George’s July Newsletter

Hello Writing Friends

Does the world need another writing newsletter? I’ll let you be the judge.

Before Covid knocked the world sideways, we used to see each other at writing conferences and seminars. Sadly, in the post-Covid world, many of those events have not restarted.

So here we are, doing our solitary work of writing. While all of you are self-actualizing as most writers must be, every once in a while it might be a good thing to give your keyboard a rest and poke your head up to share best practices with your fellow scribblers.

That’s the sole intent of this newsletter—as well as those that will follow—to share some things I’ve learned along the way and to encourage you all to share as well.

Since I’m sending this to you via a BCC list, you don’t know who else is getting this newsletter, but if you have something you think is worth sharing, I’m glad to be your “agent” and pass that along to others on this list.

The first thing that I’d like to share it this article: “The Power of Narrative:”

You’ll note that this article has an environmental focus, but that it is mostly about stories. The second paragraph begins: “Defined in the simplest possible terms, a narrative is a story about something. Stories are essential to us because as human beings and social animals, we are storytelling creatures.” We are all story-tellers, that’s what we do.

As to sharing best practices, perhaps more than any other writers that I know, I make a near-religion of reading books about writing. My bookshelves groan over the weight of these books. I’ve read some of them multiple times. Recently, I reread Francine Prose’s Reading Like a Writer. I find that it helps me derive writing best practices from anything that I read. If you haven’t given it a try you might want to consider doing so.

Finally, whenever I find an article online or in print that I find useful in upping my writing game, I have the “need to share” that afflicts most humans. I put these articles on my website:  If you go to the site you’ll see “Blog” at the top and the pull down menu takes you to “Writing Tips.” Perhaps you’ll find some of these useful.

That’s it for now. I’d love to hear about your latest writing project(s).

All the best – George

U.S. Navy duo shares secrets to writing a successful book – The Coronado News

George Galdorisi is a well-known author and Coronado resident with 15 published books to his name. Kevin McDonald, hailing from Austin, Texas, and a former naval aviator, has written books centered on aviation and history. The two have combined their wealth of experience to co-author a book about the art of writing.

Despite the differences in their writing journeys, the duo’s history is intertwined. They first met in the Navy in 1985 when Galdorisi was McDonald’s commanding officer at HSL-43. Three decades later, they have come together to pen “Braveship Writers Share their Secrets: How to Write Books People Actually Read.”

Read this The Coronado News Article Here: “U.S. Navy duo shares secrets to writing a successful book by: Sofie Fransen

Rotor Review Over the Horizon -A Better Way to Deal with Deadly Sea Mines By LCDR U.H. (Jack) Rowley, USN (Ret.) SWO/EDO

Click Here to Read “A Better Way to Deal with Deadly Sea Mines By LCDR U.H. (Jack) Rowley, USN (Ret.) SWO/EDO” from the Summer ’23 Issue of Rotor Review

Special Edition Announcement on How to Write and Get Published – The Admiral’s Almanac Podcast

In this episode The Admiral’s Almanac starts off with a new style intro and the announcement of The Admiral’s Almanac Writers Series. Sitting down with frequent guest and New York Times best selling author George Galdorisi, we discuss what’s in store for you in this upcoming 6 episode series. Not only do we discuss how to get started but why leaders must get started. Enjoy this new series and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

Op-Ed: The promise and perils of Artificial Intelligence – The Coronado News


George Galdorisi, a Coronado resident and New York Times bestselling author, says we can manage AI, and it will not manage us.

The headline on the first page of the New York Times Sunday Opinion page in early July could not have been more stark or more menacing: “The True Threat of Artificial Intelligence: Technology Forged by Private Markets Won’t Solve the World’s Problems. It Will Only Amplify Them.”

It that statement doesn’t get your attention, it’s likely that nothing will.

It would be difficult to identify a technology that has been talked and written about than those under the umbrella of artificial intelligence or AI.

Read the full article here

Engineering Unmanned Surface Vehicles – Into an Integrated Unmanned Solution from Naval Engineers Journal.

Screenshot 2023-06-19 at 15-12-07 NEJ March 2022_Cover Article.pdf

The Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Michael Gilday, has proposed that tomorrow’s U.S. Navy grow to 500 ships, to include 350 crewed vessels and 150 unmanned maritime vehicles. While the composition of the future Navy’s crewed vessels is relatively well understood – based on ships being built and being planned – what those unmanned maritime vehicles will look like, let alone what they will do, remains opaque. This article sheds light on missions these unmanned craft might perform and what role AI can play in making them “smart wingmen.” Read More – click here to view the publication online or click here to download as a pdf.

