20 January 2018

Homeland Security: The Risk of Fusion Man...

Modern Day Operational Risk Management, requires a multi-skilled and versatile individual. Someone who understands the difference between "Information Warfare" and "Cyberterrorism." And if you were born after 1980 and part of Generation Y, then you might even have more insight on how Sam Fisher has managed his way through unimaginable risks throughout his career as a Splinter Cell operative.

You understand why Homeland Security is evermore focused on HUMINT and our national security is ever so vulnerable to an increasing reliance on the Internet Protocol (IP).

Information warfare is an attack against computers, networks, or information systems to coerce or intimidate a government and its people. These attacks result in violence against people or property and generate fear.

Attacks that disrupt nonessential services or create a costly nuisance are not considered information warfare. Cyberterrorism results in severe effects such as death, bodily injury, explosions, plane crashes, water contamination, severe economic loss, and so on.

Information warfare is easily and most effectively waged against civilians. Because of its size and reliance on technology, no nation is as vulnerable to information warfare as the United States. Information warfare can be waged anonymously, or with all the publicity in the world.

If were born before 1960 and you fall into the "Baby Boomer" category, you better spend some time with your "Generation Y" kids or nieces or nephews, if you want to better understand what is now coming over the threat horizon. There are Global Hawks and Predators seeking out their targets with skilled aviators located thousands of miles away.

These tools and systems of warfare are easily turned in our own direction and now Homeland Security finds it nexus with some new Operational Risk challenges. Accomplished authors such as P.W. Singer writes about "What happens when science fiction becomes battlefield reality"?

"If issues like these sound like science fiction, that’s because many of the new technologies were actually inspired by some of the great scifi of our time ­ from Terminator and Star Trek to the works of Asimov and Heinlein. In fact, Singer reveals how the people who develop new technologies consciously draw on such sci-fiction when pitching them to the Pentagon, and he even introduces the sci-fi authors who quietly consult for the military.

But, whatever its origins, our new machines will profoundly alter warfare, from the frontlines to the home front. When planes can be flown into battle from an office 10,000 miles away (or even fly themselves, like the newest models), the experiences of war and the very profile of a warrior change dramatically. Singer draws from historical precedent and the latest Pentagon research to argue that wars will become easier to start, that the traditional moral and psychological barriers to killing will fall, and that the “warrior ethos” ­ the code of honor and loyalty which unites soldiers ­ will erode."

Homeland Security professionals and new recruits to the various public and private sector organizations are ever more savvy and vital to managing the risks of the coming decades. Technology and the newest inventions of the human mind are consistently applied for the purpose of good and the well being of our fellow man. We are consistently pushing the outside of the envelope to fly farther and faster, even if it means becoming a "Fusion Man."

"Swiss adventurer Yves Rossy flew from France to Britain Friday propelled by a jetpack strapped to his back -- the first person to cross the English Channnel in such a way.

Rossy, a pilot who normally flies an Airbus airliner, crossed the 22 miles between Calais and Dover at speeds of up to 120 mph in 13 minutes, his spokesman said.

When the white cliffs of Dover came into view, he opened a blue and yellow parachute and drifted down in light winds to land in a British field where he was mobbed by well-wishers.

"Everything was perfect," he said afterwards. "I showed that it is possible to fly a little bit like a bird."

Rossy traced the route of French aviator Louis Bleriot, who became the first person to fly across the Channel in an aircraft in 1909.

The Swiss pilot was propelled by four kerosene-burning jet turbines attached to a wing on his back. He ignited the jets inside a plane before jumping out more than 8,000 feet above ground."

We suspect that Mr. Rossy has hired some very competent lawyers to work on his patents and licensing of intellectual property. By now, it all may be classified and Sam Fisher is taking his first test flights.

13 January 2018

Situational Awareness: Reality in ORM...

Situational Awareness has always been a key factor in effective Operational Risk Management and Real-Time Incident Command.

Situational awareness (SA) involves being aware of what is happening around you to understand how information, events, and your own actions will impact your goals and objectives, both now and in the near future. Lacking SA or having inadequate SA has been identified as one of the primary factors in accidents attributed to human error .

What you know and when you know it, can make the difference between life and death in the context of real-time emergency management and tactical response operations.  However, it can also provide you with the intelligence you need to save lives and avoid new risks as a more sudden and real-time threat unfolds.

