09 October 2021

Mission Resilience: Our Digital Trust in 2050...

“If we are to prevail as a civil, global society, designing and achieving digital trust is now a necessity. We must find the courage to move beyond what seems to work today but actually is crumbling. We must move beyond merely shoring up our defenses with stronger, more robust spending. Instead, we must begin anew, replacing what is with what needs to be—a robust, dynamic, interconnected, digital space through which we can communicate and live as a global society. In doing so, we can improve our confidence in our decisions and the decisions of our leaders.”—Jeffrey Ritter-Achieving Digital Trust

Our organizations across Corporate and Major Metropolitan areas of the world are at the epicenter of our trust.

It is Cybersecurity Awareness month in the United States in October again and the number of Ransomware incidents is rising on a daily basis. Cryptocurrency is being used on the “Dark Web” to complete transactions that go well beyond the purchase of digital keys, to unlock stolen and encrypted data from those digitally frozen municipalities, hospitals, and other vital corporate Critical Infrastructure entities.

The CIA finally has a “China Mission Center” dedicated to the continuous analysis and proactive geopolitical actions to protect the invisible, yet ever more present digital influence operations across the Internet.

How will the challenges of our "Digital Domains" change from their foundations of open communications and collaboration to major systems disruption and loss of trust?

How might we proceed community-by-community both online and face-to-face, to raise the level of integrity and confidence in our accelerating digital age?

Our future for a trusted and civil global economy will depend upon our respective confidence in the digital world we all have created this past two decades.

The algorithms and the software code have largely been written by humans, who are still so capable of making errors.

The opportunity for us all, is to increase the quality of our digital world and to better manage the forensic initiatives that will still lie ahead of us.

In the Board Room, the GSOC Center and every desktop where humans type on keyboards in a protected building, located off Chain Bridge Road near Georgetown Pike, the challenges will continue to rise.

Writing the descriptive words for an all-source PDB or coding in the syntax and semantic language known as Python, our technology tools remain open to exploit.

Our digital trust relies on the people with decades of hands on experience and the people who will design the software to run our growing infrastructure of tomorrow.

Mission continuity and operational resilience is the next digital wave of innovation required to build trust across our cities and across continents. 

Critical Infrastructure Protection must remain pervasive, engineered into all that we design and deliver with Confidence, Integrity and Assurance

02 October 2021

Innovation: Entrepreneurial SPRINT…

Are you ready to embark on a new endeavor in your particular work or volunteer organization? Then how might you utilize an “Entrepreneurial SPRINT” methodology to more effectively accomplish your desired outcomes in National Security?

If you even develop a multi-step process to take you down an agreed upon series of collaborative actions, you will be well on your way to a more valued set of results.

Consider a focus on solving a unique problem-set that exists in your own specific Domain, Industry or Organization.

Work alongside a team partner or small group to experience the empirical evidence of answers to your questions, hypotheses and the information discovered and collected as you proceed.

Create a design SPRINT that accomplishes your agreed upon steps in a specified time frame, 4 or five days in-a-row, or 4 consecutive weeks within a month.

Utilize a proven and open-source hybrid methodology from intellectual thought leaders in the realm of innovation such as Jake Knapp or Steve Blank with Strategyzer AG. All have published a multitude of information on tools, systems, process and models to consider.

Here is an example for just one reference:

  1. Map/Target
  2. Sketch/Solution
  3. Decide
  4. Prototype

The process steps are the key to your unique journey of innovation. Two people or a small team learning together, as you interview likely beneficiaries of your proposed solution. 

Learning the potential end-users real opinions and comments is vital. What the “real problem” is, that is keeping them focused and that they are eager to solve.

How might you incorporate this type of “Entrepreneurial SPRINT” into your own organization, so that you can capture the true essence of what the customer seeks?

Your Team is going to learn together the Who, What, How, and Where your design for a solution to a more well defined problem-set, that will make a real difference.

What is vital to remember in your place of work or within your organization, is that the methodology is proven. It works for students in college, employees in Fortune 500 companies and volunteers in non-profit organizations.

“The ambition and the hope for all of us, shall be to increase our skills, our knowledge and share relevant National Security learning and information”…Onward!

25 September 2021

Over the Horizon: Playing in the “Infinite Game”…

When you think about your future, what do you foresee? A life full of happiness fulfilled with almost every wonderful human experience?

That is where you should continue your vision and your true ambition. Stay on this course of doing what is right, talking about the good and demonstrating a life full of integrity.

Have faith that in a world trying to distract you and with people you know who are heading off course, you must continuously navigate to the light. Look up and beyond.

Your next opportunity or new acquaintance is just over the horizon. You just can’t see it yet.

Remember what you have been taught. By parents, siblings and even your grandparents. There is wisdom and lessons to be learned from each of them. Both good and bad.

The course you set and navigate now for yourself is your own.

On September 25, 2020, one year ago as these words are written, James P. Carse died. Read his book, “Finite and Infinite Games: A Vision of Life as Play and Possibility”. When finished, ask yourself what game are you playing in?

If you are an artist playing in an “Infinite Game” then read on.

Infinite players don’t consume time, they generate it. They don’t talk about how much they have accomplished and their latest title, or after all the training they have completed.

Instead, you will talk about how much of your work still remains incomplete.

Your ambition shall be to play the game without ending it and to be even more well-educated. Not just well-trained.

Your boundaries are self-created. Infinite players oppose the boundaries and create a better culture wherever they live. You shall continuously strive for a horizon you will never reach.

Are you still trying to win? Are you bound by all the rules? You are not playing in the “Infinite Game”.

Infinite Game players shall focus on the purpose for playing the game. You find joy in what you do and you don’t want to ever cease the game.

What are you doing to stay in it and continue playing? You are not interested in how others perceive you. You are after deeds that the entire planet may benefit from for entirety.

You understand that surprise is inevitable in the “Infinite Game”. You know that every choice and move you make as a first responder, is toward the horizon.

“Soldiers who die fighting the enemy, receive the nation’s highest reward: They are declared unforgettable. Even unknown soldiers are memorialized—though their names have been lost, their titles will not be.” —James P. Carse

Are you in active pursuit of a higher purpose that will be beneficial for our challenging world…

18 September 2021

Continuity of Operations: Mother Nature or Active Shooter...

Continuity of Operations in the context of business gets on the Board of Directors agenda after every tragedy. Whenever the magnitude of the business disruption involves loss of life, or major property damage the executive management goes into "Crisis Management" mode. Unfortunately for many, this may be the only time the Board and corporate executives have tested or exercised for such an incident.

So what is Continuity of Operations? What does it mean to your business? How pervasive does this Operational Risk strategy have to be? Let's think about a simple process from the time a sales person picks up the phone to schedule an appointment to the time the product or service team has delivered or installed the items that have been sold to the customer.

In the context of university higher education, the process of recruiting, admissions, housing, fund-raising, sports and alumni relations. How many touch points, steps in the process or procedures for manufacturing, integration, sourcing, learning and implementation exist? Now think about your supply chain that provides the necessary resources, energy, infrastructure and people to make it all happen. Does this business issue seem like a trivial matter?

The aftermath of any major incident will require a thorough investigation to determine what happened. Everyone will have their version of what they saw, heard, felt and remember about it. Then the finger pointing, litigation and media frenzy begins. Only then do the Board of Directors and Executive Management wish they had practiced and exercised for the eventual day that has now landed on their front door step.

Such an example is in the news again, more than two years after the tragic day in April 2007 on the campus of Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, Virginia. In Lucinda Roy's latest book, "No Right To Remain Silent", her opinions magnify the need for effective continuity of operations planning, exercises, auditing and testing:

After tragedies like this, people clam up. They are warned that it is too dangerous to talk about the specifics of a case when lawyers are chomping at the bit, when the media is lying in wait like a lynch mob. But people also remain silent when they are worried that what they have to say could injure them somehow.

In the days and weeks that followed the tragedy at Virginia Tech I was reminded of how much silence has to say to us if we listen with care.

Sadly, the tragedy at Virginia Tech did not usher in an era of openness on the part of the administration. Questions that related to the specifics of the shootings, to Cho, or to troubled students in general were viewed in the wake of the tragedy as verbal grenades.

Many of you may remember where you were when you heard the news. Just like you will always remember where you were on the morning of September 11, 2001. Yet April 16, 2007 could very well be more significant as the analysis and the investigation continues.