Accelerating Rotary Wing Innovation Through Unmanned Systems


Publisher avatar for Naval Helicopter Association, Inc
from Rotor Review Spring 2023 #160

by Naval Helicopter Association, Inc

One of the great things about working at a Navy Warfare Center, such as Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific, is that you have the opportunity to see new technologies envisioned, created, and, in many cases, implemented into the Fleet or Fleet Marine Forces. With over 5,500 government employees, and an equal number of contractors, our warfare center is involved in a breathtaking number of projects.

Increasingly, given the U.S. Navy‘s commitment to unmanned systems and the Chief of Naval Operations’ vision of a hybrid fleet comprised of 350 manned vessels and 150 Unmanned Maritime Systems (UMS), a great deal of our work has focused on unmanned systems in all domains: air, surface, subsurface and ground.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan accelerated the development and use of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) and Unmanned Ground Systems (UGS), however, the development of unmanned systems in other domains has fallen behind. The Navy has now shifted focus to the development and fielding of multi-mission UMS. To aid in that development, Fifth Fleet established CTF-59 to experiment with UMS and UAS and accelerate their development and fielding.

In late 2022, CTF-59 orchestrated Exercise Digital Horizon. This multinational exercise featured 12 Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USVs) and three UAVs, linked using artificial intelligence, to push the boundaries of these platform’s contributions to important naval missions, especially Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA). The importance of Digital Horizon 2022, and a view of what would be accomplished, was highlighted by one naval analyst this way:

Despite the cutting-edge hardware in the Arabian Gulf, Digital Horizon is far more than a trial of new unmanned systems. This exercise is about data integration and the integration of command and control capabilities, where many different advanced technologies are being deployed together and experimented with for the first time.

The advanced technologies now available and the opportunities that they bring to enhance maritime security are many-fold, but these also drive an exponential increase in complexity for the military. Using the Arabian Gulf as the laboratory, Task Force 59 and its partners are pioneering ways to manage that complexity, whilst delivering next-level intelligence, incident prevention and response capabilities.

Digital Horizon 2022 brought together emerging unmanned technologies with data analytics and artificial intelligence in order to enhance regional maritime security and strengthen deterrence by applying leading-edge technology and experimentation in unmanned and artificial intelligence applications for the Navy. A key goal of Digital Horizon 2022 was to speed new technology integration across Fifth Fleet, and seek alternative, cost-effective solutions for conducting MDA missions.

Digital Horizon lived up to the high expectations of all involved. Vice Admiral Brad Cooper, Commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. Fifth Fleet, and Combined Maritime Forces described what was accomplished during Digital Horizon 2022 thusly:

We are creating a distributed and integrated network of systems to establish a “digital ocean” in the Middle East, creating constant surveillance. This means every partner and every sensor, collecting new data, adding it to an intelligent synthesis of around-the-clock inputs, encompassing thousands of images, from seabed to space, from ships, unmanned systems, subsea sensors, satellites, buoys, and other persistent technologies.

No navy acting alone can protect against all the threats, the region is simply too big. We believe that the way to get after this is the two primary lines of effort: strengthen our partnerships and accelerate innovation. One of the results from the exercise was the ability to create a single operational picture so one operator can command and control multiple unmanned systems on one screen, a Single Pane of Glass (SPOG). Digital Horizon was a visible demonstration of the promise and the power of very rapid tech innovation.

The results of Digital Horizon 2022 could change the way the world’s navies conduct maritime safety and security. Artificial Intelligence and machine learning are able to amalgamate the sea of data created by unmanned systems into actionable, realtime intelligence for use by commanders, which enables U.S., allied and partner nations to dedicate their crewed vessels to other missions.

Using a two billion dollar ship and a crew of 300 officers, chiefs, and sailors to conduct surveillance operations is not a cost effective solution when a medium-sized commercial offthe-shelf (COTS) USV (such as a MARTAC Devil Ray T-38, one of the participants in Digital Horizon) can be bought or leased in a contractor owned, contractor operated (COCO) arrangement for a relatively modest cost and equipped with state-of-the-art COTS sensors to provide persistent surveillance. During Digital Horizon, the T-38 provided AIS, full motion video from SeaFLIR-280HD and FLIR-M364C cameras, as well as the display of charted radar contacts via the onboard Furuno DRS4D-NXT doppler radar. These were all streamed back to Task Force 59’s Robotics Operations Center (ROC) via high bandwidth radios. The force multiplying potential of unmanned systems demonstrated during Digital Horizon has already been recognized by the Naval Aviation Enterprise (NAE) and the rotary wing community.