Whether it's the active shooter, disgruntled employee or an international hotel under siege, it should not matter. Let's take a minute and look at a sample time line on the Mumbai attacks in India November 26th, 2008 as one example from a situational report:
  • Two terrorists have barricaded themselves in the Oberoi Hotel; 3 dead and 25 injured. 11/26/08 10:31 PST
  • Terror strikes at 12 places in Mumbai. Up to 20 hostages held at Oberoi Hotel. 11/26/08 11:57 PST
  • Several British and American civilians among hostages at two hotels. Explosion reported at Taj Hotel. 11/26/08 13:59 PST
  • Explosions and fire reported at Oberoi Hotel; clashes continue in multiple locations across Mumbai. 11/27/08 07:23 PST
  • Indian elite commando chief is reporting that the Oberoi-Trident Hotel has been cleared of terrorist threat. 11/28/08 01:03 PST
  • Counter-terrorism operations declared over; at least 195 killed in attacks. An investigation is underway. 11/29/08 16:06 PST
Look at the time stamps and the lag time between each one. The person writing these bullets for a "Flash" message to subscribers or people asking for text based updates, was either not using all of the potential assets available to them, or they just did not think there was any relevance of the other information unfolding. This example of 2008 "Situational Awareness" reporting is not only dangerous and a thing of the past, it's letting the "Grey Matter" get in the way.

So what about the public? Is Periscope and #NEWS hash tags the answer?

The problem with most "Situational Awareness" capabilities is that the subject matter experts, commanders in the SOC/NOC, or the business CEO 2,000 miles away, are letting the "interpreters" on the street in the heat of the crisis, determine what is important. The second issue and until the past few years, is that the information is not "Real-Time":

Seamless and secure tracking and communication among mission planners, field personnel, and central command elements are essential to mission success. Raytheon's Blackbird Technologies Gotham™ system is a comprehensive back-end solution for monitoring, operating, and managing tagging, tracking, and locating (TTL) devices and viewing associated geospatial data. 

A Common Situational Picture for Military and Emergency Operations

With the ability to track assets and targets — and to communicate with team members and devices — Gotham enables networked team decision-making, control of resources, shared resource dispatching, and adaptability to change based on operational requirements.

In a disaster, communication among emergency responders and control of needed assets are vital to the safety and security of personnel and the public, as well as the effective execution of the disaster response mission.

Your Operational Risk Management tool box is now enhanced.  Pay it forward...

07 January 2018

Imagination of Trust: The Risk of CEO Transformation...

The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination. --Albert Einstein
In the past 17 years, over 50 percent of the largest industrial companies have been extinguished from the Fortune 500.  Some were acquired, others bankrupt, many others merged to survive.  Have you noticed the trend line on the stock price of General Electric this past year?

Digital Transformation and potential extinction is the single unanswered factor on every CEO's mind today.  As massive data sets become exponential in size, pervasive in geographic reach and utilize a wide spectrum of sensors from mobile phones to C4ISR, the Operational Risk parameters are even more complex.

Decision Advantage is the lofty goal and the speed to answers and insight is evermore the ultimate competition.  The words "innovation" and "disruption" are being used to describe something that is far more scientific and evolutionary.  The World Economic Forum has an initiative called the "The Fourth Industrial Revolution" and the 48th annual meeting this month is entitled: Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World.

So what?

The CEO's of this world are on edge.  They wonder if they will have enough intellectual and operational transformation in this digital and fractured world to survive.  They worry about the new born threats of the digital age such as ransomware, block chain and artificial intelligence.  Welcome to the conversation around the C-Suite and the new normal.

Yet who better to capture the essence of why this matters, than Jeffrey Ritter:

"When the information you need to make decisions is controlled, the quality of your decision is controlled and the possible outcomes from which you can choose slip from your control. Where there is less information, your decisions become vulnerable. As an executive, an IT architect, an investment manager, an educational director, or even a parent, your job is to lead with good decisions. You want your decisions to be ones that others will follow. But those ambitions erode when those fighting the war to control digital information are winning."

What is the cloud?  Your information on another organizations computer.  The race for faster decision advantage has now transformed to the race for the fastest TrustDecisions.  Decisions executed on trusted information is why we have the wave of new technologies embedded with encryption, biometrics and even Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA).

Digital Transformation in your enterprise changes your reason for existence.  The answers in many cases will be more about your people, not the technology.  It will require bold action and sweeping personal imagination.  The definition of imagination:
...the act or power of forming a mental image of something not present to the senses or never before wholly perceived in reality.
The trustworthiness of your future decisions are at stake.  The imagination of the people around you is a limiting factor.  As the CEO of your Fortune 500 company or the leader of your Series A startup, the time has come for your transformation...