Working Out Loud: Show Up (Part 1 of 5)

This is a five part series about working out loud and engaging people across multiple organizations in order to tackle tough problems in knowledge management.

Showing Up and Working Out Loud

  • Show up whenever possible. 
  • Ask to speak with senior leaders, chances are they will see you.
  • Advocate for yourself and others.
  • Speak to the heart and mind.
  • Have faith and courage.

Part 1 “Show Up” In you We Trust

If you are invisible, no one can see you.  If you are quiet, no one can hear you.  If you aren’t present, you can’t be felt.  

After 9/11 the Pentagon had a lot of work to be done beyond just rebuilding the walls.   The impact of the attack had disrupted what we held as fact and truth.   It took an emotional and psychological toll on many people and it reshaped the reality of war at home. Something interesting happened during and after this event that changed the way I understood leadership.   Some leaders that I expected strength from chose to step back and become quiet, while others gained clarity, focus and resolve and chose to step up.

Stepping up meant showing up, making yourself visible was risky and took courage.  The war on terrorism is still a hot button topic by 2005 we were still seemingly reacting and responding with a great deal of emotion.  People are very passionate around this subject and passion may not always convey to good decision making.   This being the case, any approach to help with this subject area had to be carefully examined and measured.    As my old friend Vince said “Cohen, attacking a nat with a baseball bat may not get you the desired result you seek.”

Trust is Tied to Knowledge   

When I first stepped inside the Pentagon, I could see the damage that was left over from the devastating attack on our country, our people.   I had this feeling that overwhelmed me and I was overcome by feelings that I didn’t understand or have words to describe.   As I tried to contain myself I was reminded verbally by my Chief Division Officer why I was there at the Pentagon in the first place.  He said “The men and women of this nation make critical decisions for the safety and well-being of our warfighters here in these walls; I understand how you feel and this is why I brought you.”  

Walking through the small passageways of the Pentagon, I thought about our long drive, sitting through traffic.   It could be 4 hours or more each way on a good day.   He did this drive at least a few times a week just to make sure he was physically present.

We walked into a room filled with defense leadership and supporting cast members end to end,  there was a large long rectangular wooden table with senior leaders sitting and most others standing up against the wall.    After general practice and introductions there was silence.  I was looking around at the fine grain wood, paintings and designations on the walls.   There is history in every nook and corner of this building.  It is almost like going through a museum and art gallery at the same time.  Being in the room itself makes you feel as if you are part of this history.

They introduced my senior leader to the group with natural formality and gave him the floor to speak.  I can share the spirit of what he said in that room on that day.

We understand that there are things that we don’t know and we don’t ask.  We make the same mistakes over and again with assured confidence and certainty.  We make the same mistakes over again because even when we have our lessons learned, we don’t use them to prevent us from making poor choices.    Our great service men and women deserve better. They deserve our willingness to say that we don’t know.   We have to make both informed and uninformed decisions but we have a responsibility to them, to ask the questions and gain as much knowledge as we can.   We have to work together and be a joint force to accomplish this and we have to build trust across the services.   We can do these things with enterprise architectures.  We can do these things with knowledge fed to us with and for purpose for reuse across all of the services.

In his presentation and discussion his only request was for people to use our architecture tools and approach to pull together and share content in context for operations, decision making and analysis.

We were there to build trust and build knowledge through these trusted relationships. The high level objective was to learn and share in order to raise awareness with partners. The knowledge would then be used and reused to help reduce risk, save money and increase opportunities for operational and mission success.  My Chief didn’t stop here, he traveled and spoke with hundreds of people.   His message was known by all of his team and we were all encouraged to share information and help build a coalition with partners from various domains.  

We seek to “Help those who eat the MRE’s.”   (MRE= Meals ready to eat)

Showing Up is 

Showing up is a critical first step in the knowledge management practice.   Most leaders don’t have time to read.  I know how that sounds but it is true.   Chances are they will make time to meet if they are given a good reason.  That meeting is critical to both you and leadership.  It could be an opportunity to move forward with your ideas or fail fast and move on.