Elbit Systems Seagull unmanned surface vessel operates in the Arabian Gulf, Nov. 29, during Digital Horizon 2022. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Brandon Murphy)
Elbit Systems Seagull unmanned surface vessel operates in the Arabian Gulf, Nov. 29, during Digital Horizon 2022. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Brandon Murphy)

So why is this important to us? For those of you who attended the 2021 NHA Symposium and listened to the Flag Panel, you heard that Naval Aviation is on a glideslope to be approximately 40% unmanned circa 2035. Though exact timelines and percentages are impossible to predict, the unmanned future is coming, spearheaded by the MQ-25 Stingray, the MQ-4C Triton and MQ-8C Fire Scout leading the way.

The Fire Scout is currently the Rotary Wing Community’s only “skin in the unmanned game,” and though the MH-60S Knighthawk and MQ-8C Fire Scout are currently embarked onboard Littoral Combat Ships (LCS), where Rotary Wing Aviators and Surface Warfare Officers are developing CONOPS for their use together, the Navy is scaling back its inventory of LCS. This will shrink the opportunities for our community to explore tactics, techniques and procedures to develop man-machine teaming or to develop Fire Scout “smart wingman” in the same fashion that the U.S. Air Force is doing with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and emerging UAVs.

In remarks at the December 2022 Reagan National Defense Forum, Secretary of the Navy, Carlos Del Toro, said that the Navy intends to stand up additional unmanned task forces around the globe modeled after Task Force 59, noting:

We’ve demonstrated with Task Force 59 how much more we can do with these unmanned vehicles—as long as they’re closely integrated together in a [command and control] node that, you know, connects to our manned surface vehicles. And there’s been a lot of experimentation, it’s going to continue aggressively. And we’re going to start translating that to other regions of the world as well. That will include the establishment of formal task forces that will fall under some of the Navy’s other numbered fleets.

The Naval Rotary Wing Community needs to be part of this emerging technology development, lest we be left behind as the Navy and NAE place huge bets on a force increasingly populated by unmanned systems. As to how we can do this, those of you wearing flight suits are best-qualified to develop new concepts for how our community can leverage rapid developments in unmanned systems in all domains to ensure that we have a warfighting advantage in future conflicts.

The Admiral’s Almanac Podcast with George Galdorisi – NYT Best Selling Author


I sit down with New York Times’ best-selling author George Galdorisi as we continue to explore how writing fiction novels can be useful in developing national security intelligence. This process has a long history, but it is having a resurgence as we deal with the national security issues of the day.

We cover fiction and nonfiction writing, how to get started writing, and why leaders at ever level need to write.

Op-ed: How will future wars evolve and be fought? – The Coronado News

Originally published by George Galdorisi for The Coronado News

Humans are a curious species.

We want to know things, especially about how the future will unfold. When we are young, this might include what school we will attend, if we will marry, and what profession we will embark upon.

When we are older, if we have children, we want to know how things will turn out for them. Later in life, as we complete our professional careers, we wonder what is in store for the rest of our lives.

While these are worthy issues to think about, if things turn out differently than we think they will
it is just a different fork in the road – and one that we will almost certainly survive.

However, this is decidedly not the case for the U.S. military. Understanding how warfare will evolve in years hence is crucial to our military winning or losing the next war. Our military leaders must look far into the future to set in motion the doctrine and weapons procurement to ensure that we prevail in future conflicts.

“Useful Fiction”

Fortunately, there is a new, cutting-edge, practice that the U.S. military is leveraging to ensure that we are more-ready for future conflicts than our adversaries. It is called “Useful Fiction” or FICINT (Fictional Intelligence).

As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine enters its second year and shows no signs of abating, many are asking: “Who could have predicted that Vladimir Putin would invade an Eastern European neighbor?” Some of us writing Useful Fiction did foresee this event.

In 2019, when I started writing “Fire and Ice” (my most recent novel), the high concept was this: What if there was considerable unrest in Russia due to economic conditions, and what if Vladimir Putin did what so many autocratic leaders do and tried to shift the public’s attention from their not-so-great-circumstances to an outside threat?

And what if he decided to invade one of those perceived outside threats and also hold the rest of Europe hostage to Russia’s energy?

And what if he used cyber-attacks against the West, especially the United States, and also committed acts of terrorism and genocide?

“Fire and Ice” told that fictional story, was published in early 2021, and has garnered positive reviews.

“For years, forward-thinking writers in the Useful Fiction genre have examined future warfare through novels.”


