Life Imitates Art

Scorched Earth_Cover

Our first two books of the rebooted Clancy Op-Center series, Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Out of the Ashes and Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Into the Fire lived up to our expectations – as well as those of our publisher, St. Martin’s Press, and both were on the New York Times, USA Today, and Publisher’s Weekly best-seller lists.

Our next book in the series, Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Scorched Earth will be released in trade paperback on August 2. The first review of an advance copy of the book came from Publisher’s Weekly:

TOM CLANCY’S OP-CENTER: Scorched Earth, George Galdorisi (Griffin): Galdorisi successfully goes solo in the suspenseful third entry in the Tom Clancy’s Op-Center reboot (after 2015’s Into the Fire, with Dick Couch). When the leader of ISIL, Mabab al-Dosari, beheads the American president’s envoy in Iraq, the U.S. launches an air strike that leaves the terrorist’s only son dead. Vowing revenge, al-Dosari recruits a homegrown terrorist cell to kidnap the man who orchestrated the attack, Rear Adm. Jay Bruner. When the FBI bungles Bruner’s retrieval, the National Crisis Management Center—Op-Center’s official name—steps up. Meanwhile, the admiral’s Navy SEAL son, Lt. Dale Bruner, attempts to extract his father on his own and lands in the clutches of ISIL. An Op-Center book is always a master class in military acronyms and hardware, and the ever-expanding cast fights to keep the reader’s attention through the abbreviations. Still, the simple hostage situations keep the tension cranked high and will satisfy Clancy fans old and new.

Our future blog posts on Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Scorched Earth will reveal a bit more of what went into plotting this book.

Read more about our New York Times best-sellers, Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Out of the Ashes and Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Into the Fire (Now available in mass market paperback, digital and audio editions) here.

Future World


The National Intelligence Council (NIC) has released its quadrennial report forecasting global trends that have a major impact on our world, “Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds,” in shorthand, GT2030. While many organizations, both inside and outside of government, as well as pundits of varying stripes attempt to project what the future may hold – with varying degrees of success – GT2030 does this and does it extraordinarily well. And this is an especially important time to leverage this analysis. As the chairman of the NIC, Christopher A. Kojm puts it in an opening letter to readers:

We are at a critical juncture in human history, which could lead to widely contrasting futures. It is our contention that the future is not set in stone, but is malleable, the result of an interplay among megatrends, game-changers and, above all, human agency. Our effort is to encourage decision makers – whether in government or outside – to think and plan for the long term so that negative futures do not occur and positive ones have a better chance of unfolding.

Read the entire article here on the Defense Media Network website and consider what the future might hold.

Be Yourself – Really?


Most of us give and receive advice. It’s human nature, as much of who we are as breathing. But is all advice good. What about “Be Yourself.” Sounds like an easy yes. Maybe not.

We are in the Age of Authenticity, where “be yourself” is the defining advice in life, love and career. Authenticity means erasing the gap between what you firmly believe inside and what you reveal to the outside world. As Brené Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston, defines it, authenticity is “the choice to let our true selves be seen.”

We want to live authentic lives, marry authentic partners, work for an authentic boss, vote for an authentic president. In university commencement speeches, “Be true to yourself” is one of the most common themes (behind “Expand your horizons,” and just ahead of “Never give up”).

Be authentic, but realize that this doesn’t mean just being yourself without consideration for those around you.

Read more of this insightful article here

Mr. Moore’s “Law”

mainframe computer

Who could have predicted where technology – and especially where the high-technology that makes it possible for us to have cell phones and tablets and surf the internet – would take us today. Most of us would have lost our shirts if we placed wagers on technology’s future trajectory – but it wouldn’t because we had wild dreams, but because our view was so limited.

One pioneer did have that vision – over a half-century ago. In 1965, Gordon Moore gave us what we refer to today as Moore’s Law. Here’s part of what Michael Malone had to say in the Wall Street Journal article:

Fifty years ago, on April 19, 1965, chemist and reluctant entrepreneur Gordon E. Moore set out to graph the rapid rate of improvement in semiconductor-chip performance—and ended up discovering the heartbeat of the modern world.