Part 2..  

“Senior leadership isn’t interested in what I have to say.”

“They (leaders) don’t care what we think.”

“We are just the hired help here.”

“I don’t have time and I am not really motivated”

“I have tried before and it didn’t work.”

Sound familiar.. will talk more about this next week.

  

Lesson Learned in Knowledge Management (EBOLA)

o-EBOLA-VIRUS-facebook

Ignorance = Death

Last year, I wrote about a lack of KM in the medical industry.https://cohenovate.com/2013/12/30/knowledge-management-and-healthcare/   It was a sad commentary then and it is even more frightening now.  Some of you may be aware that errors in healthcare account for a significant number of deaths in America.

In 2010, the Office of Inspector General for Health and Human Services said that bad hospital care contributed to the deaths of 180,000 patients in Medicare alone in a given year.

Now comes a study in the current issue of the Journal of Patient Safety that says the numbers may be much higher — between210,000 and 440,000 patients each year who go to the hospital for care suffer some type of preventable harm that contributes to their death, the study says.

That would make medical errors the third-leading cause of death in America, behind heart disease, which is the first, and cancer, which is second. (http://www.propublica.org/article/how-many-die-from-medical-mistakes-in-us-hospitals)

ebola-graphic

Lack of Awareness

Texas nurses said that there were no protocols. (http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/15/health/texas-ebola-nurses-union-claims/index.html?hpt=hp_t1)  Maybe they had the guidelines on their Sharepoint instance?  Maybe they had their process on Jive? Maybe they had their instructions on Yammer or Podio or…  

What they don’t have is effective Knowledge Management.  This is the truth.

Let me state this for the record, as I have mentioned this in past postings.  Knowledge Management is about getting, presenting, raising awareness, sharing, identifying, bringing to light.. the RIGHT INFORMATION AT THE RIGHT TIME.

If you think for a moment that I am using this tragic situation to get the message out on Knowledge Management, I will tell you in fact that I am.   We can go through the history of knowledge management failures and find the critical element that is missing and that is the human element.  These failures result in death.

Doctors and nurses need access to real time information that INFORMS them of what they need to do and what precautions they have to take.   In fact, think about this folks.. WE CARE MORE ABOUT CYBER SECURITY THAN PEOPLE.

Everything when it comes to medicine seems to be approached from an academic perspective.  If you look at the agencies that do care about healthcare they are not considered or looked at in the same way as cyber communities.   For example, are hospitals going to the WHO or USAID for daily updates and coordination?   I highly doubt it and I think the results of the situation from a global perspective is telling.  The CDC doesn’t want us to worry because they don’t want a panicdemic.  (yep, I made that up).  We are facing an enemy that doesn’t care about boundaries or what side you are on.  We are facing an enemy that doesn’t look at right or wrong.  It just has intent of killing the system.  That is it.  We can’t afford to be ignorant.  We can’t afford to make mistakes that are easily correctable.

What is needed?

  • A quick turn incidence response and disaster response operational check up for every medical organization in the US.
  • A safety and contagion knowledge plan that addresses known and new issues and concerns through every turnover, handoff, meeting or organization interaction.
  • A strategic outreach and communication plan for healthcare providers, practitioners and patients.
  • A KM plan that seeks to elevate and prioritize content for communication in the organization.
  • An “as you learn.. share” plan.  (If you know information that will save a life, share it)
  • Researchers that have worked on attacking ebola need to share their failures and their success.  (YES FAIL) We need to pick up where others left off and share information, not hold information so that we can be the trophy winner.
  • We need leaders in the KM space to step up and share best practices, lessons learned and how to’s for knowledge transfer and elicitation.

Ebola-Delhi_2048436f

Ebola virus can be used for terrorism.. Think about that for a moment. 

