22 May 2011

Battle of Narratives: Fukushima to Abbottabad...

The U.S. Energy companies are getting ready for an audit report on their facilities after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant disasters in Japan. The results will not be an Operational Risk Management executives favorite topic, across the Board Room table of Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), Entergy and Duke. In the aftermath of any disaster such as the earthquake in Japan, or the financial economic armageddon of 2008 spawned by greed and unregulated markets, the auditors reports will uncover the vulnerabilities in the mechanisms for industry oversight.

Vulnerabilities found at dozens of U.S. reactors

By PETER BEHR of ClimateWire

Something under one-third of the 104 U.S. reactors were found to have some vulnerabilities to extreme emergencies, according to the NRC, which is preparing a summary of its post-Fukushima findings.

The NRC says that all issues have been fixed or put on schedule for correction, and that the safety of the reactors was not compromised.

PG&E spokesman Paul Flake said issues reported by the NRC had been identified by the company's own review after Fukushima, and an inspection by the Institute for Nuclear Power Operations, the industry's confidential safety monitor.

Information and the transparency of information will continue to be at the center of investigations on wall street or the energy industry. "Who knew what when" is the mantra being repeated in various command posts and within task forces who are responsible now for insuring the safety and security of future employees of these firms but also the national security of the country. Insider Risk of leaked information is at an all time high whether you are in the "C" suite in Manhattan or the "Situation Room" on Pennsylvania Avenue. Josh Rogin of Foreign Policy explains the predicament in Washington over the raid on Usama Bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan:

The nation's top civilian and military defense officials are calling on their government colleagues to shut up about the details of the May 1 raid in Pakistan that killed Osama bin Laden.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen held their first press conference on Wednesday since the mission to kill bin Laden. Gates stood by a remark he made May 12 at Camp Lejeune, in which he said there was an agreement by top Obama officials in the Situation Room to not reveal details of the raid -- but that the agreement fell apart the next day.

"My concern is that there were too many people in too many places talking too much about this operation. And we had reached agreement that we would not talk about the operational details, and as I said at Camp Lejeune, that lasted about 15 hours," Gates said on Wednesday. "And so I just -- I'm very concerned about this because we -- we want to retain the capability to carry out these kinds of operations in the future. And when so much detail is available, it makes that both more difficult and riskier."

Neither Gates nor Mullen called out any Obama administration officials by name, but Mullen, sounding even more frustrated, implied that the breaches of security by administration officials are ongoing and still a problem to this day.

The energy industry in the U.S. is now under the magnifying glass just as the banks, mortgage companies, brokers and hedge funds have been scrutinized since the financial meltdown over mark to market and predatory lending practices. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is akin to the Securities and Exchange Commission as the federal agency who has oversight and jurisdiction when it comes to keeping the country safe and secure from private industry misdeeds or mistakes.

Information is the lifeblood of any highly functioning organization whether in the private sector or government agencies. Protecting that information of leaks to third parties who do not have a need to know is the crux of the "Insider Trading" cases on Wall Street or even the comments made within the confines of the situation room during Bin Laden's operation. So why do people want to tell another person something that they know is forbidden? Why do they risk sharing information with the media or others who may not have a legitimate reason to know the information?

And what about the opposite? Withholding information from the public or others who have a need to know the information especially if it will save lives or keep the country out of harms way. The decisions to tell or withhold information has serious consequences in either case and requires a mechanism for making sure that humans know when it is right and wrong. Unfortunately, we live today in a world of information warfare and information operations that spans the globe from Hollywood to Kabul or London to Hong Kong.

The "Human Factors" motivation for withholding or sharing information has been studied for decades if not hundreds of years. The gratification one receives from telling another a secret only known to one person or a few provides the stimulus. Whether that human gratification is the result of seeing someone else in pain or suffering, surprise or elation doesn't really matter. Recognizing that humans thirst for information is relentless when it comes to being first, or to gain power can provide you with the understanding to better prepare your organization for "Information Operations" (IO):

"A Theory of Conflict and Cooperation Model" that describes how each actor is attempting to expand, protect, or exploit existing powerbases through cooperative or conflicting relationships with other local actors. Vol. 2 Issue 3 August 2010 IO Journal

Effective Operational Risk Management begins with understanding information and ends with protecting or sharing information. It's your challenge to determine what is real and what is just another narrative to influence your perception as a human being.

No comments:

Post a Comment