“Bring up the turnover blog on the big screen”

The first time I said those words on the US Pacific Fleet watchfloor, I got a weird look from my Intelligence Specialist, a Navy Sailor who only recently joined our team from his basic school.  “A blog?  Sir, we work in intelligence, not blogging.”

My watchfloor, a small group of 4 enlisted Sailors and one officer, maintained the intelligence plot for Commander, US Pacific Fleet (at first Admiral Harris, and later Admiral Swift).  We watched all of Pacific Fleet’s area, a huge swath of the world that covers everything from Pakistan to China, North Korea and Russia to Indonesia, and up to the west coast of the US.  When I came to the team, I learned how we partnered with a lot of other organizations and put together one neat picture for the Commander to make decisions.  It was (and still is) a really important job.  I watched our Commander use our information to make decisions that I would read about later in the news.

What I like to THINK I do, but in reality I point at a screen. A lot. Image from Wikipedia.

One of our biggest challenges was turnover.  When you turnover what is happening in about 50% of the world, it’s a daunting task, and it’s easy to miss something.  People before me had created turnover sheets that covered most things, but as the world got more complicated, it often fell short, especially for smaller countries.  Most importantly, it was a paper sheet.  Nobody outside our organization ever saw it.

I thought it was a weak spot, especially since many other organizations cued from us as to what was important in the world.  So I persuaded my team to start writing our turnovers using Intelink’s blogging service.  Intelink is a suite of sharing tools we have on our classified networks.  The government buys a license for a tool, puts it on the network, and everyone can use it.  The most well known is Intellipedia, which looks exactly like Wikipedia, except that you have to portion mark every paragraph with the proper classification.  We also have WordPress for blogging, Pintrest (called IntelPin), Twitter (called Chirp) and a few others.

The beauty of Intelink is that the services are reliable and make it really easy to share and discover.  If you tag your products on IntelPin or Intellipedia, suddenly others who are creating intelligence on the same issue can easily find them.  Too many people have this idea that everyone in intelligence is on the same page and somehow has access to all the information about a topic, but in reality the landscape is divided among the 16 Intelligence Communities, and someone in the CIA could be working on the same thing as me and have no idea what I’ve done.

“This is how I build the daily brief,” said no person in Intelligence ever.

So we started the Pacific Fleet Intelligence Blog.  It started as just my team, but soon it caught on to the other teams.  They liked that we could hyperlink products, add images, and that you could easily pull up previous turnovers.  It gave my boss and other organizations the ability to see what we were working on remotely.  Soon my Intelligence Specialists were blogging like professionals.

Intelink came under fire in a recent article on Wired, which said it mostly failed and may have been manipulated by the outgoing Obama administration to spread disinformation about Russia’s influence in the 2016 election.  Wired said that bureaucracy killed Intelink as a way to build a better National Intelligence Estimate, conjuring images of some creepy old guy in a suit holding folders of classified information yelling the spy equivalent of “Get off my lawn!” at some younger analyst.  But as Hanlon’s Razor teaches us, the truth is probably much simpler.

The reality is that most older analysts don’t know how to share.  They are very used to email.  I managed a group inbox on the watchfloor, and it was constantly deluged with intelligence reports from all over the world.  We would send out our brief, a 100 slide monstrosity, over email to customers.  I started posting our brief on a document sharing site (called IntelDocs) and sending out a link.  I swear, some people’s minds were completely blown that you could actually do that.

Yes, there are people like that in Intelligence.

When money is tight, the first thing to get cut in the military is training, and I think we’re seeing that now.  We have a lot of older analysts that we should be training on how to effectively use these tools, but we don’t.  They aren’t stupid, they simply need someone to show them how to use these tools.  But it’s not just the older folks.  My junior analysts are smart people, but they are third generation users of the internet.  Most never built a website from scratch on Geocities like so many of us did back in the day.  Their internet usage consists of Facebook, Snapchat, Google and Tindr.  We simply assume that Millenials have these skills, an assumption that I see proven false on a daily basis.

