Tom Clancy Presents: Out of the Ashes

Out of the Ashes

The premier book review medium, Publisher’s Weekly, had this to say about Tom Clancy Presents: Out of the Ashes, just out this week:

Fans of the original Op-Center series created by Tom Clancy and Steve Pieczenik that ended with Jeff Rovin’s War of Eagles (2005) will welcome this solid continuation from Couch (SEAL Team One) and Galdorisi (Coronado Conspiracy). The original Op-Center, “an information clearinghouse with SWAT capabilities,” fell under the budget ax and was disbanded, but after a horrific series of bombings at four NFL stadiums, U.S. president Wyatt Midkiff decides to dust off the Op-Center file and bring the group back to life. Chase Williams, a retired four-star Navy admiral, agrees to head the new center and hunt down the terrorists responsible for the devastating attack. The trail takes the men and women of the revitalized agency into the Middle East, where they find a new plot aimed at the American homeland. This thriller procedural packs plenty of pulse-raising action. The open ending promises more to come. Agent: Mel Berger, WME.

More reviews on Amazon here

Black Swans

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In a recent post we talked about Game Changers rocking our world. While megatrends and tectonic shifts represent those trends that will likely occur under any future scenario, game changers are those potential shifts that could be even more disruptive to how we currently see the future.

But beyond these game-changers are potential events we call Black Swans. Briefly, at its very basic elements, the black swan theory or theory of black swan events is a metaphor that describes an event that is a surprise to the observer, has a major effect, and after the fact is often inappropriately rationalized with the benefit of hindsight.

The phrase “black swan” derives from a Latin expression. Its oldest known occurrence is the poet Juvenal’s characterization of something being “a rare bird in the lands, very much like a black swan.” When Juvenal coined the phrase, the black swan was presumed not to exist. Therefore, black swan gets to the heart of the fragility of any system of thought.

A set of conclusions is potentially undone once any of its fundamental postulates is disproved. In this case, the observation of a single black swan would be the undoing of the phrase’s underlying logic, as well as any reasoning that followed from that underlying logic. For those who have read Andrew Krepinevich’s book, 7 Deadly Scenarios these black swan events are equally terrifying – or hopeful – and no-less believable.

Read more here on the Defense Media Network Website

What Made Tom Clancy So Unique?

Tom Clancy

Tom Clancy’s complex, adrenaline-fueled military novels spawned a new genre of thrillers and made him one of the world’s best-known and best-selling authors. When Clancy died in October of last year, one of the most celebrated authors of our generation no longer walked among us.

Many people had – and continue to have – diverse options about Tom Clancy. However, most agree, above all else, he was prescient about the future of geopolitics, intelligence, military operations and emerging technology and weaponry. In his own words:

I hang my hat on getting as many things right as I can. I’ve made up stuff that’s turned out to be real — that’s the spooky part.

Tom Clancy also left a gift for aspiring writers with words that are as important today as when he said them years ago He said none of his success came easily, and he would remind aspiring writers of that when he spoke to them:

I tell them you learn to write the same way you learn to play golf. You do it, and keep doing it until you get it right. A lot of people think something mystical happens to you, that maybe the muse kisses you on the ear. But writing isn’t divinely inspired — it’s hard work.

Read more about Tom Clancy and his knack for writing prescient books here.

Too Busy? Or Just Right

Wall Steet Journal

In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, Sue Shellenbarger takes on the familiar topic of work-life balance – but with a new twist. She begins with what likely sounds familiar to most of us:

A friend you admire just asked you to head a fundraiser. You have a full-time job, and this sounds like a lot of work. But look at her: a working mom who is active in the school PTA, just ran her first marathon, does Suzuki violin with her daughter and even carries on an active social life. Why can’t you do as much as she can? And just how do you tell when you have taken on enough?
The sweet spot is different for everyone. Unfortunately, most people don’t know when they have reached their limits and need to stop saying yes to new activities. Many take their cues from others, such as a boss who never says no to new demands or a colleague who juggles career, family and board duties.

Read more of this Wall Street Journal article here.

One Year – Two Reboots

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The Reboot of the award-winning series 24 comes just two weeks before the release of our reboot of Tom Clancy’s Op-Center series with the release of Out of the Ashes. What do these two efforts – a mutli-Emmy winning series and a twelve-book best-selling book series – have in common? It’s this. Americans have lost confidence in the routine levers of national power – whether domestic or internationally – to protect Americans at home and aboard. One only need look at the success of the wildly-popular series House of Cards or Scandal and these comes home with emphasis. The president needs a special organization – unfettered by bureaucratic in-fighting or inertia – one the chips are down.

