Always Be Prepared

Emergency Preparedness.jpeg

It was nice going to a local festival yesterday and seeing a table set up with brochures for the kids and families on Emergency Preparedness. 


Even when we’re having a good time, we need to have in mind the possibility that things can go very wrong.


These last couples of weeks with Hurricane Harvey and Irma, we saw again the destructive forces that Mother Nature can bring. 


And today being the 16th Anniversary since the terror attacks on 9/11 and the almost 3,000 murdered at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, we are reminded of the necessity to always be ready for man-made/inflicted disasters as well. 


Now with Axis of Evil nations, North Korea and Iran, continuing to pose alarming threats to the West, the need for preparation and readiness to dangerous WMD–whether from an ICBM or a suitcase bomb–is ever present


Let’s just say until the final redemption when peace will reign on earth, we can never just rest securely on our laurels. 


Even on a sunny day, the clouds may be gathering to threaten us.  


So have a plan.  Be prepared.  You and your families lives across our beautiful and free nation depend on it. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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Ever Feel Like You’re Target Practice

Target.jpeg

Thought this was really spot on.


The knives get sharpened and readied. 


At some point, they come flying out of nowhere. 


Often, from all directions at the same time.  


When it rains, it pours. 


Some people latch on to the opportunity to try and make a kill. 


You do your best to duck this way and that and survive the onslaught.


Hopefully, you were adequately prepared. 


The big question is–can you hold unto your cheese? 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Navy Under Attack

Collision.JPEG

So there was another collision of a U.S. Navy Destroyer.


The Navy destroyer collided early today with an oil tanker off of Singapore. 


10 sailors are missing and there is significant hull damage. 


This is the 4th known accident just this year of our Navy vessels in Asia waters.


And previously I wrote incredulously about the last Navy collision with a massive container ship in June that resulted in 7 dead. 


How do U.S. Navy ships with the most advanced sensors, navigation, weapons, and command and controls systems in the world–that are supposed to be protecting us–just simply collide with other ships like toys in a bathtub?


These Navy ships are a vital projection of U.S. might, and are supposed to be able to keep the worst foes away and keep our dedicated men and women warfighters safe at sea–whether from bomb-laden terrorist attack speed boats to anti-access/area denial missiles and all threats from on, above, or below. 


Yet, they just keep crashing…


There was supposedly some buzz online about a stealthy new cyber weapon that is attacking our ships and making them useless and helpless pieces of (G-d forbid) floating junk at sea or perhaps enabling them to be hacked and electronically commandeered and controlled in order to crash them.


Either way, how many collisions does it take for this to become a concerning problem with our Navy’s ability to manage the ships under their command and be ever war-ready. 


Our ships are a major element of our national strength and security, and loss of control implies a potentially great risk to our nation. 


We need our Navy and their tremendous people, assets, and expertise to safeguard our people, freedom, and democracy.


A few months ago, there was a hackathon to test the Navy’s systems’ security–and most certainly, this is a crucial type of test that we potentially face every day in real life.


These are challenging times for everything cybersecurity, so let’s make sure we have all the capabilities we need and are fully up to the task to defend ourselves and take out our enemies–it’s not just our Navy in the spotlight and at risk. 😉 


(Source Photo: With attribution to CNN and adapted from here)

Paper Navy Tiger

Damaged Navy Warship.jpeg

We spend $600 billion on defense and this is what we get?


In the middle of the night our U.S. Navy DESTROYER crashes with a ginormous container ship.


The commercial vessel (yes it’s bigger, but it’s a civilian ship) is lightly damaged, but the U.S. Navy BATTLESHIP (after having undergone a recent $21 million upgrade) has 7 dead, the captain injured, and it can barely make it back to its port except with tugboats for extensive repairs. 


WTF!


How does an battleship with the latest sensors and technology collide with a civilian ship–how did such a foreign vessel even get close to our navy ship let alone collide with it–was someone completely “asleep at the wheel?”


This is no joke!–this is our first line of defense in our ability to project force globally. 


What if this had been a terrorist ship laden to the hilt with high explosives or an Axis of Evil Iranian or North Korean fast attack craft or even a Russian or Chinese attack submarine–surprise!


Doesn’t a battleship need to be ever-vigilant and -ready for battle? 


How can we fight sophisticated 21st century militaries with advanced ship-killer cruise missiles, torpedos, and mines, if we can’t even avoid the essential sinking of one our own fighting ships in peacetime. 


Our brave men and women who take up the uniform to serve this great nation–and this country–DESERVE BETTER!


Does this paper navy ship with a punched hole in it represent a larger forgotten or war-weary military in dire need of modernization and genuine readiness to defend the beautiful and free America? 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal via The Guardian)

A Blooper With Our Blimps

Military Blimp

Oops, so this is one for the books…


The multi-billion dollar Raytheon-built military JLENS surveillance blimps are pictured above.