I think the future is bright for Intelink.  The Pacific Fleet Intelligence Blog continued after I left, a good sign that it wasn’t just my “good idea fairy.”  They also extensively use SharePoint, something I had helped setup with our network people in the last two months of my time there.  My boss, who had started his career building briefs on paper, was regularly surfing our sites and pulling information down by the time I left.

Change it would seem happens one person at a time, and even those in intelligence can learn to share.


This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, US Pacific Fleet, or any other government agency.  And please note that I use the word “spies” liberally, “intelligence professional” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

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Never Forget. That’s what we said after the islamic terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, but many barely remember anymore, to our great disgrace. That was the second time the Twin Towers in Manhattan were attacked, but it seems the world was eager to forget the first World Trade Center bombing, which happened on February 26, 1993 – twenty-four years ago this Sunday.

St. Peter’s Church is near the World Trade Center; here is what they have to say about that day:

February 26, 1993, a truck loaded with bombs, parked in a public garage below the North Tower of the World Trade Center and exploded.  Terrorists set of the powerful homemade bomb by way of a twenty-foot fuse.  The blast killed six innocent civilians.  The bomb was powerful enough to create a 200 by 100 foot hole in the building.  Approximately a thousand office workers suffered smoke inhalation injuries.  One hundred and twenty four of those injured were rescue personnel.  Seventeen kindergarteners were trapped when the electrical power line was knocked out and one woman in labor was airlifted out of the area to a hospital.

The terrorists intended for the North Tower to come crashing down and topple the South Tower. Seven men have been convicted for their role in the attack but only six have been caught.

Many have forgotten the first truck bombing of the World Trade Center in the wake of 9/11.  A son of a victim in the attacks, Stephen Knapp Jr., is quoted in the New York Times:  “It started on Feb. 26, it played out on 9/11, and it is still going on now.”

Our Parish has not forgotten.  Every February, the families and friends of people who died and those who were injured, hold a memorial Mass at St. Peter’s Church.

The person credited as being the mastermind behind this evil act of islamic jihad, the so called “blind sheikh”, Omar Abdel-Rahman, died this past Saturday in prison, but he was treated to a grand funeral that was attended by thousands of admirers in Egypt:

He was convicted in the World Trade Center bombing—as well as plotting a wider “war of urban terrorism”—in 1995. His death was met with statements of mourning from al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood. Meanwhile, his hometown was filled with chants of “we will defend you with blood and soul, Islam” for his funeral. “If he were a bad man, people from all over the country wouldn’t have came to attend his funeral,” said a lawyer who traveled more than 100 miles to be there.     MORE

Here  is some more information about the attack, via History.com:

In September 1992 explosives expert Ramzi Ahmed Yousef arrived in New York City on a flight from Pakistan and began planning an attack on the World Trade Center, with the alleged goal of toppling the north tower into the south tower. He received help from followers of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, a blind, Egyptian-born Muslim cleric who spoke in sermons of destroying the “edifices of capitalism.” The plotters rented a storage locker in New Jersey, where they stockpiled urea, nitric acid, sulfuric acid and other ingredients for making bombs. They simultaneously concocted a nitroglycerin trigger at a nearby apartment and scouted out the World Trade Center’s underground floors.

On February 26, 1993, the plotters loaded their homemade bomb, which weighed about 1,200 pounds, into a yellow Ford Econoline van they had rented from a Ryder dealership in New Jersey. Two of them then drove it across the Hudson River into Manhattan, made their way south to the World Trade Center, entered the basement parking garage between the north tower and a hotel, parked in an illegal spot on a ramp, lit four 20-foot fuses, got into a car that had trailed them and sped off.

At 12:17 p.m. the bomb exploded, knocking out the World Trade Center’s sprinklers, generators, elevators, public address system, emergency command center and more than half of the high-voltage lines that fed electricity to the complex. The FBI later called it the “largest by weight and by damage of any improvised explosive device that we’ve seen since the inception of forensic explosive identification.” Six people died, including a pregnant woman. More than 1,000 others were injured, mostly from smoke that snaked its way up the stairwells and elevator shafts. Yet both towers remained standing.

