31 May 2020

National Security: LC-39A and Beyond...

As SpaceX launched two U.S. NASA Astronauts into orbit on Saturday from LC-39A, many of us were joyful.  We are experiencing the outcomes from a long journey back to true collaboration, between government agencies and the private sector industrial complex.

The new problem-sets ahead of us and the continuous ability for dual-use technologies to span both the government sector and the commerial markets will be challenging.  One thing is certain.

We will persevere in this "Infinite Game" and the U.S. will utilize the best and the brightest methods of innovation to achieve our ambitions for space travel ahead.  Our imagination will carry us far beyond any horizon we can visualize, especially in creating more effective public-private partnerships.

How might a "Moonshot and Beyond" way of thinking across America, accelerate us towards a new future state?  What will we do to utilize the way our brightest minds think and do almost everything different today?

The combination of decades of experience with "Baby Boomers" integrating with the ingenuity and "Will Do" aspirations of our new Generations that are just getting their wings, is our real opportunity.

The opportunity to forge substantial break throughs in engineering, software development and a variety of autonomous vehicles.  The opportunity to develop expendable sensors and low cost tools, to continuously protect our nation.  The chance to put a man on Mars and beyond.

Legacy platforms of the past, that have kept us from a true technological revolution, must finally go to the grave.  Our National Security and livelihood now depends on it.

Open minds and investment capital in the hands of the right organizations, will propel us into a future we all know is possible.  Academia fusion with venture mind-sets builds the stage for innovation.  Yet what real-world problems from government and industry can be solved?

The emerging use-cases are vast and requires only our continuous imagination...

24 May 2020

Memorial Day 2020: Understand | Decide | Act...

Walking through Section 60 at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day weekend is a stark reminder of the Operational Risk Management challenges we have faced these past 19+ years.  One example can be found in the budget at the Pentagon, on how to defeat the IED.

Billions of dollars are devoted to the strategies and tactics to keep U.S. "boots on the ground" on foreign lands from becoming KIA, an amputee or another invisible wound such as Traumatic Brain Injury or Post Traumatic Stress.

Regardless of the dollars devoted, many grave markers in Section 60 have birth dates in the 1980's and 1990's.  Standing there remembering Neil, a tear rolled down a cheek and the wind quickly blew it away...
"Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday which occurs every year on the final Monday of May.[1] Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.[2] Formerly known as Decoration Day, it originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War. By the 20th century, Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who have died while in the military service[3]."
If you are currently in the military we will thank you for your courage of service on Veterans Day, as we have before.  This day however, is for those in the U.S. forces who have died while serving.

Simultaneously, we must thank all of the other "Operational Risk Management" subject matter experts.  The "Quiet Professionals" who operate everyday in the shadows.  We hope that their decisions will continue to be the right ones.  They live each day with the burden of managing risk decisions, that could send another U.S. patriot on their way to Section 60 or a remembrance "Star" on the wall at Langley.

Whether you are a Mother, Father, Brother, Sister, Family or Friend, this Federal Holiday is your day of memorial to your loved one(s).

Some would say that our country is currently at a degree of War.  Even though there is no official written declaration, that has been written and published to the world.

Yet, these three words, in this order, and in that continuous "Chain," means everything to those who have served and will serve our United States. 

    > Understand.

    > Decide.

    > Act.

Until the day, that all our military and all of our true "First Responders" decide, that America is no longer worth fighting for, these three words will consume them.

Thank you for being there...

16 May 2020

ORM: Your Life Could Depend On It...

"In America, we celebrate the virtues of the quiet hero--the modest man who does this duty without complaint or expectation of praise; the man who listens closely for the call of his country, and when she calls, he answers without reservation, not for fame or reward, but for love."  John McCain - This I Believe

Is it better to be smart, than lucky?  Be prepared: know your limits, know your surroundings and be safe. Your life and your team depends on it.

Thinking through the risks you will take on your next mission, in business and personally, can sometimes provide new insights and learning for a more positive future.

When was the last time you and your team, worked through all of the potential hazards or risks to a particular project? Are you just operating on luck?

Deliberate Operational Risk Management (ORM) uses a verified process, that can be applied in many day to day scenarios.

Whether you are in the Board Room, the Conference Room, the Locker Room or the Ready Room, you have to think ahead about your intended mission and plan for all contingencies.