Sadly, we know how this story turned out: On April 16, 2007, Seung-Hui Cho shot two people to death in a Virginia Tech dormitory, then chained the doors to a classroom building shut and methodically killed 30 more before committing suicide. It was the worst school shooting in American history.

Who knew what when? The litigation is ongoing and some still are seeking the truth. Proving the truth will require substantial analysis of tens of thousands of documents, e-mail messages, hand written notes, depositions, medical records and school work. Yet when it gets boiled down to the facts and the issues, "Continuity of Operations" protocols, practice and preparedness will be at the core of the matter.

Does your organization have facilities where an all hazards approach is talked about and is continuously aware of the threats to life and property along with the economic implications of any business disruption? If you have people and property in California the answer is yes. Earthquakes, brush fires and now even the lack of government resources are existing risk factors.

If you have people and property in or near symbolic locations such as New York City's Wall Street, Washington, DC's Capitol, or the St. Louis Arch then your organization should have heightened situational awareness and crisis management mechanisms already in place. The whole State of Florida, North & South Carolina, Louisiana, Texas and others who know the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina/Harvey are sensitized to the requirements for effective preparedness.

So what is the difference in an event such as the "Active Shooter" scenario on your campus or the catastrophe sent by "Mother Nature"?

The answer is the accuracy in predicting the event itself. All the preparedness for either event starts with the mind set that it will happen.

Only one can be prevented, preempted or neutralized before it can cause harm...

11 September 2021

11 September 2021: What is True...

When these words found their way from pen to paper seventeen years ago today, the truth of what was written was unknown:

-------------------------

11 September 2004

Third Anniversary of 9/11

As We Mark The Third Anniversary of 9/11 one can imagine how the world will be in the next three years. A globe pock marked by terrorist incidents. Russia, Malaysia are of recent headlines. How soon will the terror strike the US again? Many say before the election and only then will we have what we need to reinforce what work has already been accomplished, and will never be completed.

The people of the free world know in their hearts that the struggles of real estate and religion will continue for decades to come. Only those who are proactive, preventive and aware of the continuously changing threat will survive.

God bless us all.

Posted by Ed at 9/11/2004 10:49:00 AM

-------------------------

Today on this morning of 11 September 2021 at 8:46 AM, as our fellow loved ones gather around our 9/11 Memorial in the World Trade Center plaza of the former Twin Towers, the Pentagon or Shanksville and they read the names of the fallen that day, tears come to our eyes. Once Again.

For those who died that day. And for those who will have died decades afterwards.

And for all of those Americans who roll out of bed each day in our United States and Overseas, to raise our American Flag and to work until the stars are out to defend everything that it stands for.

Who we really are, as Americans, each day as we pray and every day the musical notes of “Taps” plays.

"The Only Thing Necessary For Evil To Triumph Is For Good Men To Do Nothing."
--Edmund Burke

On this 9/11 day as we remember again. Each of us knows where we were, when we heard and saw the news unfolding before our very eyes.

The smoke rising from the WTC in New York City, the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia and the fields near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. What we witnessed on 11 September 2001, was pure “Evil” at work.

"How much do you let what you wish to be true stand in the way of seeing what is really true?"

Today, as these words are written, we know the truth…Never Forget!

28 August 2021

Never Forget: The Prescience of our Risks…

Historical facts and real time data will remain an empirical reminder of our mistakes in the past, of our “Lessons Learned”. Those who study the why and the how from only our past 20 years of history, will be able to adapt, can proactively improve outcomes and will over time increase our respective levels of resiliency.

“The 19 men who hijacked and crashed the four planes were all trained by al Qaeda. Three of the suspected pilots—Mohamed Atta, Marwan Al-Shehhi, and Ziad Jarrah—were part of an al Qaeda cell based in Hamburg, Germany. All four pilots took flying lessons in the United States.

Fifteen of the hijackers came from Saudi Arabia, two from the United Arab Emirates, one from Egypt, and one from Lebanon. The oldest was 33; the rest were between 20 and 29. The group also included two sets of brothers: Wail and Waleed Al-Shehri on American Flight 11, and Nawaf and Salem Al-Hazmi on American Flight 77. The hijackers began entering the United States in January 2000 to advance the plot. All 19 were in the country by early July 2001.”

Yet are we simply repeating the same behavior and forgotten our lessons of the true data?

A proactive set of activities are continuously required to sense the unforeseen. We shall continue to devote our time, new resources and growing intelligence towards the heartbeat of our emotions.

The hope is, that we do not lose sight of the foundations and the continuous requirements for our Operational Risk Management.

The prescience of our risks, are based upon the past and the history already laid down before us. The continuous ability for you to become even more reliable, more consistent and to hedge against significant loss is in your own hands.

How might you become more resilient to the change events that still lie ahead of us:

Operational risk is defined as the risk of loss resulting from inadequate or failed processes, people, and systems or from external events. These risks are further defined as follows:
* Process risk – breakdown in established processes, failure to follow processes or inadequate process mapping within business lines.
* People risk – management failure, organizational structure or other human failures, which may be exacerbated by poor training, inadequate controls, poor staffing resources, or other factors.
* Systems risk – disruption and outright system failures in both internal and outsourced operations.
* External event risk – natural disasters, terrorism, and vandalism.

The definition includes Legal risk, which is the risk of loss resulting from failure to comply with laws as well as prudent ethical standards and contractual obligations. It also includes the exposure to litigation from all aspects of an institution’s activities.

How might we gain the foresight required in an evolving physical and virtual environment with:

  • More Threats.
  • More Data.
  • More Speed.
  • More Decision Makers.
  • More Competition.

We shall “Never Forget”…

21 August 2021

Always Remember: Continuous Insight After Two Decades…

After 9/11, Business Continuity got plenty of attention, yet to this day many companies remain ill-prepared for disaster. This CFO article in 2003 reinforces the reality of this fact.

Even if you have tested your Business Continuity Plan (BCP), it doesn't mean that your own organizations suppliers and partners have:

Source: Scott Leibs, CFO Magazine September 01, 2003 "In the weeks following September 11, 2001, the New York Board of Trade (NYBOT) was praised, in these pages and elsewhere, for having invested in a disaster recovery plan that proved nearly priceless. The commodities exchange had been spending $300,000 annually for a backup facility that sat idle for years, an expense that had been questioned but that paid off: the exchange not only used the site in the days after 9/11 but continues to use the site as its de facto headquarters as it transitions to a new one in lower Manhattan this month.

That was the kind of success story that was supposed to galvanize the business-continuity market, highlighting as it did the vulnerability not only of computer systems but also of phone, power, and transportation grids. What had been seen as an issue affecting primarily a company's data center was now framed as a strategic imperative affecting every aspect of infrastructure."

Here are ten steps for consideration to Practice Continuous Continuity (C2) for Enterprise Resilience:

  1. Develop and practice a contingency plan that includes a succession plan for your executive team.
  2. Train backup employees to perform emergency tasks. The employees you count on to lead in an emergency won't always be available.
  3. Consider creating offsite crisis meeting places for top executives and operational teams.
  4. Make sure employees—as well as executives—are involved in the exercises so that they get practice in responding to an emergency and following orders in potential chaos.
  5. Make exercises realistic enough to tap into employees' emotions so that you can see how they'll react when the situation gets stressful.
  6. Practice crisis communication with employees, customers and the outside world.
  7. Invest in an alternate means of communication in case the phone networks go down, including wireless devices.
  8. Form partnerships with local emergency response groups—firefighters, police and EMTs—to establish a good working relationship. Let them become familiar with your company and site.
  9. Evaluate your company's performance during each test, and make changes to ensure constant improvement. Continuity plans should reveal weaknesses.
  10. Regularly test your continuity plan to reveal and accommodate changes. technology, personnel and facilities as they are in a constant state of change at any organization.

As part of the audit of your Continuous Continuity (C2), include the check up on your most vital 3rd party suppliers. They must be as prepared and resilient as you are. You may require that they be included in all of your scenario exercises, to make sure that you know their level of readiness...

15 August 2021

Unknown Destination: Rewarding Life Journey…

What will you devote your energy and resources to when you have an extra hour or two this weekend?

How might you utilize and grow your skills, knowledge, resources and your relationships network to make a true difference?

For your Country, your Community, or your Church, your Family, and most importantly Yourself.

You see, if you don’t invest in yourself first, to learn new valuable skills, increase your ecosystem knowledge-base and build new lasting personal relationships with others across your network; how will you continuously contribute and make a positive difference in your life and with the people around you?

Your family, your whole community and your country are counting on you.