As rescue workers dug for victims, survivors began making their way out by any means possible. A woman in a wheelchair was carried down 66 flights of stairs by two friends. A class of singing kindergartners descended from the 107th floor. A group of engineers stuck in an elevator pried open the doors and then used car keys to cut a hole in the sheetrock walls leading out to a 58th-floor women’s bathroom. Nearly 30 people with medical conditions were taken to the roof and whisked away by police helicopter. By late that night, the buildings had been completely cleared. They would not reopen for nearly a month.

Investigators sifting through the rubble soon came across the vehicle identification number for the rental van, which had been reported stolen the day before the attack. FBI agents then arrested Mohammad Salameh, who had rented the van under his own name, when he returned to the Ryder dealership to ask for his $400 deposit back. Subsequent arrests were made of Ahmad Ajaj, Nidal Ayyad and Mahmoud Abouhalima. In March 1994 a federal jury convicted the four of them for their role in the bombing, and they were each sentenced to life behind bars.

Meanwhile, authorities uncovered a related plot in which followers of Sheikh Abdel Rahman planned to blow up the George Washington Bridge, the United Nations headquarters and other New York City landmarks. In that case, the sheikh and nine co-defendants were found guilty of seditious conspiracy and other terrorism-related charges. A third case led to life sentences for Yousef, who was captured in Pakistan in 1995, and the driver of the rental van, who was captured in Jordan that same year. Only one suspect, who fled to Iraq after being questioned and released by the FBI, remains at large.

Heckuva guy, that Rahman, huh? This is who they celebrate, as our own murdered dead are largely forgotten by our country.

This Sunday, please remember: John DiGiovanni, Robert Kirkpatrick, Stephen A. Knapp, William Macko, Wilfredo Mercado, and, Monica Rodriguez Smith and her unborn child. Please remember their families, and remember all who were wounded that day as well. Please pray for an end to islamic terrorism.

*******

MJ Stevenson, AKA Zilla, is best known on the web as Zilla of the Resistance at MareZilla.com. She lives in a woodland shack near a creek, in one of those rural parts of New York State that nobody knows or cares about, with her family and a large pack of guardian companion animals – including Siberian Husky Dalmatian Lab Puppies and their parents. 

See also by Zilla at DaTechGuyBlog:

Remembering Saint Scholastica

#NYCatholic: St. Peter’s Church

 

This week the press freaked out about a Russian spy ship off the eastern coast.  It even managed to roll up my way, obviously hoping to capture information about submarine operations near Groton.


The Viktor Leonov, from shipspotting.com

The truth is, this is normal.  The Viktor Leonov didn’t violate any rules.  It didn’t cross into territorial waters.  It didn’t get in the middle of a live naval exercise.  It operated in international waters according to the rules.  Before we jump all over Russia, realize that the United States puts warships in their backyard and conducts military exercises near their borders on a regular basis.  Allowing this vessel to operate where it did is part of being a responsible member of the established world order, an order that has given prosperity to all nations around the world.

What we should be afraid of is attempts to dismantle this order, which is exactly what China is attempting to do with a revision to its maritime law:

The draft revisions stipulate that authorities will be able to designate specific areas and temporarily bar foreign ships from passing through those areas according to their own assessment of maritime traffic safety….”As a sovereign State and the biggest coastal State in, for example, the South China Sea, China is entitled to adjust its maritime laws as needed, which will also promote peace and stable development in the waters,” Wang said.

This should frighten people.  China already considers the entire South China Sea to be its territorial waters.  They’ve gone so far as to plant Chinese flags on the sea floor.  The certainly don’t respect property rights in the area either, as demonstrated by the illegal seizure of a US unmanned drone.

