American Sniper – and More!

Out of the Ashes

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 here:

What Made Tom Clancy So Unique?


What Does the Future Hold?


Tom Clancy, the most well-known military writer in a generation was universally hailed as being prescient about regarding the future of intelligence, technology and military operations in his books seemed to come to pass five, ten, or more years later.

Not all of us are so prescient about what our future world will look like. But there is a source – and an open source – available to all of us that looks deep into the future in the areas of international affairs, i.e. what our world will look like in the ensuing decades, technology and military operations.

While many organizations – inside and outside of government – of necessity look to the future to attempt to discern what the future security environment portends, the National Intelligence Council represents the “Pros from Dover,” in this regard. The NIC supports the director of national intelligence in his role as head of the intelligence community (IC) and is the IC’s focal point and governing organization for long-term strategic analysis.

Among the projections in its groundbreaking report, Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds:

  • China’s economy is set to overtake that of the United States in the 2020s, but China will not challenge the United States’ preeminence or the international order;
  • Asia will become more powerful than both North America and Europe combined (based on population, GDP, military spending, and technological investment);
  • The United States will achieve energy independence with shale gas, and;
  • Wider access to disruptive technologies – including precision-strike capabilities, cyber instruments, and bio-terror weaponry – could increase the risk of large-scale violence and disruption.

Read more about what the future will hold in my post on the Defense Media Network website here:

You don’t have to be as prescient as the late Tom Clancy to know what the future will hold.

Work-Life Balance


It is so easy to arrive home from work in a bad mood, cranky and frustrated.

Shaking off the after-work blues can be hard, especially when we are tired. The human stress response is a chemical chain reaction of hormones coursing through one’s system, says Jordan Friedman, a New York City stress-management trainer and author. Add fatigue, “and it’s like dousing those chemicals with lighter fluid.”

It helps to think about the transition from work to home in three stages: leaving the office, getting home and walking through the door.

Best advice: “Don’t be too quick to try to get rid of the bad mood right away. Pay attention to what your feelings might be trying to tell you.”

Read more here:

Fiction Turmoil

Writing Techniques

It is an understatement to say the publishing world has been in turmoil for the last decade – and especially for the last five years. Publishers have merged, entire book chains have folded, e-books are surging in popularity and “self-publishing,” once second-tier at best is now a legitimate route to success.

But the churn should make all writers extremely wary, even when they grab the supposed gold ring of signing with an established publisher. Atticus Lish is the poster child for this.

Atticus Lish’s Preparation for the Next Life got the kind of reception that first-time novelists only dream about. The gritty debut novel, set in the violent, dangerous margins of New York City, was one of 2014’s genuine literary sensations, earning ecstatic reviews and landing on many top-10 lists. One critic called the novel, “a tour de force of urban naturalism” and “a love story that’s as bold and urgent as any you’ll read this year.” But in a stark illustration that fiction writing often doesn’t pay, Mr. Lish has so far made only $2,000 for his novel, which took five years to write.
Read more here

Two Re-boots


Last year saw two “reboots” the Tom Clancy Op-Center series and another movie starring Jack Ryan – the fifth movie with “America’s Action Hero.” Both were hits.

There are compelling reasons why this is so. With threats from emerging superpowers, rogue nations and, increasingly, terrorists of all stripes, Americans want to know who will protect them.

Increasingly it is our nation’s special operators. That is why the international action-arm of our re-booted Op-Center series is the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). Comprising the most capable special operators from all the U.S. military services, they are the ones most frequently “on that wall” protecting us.

Read more here how “life imitates art”

Missile Defense!


The most compelling threat to the United States today is the treat of missile attack. Nations like China and Russia who harbor enmity towards the United States have massive numbers of intercontinental ballistic missiles armed with weapons of mass destruction. It is an existential threat to all of us.

And increasingly, rogue nations such as North Korea and Iran are acquiring the means to deliver intercontinental ballistic missiles armed with WMD.

