Op-Center: A Re-Booted Series

Out of the Ashes

Continuing in the Clancy tradition of being prescient about the future, we took on re-booting the Tom Clancy Op-Center series with an eye toward finding the world’s future crisis spots.

Here is what we wrote in the cover copy for the first book in the series: Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Out of the Ashes:

Before 9/11 America was protected by a covert force known as the National Crisis Management Center. Commonly known as Op-Center, this silent, secret mantel guarded the American people and protected the country from enemies. The charter was top secret and Director Paul Hood reported directly to the president. Op-Center used undercover operatives with SWAT capabilities to diffuse crises around the world, and they were tops in their field. But after the World Trade Center disaster, in the interest of streamlining, OP-Center was disbanded—leaving the country in terrible danger.

But when terrorists detonate bombs in sports stadiums around the country leaving men, women and children dead or mutilated, the President executes an emergency order to bring back Op-Center—an Op-Center capable of dealing with the high tech crises of the 21st Century, and there is a lethal one brewing in the Middle East. A renegade Saudi Prince with ambitions of controlling the world’s oil supply has an ingenious plot to manipulate America into attacking Syria and launching a war against Iran. Next, they would ignite a sleeper cell to attack the America homeland, resulting in a bloodbath unlike any other. Only the men and women of Op-Center, using sophisticated technology, realize what is about to be unleashed. Only they have the courage to issue a warning no one wants to hear. But will anyone believe them?

Read more about Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Out of the Ashes (available in trade paperback, mass market paperback, digital and audio editions) and other books in the series here:

http://georgegaldorisi.com/blog/books-blog

In’shallah For All?

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We should all say in’shallah. I know what you’re thinking – when you hear that word you often think of Middle Eastern people, and ones that might not be in a very good mood!

Time to drop that notion. As one writer put it in a recent Op-ed in the New York Times, we should all adopt the in’shallah attitude. In fact, it may well be the new mindfulness.

Here’s how he begins:

A college student was recently escorted off a Southwest Airlines flight after a fellow passenger said she heard him making comments in Arabic that were “potentially threatening.” In a statement, Southwest Airlines said that the student, Khairuldeen Makhzoomi, who came to the United States as a refugee from Iraq, was removed for the “content of the passenger’s conversation” and not his language choice.

Mr. Makhzoomi wasn’t ranting about death, terror, Trump or artisanal mayonnaise — any of which might warrant such a drastic response. No. What he said on the phone right before the passenger expressed concern, he later explained, was the Arabic phrase “in’shallah,” which translates as “God willing.”

This trisyllabic, Semitic weapon of mass destruction is a hallmark of the Arabic vernacular. Some anti-Muslim bigots in recent years have argued Arabic is “the spearhead of an ideological project that is deeply opposed to the United States.” one that seeks to replace the United States Constitution with a halal cart menu. Most sane individuals, however, believe Arabic is simply a language that millions of people around the world speak.

Opportunity is often born from absurdities. I believe this latest episode is actually a great moment to bring the versatile and glorious term in’shallah into the vocabulary of more Americans.

In’shallah is the Arabic version of “fuggedaboudit.” It’s similar to how the British use the word “brilliant” to both praise and passive-aggressively deride everything and everyone. It transports both the speaker and the listener to a fantastical place where promises, dreams and realistic goals are replaced by delusional hope and earnest yearning.

Read more of this absolutely on-point article here

Life Imitates Art

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Our first book in the rebooted Tom Clancy Op-Center series Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Out of the Ashes lived up to the predictions Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, Library Journal, Kirkus and others had, and made the New York Times and other best-seller lists. The second book of the series, Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Into the Fire, just released in mass market paperback, has also received positive reviews. 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 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:

http://georgegaldorisi.com/blog/books-blog

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:

http://www.defensemedianetwork.com/stories/global-trends-2030-black-swans/

Still in Turmoil

Out of the Ashes

What many feared for the Mideast has finally happened. We predicted this turn of events in our first book of the rebooted Tom Clancy: Op-Center series, the book, shown here, Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Out of the Ashes. Not many understand what is at the root of the enmity between nations in the Gulf. We wrote the first book of the series in 2012 and had Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the greater Mideast in our sights.
When Dick Couch and I were offered the opportunity to “re-boot” the Tom Clancy Op-Center series we wanted to pick the spot where we knew there would be churn when the book was published – and for some time afterwards. The Middle East was our consensus choice. As we put it in Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Out of the Ashes:

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. In the past, the war has been invasive, as during the time of the Crusades. The Muslims have also been the invaders as the Moors moved north and west into Europe. Regional empires rose and fell through the Middle Ages, and while the Renaissance brought some improvements into 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.