And in case it still doesn’t scare you:

“China’s waters are open to foreign ships as long as they do not damage the waters’ safety, order, or China’s sovereignty,” Yang said

China’s sovereignty.  Which begs the question, what is China?

What is China? From Wikipedia.

That definition seems to keep expanding.  As the above graphic shows, what is China has morphed over the years.  Now it includes Taiwan, Tibet and Xinjiang, and apparently the South China Sea, and even perhaps Hawaii.

That should scare us.  The bear, while a problem, is deviating from the rule book.  The dragon is throwing out the book entirely.


This post represents the views of the author and not the views of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other federal agency.  The featured image is from politicalforum.com.

Drop some money in Da Tip Jar, because otherwise CNN wins, and we all know they are fake news. And stop by my blog when you get a chance.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other federal agency.


China is not an Asian version of the United States.  It is an imperialistic power that through its 3,000+ year history has sought, in times of power, to turn its neighbors into tributary states, and in times of weakness, to retreat from the world and preserve their gains.  After a humiliating 20th century, where European powers and the Japanese empire exploited China and her people, she is now poised to become a peer competitor to the United States.

Which is exactly why we should fight in the South China Sea.

China is playing an extremely smart long game.  By slowly degrading our alliances and building its Navy, China is set to simply own the South China Sea by default in 5-10 years.  China is best served by the US doing nothing.  Given the last 8 years of US inaction, they have gotten exactly that.  Pressing for war in the South China Sea short circuits this plan.

But let’s not duke it out like China wants. In a bizarre twist, China is now quite similar to pre-World War 2 Japan.  They own a lot of small islands that are difficult to defend and supply, spread out over a large area and contain little to no resources.  Japan expected the US to attack island by island.  Instead, the US hopped around islands and choked out the strongholds, causing them to die on the vine or be destroyed by local forces.  China’s “wall of sand” appears eerily similar.

They are also very vulnerable to economic disruption.  The western provinces of China are not tamed, and although China has tried to develop the region (and outbreed the locals), the western provinces are still quite susceptible to disruption.  This means China relies heavily on the sea for trade and economic prosperity.  Unleashing the US Navy with unrestricted economic warfare, similar to the unrestricted submarine warfare unleashed on Japan, would threaten China’s basic way of life.

A fight with China would be hard.  But China stands to lose much more than the US.


View more of NG36B’s writing here.

And that the slaves were never freed

by baldilocks

There were all kind of attempts to lure the GOP state electors into voting for someone other than Donald Trump. A few took the bait, but so did some Democrat state electors; Hillary Clinton lost even more electors that Trump did. But, now that the Electoral Vote is done—yesterday—and now that Trump is again the victor, but Clinton won the popular vote, there’s a new meme emerging: that the Electoral College is racist. Yes, you read that correctly.

The New York Times leads the outcry with a description of the three-fifths clause in the Constitution and a distortion of its relationship to the Electoral College.[i]

The Electoral College, which is written into the Constitution, is more than just a vestige of the founding era; it is a living symbol of America’s original sin. When slavery was the law of the land, a direct popular vote would have disadvantaged the Southern states, with their large disenfranchised populations [Ed.: slaves and Indians—and women]. Counting those men and women as three-fifths of a white person, as the Constitution originally did, gave the slave states more electoral votes.

A more detailed description:

For the most part, those who opposed slavery only wanted to consider the free people [sic] of a population, while those in favor wanted to include slaves in the population count. This would provide for slave holders to have many more seats in the House of Representatives and more representation in the Electoral College. (…)

The implementation of the Three-Fifths Compromise would greatly increase the representation and political power of slave-owning states. The Southern states, if represented equally, would have accounted for 33 of the seats in the House of Representatives. However, because of the Three-Fifths Compromise, the Southern states accounted for 47 seats in the House of Representatives of the first United States Congress of 1790. This would allow for the South to garner enough power at the political level, giving them control in Presidential elections.