Links to Ebola sites

European Links

Links to Ebola sites

Commission

DG SANCO:    http://ec.europa.eu/health/ebola/index_en.htm

DG ECHO:       http://ec.europa.eu/echo/en/news/ebola-outbreak-west-africa-additional-funding-brings-eu-aid-%E2%82%AC39-million

European External Action Services (EEAS)

 http://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/un_geneva/press_corner/all_news/news/2014/20140411_ebola_en.htm

WHO

HQ:                  https://extranet.who.int/ebola/

EURO:             http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/emergencies/pages/ebola-outbreak-in-west-africa

ECDC

 http://ecdc.europa.eu/en/healthtopics/ebola_marburg_fevers/pages/index.a http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/emergencies/pages/ebola-outbreak-in-west-africa

Member States

Austria

Ministry of Health

 http://www.bmg.gv.at/home/Startseite/aktuelle_Meldungen/Ebola_Informationen_zur_aktuellen_Lage

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

 http://www.bmeia.gv.at/reise-aufenthalt/reiseinformation/land/liberia/

Czech Republic

Ministry of Health  http://www.mzcr.cz/dokumenty/upozorneni-pro-zahranicni-studenty-po-prijezdu-z-oblasti-vyskytu-horecky-zpusobe_9579_1.html  http://www.mzcr.cz/Verejne/dokumenty/ebola-v-africe-aktualizace-ministerstva-zdravotnictvi-ke-dni-19zari-2014_9602_5.html

Ministry of Industry and Trade  http://www.mpo.cz/dokument153462.html

Ministry of Foreign Affairs  http://www.mzv.cz/jnp/cz/cestujeme/ebola/obecne_informace.html

 http://www.mzv.cz/jnp/cz/udalosti_a_media/x2014_09_18_ceska_republika_pomaha_zemim.html

Finland

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health

 http://www.stm.fi/en/ebola-virus

France

All information and guidance for health professionals  http://www.sante.gouv.fr/maladie-a-virus-ebola-informations-a-destination-des-professionnels-de-sante.html

National Surveillance Case Definitions for Ebola  http://www.sante.gouv.fr/maladie-a-virus-ebola-informations-a-destination-des-professionnels-de-sante.html

http://www.invs.sante.fr/Dossiers-thematiques/Maladies-infectieuses/Fievre-hemorragique-virale-FHV-a-virus-Ebola/Point-epidemiologique-Ebola-Afrique

Public Health Management of Cases and Contacts of Human Illness Associated with Ebola Virus Disease  http://www.hcsp.fr/explore.cgi/avisrapportsdomaine?clefr=414  http://www.sante.gouv.fr/maladie-a-virus-ebola-informations-a-destination-des-professionnels-de-sante.html

List of hospitals allowed to take care of Ebola patients  http://www.sante.gouv.fr/IMG/pdf/2014_08_25_ListingESR_MAJ_modifIDFertA_DEF.pdf

Guidance on transportation of Ebola patient from abroad to France  http://www.sante.gouv.fr/fichiers/bo/2012/12-06/ste_20120006_0100_0052.pdf

Greece

KEEL:               Webpage on Ebola outbreak

Bulletin for travelers

Posters:

 http://www.keelpno.gr/Portals/0/%CE%91%CF%81%CF%87%CE%B5%CE%AF%CE%B1/Ebola/ebola_GR_poster.pdf

 http://www.keelpno.gr/Portals/0/%CE%91%CF%81%CF%87%CE%B5%CE%AF%CE%B1/Ebola/ebola_EN_poster.pdf

Germany

Ministry of Health

 http://www.infektionsschutz.de/erregersteckbriefe/ebola-fieber

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

 http://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/DE/Infoservice/Presse/Meldungen/2014/140918-BM_Ebola.html

Robert Koch Institute

 http://www.rki.de/EN/Home/homepage_node.html

 http://www.rki.de/DE/Content/InfAZ/E/Ebola/Kurzinformation_Ebola_in_Westafrika.html