Yet you must realize, that the internal dialogue you have with “Self-Talk” on a regular basis. You know, that internal and private dialogue you have with yourself each day, will be a continuous challenge in your life.

The word “Volunteer” is worth defining here:  To contribute. To donate. To give. To give away. Freewill. Uncoerced. Volitional. Willing.

Definition of volunteer
1 : a person who voluntarily undertakes or expresses a willingness to undertake a service:

How might you contribute a few hours this week devoted to learning new skills, new knowledge and increasing your network of valuable relationships?

When will these new assets make a difference in your life?  That is yet to be determined.

One truth is, that your journey will be challenging. Yes and your destination will be simultaneously unknown, where and when you will realize the glorious outcomes of all of your time and efforts!

We look forward to seeing you out there…somewhere using your God given talent and leveraging the new skills and knowledge you have gained in your life.  Onward!

24 July 2021

Infinite Pursuit: Courage to Lead…

How will you be accelerating towards your “Just Cause” in the next year?

What is it, that you and your most Trusted Team of Leaders have agreed upon, as your desired and inclusive service-oriented endeavor?

Why are you operating in this particular and unique “Infinite Game”?

How will your “Just Cause” make a difference with so many others? Will you endure the journey long enough and with sustained resiliency to see the results to advance?

You know you are in this Infinite Game when you finally realize that no one will ever become the winner.

The change that you and your team will endure over time will be significant. Yet the purpose and the drive to see what is over-the-horizon next, is your ultimate pursuit.

When you finally comprehend and rationalize that your “Just Cause” is truly unachievable, that is your true sign of courage.

The courage to persevere is not attainable with everyone. Yet it is something that can be learned. Will you?

It is Infinite and therefore you will only master a few key elements of the journey that will make the difference in your lifetime.

Go outside on a partly cloudy yet sunny day about 4 hours before Sunset. Walk. Run. Bike. Or just Play. In a favorite place with others you enjoy being with. People you trust and will collaborate with on your infinite quest.

Now as our Sun sets on the Western horizon in your particular part of our Earth, look up. What do you see and how do you feel?

Is your “Just Cause” in your mind? Do you wonder if you will ever see or feel that accomplishment you so much desire?

If the answer is Yes, you are on the right and true course towards something that is bold and ultimately always beyond reach.

Yet it will be so empirical when you know, you are almost courageously there…

17 July 2021

All Hazards Continuity: From the C-Suite to the Frontline...

"Planning for Continuity of Business" has been shifting from pure disaster recovery to an "All Hazards" point-of-view on the frontline of your institution.

Following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Critical Infrastructure industries realized that no business is immune from catastrophic events.

Even the severity of the last several years of hurricane seasons, however, taught our national institutions that disaster recovery programs alone cannot protect their businesses, forcing all 16 Critical Infrastructure domains to reevaluate the strength of their backup plans.

With the destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina and others still largely visible, industry sector leaders have renewed their focus on preparedness as they rethink their risk management strategies and bolster their business continuity plans.
Hurricane Harvey (2017)
“One of the costliest tropical cyclones in United States History, let alone the Houston area, Hurricane Harvey caused more than $120 billion in damage and killed 68 people. 300,000 structures were flooded, and structures around the city were destroyed due to 130 mph winds. A category 4 storm, Harvey even produced upwards of 60 separate tornadoes during its 5 days of destruction.”

Rather than rely on disaster recovery plans to pick up the pieces after a business disruption, companies and municipalities are shifting their activity to Proactive and Continuous focused business continuity plans to keep operations running throughout a major disaster.

An "All Hazards" perspective changes the way you Deter, Detect, Defend and Document (4D) the existing and future operational risks to your enterprise.

In many institutions, disaster recovery was the responsibility of a specific group in the company, many times found in the IT department.  Not any longer.

Moving the corporate mentality to an "All Hazards" point-of-view takes the specialties of disaster recovery and spreads it across the whole organization.

A standards-based process could be:

  • Identify
  • Assess
  • Decide
  • Implement
  • Audit
  • Supervise

If just this six-step process is incorporated into the daily planning and continuous monitoring of corporate missions, then it's possible to quickly move from a reactive mode to a more proactive mode for managing all hazards risk.

You eliminate the thinking that a single department or person is in charge of Business Continuity or Disaster Management.

In our daily work schedule there must be time allocated to use this simple process when new missions are created or existing missions are reexamined.

The COO, CFO, CIO, CSO and CxO along with their direct reports all perform their own process within their own subject matter domain.

This puts the expertise for risk mitigation in the hands of the most knowledgeable person for that particular process, system or external event.

It includes the idea that hazards include much more than the typical thinking of hurricanes, tornadoes or earthquakes.

Even if the catalyst is not Mother Nature and just another salvo of “Ransomware,” from a renamed criminal group that is supported by a Nation State.

By implementing an "All Hazards" process for risk management that is utilized by every team and business unit, you create a true “Culture of Continuous Continuity”...

11 July 2021

Trust Decisions: Latent Outcomes in Accelerating Conditions…

 “Trust is the affirmative output of a disciplined, analytical decision process that measures and scores the suitability of the next actions taken by you, your team, your business, or your community.

Trust is the calculation of the probability of outcomes. In every interaction with the world, you are identifying, measuring, and figuring out the likelihoods. When the results are positive, you move ahead, from here to there.

When the results are negative, you rarely move ahead; you stay put or you find an alternate path.” Achieving Digital Trust -Page 49- Jeffrey Ritter

Why do you make a decision to utilize the capabilities of a specific tool, a talented person or to take action to invest in your own resources of time, money and cognition?

Trust exists.

Yet when the results of your trust remains negative beyond a defined time based rule-set, you must pivot and navigate to an alternative course, that has a higher likelihood of a positive set of outcomes.

This is the point in time, that a real-time awareness of your operating environment becomes absolutely vital.

Are your first indicators of negative outcomes latent, at the point when you make your next “Trust Decision” or to pivot?

To pivot and to navigate in your particular environment or Area of Responsibility (AOR), that will more rapidly increase the positive outcomes you seek.

How much time will pass, until you or your organization realizes, that the course you are on, has not produced the consistency of favorable results your allies require?

  • Seconds.
  • Minutes.
  • Hours.
  • Days.
  • Weeks.
  • Months.
  • Years.
  • Decades.

How forgiving is the environment you are operating in?

Will your operating environment allow for continuous negative results, for more than a few seconds or even minutes? Or will you allow it, for a few weeks, months or longer?

Success and the “Trust Decisions” process is fueled by information. Continuous information. It is a rules-based exercise.

What are the rules on your Playing Field, Air Field, Battle Field or within your “Silicon and Software”operating environment?

The tolerance of “how much time you will allow to pass,” is vital to your continuous positive achievement and your creation of new found wealth.

The “Trust Decision” is Rules-based. It is Fueled by information. If the information about the target does not conform or is ignored, then a trusted environment will not be attained.

“Instead, trust (or the absence of trust) is and always has been the resulting sum of a rules-based, information-fueled calculation.” Achieving Digital Trust -Page 52- Jeffrey Ritter

03 July 2021

USA: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness…

As the United States celebrates our July 4th weekend, 245 years of what it means to be a true American is ever more present.

Our nation’s Flag, which shows 50 White stars on a Blue background and 13 Red & White stripes, is a symbolic reminder of what America stands for and where our journey began almost two and a half centuries ago.

How might we continuously improve and defend our Nation, as new global opportunities emerge and new challenges are understood?

What is certain, are the words written in our Declaration of Independence in 1776. As the world views and listens to the “United States of America”, what does it see and hear?

If you asked ten people at a 4th of July parade in “Anytown, USA” on Sunday:

What is Independence Day and what does it mean? How many people asked would know the correct answer?

When the author of the Declaration of Independence became our third President, he knew the country was in for tremendous challenges ahead. What was his name?

Did you get the question correct?

Thomas Jefferson, was a Lawyer and a Christian. He was just 33 year old and our Revolutionary War had just started, when his famous words were written for a formal declaration of independence.

Our U.S. Constitution was not signed until 11 years later in 1787.

As you celebrate this unique American Holiday, think deeply about our history

Think about all those Americans who have died, in their allegiance to our Flag and the Constitution of the United States.

Americans who have died so you too, could truly experience freedom…

27 June 2021

Velocity of Knowledge: An Experts Growth of Discernment…

Knowledge Engineering is no longer an “Over-The-Horizon” dialogue, in the corridors of our corporate headquarters. We have accelerated far beyond the many facets of expert systems since the beginning.