However, as time moved forward, the Three-Fifths Compromise would not provide the advantage for which the Southern states and slave-owners had hoped. The Northern states grew more rapidly in terms of population than the South. Even though Southern states had essentially dominated all political platforms prior to the Civil War, afterward that control would be relinquished slowly but surely. It would not be until the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was be enacted in 1865 that the Three-Fifths Compromise would be rendered obsolete.

Bloody Kansas Era Editorial Cartoon

The Compromise was a trade-off because no perfect solution to the slavery conundrum was available at the time. It was an advantage to the South at first, but over time, the advantages amounted to nil. (This also explains Bloody Kansas.) Strategy.

Thus was the infant USA not born the perfect USA; it was born with a birth defect—an “original sin” just like every other nation on earth. ( The Organized Left always wants to talk about “original sin” even when they don’t believe in real sins—at least not those committed by their ideological allies.)

If the North had not compromised, one wonders what would have happened. Two nations would have likely been born and lasted about as long as 1812—the year of the next war with the British. And that time estimation is a generous one.[ii] And even if those fantasy nations had lasted, one wonders when the Southern Nation would have ever abolished slavery.  Sounds like a Democrat’s…er…Confederate’s dream, no?

So it is that the EC and the Compromise ensured that a USA was born, grew and matured and that her citizenry and liberty expanded.

But, it seems to me that the NYT editorial staff dreams of a never-born United States of America and believes it’s never too late to have an abortion. What a surprise.

[i] By the way, let’s not forget that Alexander Hamilton was a leading advocate and architect of the Electoral College.

[ii] There were three wars between the end of the Revolution (1783) and the War of 1812: The First Barbary War, The 1811 German Coast Uprising, and Tecumseh’s War.

RELATED: Electoral College Mission Accomplished All Around Left, Media and Right

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel will be done one day soon! Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism!

baldilocks

On the Lead with Jake Tapper Tuesday Jake talked about the situation in Aleppo and how its fate is pretty much sealed.

He rightly pointed out how awful it was, the implication being that we should (or should have) done something about it.

Forgetting for a moment that the name of the president is still a fellow named Obama and that it wasn’t all that many years ago in the days of the Soviet Union when the media repeatedly expressed the idea that the best way to deal with Russia was diplomacy without military confrontations, there is one overriding fact that matters more than anything else.

 

No Amount of sanctions of any type is going to stop the offensive in Aleppo. If Aleppo is to be saved it is going to involve Air Combat with the Syrian and Russian Air Forces to slow them up long enough for American Ground Troops to get there.

 

Furthermore the only way things are going to change in Syria is if we go in a-la Iraq, Take it over and stay two decades at least rather than cutting and running as we did under Obama.

Now one might debate if the ratio of the cost in cash and lives plus the risk of a military escalation with either Russia and/or Iran vs the benefit of a Syria pried from the Russians and Iranians, the Syrians not slaughtering their own people, putting an army on the flank of both Iraqi and Lebanese militants and the reviving of the flypaper strategy where instead of attacking vulnerable western targets ISIS sympathizers flock to Syria to confront and be destroyed by the best trained, best equipped and most deadly military in the entire history of history.

But none of that matters because of one simple fact.

Even if the conclusion was made that the cost benefit ratio to war justified it The American people do not have the will to fight.

This of course is due to the efforts of the left in the culture wars of the last 30 to 50 years (ironically supported by the soviets). Iraq was only possible because of the 9/11 attacks.

And it’s not like the left and the papers who are hitting Trump for trying make friends with the Russians were going to fight such a war themselves or even support such a war if proposed

Until such a time this changes, and such a change is at least a generation away, the best we can do is make noise to save face however both the Russians and the Syrians will recognize such noise for what it is.

by baldilocks

On Twitter, many people call on others to “do something” about the destruction and mass killing of civilians in Aleppo, Syria. By “doing something,” they mean something other than posting about it on Social Media. Likely, these are the same people that bashed our efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. And, short of taking up arms and hightailing over there to fight on one side or the other—an action which was which was criticized both in the current US administration and the one preceding—what exactly should be done?