Bernhard-Nocht-Institute – Hamburg

 http://www.bnitm.de/

Hungary

Ministry of Human Capacities  http://www.kormany.hu/en/ministry-of-human-resources (English)

 http://www.kormany.hu/hu/emberi-eroforrasok-miniszteriuma/egeszsegugyert-felelos-allamtitkarsag (Hungarian)  National Public Health and Chief Medical Office

https://www.antsz.hu/  Guide for leadership of higher education

https://www.antsz.hu/portal/hir1/20140826-ebola-felsooktatasi-hallgatok.html?transactionid=-6254197871553193403  Guide for travellers

https://www.antsz.hu/hir1/20140819-ebola-tanacsok-utazoknak.html

Lithuania

Ministry of Health of Lithuania (web banner on the top of the page)  http://www.sam.lt

Centre of Communicable Disease and AIDS under the Ministry of Health  http://www.ulac.lt/lt/ebola-hemoragine-karstlige

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania  http://urm.lt/default/lt/naujienos/del-ebolos-viruso-protrukio-urm-grieztina-kelioniu-rekomendacijas-i-vakaru-afrikos-valstybes-1

Malta

Ministry of Health

 https://ehealth.gov.mt/healthportal/public_health/idcu/introduction.aspx

Netherlands

Dutch Government

 http://www.rijksoverheid.nl/onderwerpen/ebola

National Institute for Public Health and the Environment – in Dutch

 http://www.rivm.nl/Onderwerpen/E/Ebola

National Institute for Public Health and the Environment – in English

 http://www.rivm.nl/en/Topics/E/Ebola

Norway

National Institute of Public Health

 http://www.fhi.no/eway/default.aspx?pid=240&trg=Content_6765&Main_6664=6894:0:25,7555:1:0:0:::0:0&MainContent_6894=6765:0:25,7572:1:0:0:::0:

Slovak Republic

Public Health Authority

Information about Ebola for travellers (translated ECDC leaflet) – in Slovak  http://www.uvzsr.sk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2378:virusove-ochorenie-ebola-informacie-pre-cestovateov&catid=68:epidemiolog

Information about the measurements taken by the Public Health Authority of SR – in Slovak  http://www.uvzsr.sk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2368:opatrenia-uradu-verejneho-zdravotnictva-sr-tykajuce-sa-virusoveho-ochoreni

Leaflet on Ebola for citizens – in Slovak  http://www.uvzsr.sk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2383:hemoragicka-horuka-ebola&catid=68:epidemiologia&Itemid=76

Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs

Travel advice for Slovak citizens – in Slovak http://www.foreign.gov.sk/servlet/content?MT=/App/WCM/main.nsf/vw_ByID/ID_DD6F67735A1B6F80C12576350033486B_SK&OpenDocument=Y&LANG

Information on financial humanitarian aid of the Slovak Republic – in English http://www.foreign.gov.sk/servlet/content?MT=/App/WCM/main.nsf/vw_ByID/ministry&NCH=Y&OpenDocument=Y&LANG=EN&TG=BlankMaster&URL=/

Slovenia

National institute of public health

 http://www.nijz.si/Mp.aspx?ni=0&pi=19&_19_view=item&_19_newsid=2577&pl=0-19.0.

Ministry of Health

 http://www.mz.gov.si/nc/si/medijsko_sredisce/novica/article/670/6835/

Spain

Ministry of health  http://www.msssi.gob.es/profesionales/saludPublica/ccayes/alertasActual/ebola/home.htm

Foreign Affairs

 http://www.exteriores.gob.es/Portal/es/ServiciosAlCiudadano/SiViajasalExtranjero/Paginas/RecomendacionesDeViaje.aspx

Sweden

Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare (“Socialstyrelsen”):  http://www.socialstyrelsen.se/nyheter/2014september/ebolakraverokadvaksamhetivarden

Fact sheet/leaflet:  http://www.socialstyrelsen.se/SiteCollectionDocuments/infoblad-ebola-2014-08-28.pdf

Public Health Agency of Sweden (“Folkhälsomyndigheten”):  http://www.folkhalsomyndigheten.se/amnesomraden/beredskap/utbrott/ebola-vastafrika-2014/