Certainly the volume and velocity of the data, has now provided us with the substantial National Security questions and opportunities, to provide even more effective “Predictive Intelligence”.

Building specific knowledge to solve new found problem-sets that answer the questions we deem to be timely and relevant, is our vital mandate. The path to true knowledge and the sound “Trust Decisions” required, is now our greatest challenge.

How might you learn faster? How will you Understand, Decide and Act with more clarity of validated purpose?

Replication of our own cognition by silicon-based thinkers or getting a prognosis on a specific set of digital data to determine a course of action, is our real ambition.

We have been automating labor and tasks associated with knowledge management for 3 or 4 decades.

So what?

Now is the time to capitalize on our inventions and our vast storage of timely data, to really make a difference in our daily lives.

Our business opportunities and the ability to consistently peer into the future, will provide us with the cognitive insights we have only imagined.

Yet are we at a point of new reflection? Have we reached the advanced stages of knowledge to finally act upon the moral and economic decisions of the ethos of our human actions.

What is True?

The questions asked in 2021 are far different than the questions asked in 1985. The human factors and environmental change of our world has produced new considerations.

When. Where. Who. Why.

New data to analyze and exponential volumes of real-time knowledge to consume, before ethical decisions will be made in minutes. Not hours or days.

Who is typing these words to make you think? Why does this topic of Knowledge Engineering fascinate the author?

What else have they ever written that will provide you deeper perception, on who they are and what is their discernment…

So much has been written already, and yet never completely read. Nor understood.

What if there was a way to gain new velocity of knowledge. Yes and, increased quality of insight. Of timing. Of location. Of motivation.

How would you use it to your “Decision Advantage” and to make our world a continuously better place…

Onward!

13 June 2021

Fathers Day 2021: Who Will You Become…

As we approach the observance of Fathers Day in the U.S. on Sunday, June 20th, think about all of the “First Time New Fathers,” who now have their first Son or Daughter to care for, in a world of uncertain change.

The past 365 days of tremendous challenge, full of so much emotion and of anticipated joy.

If you have endured having your first child during a Global Pandemic and National Presidential election year, then you might be even more prepared for the next two decades and beyond.

Now that you have this new responsibility of being a Father, you are now on a journey together with your Wife and Son/Daughter, that will be so joyous and yet so full of new found opportunities.

Opportunities to assist your Wife, in ways you never imagined. Opportunities to teach your child new life skills, new valuable knowledge on being polite, respectful, helpful and the valuable experiences to learn for themselves.

To lead by example, may perhaps be one of the most visible ways a new Father can teach their child. Are you present?  Do you show your kindness and speak kindly in soothing tones about others?

Remember, that you are only going to have a decade long time window to establish the foundations on who you would aspire your child to become in life.

Then you will encounter your real first challenges with your new Son or Daughter. The day you see him or her replicating something they learned watching or listening to you.

The old “Do as I Say, Not as I Do” saying, will never truly resonate with your new child.

You have only a single opportunity to be their only Father. What model of a Father will you become?

Your future Fatherhood challenges will span across a spectrum of new life opportunities to make a difference.

Will they be the same as they were with your own Father? Or different.

When you have that moment on your Childs second birthday to sing, look at them and say to yourself, “I’ve only got about 15 years left”.

"Who your child will become is still unknown, yet you as a Father will have already set the course for their own destiny."

Will your child have the skills and the foundations in life to succeed on their own?

Will they have the “Mores” and “Folkways” that a young adult will need, in a universe of accelerating change.

Will your work as a model Father, in concert with your Wife and Childs Mother, provide us with another Daughter or Son that we shall all be proud of?

As a Father, you will have no other, more challenging role in life.

How well you succeed, is going to rely upon your ability to be like your own Father. Or perhaps, the opposite in certain ways.

Happy Fathers Day…

31 May 2021

Memorial Day 2021: We the People...

On this Memorial Day weekend 2021, we remember those who have given us their Military service, their dedication and their time, and their own life. To help ensure our U.S. citizens, with a lifetime of “Liberty”.

Definition of liberty

1 : the quality or state of being free:

The men and women of the United States, who are buried in Arlington Memorial Cemetery or some other place in America, today we thank you again.

“From Sea to Shining Sea, this land we fight to preserve and the actions we take to “Protect the American people and uphold the Constitution of the United States” is in our hearts, and in our minds every day.”

So it is the true dedication, discipline and the real work of these great Americans, that we recognize, on holidays such as this annual Memorial Day.

Who will you remember today? What is their name? How did you know them? When did they serve? Where did they serve? Why were they so dedicated to their mission?

You see, beneath every headstone there is a person, who has their own personal reasons and their particular story.

On this day we shall also recognize all those “First Responders” with courage, who uphold and defend our chosen way of life in America.

Never forget those “Quiet Professionals” who run towards danger, or who devote their time to truly Understand, Decide and Act.

Yet what shall you “Do” today to make a difference in America?

How about if we all start with a prayer in our our own place of worship, the day before Memorial Day?

A prayer for our fellow “American Citizens” to be kind. To pray that Mothers and Fathers here, will teach our children about our history and why so many have died.

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

15 May 2021

Enterprise Security Risk Convergence: The Wave of the Future...

Savvy CIO's and CSO's recognize that new threats and soaring costs are two factors driving the convergence or integration of traditional and information security functions in a growing number of global companies.

Business desire for security professionals who can examine and assess the risks that organizations face as a whole, is one of the driving forces behind the convergence phenomenon.

Operational Risks span the continuum from the physical to the digital environment in our enterprise ecosystems.

The focus on security from an enterprise perspective has led to innovative approaches that emphasize integration; specifically, the integration of the risk side of business into the strategic planning side in a consistent and holistic manner.

Strategic Convergence & Change Management solutions ensures that integrated functions within the organization work together. This growing need enables the organization to effectively deter, detect, defend and document both physical disruptions and information security incidents.

Enterprise Security Risk Convergence initiatives are underway in many global organizations today and for good reason. For too long, the silo's of information in the physical guards, gates and guns world were not on an IP network. Those days are over.

The Siemens, Tyco's and Honeywells along with other physical security juggernauts, have figured out that they need the information security software and hardware to provide totally "converged" solutions for their clients.

Integration of information-based assets in embedded systems combined with the data bases of the INFOSEC operations can now provide that holistic view of risk that the enterprise has been thirsty for. Yet, this battle is only starting to heat up.

Prepare your organization for the day when the efficiencies and the effectiveness of having redundant safety and security responsibilities becomes a new agenda topic at the next executive retreat.

Strategic Security Convergence is the "Operational Risk Management" wave of the future.

How these converged entities are forming and how they will arrive at a single focal point is based on what they both have in common. Information-based assets.

And when it comes to establishing a single risk management system focused on information, there is only one recognized International Standard.

ISO 27001 is that set of controls and guidance that will assist in the rapid convergence of these seemingly different security domains.

Once the physical security management realizes that their budgets are going to be combined with the information security budgets, the feathers and fur will begin to fly in the halls of the corporate headquarters around the globe.
In the end, the winners will be those organizations who realized that all the guards, gates, firewalls and intrusion prevention systems are nothing more than tools.
What they support, are the successful implementation of a Risk Management System focused on collecting the most timely and relevant information.

The single asset that both security organizations have in common, are the indicators of compromise.

08 May 2021

SPRINT: "Thought Doership"​...

What are you doing this week, this month or this quarter to make a difference with the people you care about?

How might you and your small team “Do” something to collect, analyze, synthesize and publish vital information that could save lives?

“Thought Doership” is what your organization is thirsty for and if you don’t do something soon, you may miss the window of opportunity or the chance of your own survival.

The adversary exists along a wide spectrum of severity and various degrees of likelihood. Is it human-powered, a silicon-powered “Bot”, a weather pattern, or even invisible Directed Energy.

Over the course of the next 4 weeks X 2 hours X 8 Highly-Trained and knowledgeable people, you will follow the methodology:

Definition of methodology

1 : a body of methods, rules, and postulates employed by a discipline : a particular procedure or set of procedures .

2 : the analysis of the principles or procedures of inquiry in a particular field

Once you have determined your rendezvous point and the cadence for your team to engage in “Thought Doership” you must utilize your design.