In time, as a century of war engulfed Europe and as those same nations embarked on aggressive colonialism, the East-West struggle was pushed into the background. But it was not extinguished. The rise of nationalism and weapons technology in the nineteenth century gave rise to the modern-day great powers in the West. Yet the East seemed locked in antiquity and internal struggle. The twentieth century and the thirst for oil were to change all that.

The seeds of modern East-West conflict were sown in the nations created by the West as Western nations took it on themselves to draw national boundaries in the Middle East after the First World War. 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 kept tensions high between East and West. Then came 9/11. While it was still a Muslim-Christian, East-West issue, the primacy of oil and oil reserves remained a catalyst that never let tensions get too far below the surface.

The events of September 11, 2001, and the invasions that were to follow, redefined and codified this long-running conflict. It was now a global fight, from Afghanistan to Iraq to Yemen to North Africa and into Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, and beyond. It was global, nasty, and ongoing. Nine-eleven was pivotal and defining. For the first time in a long time, the East struck at the West, and it was a telling blow.

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.

But as the world’s foremost authority on the region, Bernard Lewis, 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. As we suggest – this churn will last a long time. Out of the Ashes is tomorrow’s headlines, today!

Read more about Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Out of the Ashes (available in trade paperback, mass market paperback, digital and audio editions) and other books in the series here: http://georgegaldorisi.com/blog/books-blog

Drop Everything!

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One thing is as certain as death and taxes – each year we seem to get better at multi-tasking – or at least we think we do. We so many distractions it’s a skill we must master – or is it?

Wait! Multitasking, that bulwark of anemic résumés everywhere, has come under fire in recent years. And it should, it’s making us all crazy. Some high points from a recent NYT article.

A 2014 study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology found that interruptions as brief as two to three seconds — which is to say, less than the amount of time it would take you to toggle from this article to your email and back again — were enough to double the number of errors participants made in an assigned task.

As much as people would like to believe otherwise, humans have finite neural resources that are depleted every time we switch between tasks, which, especially for those who work online, one researcher said, can happen upward of 400 times a day, according to a 2016 University of California Irvine study. “That’s why you feel tired at the end of the day,” she said. “You’ve used them all up.”

But you can fight back. Read the full article here

The World’s Crises Spots

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When our first re-booted Op-Center book, Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Out of the Ashes, made the New York Times and other best-seller lists, it put the bar high for the second book of the series, Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Into the Fire. That book didn’t disappoint, and also-gained best-seller status right out of the shoot.

This week, Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Into the Fire was released for the first time as a mass market paperback. Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Out of the Ashes is already out as a mass market paperback. We expect demand for both books to continue to be strong. Why? Because the kind churn in today’s world says we still need heroes – heroes like those serving in our military and other government services who go “downrange” to protect the freedoms we hold so dear. Here is how we put it in the Dedication to Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Out of the Ashes:

Decades ago, Winston Churchill famously said, “We sleep safely at night because rough men stand ready to visit violence on those who would harm us.”  More contemporaneously, in the 1992 film, A Few Good Men, in the courtroom dialogue, Colonel Nathan Jessup (Jack Nicholson) responds to an aggressive interrogation by Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee (Tom Cruise) with, “We live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns…Because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me on that wall. You need me on that wall.”

This book is dedicated to the selfless men and women – in and out of the military – who toil and sacrifice in obscurity so we may sleep safely at night.  They receive no medals or public recognition, and few know of their risks, dedication, and contributions to our security.  They endure lengthy – and repeated – deployments away from their families.  Yet they stand guard “on the wall” for all of us, silently, professionally, and with no acclaim.