One wonders whether the do-something people were the same ones who were eulogizing mass murderer Fidel Castro as a freedom fighter a few weeks back.

Aleppo is how most of the real world operates. A New York Times headline calls it an example of “humanity melting down”—as if no group of humans has ever murdered another group of humans until this week. (Maybe they still believe OG Fake Newser Walter Duranty’s report on Ukraine from the 1930s.)

What it is: an example of true, unconstrained human nature. That nature is thusly described: fallen. When individuals allow their nature to be unconstrained, we see murder, etc. When nations allow their policies to be unconstrained, we see genocides.

And on a biblical note, with Russia and Iran being the main actors in this violent play, I can’t help but think of the Isaiah and Ezekiel prophesies about war in Syria—and the roles that Russia and Iran play in that war and in other wars destined to occur in the Last Days.

Could we be observing a prequel—a staging of sorts? Probably.

Side note: on my old blog, I had a commenter who criticized me for “fear-mongering” when I talked about Bible prophecy. My response was that if she didn’t believe the Bible, then I could not monger fear in her; and if she did believe the Bible, then she should know that there is no reason to be afraid.

Side note #2: Read about the Great Revolt—the fall and sacking of Jerusalem by the Roman Empire, 66-70 A.D. People who don’t read much history and who live in the USA, Canada, etc. are always shocked at how Hobbesian the rest of the world is and always has been.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel will be done one day soon! Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism!

baldilocks

asrSo there I was, in a shouting match with one of my Sailors about his latest evaluation.  Suddenly, he pulled out a gun and shot me. Twice. As I fell to the ground and slowly bled out, I watched him proceed to walk through our office and shoot other Sailors.

Except it wasn’t real.  It was our first active shooter drill.

The news tends to sensationalize active shooters, like it devolves into some sort of action video game.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  After the drill, my team watched our security camera footage to see what really happened.  We also had someone following the shooter around and take notes.

The first thing that jumped out at me was the difficulty realizing you were in an active shooter situation before it was too late. The shooter has ALL the advantages. Even though we used a cap gun that simulated the sound and smell of a 9mm pistol, the sound doesn’t always carry down a hallway. Plenty of people heard popping, but only a few realized it was a shooter.  By the time they realized it, the shooter was pointing a gun at them at close range.

notsureifgunshotI can validate Fry’s thoughts on this…

The Department of Defense provides active shooter training.  Once you realize there is an active shooter, if you can’t escape your goal is to barricade yourself into a room, lock the door and stay quiet.  That works surprisingly well.  Our shooter, intent on finding easy victims, got bored banging on doors that wouldn’t open.  It also delayed him, giving base security more time to respond.

Stopping the shooter because you’re Superman?  Unlikely, at least in the initial moments.  The shooter already has the aspect of surprise. Unless you catch him reloading, he can kill you in a fraction of a second.  Watching our surveillance footage, any Sailor that came within arms reach of the shooter was shot before he could react. When I go back and read other people’s accounts of active shooters, the ones that tackled the shooter typically did so while the shooter was reloading, or it was after the initial shock was over.

active_shooter_exercise_aims_to_strengthen_response_160401-z-bc699-098If you don’t have a gun, you wind up like the guy on the floor. Image from Wikipedia

An active shooter is absolutely terrifying to contemplate, but inside the situation it’s actually more confusing than anything else.  I’m glad to see the DoD is now allowing personnel to carry weapons on base, because it is frightening how quickly someone can kill multiple people before the police show up.  Our shooter was only walking and had to reload manually, yet he managed to kill a lot of people before the police response time.  Luckily, we identified areas we can fix, and I think the body count the next time won’t be so high.

My only wish at the end was that I share my experiences with non-military members, so that if they found themselves facing an active shooter, they could learn from my drill mistakes and perhaps save their life.