Your team will embark on your journey together as scheduled:

  • Week 1 – Map / Target
  • Week 2 – Sketch / Solution
  • Week 3 – Decide
  • Week 4 – Prototype

Now it is time to get into the geographic place you planned to operate, so your product/solution can truly experience the real world of your teams “Thought Doership”.

How might you and your small team learn and collect data, from the prototype you have designed, implemented and measured?

This will become part of the mosaic that you and your team are working towards, fighting for, and will soon be a key component of your designed purpose.

You might call yourself a thought leader, yet what are you doing to SPRINT…

02 May 2021

SCRM: ICT Supply Chain Risk Management...

What is your private sector enterprise doing today to improve your ICT Supply Chain Risk Management (SCRM)?  Cyber-espionage campaigns have been operating for years across the ICT domains and are exposed every year in the trade press to John Q. Citizen, soon after "Black Hat" and "Defcon".  Once again, the origins of these sophisticated and viable adversaries are located inside nation states.

The beltway has been talking about the need for more effective legislation to modify behavior on the Supply Chains of Critical Infrastructure.  For many who remain committed to the silent war and the warriors who are fighting it each day on a 24 x 7 basis, they know the operational risks associated with this modern day battlefield.

Do you know where your information is today?  No, not your "Personal Identifiable Information" (PII), but the crown jewels of your latest Research and Development project.  Or the details on the "Merger and Acquisition" (M&A) activity associated with your cash cow law firm client.  Guess again, because you may not be the only one who now has copies of these trade secrets or confidential and proprietary information.
 
The Information Communications Technology (ICT) supply chain is at risk and the days are numbered until our final realization even after SolarWinds, that this issue is far past the policy makers control.  Is this an operational risk that we have done all we can do, to mitigate the impact on our U.S. national security?  Everyone should know the answer to this question.

The complexity and the complacency of the problem continues to plague those who are working so diligently to fend off the daily attacks or counterfeit micro-components.  The strategy is now morphing as we speak, from defense to offense and the stage is being set for our next generations reality of global cyber conflicts and ICT due diligence.  Richard Clarke and others are beyond the ability to say much more than they already have so far.

So where are the solutions?  Where are the answers?  They can be found very much in the same way organizations, companies and nation states realized what was necessary to deter, detect, defend and document operational risks to their institutions for the past several decades.  The science has changed rapidly but the foundational solutions remain much the same using these six factors:
  • Identify
  • Assess
  • Decide
  • Implement
  • Audit
  • Supervise
These six factors of your respective "Operational Risk Management Enterprise Architecture," is the framework for these solutions.  The ability for these to continuously operate within your enterprise will determine how effective you are in surviving what others have predicted for over a decade...

24 April 2021

Digital Velocity: Integrity of our Trust Decisions...

“In the foreseeable future, we will not function as a global society without the Net and the immense digital resources and information assets of our society.

The addiction is established—commerce, government, education, and our neighbors offer no option other than to require that we rely upon digital information in making decisions.

But we will not function successfully if the war for control of those assets is lost.

The battlefield, however, is the one on which trust is to be gained or lost—trust in the information we use, trust in the infrastructures that support us, and trust in the decisions we make in a digital world.

If we are to turn the tide in the war for control, and prevail in maintaining a digital infrastructure through which we can sustain societies and a functional, global economy, we must design and achieve trust in the digital information we use, trust in the infrastructure of the Net through which we live, and trust in the decisions we make in a digital world”… 
- Achieving Digital Trust - Page 19 by Jeffrey Ritter

As you read these words on the screen before you, think about their origin.

Think about the many paths these words traveled from the keyboard, to digital encrypted storage, to WiFi, to WireGuard Internet Protocol, to LAN, to WAN, to Data Center, to ISP, to CDN, to ISP and finally to your screen, wherever you may find yourself on Earth.

“Digital Trust” in our next decade of human progress, will be a vital imperative. Even more of a challenge, will be the integrity of our growing “Trust Decisions”.

“Trust Decisions” that are essential to your personal and work livelihood, require all of the elements of creating “Digital Trust”.

"What is most critical in all of our future infrastructures, is a more sound and trustworthy foundation. A level of integrity, that shall be our greatest aspiration."

The origin of data is already being created by the software code we have written and it is autonomously being processed, not by neurons but with just the digital code processed by billions of semiconductors and Virtual Machines.

The integrity of the mathematics and the integrity of the data itself is now evermore at stake. The forensics on data has been evolving and the science of forensics of data is gaining velocity.

How fast will you be able to verify that these words were written from neurons and from the cognitive functions of a human? Or could it be Watson?

The velocity of our “TrustDecisions” before us in 2021 and our digital future will continuously rely on our ability to ensure the integrity of the origin and the journey of the data we consume by the Terabyte each day…

18 April 2021

Supply Chain Risk: Study the Past...

Mitigating “Information and Communications Technology” (ICT) Supply Chain Risks has been evolving for over three decades. How might you consider your maturity or effectiveness in 2021?

  • Supply Chain Security

  • Physical Security
  • Cyber Security
  • Personnel Security (inclusive of Company Leadership)
  • Supply Chain Integrity
  • Hardware Integrity
  •  Software Integrity
  • Supply Chain Resilience
  • Supply Chain Quality
  • Supply Chain Management and Supplier Governance

What has your organization done in the past 3 years to raise the level of trusted supply chains to ensure the Security, Integrity and Resilience for products and services?

Unfortunately, organizations during 2020 encountered significant set backs in achieving higher levels of trust in security, integrity and resilience due to the entire “Work-From-Home” (WFH) reality.

The better news is that the levels of adoption of new processes for working remote have been established and refined in the past 14 months.

Now ICT Leadership shall move more rapidly to raise the assurance and the trustworthiness of the suppliers and products they have adopted for our "4th Industrial Revolution".

As "5G" emerges into our next generation of the “Internet-of-Things” (IOT) and the increasing integration with “Operational Technology” to the Internet and race back to the Moon expands, our supply chain risks will be more exponential.

A recent Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis Reference Aid (RA) April 16 2021, captured data from the US Department of Justice National Security Division:

Analysts identified 94 individuals from a single country arrested over the past 3 years involved in “Espionage Activity”. This includes:

  • Proprietary US Intellectual Property
  • Academic Research
  • Private Sector Sensitive Information

So what?

As the leader of your small innovative business, or the CxO of a Fortune 500 company or the VP of Information Technology at a private mid-size organization, you should increase your “Supply Chain” focus now.

Industry 4.0 is on our near horizon and you will never have all of your employees or suppliers inside your own four walls or virtual perimeter.

The United States is entering a new era of progress and simultaneously another compliance / governance set of rules, laws and mandates.

Business leaders focus on “Operational Risk Management” (ORM) and Critical Infrastructure Protection will be rising again in 2021, just as the last 2008-2009 financial sector risks became a reality.

What can you do next?

“Information and Communications Technology” (ICT) Supply Chain Risks start from the inside and remain your greatest vulnerability. Perhaps the best way forward next, is for us to study the past. Read this one page synopsis of just one event in 2009 here

11 April 2021

Discontinuity: Breakpoint To Our Future…

Can you feel the wind in your face? The smell of the ocean breeze as you watch the sun set into the Pacific.

There is a sense of change in the wind before us. Our world is in great anticipation of new and promising projects, endeavors and a renewed sense of daily purpose.

The Covid-19 pandemic of 2020 will never be forgotten. It is now part of our "Global History," just as our other historical challenges.

Former plagues including new vaccine discoveries, inventions such as the automobile, or our human space travels to the Moon.

Our history that includes World Wars and others that became apparent the morning of September 11, 2001.

Yet the new opportunity for our personal and our organizational change that is now on our doorstep, shall not be disrupted.

How might you proceed, into the next 365 days with the ambition to learn from our history?

What will you pledge your allegiance to, as you break through all that has held you back during this pandemic, certainly not the last one that we will endure here on Earth.

After our first quarter of 2021, our United States ambition and enthusiasm is building towards a tremendous future. A future that will be full of new found innovation and promise.

You see, the "Discontinuity" in society creates breakpoints. Just as The "Arab Spring" and the forming digital systems social revolution that now lies before us, it creates new crisis and simultaneous opportunities.

Both are challenges for people, business, governments and global economies to analyze and rationalize.

Will you innovate? Or stagnate?

If you are a policy maker in your organization, what are you doing to innovate?

Do you have new solutions for the changing Operational Risks to be encountered, as your employees and citizens travel the globe and make vital decisions for your enterprise?

If you are the main policy bodies within your government, what have you done lately to find new creativity to address the potential opportunity before you?