That discovery is what became known as “Moore’s Law,” which is the observation that performance (speed, price, size) of integrated circuits, aka microchips, regularly doubled every 18 months. The graph began as an illustration to an article in Electronics magazine, and it didn’t acquire the name Moore’s Law” for another decade. And for a decade after that it remained a topic of interest mostly inside the semiconductor industry.

Moore’s Law became iconic not because of its novelty or through media promotion, but because it has proved to be the most effective predictive tool of new chip generations, technology innovation and even social and cultural changes of the last half-century. It achieved all this despite doubts about its durability even by Mr. Moore and the fact that it isn’t really a scientific law.

Yet against all odds and regular predictions of its imminent demise, Moore’s Law endures. The historic doubling of chip performance every 18 months may have slowed to half that pace today, but even pessimists now accept that we likely will live under its regime well into the next decade and beyond.

Read more about how this “law” has changed our lives here.

The Asian Caldron

into the fire

In his best-selling book, Asia’s Cauldron, Robert Kaplan does a deep-dive into the factors that make this region a flash-point for superpower conflict.

We set the second book of our Op-Center series firmly in Asia. Superpower confrontation was the high-concept. Here is what Publisher’s Weekly had to say about Into the Fire:

Couch and Galdorisi’s stirring sequel to 2014’s Out of the Ashes pits Cmdr. Kate Bigelow, captain of the USS Milwaukee, and her crew against North Korean naval and special forces units intent on seizing the ship, which has been conducting training exercises in the sea off South Korea. The North Koreans have found vast undersea energy deposits in international waters and have made a secret deal to sell them to the Chinese. Taking the ship hostage will give them leverage against the U.S., which will surely oppose this deal. Bigelow proves to be a formidable foe, managing to outrun and outgun her North Korean adversaries. She runs the Milwaukee aground on the small island of Kujido, sets up a defensive base, and settles in to wait for friendly forces to come to the rescue. Tasked with that mission is Chase Williams, director of the secret Op-Center, who with other elements of the U.S. military attempt to pull off a daring, skin-of-the-teeth operation. A terrorist attack on the United Nations provides an exciting coda.

Read more about our New York Times best-seller, Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Into the Fire (Now available in mass market paperback, digital and audio editions) and other books in the series here.

Pacific Pivot

The Navy

Much ink has been spilled discussing the United States “Rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region” or as it is known more colloquially – especially in naval circles, the “U.S. Pivot to the Pacific.” President Obama put it this way almost five years ago:

“Our new focus on this region reflects a fundamental truth – the United States has been, and always will be, a Pacific nation … Here, we see the future. With most of the world’s nuclear power and some half of humanity, Asia will largely define whether the century ahead will be marked by conflict or cooperation, needless suffering or human progress.”

President Barack Obama
Remarks to the Australian Parliament November 17, 2011

There has been much talk of late of the United States’ “Rebalance Towards Asia,” or as it is more popularly known, its “Pivot to the Pacific.” This “Pivot” is being watched carefully – and it should be.  Major powers have sometimes been long on rhetoric and short on action. Understanding the factors that are driving the United States in this direction can help in discerning whether this rebalance – or pivot – is something that will be sustained or an initiative that will run its course until a new “strategy de jour” presents itself.

Without putting too fine a point on it, beyond the economic, demographic, trade and other reasons the United States is becoming more focused on the Asia-Pacific region to the extent it has announced a substantial shift in its military forces to the region; the rise of China as a major Asia-Pacific and world superpower is clearly driving U.S. initiatives in this region.  It is fair to say that the moves by the United States are a natural response to new geopolitical realities of a rising China in general and the rise of China’s military in particular.  Most would agree the United States’ rebalance towards the Asia-Pacific is one of the most effective ways for the United States to provide and sustain credible military presence in the world’s most dynamic area.