Game Changers Rocking Our World

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As we’ve noted in other posts on this subject, while not tilting against John Maynard Keynes rejoinder that, “The idea of the future being different from the present is so repugnant to our conventional modes of thought and behavior that we, most of us, offer a great resistance to acting on it in practice,” at the end of the day, megatrends and tectonic shifts represent those trends that will likely occur under any future scenario. In other words, they are things we can “take to the bank” without a lot of argument.

Although these megatrends and tectonic shifts are expected to shape the world out to 2030, Global Trends 2030 acknowledges these critical game-changers have the potential to largely determine “what kind of transformed world will be inhabited in 2030.” These game-changers are questions regarding:

  • The health of the international economy;
  • Global governance;
  • Conflict;
  • Regional instability;
  • Technological breakthroughs, and;
  • The role of the United States.

Read more about the impact these game-changers will have on our world today – and especially tomorrow – here on this Defense Media Network post.

Australia’s Air Warfare Destroyers

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As Australia’s Defense Minister suggested in his Foreword to that nation’s Defence White Paper: “One of the fundamental responsibilities of any Australian Government is to protect and defend our people and protect and enhance our national security interests. This requires making complex strategic judgments about risks and opportunities in the international strategic environment. It means providing for an effective and efficiently run Australian Defence Force which is able to make its contribution to meeting strategic challenges.”

The Air Warfare Destroyer, modeled after the U.S. Navy Aegis system on its cruisers and destroyers represents the most technologically-advanced the RAN has ever produced. Read More Here.

Going Into the Teeth of Death

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Three years after the SEAL assault on the Pakistani compound and the killing of Osama bin Laden by a team of dedicated Navy SEALs flying sophisticated helicopters of the same type used by our Special Forces and highly trained Combat Search and Rescue forces, it is worth asking, as Rear Admiral George Tarrant (played by Fredric March) famously asked in the 1954 movie, Bridges at Toko Ri, “Where do we get such men?”
Our book, Leave No Man Behind, tells these stories – over a century of heroes going into harm’s way – literally into the teeth of death – to rescue their comrades. Here is what other writers thought of it:
An important and comprehensive work on that most American of military imperatives–going in harm’s way to get one of our own.
Dick Couch
Author of The Sheriff of Ramadi and Chosen Soldier (and ten other books)

Combat search and rescue (CSAR) has evolved into one of the most complex operations in war. Modern rescues often involve dozens of aircraft, and hundreds of military personnel-all this to save just one person! Why does the United States commit so many resources to this endeavor? Why do its Armed Forces consider it a sacred duty to leave no man behind? George Galdorisi and Tom Phillips explore these questions in their comprehensive history of CSAR from World War I through the Global War on Terrorism. In doing so, they help explain why CSAR has become a fundamental element of the American way of war.

Dr. John Sherwood
Author of: Afterburner: Naval Aviators and the Vietnam War and Officers in Flights Suits: The Story of American Air Force Fighter Pilots in the Korean War.

How Should We Live?

Wall Steet Journal

In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, Elizabeth Lowry reviews Roman Krznaric’s new book, How Should We Live? Her entire review is enriching and well-worth reading in its entirety, but briefly here is some of what she has to say:

Once living was not an art, merely a question of survival. That was before the dawning, in the affluent West, of the era of choice. Today we are dazzled by an unprecedented range of possibilities in almost every sphere of our lives, assailed from every side by messages about what we should buy, wear, eat and look like, and how we should spend our time.

Mr. Krznaric’s appealingly provocative book contends that contemporary culture trains us not just to think but to see, feel and desire and that we must strive consciously to “deprogram” ourselves if we are to live more authentic and satisfying lives. In a series of essays drawing on thinkers from the ancient Greeks to Gandhi, “How Should We Live?” considers such topics as love, family and empathy; work, time and money. What distinguishes this book from other self-help manuals is that Mr. Krznaric’s approach is rooted in a historical appreciation of how our modern muddle came about and what we might do to sort it out.

Read the full article here at the Wall Street Journal.

The Air-Sea Battle Concept and Its Antecedents

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As we talked about in an earlier post, the Air-Sea Battle Concept had antecedents in the Air-Land Battle Doctrine. Given that the 20th century was essentially a European-focused period and the Cold War was a largely land-focused arena with the penultimate battleground the Fulda Gap, it is easy to see why the Air-Land Battle Doctrine was a natural response to the overwhelming Soviet forces in Central Europe. And today, with this century being widely-described as the “Asia-Pacific Century” and with the Pacific being a maritime theater, it is also readily seen how and why the Air-Sea Battle Concept was a natural – and necessary – concept.

Read more about the Air-Sea Battle Concept and its antecedents on the Defense Media Network website post.