That said, I am not alone in writing in this genre, but have several Useful Fiction fellow travellers. For years, forward-thinking writers in the Useful Fiction genre have examined future warfare through novels, but in years past, U.S. officials responsible for the security and prosperity of America have disregarded these works.

As more and more writers have examined future warfare through works of fiction, this new genre of military-themed literature has emerged and thrived. Useful Fiction is generally understood to be imagining future warfare scenarios based on the realities of high-end combat and real-world intelligence—not fantasy.

Embracing new genre

No longer disregarding fictional accounts of future warfare, the U.S. national security community has embraced this new genre as a useful instrument to intuit how tomorrow’s wars will be fought.

A number of U.S. military commands and think tanks, including The U.S Army Training and Doctrine Command, the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, the U.S. Naval War College, the Atlantic Council, the Center for International Maritime Security, the U.S. Naval Institute, and others, now sponsor fiction-writing contests to tease out good ideas from Useful Fiction writers.

As one small indication of the momentum that Useful Fiction has gained, I recently spoke at a Useful Fiction event at the U.S. Air Force Academy organized by futurists Peter Singer and August Cole (authors of “Ghost Fleet” and “Burn In”).

It was attended by hundreds of Academy cadets, as well as scores of officers from various commands, including the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

Sea of change

There has been a sea of change in the way the U.S. national security community (especially the U.S. military) is now embracing these types of books. Several recent Useful Fiction novels, including “Fire and Ice,” which has proven especially prescient in light of today’s war in Ukraine, are helping the U.S. plan for tomorrow’s wars.

To dig a bit deeper into this topic, part of why there is such a demand for this new genre of Useful Fiction within the U.S. national security establishment is the power of narrative. Here’s how Michael Lewis, author of “Moneyball,” put it in his best-selling book, “The Undoing Project:” “No one ever made a decision based on a number; they need a story.”

Fire and Ice by George Galdorisi

My goal in writing “Fire and Ice” was not just to write an entertaining and believable military thriller, but to stress the importance of challenging our assumptions as they relate to national security. The book is available in our Coronado Public Library, and I’ll leave it to those of you who read it to decide whether I’ve accomplished those two goals.

Finally, Coronado has a vibrant writing community of beginning, emerging and established writers. For some hints and best-practices to take your writing to the next level, you can access this information on my website: Go to Blog at the top of the page and pull down “Writing Tips.”

George Galdorisi is Director of Strategic Assessments and Technical Futures for the Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific. Prior to joining NIWC Pacific, he completed a 30-year career as a naval aviator, culminating in fourteen years of consecutive service as executive officer, commanding officer, commodore, and chief of staff. He is a 40-year Coronado resident and enjoys writing, especially speculative fiction about the future of warfare. He is the author of 15 books, including four consecutive New York Times bestsellers.


Book Reviews Galdorisi.pdf

Rick Holden Trilogy: The Coronado Conspiracy, For Duty and Honor
and Fire and Ice

For most of the last century, national security policymakers were
sanguine that the U.S. military had an intact process for envisioning
future warfare. Over the last few decades that process has shown
stress, and now the Pentagon looks outside the lifelines – often to
military fiction – to get a better sense of how wars might evolve and
be fought years hence. This process has been institutionalized as a
number of U.S. military commands and think tanks now sponsor fiction
writing contests to tease out potential future warfighting scenarios.

This has spawned a new genre of military-themed works of fiction.
Labeled FICINT – imagining future warfare scenarios based on the
realities of high-end combat and real-world intelligence, not fantasy
– the U.S. national security community has now embraced this genre
as a useful instrument to intuit how tomorrow’s wars will be fought.
Two well-known books in this genre are P.W. Singer and August Cole’s
Ghost Fleet and Elliot Ackerman and Admiral Jim Stavridis’ 2034
(reviewed in the previous issue of Surface SITREP).

This brings me to a recent entry in the FICINT genre – actually a
trilogy of entries – Captain (USN – retired) George Galdorisi’s Rick
Holden thrillers, The Coronado Conspiracy, For Duty and Honor and
Fire and Ice. Each is a good read by itself, and even better if read
in the order presented here. The chief protagonist, Rick Holden, is a
former CIA operative, now undercover as a U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer.

In all three thrillers, Galdorisi not only provides us with a picture of
future warfare but examines what could go awry with issues like
civilian control of the military, near-absolute power in the hands
of senior military officers, and the ability of rogue nations to hold
allies hostage. I believe you will enjoy this trilogy, and I’m eagerly
looking forward to the next Rick Holden thriller.


Download this Review in PDF Format