It’s clear that the United States wants to “Pivot to the Pacific,” but how it plays out is still a matter of debate.

In this prize-winning article in the Australian Navy League’s premier publication, The Navy, we examine whether this “pivot” is real or just rhetoric.

Time to Reflect?


We all lead busy lives. Most of us would welcome – with open arms – more time to think, to reflect, and perhaps some time for true introspection. But how do you get it?

The multiple devices we have all-but-attached to our bodies don’t help – phones, tablets, beepers – even our watches now – all work to distract us at every turn.

“Finding moments to engage in contemplative thinking has always been a challenge, since we’re distractible,” said Nicholas Carr, author of “The Shallows.” “But now that we’re carrying these powerful media devices around with us all day long, those opportunities become even less frequent, for the simple reason that we have this ability to distract ourselves constantly.”

Neuroplasticity (or the brain’s ability to change) due to technological use is a hot topic. Usually the tone is alarmist, though sometimes it’s optimistic.

Nevertheless, he sees our current direction as indicative of “the loss of the contemplative mind,” he said. “We’ve adopted the Google ideal of the mind, which is that you have a question that you can answer quickly: close-ended, well-defined questions. Lost in that conception is that there’s also this open-ended way of thinking where you’re not always trying to answer a question. You’re trying to go where that thought leads you. As a society, we’re saying that that way of thinking isn’t as important anymore. It’s viewed as inefficient.”

Mr. Carr observed that, for decades, Rodin’s 1902 sculpture “The Thinker” epitomized the highest form of contemplation: a figure with an imposing physique staring abstractly downward, hunched over to block out distraction, frozen because it’s a statue, of course, but also because deep thinkers need time and don’t fidget. It’s hard to imagine a postmodern update called “The Tweeter” being quite so inspirational.

Read more of this killer-good article here.

Your Muse?

Writing Techniques

Most writers seek help from “the muse” at some point. Some spend their entire lives waiting the muse and never write a thing – don’t let that happen to you!

For a humorous twist on this, the movie The Muse, with Sharon Stone, Albert Brooks and Andie MacDowell captures it brilliantly. Here’s the trailer:

Alexandra Kaptik answers this question in her Wall Street Journal article, “Inspired Choice.” Here is part of what she said:

When William Kretz, a software engineer from Arlington, Texas, decided to begin writing fiction as a hobby, he headed for that old favorite haven of would-be artists: the coffeehouse. But his destination wasn’t some smoky beat refuge or even a glossy Starbucks. Instead, it was a Web site called Coffeehouse for Writers.

The site is one of several online rallying points for budding authors, offering homespun free advice as well as some how-to courses that charge fees. For the 29-year-old Mr. Kretz — who was struggling to write a first-person fictional account of the inner life of a problem-ridden superhero — the big draw was that other denizens of the site kept prodding him to improve his writing while pushing him not to give up.

“I would never have thought I could do it without their encouragement,” says Mr. Kretz. When he posted his first chapter on a message board sponsored by the site,, he expected rave reviews but didn’t get them. “I was stunned — I really thought my work was nearly perfect,” he says. But the reaction of the writers convinced him that his first draft was “a literary piece of garbage” with far too many unnecessary words.

To help him along, one writer took on the task of nitpicking his entire work, one chapter at a time. “By chapter nine, I learned how to reword sentences on my own,” says Mr. Kretz, who is currently submitting his first short story to a magazine.

Where will you find your muse?

Read more of this article here.

Life Imitates Art

out of the ashes

We rolled the dice! When we came up with the high-concept for the first book of the rebooted Tom Clancy Op-Center series in 2011, the United States had committed to a national strategy of rebalancing to the Asia-Pacific region. The plan was to have the Middle East be “yesterday’s news.”


We thought differently. We decided to center this new book on the Middle East, because we will be there for the foreseeable future. Here’s why.