Foreign Ministry of Sweden:  http://www.regeringen.se/sb/d/18334/a/245352

Switzerland

Federal Office of Public Health

German

 http://www.bag.admin.ch/de/ebola

French

http://www.bag.admin.ch/fr/ebola

Italian

http://www.bag.admin.ch/it/ebola

United Kingdom

https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/ebola-government-response

Articles in which International SOS has been quoted or referenced

  • “Ebola Sends Employers Wake-Up Call” – Human Resource Executive– 7 October
  • “These countries are tightening their borders over Ebola fears — against expert advice” – Washington Post– 2 October
  • “Companies Step Up Pressure on Ebola: We Need Action Now” – NBC News– 11 September
  • “Amid Ebola crisis, is something worse around corner?” – CNBC– 4 September
  • “First Briton With Ebola Virus Begins Treatment” – Sky News– 25 August
  • “WA miners in West Africa prepare workforce for escalation of Ebola virus” –  ABC News– 23 August
  • “Ebola, war or disaster: how and when global service groups decide to flee” – National Catholic Reporter– 21 August
  • “World confronting the largest Ebola outbreak since 1976” – China Daily– 18 August
  • “Multinationals in Africa keep a wary eye on Ebola” – Wall Street Journal, 6 August
  • “Ebola strains fragile W African economies” – Reuters, 6 August
  • “Ebola threatens West African economies” – Yahoo UK/AFP, 6 August
  • “Ebola virus: now the threat is real” – Punch Nigeria, 5 August
  • “International SOS has seen another rise in the number of requests for advice on Ebola in recent weeks” –Business Wire India, 4 August
  • “Evaluating risk: Do travellers need medical evacuation insurance” – NBC News, 2 August
  • “Ebola patient arrives in the US” – Today NBC, 2 August
  • “Americans mostly safe from Ebola, despite rapid spread” – Risk & Insurance, 1 August
  • “Employers should be prepared as Ebola outbreak grows” – Society for Human Resource Management, 1 August
  • “US$100m Ebola emergency response plan unveiled by WHO’s Margaret Chan” – South China Morning Post, 1 August
  • “WA miners issue ebola alerts” – The West Australian, 1 August
  • “Ebola: A Disease out of control?” – Al Jazeera, 31 July
  • “WHO, CDC see $100 million surge for Africa Ebola battle” – Bloomberg, 31 July
  • “Health experts say Ebola virus poses little risk to UAE” – The National UAE, 31 July
  • “Can West Africa’s deadliest Ebola outbreak be contained?” – Al Jazeera America, 29 July
  • “Ebola: Is the western world at risk?” – ReLocate Magazine, 28 July
  • “Ebola outbreak poses threat to African economies” – Financial Times, 25 July (subscription required)
  • International SOS’ Dr Robert Quigley discusses Ebola – Al Jazeera English TV channel, 23  July
  • “West Africa Ebola Outbreaks Spur Rising International SOS Inquiries” – Voice of America, 16 July
  • International SOS Medical Director Doug Quarry discusses Ebola in the Al Jazeera report, 28 March 2014
  • “Ebola Outbreak is West Africa” – Relocate Magazine, 26 March
  • “Guinea says has contained Ebola outbreak, death toll rises” – Reuters,  26 March

Army Strong ~KM

Logo-ReadyArmyKM enhances mission command, facilitates the exchange of knowledge, supports doctrine development, fosters leaders’ development, supports lessons learned, supports training and enhances professional education. Ultimately, KM enables the Army to become an adaptable organization that is able to learn and change. The Army’s strategy focuses on advancement in a culture of innovation rather than survival in a culture of compliance.

• “Military operations are human endeavors characterized by the continuous, mutual adaptation of give and take, moves and counter moves among all participants (FM 6-0 2011).” The participants that are able to adapt and learn more efficiently will create advantages that can be exploited. The Army has moved towards mission command as the means to be more adaptable and able to execute in a decentralized manner. One of the key enables for an organization to learn and adapt is through the use of knowledge management.
• Effective knowledge management enhances the shared understanding of an organization. The command and staff possess a shared understanding of the OE and mission that allows for a synergy of effort between commanders, staffs, and subordinate commands.
• Knowledge management enhances mission command’s ability to use mission type orders to promote initiative within the commander’s intent.  If done properly trust is built within the organization, shared understanding is generated, and the people and organization will learn.