In general, these are the key steps to the ORM process:
  • Identify hazards:  Conduct an operational and preliminary hazard analysis.
  • Assess hazards:  Determine the degree of risk in terms of severity and probability.
  • Make risk decisions.
  • Develop controls for the hazard to reduce the risk while determining residual risk. Once the controls are in place, make the right decision to determine whether the risk is acceptable for the benefit.
  • Implement controls:  If the benefit of the mission is worth the risk, apply the controls to the lowest risk level.
  • Supervise:  The decision maker should enforce the controls set and remain alert for changes.
Anticipate the risks and hazards. Prepare for the possible. Prevent the inevitable.  Share relevant stories.
"The most sobering story came from the next person in our circle, who told us about a kayaking trip he took on his 21st birthday. Again, the notice was short, and he didn’t give himself time to prepare.
The river got choppy shortly after he and his friends began their adventure, and his kayak flipped. Rolling over in a kayak is a common occurrence, but he was not adequately trained to recover. After three failed attempts to right himself, he reached for the pull cord to get out of his kayak.

The pull cord was nowhere to be found. In his haste to prepare for the trip, he had tucked the cord inside the rubber skirt of his kayak.

“At the time, I thought, ‘that’s it, I’m dead,’” he said.  He had been submerged for about 45 seconds.

He changed his mind a few seconds later and tore frantically at the kayak’s skirt to free himself. After struggling for several more seconds, he pulled himself out and swam to safety."
And maybe even more important, relive those times and events where it all came apart and you were in danger of missing the deadline, losing the game, or risking injury or worse.

That is when you truely realize, that "Operational Risk Management" (ORM) is something that has to become almost second nature.

Your life and your colleague to the left or right of you, could depend on it...

09 May 2020

Mother's Day 2020: Are you a Daughter or Son?

Every year when "Mother's Day" approaches in May, our thoughts for her, are ever more present.

Mother's Day is just not another special holiday designed by a greeting card company or a florist.  It is also a day of reflection.  It is a day to say thank you.  It is a day of wonder, that is different for each one of us.

If and when you are having that baby and you are now a Mother for the first time, you understand.

You have experienced even more, what that truly means.  You begin to learn what it was really like for your own Mother to raise you, teach you, forgive you and love you.

Most likely, in the first few minutes after a baby is born, you as a Mother start to realize the miracle of life itself.  You may one minute be totally in love and then minutes later totally in fear.

When you think about your own Mother and your life so far, you realize that you are part of her.  You may have some of the same looks or color of eyes and you are so much more.

Think about it.  What is it about you, that makes you like your Mother, yet she didn't really teach you, it's just innate?

One thing is certain.  You alone have the ability to become who you really want to be.  No matter what or how your Mother taught you or treated you growing up.

Guess what.  If you are reading this now.  You are enough.  If you are a Son or a Daughter, your life is completely up to you.  Who you are becoming and who you will be in life, is enough.

One more thing to remember.  Your Mother's love for you, will always be there.  Even after she is gone.

Love you Mom...

02 May 2020

OS!M's: Where is Your Courage Today?

Fear is a paralyzing condition. What sometimes can paralyze some people, often motivates others. Think about it. What are you afraid of?

When was the last time you felt so paralyzed with fear that you either couldn't move or it pumped you up so much that the adrenaline took over and made you do things that you never thought were possible.
"Where is your courage today? Hiding out for the day it seems safe? You are going to be waiting a long time. There is no such time or space where it is safe. In the board room or on your battle field, the world is looking for leaders and people with courage. Often times the answer is action, regardless of the threat. This in itself is a sign to show your foe that you are aware of the threat and will not only respond, but retaliate.

It takes courage to pursue the unpopular agenda. Whether it is to save lives, save investors, or save precious physical or digital assets, the game is the same. Those who decide to do nothing in the face of an obvious threat have nothing but paralysis. Those who decide to do something dig deep to find the purpose and justification for their actions. Once you find courage, it's very hard to turn the other way. Paralysis becomes so foreign that whenever you feel even a little unresponsive, you compensate the other direction almost by instinct.

If you spend enough time around courageous people it starts to rub off on you. If you still don't have the bug, then you must not be surrounding yourself with those who can take fear by storm. What are you afraid of?"
As Steve Farber would say, you need some more OS!M's....

Once you have enough of these to know that you won't freeze, then you are well on your way to really making a difference on this rock.

If you are not there yet, then now is a good time to start speeding up your OS!M's.