But this is not a new threat! And the United States Navy has been working on missile defense for generations. Today the Navy is in the lead to prevent missile attacks on the United States or on our interests. It has been a long journey and understanding how we got here will also help understand where we are going in the future.

For anyone younger than those of the baby boomer generation, it is impossible to fully understand the urgency the Cold War brought to building and deploying the U.S. Navy’s missile fleet.  Once the Berlin Wall went up and the spectre of the Soviet Empire crushing the West – and especially the United States – began to sink in during the early 1950s, spending on defense became a compelling urgency.  Few can forget the phrase famously attributed to Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev while addressing Western ambassadors at a reception at the Polish embassy in Moscow on Nov. 18, 1956, “We will bury you!”

Read more about the future in my post on the Defense Media Network website here

Baby Boomers


You’d never know it watching all the things we do to stave off aging and try to pretend we’ll be young forever. But we all are getting older day-by-day.

The only thing we can do is adjust our attitudes about getting older ourselves and adjust our attitudes about those older – often vastly older – than us.

Who are they? By 2050, Americans age 65 and over will comprise one-fifth of the population – over 80 million people! An aging population does pose real challenges.

Read more here

Happy Writing


We all want to be happy. And most of us work at it in many ways. But have you tried writing? It just may be the most beneficial thing you can do.

The scientific research on the benefits of so-called expressive writing is surprisingly vast. Studies have shown that writing about oneself and personal experiences can improve our disposition help reduce symptoms among cancer and other patients, improve a person’s health after a heart attack, reduce doctor visits, and even boost memory.

Want to try it? There are some fabulous “tactics, techniques and procedures” that will help you get started on the journey. Read more here

American Sniper – and More!

How do we feel about our special operations professionals? Most of us want them “on the wall” protecting us from forces that would harm us and our nation.

It is no surprise that the movie American Sniper, based on Chris Kyle’s best-seller has been such a mega-hit. It has resonated with Americans of all stripes.

We’ve come full circle. Recently, Rorke Denver spoke to the issue of why American Sniper has touched so many of us – and he takes on those who would denigrate heroes like Chris Kyle.

We know Rorke Denver as Lieutenant Rorke Engel from the movie Act of Valor and from our Novelization of that movie, Tom Clancy Presents: Act of Valor. He knows whereof he speaks, having spent years with the SEAL teams, a command position training SEALs, and writing a best-selling book about his experiences.

We have carried this tradition forward in our re-boot of the best-selling Tom Clancy Op-Center series. We honor special operators for what they are – quiet, dedicated professionals.

Here is what we said in the dedication of the first book in the new series, 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.

The World in 2030


What will the world look like in 2030 – a decade-and-a-half hence? That question bedevils nations and individuals. We all want to know. But how do we find out?

There are many sources and no lack of organizations and people “holding forth” with their opinions – some based on good sources – but many based strictly on conjecture.

For me, I’ve found it most useful to mine what the United States Intelligence Community – the IC – thinks. Their opinions are distilled from the collective efforts of the 16 agencies making up our IC. The U.S. IC is an $80B a year enterprise (yes, that’s “B” not “M”). Every five years they package what they know and share it with us in one of their Global Trends pubs.

NIC has been in existence for over three decades and represents the primary way the U.S. intelligence community (IC) communicates in the unclassified realm.  Initially a “wholly-owned subsidiary” of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the NIC now works directly for the director of national intelligence and presents the collective research and analysis of the entire IC, an enterprise comprising 16 agencies.  In a sentence: There is no more comprehensive analysis of future trends available anywhere, at any price. It’s not an overstatement to say this 160-page document represents the most definitive analytical look at the future security environment.

In addition to individual empowerment and the diffusion of state power, GT2030’s analysis suggests that that two other megatrends will shape our world out to 2030: demographic patterns, especially rapid aging; and growing resource demands which, in the cases of food and water, may well lead to scarcities. These trends, which are virtually certain, exist today, but during the next 15-20 years they will gain much greater momentum.

Read more about what the future will hold in my post on the Defense Media Network website here.