Wizards of Oz

"Life is fraughtless ... when you're thoughtless."

29.2.08

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

Big changes are afoot in Oz. First, and certainly most importantly, Lady of Oz is expecting:

The little cashew is due in late September, so we're hoping for a cool Tennessee summer.... And since I'm probably twice the age of your average blogger (i.e., shlok + tdaxp = Oz), this is doubly joyful -- and doubly daunting!

As if adding a third child isn't enough for 2008, I have moved on to other professional opportunities. It was a fun year-and-a-half with Enterra Solutions -- I learned volumes from Stephen DeAngelis and Tom Barnett, and am thankful for the opportunity to hitch my wagon to their star. However, my role in Tennessee and the company's explosive growth in other areas (e.g., Kurdish Iraq) were not a good fit.

So, effective tomorrow, I will join Dr. Yaneer Bar-Yam and his extremely impressive team at the New England Complex Systems Institute as their Director of Program Development. Since I have long believed that "Complexity Theory" will be for the 21st century what "Quantum Theory" was for the 20th century, I am very excited to help apply new scientific methods to everyday challenges.

In addition to joining NECSI, I am also launching a new company: EMC2 LLC, a consulting and team-building firm that seeks to fill a void between high-level emergency management and local (individual, family and company) disaster preparedness.

I watch the ripples change their size
But never leave the stream
Of warm impermanence and
So the days float through my eyes
But still the days seem the same

Strange fascination, fascinating me ... :-)

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7.12.07

A Date Which Lives in Infamy

Flags across the United States are at half-mast today in recognition of "a date which shall live in infamy". At 7:52 a.m. on the morning of Sunday, December 7, 1941, the first wave of Japanese bombers reached the western shore of O'ahu (near today's Lualualei Naval Weapons Station), crested the Waianae Ridge at Kolekole Pass (which connects Lualualei to Schofield Barracks), attacking military airfields as well as the fleet at anchor in Pearl Harbor to the south. More than two thousand sailors, Marines and soldiers were killed -- along with 68 civilians -- compared to just 65 Japanese airmen killed.

The photo above has been a staple of my briefings on defense transformation for years. When I show the photo cropped to show only the lower-right quadrant, nearly everyone correctly observes "Battleship Row" at Pearl Harbor. Showing the full photo (from a scale model in wartime Japan) demonstrates the challenge we in a open society face when battling adversaries who don't share our values -- nor our freedoms.

John Robb has aptly noted our vulnerability to "open source warfare" -- a challenge that is exacerbated by the openness of our society. But the solution is not to trade our freedoms for the "warm blanket of security". Rather, we should remember that it is those freedoms -- the freedom to live, to love, to pursue happiness and prosperity -- that make us strong.

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3.9.07

Duty and Service

The blogosphere has been replete with dialogue on "service" and "duty" -- and the perception of grass-roots activism within the State. Noteworthy bloggers who have recently addressed this topic, in addition to my post last week, include Dave D. at Small Wars Journal, General of the Hordes Subudei Ba'adur, Purpleslog at D5GW, as well as both Chirol and Younghusband at ComingAnarchy. Even TIME magazine has made "The Case for National Service" a cover story topic.

Interestingly, there has been a good deal of honest (and sometimes contentious) replies to these posts. Some admit their personal lack of service, while others see the resurgent public interest in community service as a lack of confidence in "central governments". Could it be the looming anniversary of 9/11 (and last week's KATRINA anniversary)? Or the impending U.S. presidential election and a definitive change of administration?

I'm curious what visitors to Oz think. Care to comment?

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27.8.07

Be Prepared

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers a number of online courses related to Homeland Security and Civil Preparedness. Anyone with an interest in the National Response Plan, and the soon-to-be-mandatory-for-communities National Incident Management System (NIMS), can take self-paced courses online through FEMA's Emergency Management Institute. The courses are free, short (no more than two or three hours each), and passing the online final exam gets you a certificate with "Continuing Education Units" (CEUs).

I'm spending my evenings this week at the Anderson County Emergency Operations Center for their in-residence offering of "ICS-300" (Intermediate Level Incident Command System). It might be interesting to someday pursue formal "certification" in Emergency Management through the International Association of Emergency Managers.

On the topic of community preparedness and protection of "intellectual property" and symbols, there is an interesting legal battle brewing between the American Red Cross and Johnson & Johnson over the "red cross" symbol. On August 8th, Johnson & Johnson filed a civil complaint against American Red Cross over the licensing of products bearing the Red Cross symbol to third parties. Read the respective press releases here (Red Cross) and here (J&J). Personally, why an $11B (yep, that's a "B") company cares about a couple million dollars in retail sales by a predominantly volunteer and philanthropic organization is beyond me ...

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