11 November 2012

Team Rubicon: Bridge the Gap...

On Sunday morning, observing Veterans Day in the United States began with a few words from a leader from the American Red Cross at a local shelter near North Brunswick, NJ  USA.  We heard his words of recognition and what it felt like for him to return to our country after serving in Vietnam and being ridiculed and spit upon.  The veterans in the room were all gearing up for another day on the front lines of a new domestic battle with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.  Team Rubicon and it's growing presence of agile, selfless and highly skilled professionals have been working along side other national and international NGOs.  They are projecting a rapid and significant force on the ground, from New York to previously unrecognized communities such as Union Beach and Montoloking, NJ.

Operational Risk Management was practiced and observed as disaster first responders descended on the front lines of the Hurricane Sandy disaster area.  Highly equipped, veteran war fighters and first responders are deployed each day to tackle and mitigate substantial risks to homeowners, businesses and communities.  Working in concert with city, county, state and federal authorities to provide the most effective response results, where other NGOs stood by in amazement.

City officials, emergency management, law enforcement, community associations, religious organizations all working in coordination to provide their citizens and members what they needed, when they needed it and more.  The destruction and the aftermath of this disaster was significant and will be recognized as one of the most costly economic impacts to the nation.

Yet this is more about a mission by those who know they want to continue to "Bridge the Gap".   To serve beyond what they have already done in life.  To be hugged by perfect strangers for rescuing a loved one trapped in their home or assisting in the mitigation of operational risks to life and property in their neighborhood.  The mission is clear and each day a whole new example of a purpose driven life is explored and realized.

As our U.S. veterans and their families are returning to our cities and communities remember this.  1%.  They represent only 1 percent of our U.S. population and deserve our respect and continued devotion to their service.  They have been making a difference in uniform and will continue to do so if we leverage the leadership, knowledge, wisdom and courage they all possess:
Team Rubicon Saves Lives. 
Since its creation in January 2010, TR has impacted thousands of lives – in Haiti, Chile, Burma, Pakistan, Sudan, and here at home, in Vermont, Maryland, Missouri, and Alabama.  TR reaches victims outside the scope of where traditional aid organizations venture; victims on the fringe. 
Team Rubicon Engages Veterans. 
Hundreds of US military veterans, many returning home after fighting ten years of war, find a renewed sense of purpose for their skills and experiences through TR. 
Team Rubicon Sets Itself Apart In the Nonprofit World. 
Is it a disaster relief organization? A veteran-focused enterprise?  The truth is it’s both. TR pioneered a new paradigm in disaster response while redefining the meaning of veteran reintegration into society. 
Team Rubicon Pioneered the Concept of Veteran-Focused Disaster Response. 
On the streets of Port-au-Prince, in the immediate aftermath of the Haiti earthquake, TR’s military veterans realized a simple truth – natural disasters present many of the same problems that confront troops in Iraq and Afghanistan: unstable populations, limited resources, horrific sights, sounds and smells.  The skills cultivated on those same battlefields – emergency medicine, risk assessment and mitigation, teamwork and decisive leadership – are invaluable in disaster zones.
This Veterans Day remembrance will never be forgotten.  It has been an honor to serve along side so many dedicated professionals to continue to mitigate operational risks to our friends, family and loved ones.  Continue to "Bridge the Gap"!

04 November 2012

U.S. Resilience: Hurricane, Terrorism, Political Risks...

One week ago today, Hurricane Sandy was making her way up the Eastern seaboard of the United States with a wind field 800 to 900 miles wide.  There are estimates of $50B. in economic damages to the country and that tells you only part of the impact story.  The direct impact in lives lost, people displaced and the continuous risks to the Whole Community unfolds in real-time.  Business Resilience and consumers patience is being tested by the hour, ever since the reality of the crisis started to reach the Executive Suites of critical infrastructure sectors such as Financial, Energy, Telecom, Transportation, Maritime, Retail, and the other thirteen or so others.  All have been exercising their COG, COOP and DR plans as part of the their organizational Operational Risk Management programs.

sandy.locative.us will provide you with a snap shot from aerial imagery of the Hurricane Sandy aftermath and geographic locations that could have a spectrum of damage from light to heavy.  This is just one example of how crowdsourced apps are being used to assist, with the ongoing situational awareness and damage assessments but also the long term recovery of those most impacted areas.  At the same time, resources are in high demand for certain areas such as gasoline.  The power companies are making progress and as the supply chain mobilizes and the electricity comes back on, the commodities shortages will soon begin to dissipate.

The Sunday Washington Post and New York Times are telling stories of heroism, tragedy and the effect on the Presidential election on November, 6 2012.  The politically charged atmosphere is primed for more of a perfect storm as the fiscal cliff approaches, regardless who becomes the next President of the United States of America.  This minute, there are tens of thousands of people wondering where they are going to live and stay warm this week in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region.  Simultaneously, the September 11, 2012 terrorism investigation continues and in the next few weeks, the world will better understand the timeline and the vulnerabilities that still remain to U.S. assets in the Middle East.  The Associated Press reports:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The deadly military-style assault on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, has raised numerous foreign policy and national security questions and fueled a fierce, partisan election debate over the Obama administration's handling of the attack. 
The strike that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans is either proof of President Barack Obama's leadership failures or a tragic event that occurred despite the administration's best efforts to protect the compound and respond in the aftermath of the attack, according to highly charged arguments on both sides.
Administration officials have warned against drawing conclusions from individual documents that have leaked into the public sphere. They maintain that a full picture of what happened and any assessment of blame can only be determined after a complete review of all the evidence. But as documents continue to surface in the final days of the presidential campaign, the intensity of allegations of administration impropriety or incompetence has risen. 
A look at what is known, what is still unanswered and who is investigating the incident that has called into doubt Washington's ability to predict such events, secure American personnel in dangerous places and track down those responsible.

Courageous people who have special skills, talents and subject matter expertise are activated or being deployed at this minute, on billets to address a set of continuous operational risks across the globe.  These American first responders and long term recovery professionals all have one thing in common.  A desire to close their eyes each night, with the confidence that they did make a difference that day.  The peace of mind, that they did their small part to add to the tremendous challenges of securing the safety and long term security of their loved ones and those in need.  God, Family, Nation.