing disaster, and not everyone will survive.


So from home shelters to luxury underground bunkers, preppers are putting their money and efforts where their mouths are, and are preparing for potentially the worst.


If as all agree that an important part of the government’s job is to ensure the national security of the country, and protect life, liberty, and property, then something seems to be going very wrong that many people are feeling so insecure and unprotected physically and in terms of their human rights.


From corruption to divisiveness, dependency, and dirty dealing, communication and trust between government and the governed is being needlessly undermined.


Why can’t we get some decent leaders with a solid moral compass, and a real plan to bring us back from forever walking the brink to a nation of strength and unity, prosperity and health, and a superpower not only today, but for the future, once again. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

When You Gotta Go

Toilet.jpeg.jpg

We went hiking the trails yesterday in Maryland along Rock Creek.

And we came across this makeshift toilet in the woods. 

Surprised at all by what you see? 

Apparently, the hole in the tree wasn’t enough for someone.

They took the liberty of literally hauling a toilet seat out to the middle of the woods here and adding it to nature’s wonders. 

I suppose they must’ve really wanted that homey feeling when they take care of their business. 

Who says America’s has lost it’s creative talent?

From the big cities to the wooded suburbs, we are a nation that does our business and does it extremely well. 

Especially during election time when some politicians can be so very full of it and of themselves. 

Can anyone see why we need to reestablish leadership and competitive advantage in this country? 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

>Architecting A Secure Society

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Once again, we are confronted with the basic security question of how much is the right amount?

It’s a classic catch-22 that requires us to architect security to meet opposing ends: we expect security to be as much as necessary to stop the terrorists, but as little as possible to ensure efficient travel and trade and maintain people’s privacy and equality.

In the last decades, we have behaved schizophrenically, calling for more security every time there is an attempted attack, only to withdraw and demand greater privacy protections, speedier security processing, and only random checks when things cool down.

The Wall Street Journal reported in the January 9-10, 2010 edition that the U.S.’s handling of security nowadays is an ever-losing proposition. The article calls it a virtual game of “Terrorball,” in which we cannot win, because there only two perpetual rules:

· “The game lasts as long as there are terrorists who want to harm Americans; and

· If terrorists should manage to kill or injure or seriously frighten any of us, they win.”

Based on the above, I believe that we can only win the game by changing its rules. Rather than being reactive to every terror scare, we are prepared with one approach—one that delivers an optimal level of security based on the current level of risk.

I recall when Michael Chertoff was Secretary of Homeland Security. During that time, he was a strong advocate for a risk-based approach that was multilayered, strong yet flexible enough to accommodate changing circumstances. From that perspective, which I think made a lot of sense: security decisions are made on the basis of objective criteria. These include technical feasibility, maximum effect, cost-benefit analysis, and so on.

A risk-based approach, or what I call “optimal security,” clearly makes a lot of sense. Yet it is tempting, when a security situation actually occurs, to let emotions get the better of us. On the one extreme, sometimes hysteria takes place and everybody seems a potential threat. Other times, we get angry that anyone at all is subjected to scrutiny or questioning.

In order to save the most lives and change the terror game, we have to decide to become more rational about the threat that faces us. This doesn’t mean being cold and calculating, but rather rational and proactive in developing a security architecture and governance that seeks to protect the most with the least negative impacts—but not trying to plug every possible hole at all costs.

In optimal security: sure, there is the ideal where we want to protect every American from every possible threat. However, there is also the reality where, because of competing priorities and scarce resources (to address everything from the deficit, health care, education, social programs, energy, science, defense, and more) we cannot—no matter how much we genuinely want to—prevent every terror instance.

So the terror playbook can and should be transformed. We can recognize there will always be terrorists—enemies of the state—who want to harm us and given enough attempts, no matter how optimal our security, they will occasionally get a sucker punch in on us—and we must be prepared for this. Moreover, rather than “freaking out” about this the terror threat, we can grow and commit to doing the best we can and accepting that we will increase security when information is there to support that need, and we will relax when that becomes possible.

Bottom line: We must move away from hysteria and any other factor that prevents us from being objective and make rational choices to deploy protections that are most effective and simultaneously safeguard our liberty.

“Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” captures the security debate well. We want to safeguard lives, but at the same ensure liberty and we want to be happy and not afraid all the time.

To accomplish this balance, our optimal security realization should be based on highly effective intelligence, supported by the very best technology, and a security platform that adjusts to threats in real time.

While our intelligence continues to strengthen and our technology continues to improve, the greatest challenge is our ability as a nation and as individual human beings to cope with the distress caused by terrorism.

We are ambivalent emotionally about the threat and what needs to be done to combat it. However, once we look inside and understand the emotions that this issue raises, and come to terms with reality we face, we will as a nation be more at peace and less likely to jump from one extreme to another in terms of our demands and expectations from those who protect us every day.

>“National Innovation Strategy” and Enterprise Architecture

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I believe most people would say that the United States is one of the most innovative countries in the world. And this in no small way has led to immense wealth creation for the people of this nation collectively.

If you think about most of the modern day conveniences we have, I believe the vast majority were innovated right here in the good ‘ol US of A. For example, think internet, computer, automobile, airplane, and so on.

Nevertheless many have argued that our innovativeness and engineering prowess has declined over the years.

One interesting news blog on CNET on 7 February 2008 calls for the need for a “national innovation strategy,” to get us out from being “stuck in ‘incrementalism.’”

The author, a former Harvard Business School professor, gives a number of reasons that we should be concerned about our innovativeness:

  1. Inadequate public education system—this one is not new; people have complained for years about the state of public education in this country. And while the No Child Left Behind initiative has helped, the system is still not where it should be. As the author states, “the U.S. public education system does not adequately prepare students.”
  2. Federal grant system—“inconsistent priorities and lacks funding.”
  3. Overseas opportunities—“there are more opportunities for students and scientists in places outside the United States.”
  4. Fewer doctorates (and engineers)—For example, “Finland has twice as many Ph.D.’s per capita as the U.S.”
  5. It’s a free for all—“different countries have different models, ranging from heavy government direction like Finland, to the U.S. style ‘let ‘er rip” system that relies on bottom-up innovation…a better model is a hybrid that involves many parties, including government, academia, business, and entrepreneurs.”

While I agree that we face many problems in retaining our edge in innovation, I do believe that at heart we are a nation of innovators. And this is founded in republicanism, liberty, capitalism, and our market economy, where we are taught from birth that anyone can be anything (even the President of the United States).

Moreover, I have never seen a dearth of good ideas being talked about, but rather the shortage is perhaps more in the ability to execute on those than in the creative process itself.

Enterprise architecture is itself a discipline founded in creativity, and hence the structure of defining the baseline, looking outward and establishing a target state, and planning the transition. This does not have to be about incrementalism, but can in fact represent true enterprise innovation.