This post represents the views of the author and does not represent the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy or any other agency.  Please pray for the victims of active shooters, including the knifing victims recently at Ohio State.  And if you’re in the military, take your Active Shooter training seriously…it might just save your life!


If you liked this article, check out my blog.

obiwanLike most military members, I was delighted to hear that James Mattis and Mike Rogers were being considered for key positions in the Trump administration. What you’ll hear the next few days is that Mattis is a blood-and-guts Marine and Rogers is an outgoing spook. The media misses the bigger reasons why Trump would want these men on his team.

First, Trump’s biggest concern is ISIS. Mattis and Rogers have been fighting Islamic terrorism the entire time they’ve worn stars on their shoulders. Both were effective too: Mattis won hard fought victories in Afghanistan and Iraq, and Rogers retooled the Signals Intelligence system to root out extremist networks.

mattisWords of wisdom to follow

Both men are incredibly smart. Mattis is incredibly well read about history, and in his words “there is nothing new under the sun.” He’s often thought of as a modern day Sulla, or if you want a Star Wars reference, Grand Admiral Thrawn. Rogers has been in cyber and signals intelligence his entire career, and from working with him personally, he can follow any technical discussion thrown at him.

uncryingIt’s probably true…

Neither man hesitates to shake things up, including firing people. Sadly, our military has grown accustomed to never firing officers unless they drive drunk or surf porn at work. Mattis fired a colonel in Iraq that wasn’t pushing his men hard enough to take Baghdad. Rogers shook up the National Security Agency by redesigning it in the NSA-21 initiative, including identifying poor performing structures and personnel.

Trump can’t go wrong with either of these men. If he gives them the tools to run their respective organizations, including expanded powers to fire people, he’ll be well on his way to winning America’s wars again.


This post solely represents the views of the author and does not represent official views of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, National Security Agency, or any other portion of the US Government. It’s also slightly biased because I worked for Admiral Rogers before, and he’s awesome.


If you want more memes of Admiral Rogers as a total cyber badass, try checking out my website.

640px-vfw_post_2408_ypsilanti_2I’ve driven by this place before. Image from Wikipedia.

So I’m a veteran.  I’ve even participated in a foreign war…well, a conflict really, since declaring war went out of style in the 1940s.  I’m relatively young, with a young family, and fairly active in my community, despite moving every few years.  While I’m not that good looking, I’ve got enough going to make me a good poster boy for the VFW.

But I’m not a member.  It’s not just me, VFW posts around the US are hurting for new members.  As a Rallypoint member, I’ve seen my share of “You should join the VFW!” posts.  Unfortunately, my personal experiences, as well as my dad’s (a Cold War veteran), find the VFW has too many problems:

frontchoke

  • Female Veterans. VFWs still struggle to understand that yes, women in fact serve in the military as more than just nurses and yeomen (sorry, yeo-persons).  I’ve served with a number of wonderful female officers and enlisted Sailors, and to have them encounter resistance to entry is appalling.

youdohere

  • Action?  Besides having a hall to rent out and parades to walk in, most VFWs aren’t exactly places of action.  Young vets tend to be healthier and want to be out and about.  While most people enjoy throwing back a beer and sharing sea stories once in a while, that can’t be your main draw anymore.

emailthanksgiving

  • Updating with the times.  The VFW was slow to jump on the revolution in social media.  The sad part is that while it is now online, it’ll likely be too slow to adapt to whatever comes next.  If you want an organization that quickly adapts to it’s younger members, check out the NRA, which keeps it’s core mission while tailoring messages for women, minorities and police forces.

The really sad part of this is that if you look into the VFW’s history, this isn’t a surprise.  The VFW struggled to recruit members after the Korean and Vietnam conflicts, and only did so when their existing membership began passing away in large numbers.  If they didn’t learn then, I can’t say I hold out a lot of hope for them learning now.


This post is the opinion of the author and doesn’t reflect the views of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or the Veterans of Foreign Wars. All images used were labeled for reuse on the internet.


If you’d like to read about how I’d change the VFW to be better, check out my blog.