And we’re happy out professional colleagues who are best-selling writers of military thrillers are high on these books. Here is what Jeff Edwards, bestselling author of The Seventh Angel and Sword of Shiva, had to say:

Op-Center is back with a vengeance!  OUT OF THE ASHES isn’t just a reboot of the Op-Center series; it’s one of the best techno-thrillers to hit the shelves in a long time.  Dick Couch and George Galdorisi have just raised the bar for military adventure fiction.  Suit up, strap in, and hang on, because you’re in for one hell of a ride.

Read more about Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Into the Fire (available now in mass market paperback) and other books in the series here:

http://georgegaldorisi.com/blog/books-blog

Tom Clancy and the Future

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Few writers have been so universally recognized as being prescient about the future than Tom Clancy. Even years after his untimely death in 2013, fans and observers all over the world still marvel at his ability to see more clearly into the future than most of us could ever hope to. He had a knack.

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 2013, 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.

Op-Center: Back with a Vengeance

Out of the Ashes

When St. Martin’s Press decided to reboot Tom Clancy’s Op-Center series, we were all eager to see what these key reviewers thought of the first new book out the chute: Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Out of the Ashes. Here is what Booklist’s Jeff Ayers had to say:

“Tom Clancy’s Op-Center books (12 in all) were popular, but the series ended after the last one was published in 2005. Now, almost 10 years later, St. Martin’s has resurrected Op-Center with this offering from coauthors Couch and Galdorisi. A series of terrorist attacks at NFL stadiums during games causes havoc, and the president’s response does little to restore confidence. He realizes the time has come to reestablish the Op-Center, a group known for its unmatched SWAT, computer, and infiltration skills. The recruitment process takes up the beginning third of the novel and proves surprisingly compelling. Once the team is up and running, the operation to strike back at the terrorists begins. Couch and Galdorisi are veteran military-thriller authors, and they show their talents here. Op-Center fans will be pleased to have the series back and will look forward to more installments in the future.”

And what pleased us even more, were the comments some of the best known military fiction writers had to say about Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Out of the Ashes.

From New York Times best-selling writer Larry Bond:

“The U.S intelligence agencies have spent billions since 9/11 learning how to “connect the dots.” But what if there are only one or two dots? Out of the Ashes is a smoothly written story by two authors who understand the inner workings of U.S. intelligence, government, and the military, and tell a frightening and exciting tale about a very new, but also a very old, threat.”

From New York Times best-selling writer Stephen Coonts:

“Thriller addicts like me devoured every Tom Clancy’s Op-Center tale.  Now they are back, intricately plotted, with wonderfully evil villains and enough realistic military action and suspense to ruin a couple of night’s sleep.  Highly recommended.”

Read more about Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Out of the Ashes (available in trade paperback and mass market paperback) and other books in the series here:

http://georgegaldorisi.com/blog/books-blog

Nest Egg – Now What?

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Whether you’re thinking about saving for a nest egg, working on saving for a nest egg, or have finally accumulated that proverbial nest egg, it’s not too early to ask yourself – now what? Whether you’re a baby-boomer or much younger, now is the time to ask yourself – what will I do with that nest egg if and when I have it?

After a career of working, scrimping and saving, many retirees are well prepared financially to stop earning a living. But how do you find meaning, identity and purpose in the remaining years of your life?

Mitch Anthony, author of “The New Retirementality” (Wiley, 2008), says your self-evaluation should start with the question, “What am I wired for?” which involves taking an “inventory of who you are.”

Mr. Anthony’s principles are geared around one’s aptitudes and having active pursuits that involve the mind, body and spirit.

Translating that into concrete actions can be challenging. Retired professionals may be able to continue to do what they were doing, but now as part-timers or consultants. Others may be able to apply their analytic, management or organizational skills in low-stress, time-flexible settings. Still others may want to strike out in entirely new directions.

“It’s never an easy answer,” Mr. Anthony says of self-discernment in retirement. “You need to take stock of things that resound with you — that stir you up.”

Read more here