If you are the head-of-household, how might you pivot to a new independent "Gig" to enhance your dreams?

In either case, the speed of change and the ability to learn and adapt, will certainly decide your future...

03 April 2021

True Faith: Searching Together...

Who do you “Love and Trust” in your particular life? 

The older you become, the more you realize that these two feelings are the core foundation of so much of our lives.

Remember, it is clearly about “Who” you Love and “Who” you “Trust.”

When you care about someone that you Love and Trust, you will find a way to spend more time with them. In your mind and in your spirit.

You will experience the lessons of learning from your feelings of love or trust and caring for that special other.

"Continue your faith in caring for those you “Love and Trust.”

If you lose one or the other feeling, it will have an impact on you. The ultimate goal is to keep both.

Having “True Faith” in someone, requires both of these to find what you are really in search of together. 

As you navigate the opportunities and the challenges in your relationships within family, friends, working or community-based endeavors, think of where you place your "Faith."

Always remember Easter

27 March 2021

Spectrum of Trust: Life Long Journey…

How long has it been, since you saw that person you really like spending time with? You know, that person who makes you feel excited or makes your heart feel warm… when you finally meet-up again.

Your livelihood and your business is all about growing relationships over the course of your lifetime. What will you do this week or this month to enhance and grow one of your vital relationships? Personally or professionally.

How do you balance those who are new and just starting and the relationships you may have had for years or decades? It requires more discipline than you may realize.

What if you spend 90% of your available time on relationships that have existed for more than ten years? This leaves only 10% of your time working on meeting new people that could make all of the difference in your life.

Yet if you spend 90% of your days connecting with new people who may be new prospects, collaborators or friends, you will not be able to elevate your existing relationships to the next level of Trust.

The “Spectrum of Trust”

> Zero Trust >>> Trust Exists >>> Implicit Trust >

So beware of the fact that you may be spending too much time on one place on the spectrum each day, as this will have direct impacts on your life.

Building and maintaining healthy relationships is hard work. It is not just the time it takes to craft a thoughtful birthday card to a sister-in-law, or a welcome E-Mail letter to a new employee or business prospect.

Perhaps it is just an iPhone or FaceTime call, to have a 20 minute catch-up dialogue to hear each others voice or see each others face.

The far right end of the spectrum is where you do not even think about Trust anymore with your relationship. Maybe it’s someone you have known all of your life, or 30+ years. Trust is now implicit.

With the number of minutes being finite, every day of every hour, how do you allocate time to moving your relationships from Left to Right? How much time do you spend each week in an environment where there is only “Zero Trust”?

You see, humans and perhaps your favorite Dog or Cat exist as a result of the quality of relationships and your particular “Spectrum of Trust”.

Can you think of a time or a special incident that has occurred where this was true?

The ability to text out a quick sentence or two, to someone you care about in a “Direct Message” (DM) is sometimes all it takes. To let them know that you were thinking about them.

Thinking back on your life so far, do you think that you could improve on building better more trusted relationships?

How would you change your strategy on the “Spectrum of Trust”?

Wishing you the best on your life journey!

20 March 2021

Mission Leader: Independent Resilience...

What are you and your organization working on today, to become more independent? 

Definition of independent

(1) : not dependent: such as

   a (1) : not subject to control by others

(2) : not affiliated with a larger controlling unit

   b (1) : not requiring or relying on something else : not contingent

The Continuous Continuity of your endeavors may well be determined by how much you rely on others for your own survival.

When you or your organization becomes “Interdependent” on resources, or vital capabilities that ensure your survival, then you are increasing your exposure to becoming even more vulnerable.

“Continuous Continuity” requires a mind set that is Proactive, is full of awareness and is consistently asking “What if”?

As a leader in your small group, in your business unit or in your local County, what are you doing today to become even more resilient?

You see, it is your symbiosis and the “Interdependencies” with others, that may become your ultimate and true vulnerability to Operational Risk.

“Independent Thought Leadership” requires discipline and once you commit yourself, it means that you will now be on your way to a more resilient state of being, growing within your particular ecosystem of choice.

Where are you operating today? What is your role in the “Continuous Continuity” of your Life, your Family, your Business, your Faith and your Country?

Your future depends upon your ability to become more Resilient. How will you accomplish a strategy to assist others around you, so they also will become more independent?

What will you learn today to make you stronger, smarter or more clear in your mind about how to assist others?

How might you apply this new found skill or knowledge to your life, that will ensure your own longevity and your consistent personal satisfaction?

As an independent “Mission Leader” you too will become one additional resilient component in an environment of future risks. Here is what lies ahead of you:

The 16th edition of the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report analyses the risks from societal fractures—manifested through persistent and emerging risks to human health, rising unemployment, widening digital divides, youth disillusionment, and geopolitical fragmentation. Businesses risk a disorderly shakeout which can exclude large cohorts of workers and companies from the markets of the future.

A “Mission Leader” then takes this knowledge onward to teach others. They apply what they have learned and accomplished, to share it with people they care about...

13 March 2021

Intellectual Capital Risk: The Shamrock Organization…

What is the economic value of the Intellectual Capital(IC) in your organization? Where can you find your most valuable IC assets? Are they in the vault? Are they in the database?

Or are they sitting at the MacBook Pro at home or in the office next door? How do you know what assets are the most precious to the continuous continuity of your business?

These questions and more are at the heart of every "Shamrock" organization.

 A Three-Leaf concept originally coined by the author Charles Handy in his classic 1990 book, The Age of Unreason:

The Core
One leaf of the shamrock represents the core. These are the founders and thought leaders of the organization along with the most qualified professionals or technicians. The core is a flat hierarchy compensated purely on the results of the entire entity.

The Contractual Fringe
The second leaf is known as the contractual fringe. This is both individuals and organizations who may have their own shamrocks. These are paid for results, not for time. In fees, not wages. This leaf provides the core with intellectual assets that are essential to the organization yet are independent or even former members of the core.

The Flexible Labor Force
The third leaf of the shamrock is known as the flexible labor force. This is the flexible labor force that the core utilizes in a just-in-time talent or labor basis. Their specialized skills are tied to the intellectual assets these individuals possess to be efficient and effective for a set time period. They are treated by the core as a valuable component but realize that they will never have the commitment or the ambition of the core. They get fair pay for their contract labor.

What is Intellectual Capital?

Now with our 2021 U.S. economy changing and adapting for decades from a production-oriented economy towards a significant software driven knowledge-oriented economy, your intangible assets are becoming more and more digital. To make better products, to deliver better services or to perform better, as a company in general we need to accelerate the origination and analysis of new found knowledge and know-how.

In that perspective, we could say that our new real knowledge originates from our minds into some form of data, that has now become the key predecessor of any physical labor and financial capital.

To make your company relevant and even more valuable, you will not only need the digital data, computers, and production facilities, ...... you will also need the innovation drivers that makes your company evolve beyond your own imagination.

These “Core” innovation drivers are your “People” with their know-how and experience, your designers of internal processes to guide the business flow and also the proactive interaction with your Alliances/Partners and your key customers.

Without these “Innovation Drivers”, your company wouldn't function at all and therefore, they are of tremendous "Capital" importance. This is your real "Intellectual Capital".

The volume and speed of new “Intellectual Capital” production in your organization will determine how you will perform in an accelerating global arena of competition.

It is the difference between our success and our failure.

"No matter how good the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) or idea may be, without a consistent flow of new found Intellectual Capital, and the development of new tested prototypes, no outstanding and ground breaking results can be expected."
Now the question remains, how will you measure your organizational Intellectual Capital (IC)?

Without a way to measure it, how are you going to know what IC assets need to be managed and protected for the longevity and continuity of the business?

Where are they located? Which are most valuable? Who is the person or who are the people who own it?

People risk is one of the four major categories of Operational Risk Management.  How are you managing, measuring and protecting “Intellectual Capital” in your organization?

07 March 2021

Perseverance: The Journey Ahead of Us…

 

What raised you out of your “Rapid Eye Movement” (REM) sleep, on this particular day? You know, our time asleep when we experience our most vidid and emotional dreams.

Was it the anticipation of getting out the door into a place that is not only quiet, it is just a beautiful place to be. It is silent. It just takes your breath away, when you just admire the moment.

As human beings, not only do we need this time in our lives, it also inspires you to think and to imagine. Where will you journey today in your endeavors to achieve your dreams?

Why do you believe that the latest NASA mission to Mars, has named their Rover “Perseverance”?