The Muslim East and the Christian West have been at war for over a millennium. They are at war today, and that is not likely to change in the near future. As Samuel Huffington would put it, the cultures will continue to clash. At times in the past, the war has been invasive, as in the eighth century, when the Moors moved north and west into Europe, and during the Crusades, when the Christian West invaded the Levant. Regional empires rose and fell through the Middle Ages, and while the Renaissance brought significant material and cultural advances to the Western world, plagues and corrupt monarchies did more to the detriment of both East and West than they were able to do to each other.


The seeds of today’s East-West conflict were sown when Western nations took it upon themselves to draw national boundaries in the Middle East after the First World War. The infamous Sykes-Picot agreement, which clumsily divided the Middle East into British and French spheres of influence, created weak-sister countries such as Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon, all-but ensuring permanent turmoil. After the Second World War, Pan-Arab nationalism, the establishment of the state of Israel, the Suez crisis, the Lebanese civil war, and the Iranian revolution all drove tensions between East and West even higher. While the competition for oil and oil reserves remained a major stimulus, longstanding Muslim-Christian, East-West issues created a catalyst that never let tensions get too far below the surface. And then came 9/11.

The events of September 11, 2001 and the retaliatory invasions that followed redefined and codified this long-running conflict. For the first time in centuries, the East had struck at the West, and delivered a telling blow. Thus, from Afghanistan to Iraq to Yemen to North Africa and into Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and beyond, the struggle has now become world-wide, nasty, and unrelenting.


Surveys taken just after 9/11 showed that some 15 percent of the world’s over 1.5 billion Muslims supported the attack. It was about time we struck back against those arrogant infidels, they said. A significant percentage felt no sympathy for the Americans killed in the attack. Nearly all applauded the daring and audacity of the attackers. And many Arab youth wanted to be like those who had so boldly struck at the West.


As the world’s foremost authority on the region, Bernard Lewis, has put it, “the outcome of the struggle in the Middle East is still far from clear.” For this reason, we chose the Greater Levant as the epicenter of our story of Op-Center’s reemergence.


Read more about our New York Times best-seller Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Out of the Ashes (Now available in mass market paperback, digital and audio editions) and other books in the series here.

Alternative Worlds?


Most of us wonder what the world will look like in the future. All of us have opinions – and they are more or less well-informed. The U.S. Intelligence Community – the IC – has looked at this intently and shared their results with the public in its capstone publication – Global Trends 2030. The results are startling.

The Global Trends 2030 report builds on the precedent set by earlier editions of Global Trends in identifying four possible future models of the world out to 2030 – but takes this alternative world futures analysis to a new level. It presents these models with a caveat, by noting that “none of these alternative worlds are inevitable and in reality, the future will probably consist of elements from all the scenarios.”

GT2030 has delineated four archetypal futures. The four posited “worlds” that could present themselves as we move toward 2030 are:

Stalled Engines, the most plausible worst-case scenario, is one in which the risk of interstate conflict rises due to a new “great game” in Asia. Although the National Intelligence Council does not foresee a “full-scale conflagration” along the lines of a world war, this scenario is still a bleak one, with the U.S. and Europe turning inward and no longer interested in global leadership; a euro zone that has unraveled; and a global pandemic and recession causing a retrenchment from globalization.

Fusion, is a scenario at the other end of the spectrum, representing the most plausible best case scenario. The U.S. and China successfully manage their relationship and together halt spreading conflict in South Asia. GDP accelerates in both developing and advanced economies, and technological innovation mitigates resource constraints.

Gini out of the Bottle is a world of extremes, in which inequalities within and between countries dominate and major powers remain at odds, raising the potential for conflict. Economic growth is far below the Fusion scenario, but not as grim as in Stalled Engines.

In the last scenario, Nonstate World, new and emerging technologies (such as ICTs – information and communication technologies) spur the increased power of non-state actors, including NGOs, multinational businesses, academic institutions and wealthy individuals. In addition, subnational units such as “megacities” flourish. These networks manage to solve some global problems, but security threats, such as the increased access to lethal technologies, pose an increasing challenge.

Read the entire article here on the Defense Media Network website and consider what our world may look like in the future.