Be Informed!

The military including all US armed forces does a fantastic job of knowledge management.   In fact, the military has always done a fantastic job of knowledge management.   The reason there are questions concerning  km (knowledge management) practices in the Army and other defense areas is because of WHERE they practice knowledge management.

When a young soldier comes into the Army, this person is taught about Army culture.  They are taught about a chain of command, they are taught about roles and responsibilities, they are taught to sense and feel things in order to react.   The services use tools of human dimensions including cognitive, physical, social concepts.   (http://www.ruf.rice.edu/~kemmer/Evol/dimensions.html) ( http://bit.ly/1cN3xFG)  The idea is to be ready, to be informed and to maintain an ability to execute consistently with great continuity and persistence. 

Being ready is something that the Army has done well and this readiness is a direct result of a consistent focus on km.   The centerpiece of the Army is the soldier but one soldier alone can’t be the Army and this is why there has to be an understanding of people, process, methods, tools and a further AWARENESS of the environment, the world and of time.

It is a heavy burden for an organization of any size to put so much effort into knowledge management but it is a must.  The Army has KM Officers (http://usacac.army.mil/cac2/AOKM/FactSheets/KMOFactsheet.pdf ) <– here are their roles and responsibilities.

“Knowledge Management is more than just KMO business.” AWC KM Brief, 2011

Knowledge Management Operations Strategy (http://armypubs.army.mil/doctrine/DR_pubs/dr_a/pdf/fm6_01x1.pdf)

Army Business

There are many business practices that came from our experience with fighting wars.  In fact most leaders (http://jobsforveterans.military.com/852/10-fortune-500-military-ceos/)  have served and have learned core values and practices from the services.    In a time where the world is under more pressure than in recent past and military leaders are consistently finding ways to do more with less, it is NOT amazing to see that they have turned to a core practice of knowledge management as an add-on to every single effort.   It is AMAZING and a wonder to see business leaders under stressful conditions look at km as something soft and not worth the effort.

If knowledge management isn’t important, why do senior leaders in the military who understand the value of km continue to invest in km (their people) more as the budgets get tighter?

In our history of mankind from the people who invented our first tools, to the people who found how to use fire through the 4 guys on the planet that know the secret recipe for WD-40, we have needed and continue to need to tell stories, share information, communicate both tacit and explicit knowledge.  If there are any questions concerning the importance of knowledge management initiatives,  I humbly ask those decision makers who seek to devalue these concepts to simply look at the men and women protecting our great nation and recognize what they are doing.    I don’t think that our military leadership is “soft” in fact I think it takes a special kind of courage to take the hard road of truly addressing people and culture relative to knowledge management and that is what they do.

Think about it!  

 

-This post is dedicated to my good friend and brother Capt. Marc Romeo (http://fortblissbugle.com/5-52-amd-soldiers-learn-to-be-more-resilient/) BZ KID!

You can read how he taught a class on being resilient!

Egg or Tennis Ball?

 

Disclaimer:

All of the information provided here is available on the internet.    I am adding links and sources accordingly.

There is GREAT POWER in Silence

If you don’t say something, you are saying a lot.

“Silence is a window into a fundamental misunderstanding in semiotics, the study of signs. “http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/ambigamy/201110/the-silent-treatment-when-people-leave-you-guessing

Research indicates that children would rather be yelled at than ignored. When prisoners are being punished, they are put in isolation, because being isolated is one of the harshest punishments there is — other than physical abuse. Likewise, the silent treatmentis a form of punishment, a way of attempting to control your partner or others into doing what you want them to do. It is a withdrawal of approval, and can cause much fear in people who are vulnerable to this.