“The rover’s mobility system is not the only thing getting a test drive during this period of initial checkouts. On Feb. 26 2021 – Perseverance’s eighth Martian day, or sol, since landing – mission controllers completed a software update, replacing the computer program that helped land Perseverance with one they will rely on to investigate the planet.” —NASA.gov/press-release

What will you do today, to achieve something of real value even despite difficulties, failure or opposition? Will you persevere today to follow your plan and continue your journey, towards that out of reach destination ahead of you?

Yet the real question is, are you capable of going beyond your dreams during REM?

Some people will stop because it is too hard. Others will give up because it takes too long. Many will never realize what our human happiness is really all about.

Yes, it is silent out here today and the air is very cold. The sun is bright against an azure sky. The only noise is the sound of the new fallen snow, beneath our skis. It is almost heaven.

When you are ready to discover real “Perseverance” in your life, consider a P3 Strategy:

> People

> Place(s)

> Program

The longest and most perilous journeys will require People you can really trust and someone you admire for their knowledge and skills that you do not possess yourself.

The Place you decide to operate together may be a workspace, a city, or even another foreign environment, so much different from your own.

The Program you have now embarked on is going to encounter setbacks. It is likely to feel so difficult at times. It will require your own “Perseverance”.

When will you know you have achieved your destination? You will feel it and even see it, the next time you fall into a very deep sleep…

Onward!

20 February 2021

Incident Response: Lessons Learned Once Again…

If you may be waking up in the U.S. “Lone Star” state this morning, you might realize that we are still working towards a more effective National Incident Management System (NIMS).

It's just another Operational Risk Management (ORM) and National Resiliency wake up call, to remind us how far we have come since the early days after 9/11 and how far we have yet to go, in our United States readiness and preparedness initiatives.

New types of unpredictable emergency disruptions can wreak havoc on any organization, its clients and the public.

As a result, business crisis and continuity management (BCCM) has become a high priority as organizations recognize the importance of responding to an unplanned event, so that employees and personnel remain safe, critical business functions continue, and relevant people are fully informed.

Developed by the Secretary of Homeland Security at the request of the President, the National Incident Management System (NIMS) integrates effective practices in emergency preparedness and response into a comprehensive national framework for incident management.

The NIMS will enable responders at all levels to work together more effectively to manage domestic incidents no matter what the cause, size or complexity.

The benefits of the NIMS system can be significant:

  • Standardized organizational structures, processes and procedures;
  • Standards for planning, training and exercising, and personnel qualification standards;
  • Equipment acquisition and certification standards;
  • Interoperable communications processes, procedures and systems;
  • Information management systems; and
  • Supporting technologies – voice and data communications systems, information systems, data display systems and specialized technologies.
The process of mitigating the risk of hazards/threats before they become disasters, is similar for both natural and human-caused threats; whether you are dealing with hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados, a Polar Vortexor acts of conventional or digital terrorism.

Now that threats to business operations of our vital industry sectors are becoming more prevalent, organizations must plan for every type of business disruption from hardware and communication failures, to natural disasters, to internal or external acts of terrorism.

During these times of emergency, where every second counts, NIMS can continue to play a key role in our organization's vital communication system, and their crisis management and business continuity plans.

When was the last time your entire enterprise had an exercise to “Learn More Lessons” about your Incident Response capabilities?

13 February 2021

HVE: Threat Risk from the Inside Out…

“In times of change learners inherit the earth; while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.” -Eric Hoffer

Always remember...

At 6:30 AM on December 25, 2020 our United States citizens were just starting to celebrate a Christmas Day holiday morning with family and friends.

To everyone’s surprise, there was tragic news on social media and TV upon our awakening on this Christmas morning. It was reminiscent of other tragic days in history, when suicide bombs exploded or even hijacked planes crashed into downtown populated international cities.

What shall we learn from this particular event in Nashville, Tennessee that was so meticulously planned and executed?

“Anthony Quinn Warner detonated a recreational vehicle (RV) bomb in downtown Nashville, Tennessee, United States, killing himself, injuring eight people and damaging dozens of buildings in the surrounding area. It took place at 166 Second Avenue North between Church Street and Commerce Street at 6:30 am, adjacent to an AT&T network hub, resulting in days-long communication service outages.”

Yet this bomber gave warning to the public nearby and Warner also gave them time to evacuate the area. Similar to the Provisional Irish Republican Army’s behavior, as mentioned in the news by Dr. Erroll G. Southers, security expert and author of Homegrown Violent Extremism (HVE).

A significant component of Operational Risk Management (ORM) continues to focus on People, and for good reason. Insider threat risks are in many cases carried out by existing or former employees, or by close friends, partners and even current or former spouses.

So what?

Insider Threat Risk (ITR) programs help organizations Detect, Prevent, and Respond to an insider incident. To be prepared to handle such events in a consistent, timely, and professional manner, an ITR needs to understand:

  • Whom to involve
  • Who has authority

  • Whom to coordinate with
  • 
Whom to report to

  • What actions to take

  • What improvements to make

Does an effective ITR include previous employees who have left the organization for any reason? YES. This Insider Threat Risk plan should include current and former employees, contractors, and business partners.

As Mr. Warner was claimed to be a former employee of AT&T, one might wonder, if he planned the location next to this particular AT&T building, for an "Inside Known" or an "Outside Unknown" reason?

Remember...we shall always implement a formal insider threat incident response plan.

Establish an insider threat oversight body, that includes Senior Executives from the company’s HR, Security, Legal, Privacy, Ethics, Incident Response team, Information Technology, and Public Relations departments.

An effective and comprehensive ITR integrates and analyzes technical and nontechnical indicators, to provide a holistic view of an organization’s insider threat risk, from all individuals identified as potential threats.

Never forget...

06 February 2021

Dialogue: Insight in a World of Risk…

 As you walk out the door this evening, what made you look up? Is there a wonderful sunset in your neighborhood? Were you thinking about the day ahead and saying a silent prayer?

When you enter your next meeting with a co-worker, or a new prospective business partner take a deep breath and really focus on enhancing the relationship.

This simple step could make all the difference in your life. New doors may open or unexpected opportunities shall appear, simply because your own mindset was more aware.

  • How do you ask questions effectively and answer others with genuine interest?
  • Are you displaying your own patience to truly listen, to understand thoroughly?
  • How much of your own empathy is on visible display in your dialogue?

Our world is slowly recovering from a global pandemic disaster and yet there still remains signs of hope and new found signs of human progress.

What will you do today to make a difference? You understand that it won’t cost you anything to smile. It will not be a tremendous burden to demonstrate your interest in really learning from someone else.

Who do you know who: __________________?  So much of our Life is about building valuable relationships, so that you may answer this question with certainty.

Otherwise, how will you solve your next real problem-set? The next crisis in your business or your own personal life without a solid portfolio of trusted people you can count on, people you can call, people you can even iMessage?

Unfortunately, these past 365 days may be full of shallow interactions and distracted interest, in building solid relationships with others. Or perhaps our lives may find hours or days of loneliness and despair.

Yet you have the ability to change this with your next encounter Face-to-Face, or on the phone, or across your encrypted social media platform.

Is it Zoom, Go-to-Meeting, Webex or Wickr? Or are you sitting next to someone you have never met before, on a United 777 over the Pacific Ocean for 6 hours?

Randall Murphy, a founder of Acclivus always taught us this. “Successful dialogue is primarily a process of actively Listening to a persons ideas or information and it is comprised of three components:

  • Active
  • Empathic
  • Insightful

“Active Listening” is understanding what the person is “saying” and why. “Empathic Listening” is understanding what the person is “feeling” and why.

"Real Insight" is gained by combining both, to understand the persons attitude about YOU, your Role and your Organization or what you are truly Advocating.”

Finally, 2021 will be the year we find greater appreciation for things like:

The evening glimmer of sunlight on clean water. The wave from the neighbor who lives next door.

Our faith in what or whomever we believe in. Those who serve, so we can remain free of threats or illness to our loved ones and our own well-being.

The signs that our bodies are healthy. The hope that exists in all of us for finding peace of mind.

In 2021, look with fresh eyes on everyday things…

30 January 2021

Digital Overmatch: Senior Leaders Survival…

“These three qualities of trust decisions—rules-based; fueled by information; mathematical—allow us to embrace an understanding of trust that rejects both instincts and emotions. Instead, trust (or the absence of trust) is and always has been the resulting sum of a rules-based, information-fueled calculation.” —Achieving Digital Trust -Jeffrey Ritter

On the asymmetric battlefield unfolding before us, how will you assess your final outcomes?