They are supposed to sense and alert us to a possible devastating surprise cruise missile attack on the U.S. eastern seaboard.


However, one of them lost its tethering and went sailing into the skies and had to itself be tracked by NORAD and two scrambled F-16 fighter jets. 


What was designed to surveil instead needed surveillance. 


The JLENS crashed landed in Amish country, Pennsylvania and took out the power to 20,000 people.


We need a strong, capable, and ready military!


If we are trying to improve our posturing with the Russians, Chinese, and Iranians–this is not the way to put our best blimp forward. 😉


(Source photo: here with attribution to Bill Dickinson)

The Bigger Smaller Navy

The Bigger Smaller Navy

So our Navy is shrinking for real, but growing on the books.

Steve Cohen writes in the Wall Street Journal how the “U.S. Navy is stretched too thin.”

And we are down to just 283 ships, but for reporting purposes it’s 293–that is–because we now include hospital ships, small coastal patrol vessels (“lightly armed [with machine guns]…and not true oceangoing”), and a high-speed transport in the calculus.

Moreover, “only 35% of the U.S. Navy’s entire fleet is deployed, fewer than 100 ships, including just 3 aircraft carriers.”

According to the Heritage Foundation, gone is the promise of a mighty U.S. with a formidable 600-ship navy, and instead “U.S. naval leaders are struggling to find ways to meet a new requirement of around 300 ships…with “predictions [that] show current funding levels would reduce the fleet to [just] 263 ships.”

Sure, today’s fleet is comprised of ships more capable than predecessors, but our enemies are also not resting on their laurels.

China is now building its 2nd aircraft carrier, and Russia has formally secured Crimea home to it’s Black Sea fleet.

The function for military readiness includes not only capability of each, but numbers available to fight.

There are times that less is more, but less can also be less. 😉

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Jon Olav)

Smart Cats Aren’t Afraid to Innovate

Smart_cats

It’s really hypocritical that on one hand we put innovation on a pedestal, but on the other hand, we tend to nix new ideas.

The Atlantic (July/August 2012) has an article called “Let’s Cool It With the Big Ideas.”

The author, P.J. O’Rourke, rails against innovation, saying: “I don’t have a big idea, and I don’t want one. I don’t like big ideas.”

Let’s just say this article by O’Rourke proves his point and not only about big ideas.

Unfortunately, like O’Rourke, many in our society seem to have a love/hate relationship with innovation.

We love new ideas when they work to our benefit–like having a smartphone perhaps–but we fear the worst about failing and people seem to loathe change of any kind until it’s a “proven entity.”

Hence as O’Rourke points out the derogatory feelings and sayings about new, big ideas:

– What is the big idea?
– You and your bright ideas.
– Whose idea was this?
– Me and my big ideas.
– Don’t get smart with me.

The last one is really the clincher with it all–without new ideas and the bravery to explore them, our “smarts” really do go out the window.

This is reminiscent of when the great Library of Alexandria burnt to the ground almost 2,000 years ago, destroying many of the “new ideas” of the philosophers, scientists, mathematicians, poets, and playwrights of the time, leaving us for centuries stuck in the Dark Ages!

Sure, new ideas are threatening to old ways of thinking and doing things, but we are an evolving species–stagnation is death.

According to Harvard Business Review (October 2010) in “How to Save Good Ideas“–a more enlightened article here, explains how to counter fearful and destructive people “who try to kill ideas” using “fear-mongering, delay, confusion, and ridicule.”

Some of the suggestions to counter the naysayers:

– When they attack you for “dictating” a new idea–you can explain that there is a vetting process, but like with a train conductor, we need to provide direction for our people.

– When they say, no one else is doing this–for any new idea, someone has to be the first to try it, and we have the capacity to innovate and succeed.

– When they criticize your timing–acknowledge that you can’t do everything and the poor projects should be weeded out, but promising new ventures should proceed.

From a leadership perspective, we cannot shove new ideas down people’s throats, but rather we need to explore ideas openly and honestly. Leaders should explain the imperative for change, explore organizational and market readiness, look at costs and benefits, mitigate risks, and help people in adopting and adapting to change–and this last one can be the most difficult.

For those that are comfortable with the status quo or afraid of what change may mean to their jobs, status, and security–there are times, when reassuring and working together can move people and the organization forward, but there are also times, when perhaps the person-organizational fit may no longer be right, and it is time to part ways.

The way we do things today–no matter how comfortable–is not the way we will always do them.  Times change, challenges build up, opportunities emerge, and as survivors, we either adapt or fade into the annals of history.

“There is more than one way to skin a cat,” but if we are cool to new ideas, the cat will most definitely get away from us–and it may be for good.

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Ivo Kendra)