You are giving people the silent treatment when you shut down to them, closing your heart and refusing to interact with them or acknowledge their presence. You act as if they are invisible, not responding to them at all or giving them a very minimal and withheld response. Your hope in treating them this way is that they will get the message that they have displeased you. They have done something wrong in your eyes and deserve to be punished, deserve to have your “love” taken away. Ref

When you ignore people and they know you are ignoring them, you hurt them.

 

 

Fukushima vs. Syria

Harm or Help

If America is going to do something productive for the world and take on responsibility to police the world, shouldn’t we be spending more time in Japan?

I don’t normally watch the news but in the last day or so… I have.   I am absolutely disgusted with the media and not interested in perpetuating what they call or identify as any kind of journalism.   It is a freaking circus on television with commentators and opinion makers talking about world events like they are commenting on a sports game.   “You see the American people want..”  and “We are going to see Congress come up to the plate and..”  It is a joke and it is all for entertainment.   We are entertaining ourselves into oblivion.   We have real world serious issues here that are affecting us and all we can do from a media perspective is call the game.

I can come up with a very long and extensive list of things that America should be doing to help our world.    I am pretty sure that most of us would agree that we need to solve problems in health, energy, economy and global stabilization (warming or not).   I am going to be clear and honest here, I don’t care about Syria right now.   I care about the fact that our food supply isn’t safe.   I care about the fact that my children are inheriting  a foreign world that I don’t recognize.  I care about the fact that our country seems to be more divided than ever and we are arguing about nonsense.

Here is the deal, the Fukushima nuclear plant is leaking radioactive water into the sea.  Who is going to jail for this?  Who is being punished?  What is the world doing to prevent more damage to the earth?  How many lives will be lost?  What is the economic costs?

There are Ideas for Solutions

 Arnie Gundersen, a nuclear engineer with Fairewinds Energy Education,  who has visited the Fukushima power plant in the past, said a solution would be to dig a two-metre wide trench down to bedrock level and fill it with a material called zeolite: a volcanic material that comes from Mother Nature.  

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2013/08/28/japan-fukushima-radiation-leak.html.  

“It’s incredibly good at filtering radioactive isotopes. So whatever is inside the fence will stay inside and whatever is outside the fence would be clean,” said Gundersen, who estimates the price tag for such a project would be around $10 billion.  Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/sci-tech/japan-s-fukushima-nuclear-plant-leaks-what-you-need-to-know-1.1423249#ixzz2deX4BQVd

World Nuclear Industry Status Report http://www.worldnuclearreport.org/-2013-.html

I submit that we look at outcome based initiatives to see where we invest our resources in order to receive the best value for our global investment.  I am looking to keep this simple.  How much will it cost to attack Syria?  What are the outcomes?  What does the US hope to achieve by hitting Syria?   Last I checked, when you punch someone in the face, even a bully it may only cause more fighting and tension.    The region is unstable and has been for years.  The Washington Post spells it out in short order here http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/08/29/9-questions-about-syria-you-were-too-embarrassed-to-ask/.

Bottom line,  before we go off and start another war, we should get our big brains together and money to start cleaning up Fukushima.   Let me be clear on why.   We will have to deal with the same type of nuclear plant disaster in the next 20-30 years on our soil.

The only plant in Vermont will close soon.   “America’s aging nuclear industry has been facing a firestorm of criticism ever since the March 2011 meltdown in Fukushima.  Despite the fact that the Fukushima failure was due to negligence — the operator defied its engineers’ advice to waterproof backup generators to save on costs — the incident has had a powerful impact in shifting American public opinion against nuclear power. That shift has helped the government escape criticism for giving solar and wind power handouts that it won’t give nuclear power.  It has also driven some states to try to kick out aging nuclear plants — including Vermont.

Of the 104 reactors in 65 commercial plants in 31 states in the U.S., twenty-three — or roughly a fourth — are 40 years old or older.  Another forty-two reactors are 30 years old or older.  These older reactors tend to not only be the least efficient — causing them to struggle more to compete with cheap fossil fuel power and artificially cheap alternative energy — they also require more in maintenance.”