The digital velocity of our day-to-day “Trust Decisions” are accelerating past our own cognition. Yet we are now beyond what the sensors are showing us. What is True?

overmatch - verb

over· match | \ ˌō-vər-ˈmach\

overmatched; overmatching; overmatches

Definition of overmatch

transitive verb

1 : to be more than a match for : defeat

2 : to match with a superior opponent

How could a “Software Development Kit” (SDK) in the hands of our contracted outsourced digital engineers, become our greatest vulnerability?

The tens of thousands of organizations utilizing software from SolarWinds now understand, that a supply chain “Back Door” exploit, motivated by pure espionage, is just the first sign of a match with a superior opponent.

How will Sunburst, Sunspot, Teardrop or even Facebook or YouTube, become your greatest adversary in the near future?

The failure of your own Third-Party suppliers “Software Quality Assurance” process, combined with your own organizations business aspirations to more quickly satisfy your Customer, Constituent or Senior Leaders emotions, will be your next “Operational Risk Management” (ORM) challenge. (Read this last sentence again, slowly.)

How might you, as a vital individual in the accelerating digital process to Understand, Decide and Act, make even higher quality “Trust Decisions”?

  • Ask more informed questions with your OPS Risk Subject-Matter-Experts side-by-side.
  • Realize that the speed of your decision, could jeopardize your own organizations livelihood.
  • Know the rules and monitor human behaviors, that can jeopardize intended outcomes.

When software, the Internet and people are combined, your risk exposure expands significantly.

In 2021, the “Quality Assurance” steps you take along your path, will make all the difference. Is the light “On or “Off”? Is the number a “Zero” 0 or is it a “One” 1? What is True?

The outcomes of your future endeavors will continuously rely, on the complexity of the environment you are operating within and the discipline you shall require to survive there…

23 January 2021

Predictive Intelligence: Imagine the Catalyst…

 

“The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.
— Albert Einstein

When was the last time you found yourself preparing for something that has not happened yet?

Why were you thinking about it? Was it fear?

What did you fear? Was it the potential for a significant loss event? Loss or change of what?

How will you prepare in such a way, that it gives you some assurance that the potential loss event will not occur? Or if it does, the outcomes will not be a total catastrophe:

Definition of catastrophe

  • 1 : a momentous tragic event ranging from extreme misfortune to utter overthrow or ruin.
  • 2 : utter failure.
  • 3a : a violent and sudden change in a feature of the earth.
  • b : a violent usually destructive natural event (such as a supernova).
  • 4 : the final event of the dramatic action especially of a tragedy.

How might you prepare proactively with your Team, to alleviate fear and to provide greater confidence of action?

What particular environment are you thinking about right now?

Is it Land, Sea, Air, Space or Cyberspace? Will the Catalyst for the loss event you fear, begin in plain sight? Will you see it or hear it coming? Or could it be silent and invisible?

How will you know when it has started? What indicators or changes might you measure, to give you some early warning?

Your imagination has not been exercised hard enough or long enough. You will be vulnerable and you shall experience loss at some point.

Can you imagine working along side trusted people or colleagues together to imagine your fears? Will you Understand, Decide and Act? As a team…

How might you devote a few hours per week to the people, processes, systems and external events that you fear?

Your proactive strategy will make a difference. A purposeful journey of imagination each week will increase your “Proactive and Predictive Intelligence”.

Now imagine that a person on your particular team is your Catalyst. How will you make “Trust Decisions” to imagine what they might do or how the person will make a mistake? How could the persons actions become the genesis of a real catastrophe?

Wake up. You are vulnerable today. The proactive time and the degree of effort and resources that you devote to your own Operational Risk Management (ORM) shall make all the difference.

Between a life of trusted possibilities or one full of continuous despair…it is your choice.

Onward!

16 January 2021

SPRINT: Confident Actions of Trust Decisions…

As our view remained certain in Arlington, Virginia in the summer 2020, the nation is now poised to embark on a new and historical SPRINT.

Senior Leaders across America, have much on their minds, before our nation embarks on its next Four-year challenge.

Now it is time to set into action, the “Operational Risk Strategies” that will now be required for these next vital phases of our change.

The question still remains on how much time will pass, in your particular organizational SPRINT. Will it be minutes, hours, days or even a month?

While there will be uncertain future events that will occur, your particular team of OPS Risk professionals shall be there, to effectively brief you on your choices ahead:

0. - Assemble and prepare your team.

Who will you determine is the person to lead the team of 8 to 12? What skills and knowledge shall they possess as Risk Management prerequisites, in order to be of value to leadership, the team and the enterprise? Why will you utilize the tools you have chosen for your mission?

I. - Map your course.

How might you explain your mission and the professionals you have selected? What questions will your expert professionals ask to achieve the desired outcomes?

II. - Sketch the problem-set and research.

Who might your team enter into dialogue with to better understand the terrain. How will they actually determine the real issue that needs to be solved? The problem. Draw, interview, write, edit, interview, write, edit, Draw. Repeat.

III. - Decide.

How might your team make the decision that lies before you? What pictures will you show your Senior Leaders so they understand? Will the Storyboard exemplify the most true version of the problem-set?

IV. - Prototype.

Who might build the answers to your quest for a solution? What tools will they utilize for the fabrication of the prototype? How will they take it on a trial run?

V. - Test.

Where might you find the right environment and people to see how our designed solution performs? 

Who will be the end-users that actually utilize your prototype in the real world? In real-time to capture the solutions brilliance and to document its errors.

Trust Decision

This design process works wonders for Senior Leadership. It informs decision-makers with the context and knowledge they require, to make a confident Trust Decision

09 January 2021

Reengineering: Our Next American Decade Together…

As you stand before the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C. on this January 2021 evening, what are your thoughts?

When you walk down the sidewalk towards the AT&T building in downtown Nashville, what comes to your mind?

After you contemplate these two physical building locations, now think about the virtual scale of the digital SolarWinds software hack?

Our greatest adversary in a world full of Evil and continuous “Asymmetric Warfare,” is a Noun:

Definition of complacency - noun

1 : self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies. When it comes to safety, complacency can be dangerous.

2 : an instance of usually unaware or uninformed self-satisfaction.

Operational Risk Management (ORM) has never been more vital, as our next decade opens before us in the United States.

People, Processes, Systems and External Events shall be our focus and our major problem-set in the U.S. Public and Private Sector.

Where does it begin? How will we as Americans unite to overcome complacency? When you wake up tomorrow, start with the thought of another word in the dictionary.

This time, we must counter our adversary “complacency” and be proactive to show a sign of action:

Definition of reengineer - verb

1 : to engineer again or anew : redesign

2 : to reorganize the operations of (an organization) so as to improve.

Our lost values and the speed of our digital world, has incrementally overtaken us. We must now realize, that we have a new opportunity before us.

First, we must Understand. Decide. Act. We must Reengineer. We must demonstrate Integrity.

Second, who do you know in your circle of human relationships that could use a hug or a “Thank You” today.

And how might you together, make your levels of “Trust” grow even greater?  How might you work side-by-side to eliminate any sign of complacency?  To improve the quality of _____?

You see, as Americans, we shall have continuous pride on what we have accomplished so far.

The rest of the globe is counting on our future.  Onward…

02 January 2021

2021: Trusted Wonder & Onward...

The glory of Christmas is behind us and you have experienced its "Trusted Wonder". Yet now we are on the “Doorstep” of a New Year, like none other.

2021 is before us and we now find ourselves planning, organizing and storing away what was the year 2020.

As you reflect back on the last 365 days, what are the most joyous events or memories you shall never forget?

Hold on to these forever.

Our world is resilient and it is only your thoughts and your actions, that will continue to make such a proactive difference.

What choices will you make? Why will you choose certain actions?

You see, your Faith will continuously guide you. Who shall you follow?

Always remember, in the midst of sadness, or hardship or turmoil in your life, there are always those trusted people who will stay beside you, no matter what.

Who is on your left? Who is on your right?

"You still have a long life journey ahead of you. Your unique path will continue to have tremendous moments of joy and also times of extreme challenge."

Yet follow your heart, use your skills and God given talents, to make a continuous difference. You are on a purposeful mission…Onward!

Take the time this weekend to reflect on your reasons and your significant purpose.

Then activate your talents to navigate the obstacles and to discover the wonders of your life destiny.

Look up, 2021 is now before you…