These companies will be broke and they will walk away from these filthy death plants waving the white flag.    I would say that would force the US to have to prepare and deal with two fundamental issues.  The first would be stable and clean power generation and the second would be cleaning up the mess that is left over from nuclear power generation.   If we can figure out ways to offset or deal with radiation by some how neutralizing contaminated waste products, we will be prepared to deal with 70-year-old nuclear facility shut down.     If you aren’t angry by now, you should be.   I sure wish that our politicians didn’t feel as if they deserved a break (because they don’t).

Before we lob anything over at Syria we should know why what we are attacking for and what the positive outcome will be..

If there isn’t one, then send our Congress and Senate over to Fukushima and let us see them “roll up their sleeves”  for our future.    

Meet in the middle

 

When I was a child my mother put this picture on the refrigerator, it is simple and telling.   I put this picture up at work as a constant reminder of the benefits and challenges of working with others.

Regardless of who is at fault or the challenges we face it is my hope that our politicians and leadership realize this simple message.   We can all benefit from being less stubborn and through the realization of working together move forward and live well.

 

Thanks mom ..

Dispatches from the Front: 5 December 2012

Christmas Day is 20 days from now.  I wish for you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas.  It is a very special time of the year when even salty old dogs like me enjoy the magic the season brings.  What is your favorite Christmas holiday song?  My wife’s favorite is “Silent Night”.

Although I enjoy Faith Hill’s version of “Where are you Christmas”, ever since that period on active duty where I spent five consecutive Christmas holiday’s deployed, my favorite has been, “I’ll be home for

Christmas”.   Thank you for your friendship and goodwill during the past

year. I wish you a wonderful holiday season and a New Year full of happiness and prosperity.

 

It is cold here now.  Attached, you will find a couple of photos of the Hindu Kush Mountains that completely surround us.  With the snow on them, one could say they are pretty.  I guess there is beauty in hell.

However, bad people constantly shoot rockets and mortars at us from those hills so they will never be pretty to me. The photo of the vehicle, MRAP, is to show their tremendous size.  I honestly do not know if those vehicles are the correct solution to the IED threat.  I do know MRAPs are used throughout this Theater. I am grateful our Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard men and women who ride in them are safer during the accomplishment of their missions while in

harm’s way.  

 

On the 18th of December, I will be at my 1/2 mark.  Time still passes much too quickly even in hell.  Consolidating the daily situational reports of the past 24 hours of kinetic events draws a physiological toll and worries me a bit. The figures on deaths, loss of limbs and other serious wounds, to all sides, has crept into and affected the dark and black section of my heart.  I have learned to hate the Taliban and all who support them.  Hate is not healthy for it negates the ability to forgive. The Taliban seriously just need killing.  Unfortunately, we will not be able to kill enough of them to allow the current Afghan military and police force to protect the peoples of this geographical area before the United States and Coalition Partners depart these miserable lands.  I did not call Afghanistan a country, for the tribes in the hills do not recognize Afghanistan as a nation state.  That is both bad and good.  The bad part has to do with the party line “strategic objectives” that justified the US and ISAF to come to these lands in the first place.  Bottom line, my opinion and my opinion only, those objectives will not be accomplished.  Unfortunately, the loss of National Treasure combined with the fiscal costs of this and the Iraq war has contributed to the fiscal disaster facing our Nation.  In the end, those costs will be for such little good or strategic gain.  The good news is that these mountain tribes are the true strength of the peoples within these lands.  Since recorded history, no power, either inside or outside, has ever subjugated or ruled the mountain tribes collectively.  Neither will the Taliban. 

 

There was a recent nasty multiple car-bombing on a forward operating base not far from here.  So compared to the men and women lying in the field hospital beds a few hundred yards from where I am typing this note, all is well.  I am in need of nothing.  I am healthy.  I am happy.

 

 

Over the years, I have traveled in sixty-five countries, led men in combat, been shot at and cut with a knife, but I have never been alone because of the reason Christmas is celebrated; I remain grateful for the Lord’s Grace and His Son. There is no finer gift to receive than that.

Merry Christmas! 

DSCN0700z1

 

Semper Fidelis,

Ken