More Early Praise for Out of the Ashes

Out of the Ashes

Kirkus Reviews had this to say about Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Out of the Ashes:

Even when it’s been disbanded and its creator has died, you can’t keep a good agency down—especially when it’s as badly needed as Clancy’s National Crisis Management Center.”

Jeff Edwards, bestselling author of THE SEVENTH ANGEL and SWORD OF SHIVA, had this to say about Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Out of the Ashes:

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.

Two Views of U.S. National Security

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From the Information Dissemination website come two interesting and differing views of U.S. national security. Two well-known experts, Robert Kaplan and Usha Sahay, square off:

Kaplan stakes his claim here:

“But what about all those new global and regional institutions and organizations, to say nothing about the growth and opportunity that has come from financial markets? Aren’t they the other, more positive half of reality? They are. But then the question arises: Why have they been able to come into being in the first place? What ultimately undergirds them? The answer is one that many members of the global political and financial aristocracy do not want to hear: raw American power.”

“It is the various U.S. Navy fleets and numbered air forces that are the ultimate guarantor of stability in the key theaters of the globe…The U.S. Navy calls itself a global force for good. That claim would pass the most stringent editorial fact-checking process. Without that very naked American ambition, which allows the Navy and the Air Force to patrol the global commons, the world is reduced to the sum of its parts: a Japan and China, and a China and India, dangerously at odds and on the brink of war; a Middle East in far wider war and chaos; a Europe neutralized and emasculated by Russian Revanchism; and an Africa in even greater disarray.”

Sahay takes a different position here:

“It’s certainly true that America is changing its role on the world stage. But that’s not the same as retreating from that stage altogether. In fact, the opposite is true: by many measures, the Obama administration has increased American engagement with the world. What has changed is not the amount of engagement, but its nature. Obama has sought to re-orient our foreign policy away from a military-first approach, and toward a more comprehensive approach that leans more on diplomatic and economic tools.”

“Critics who believe that Obama has pulled back from the world stage are confusing quantitative changes in the nature of U.S. engagement with a qualitative decline in that engagement.”

Read both articles.  For Kaplan, it is hard power that ultimately backs up diplomatic engagement.  For Sahay-who not once, but twice, refers to pre-Obama foreign policy is terms of “militarism”, engagement is self-perpetuating.

Kaplan

Sahay

It May Not Be a Platform

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New platforms may not always be the answer to rising military technology needs, according to strategic guidance just issued by the Pentagon’s research and engineering office. “In the near past, technology surprise” came from systems like revolutionary airplanes or ships, states the document. In the near future, “operational advantage may well come from new technologies and capabilities, or from new ways to use existing technologies that enhance and enable” existing platforms.

The research and engineering enterprise will be putting its limited funds to work on many enablers, such as ways to lower lifecycle costs, smart design, prototyping, and risk reduction. The next generation of technology surprises the United States may spring on its adversaries will also likely flow from quantum technologies, nano-engineered materials and devices, new sensors, autonomous systems like unmanned vehicles, and timekeeping/navigation devices that will far outstrip the abilities of GPS, states the document, dated May 1. The latter will likely be attacked and possibly “denied” by adept enemies.

Read more here

U.S. Navy Missile Defense

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Today, the U.S. Navy leads the pack in the national imperative of providing missile defense. It has been a long journey. While the U.S. Navy has enjoyed unprecedented success in developing surface-to-air missiles for fleet air defense the path to success was not a linear one, but one that proceeded by trial and error, and in the early days, impelled by war, always pushing the outer limits of technological development. And while this is a story about more than just technology, as Max Boot points out in his best-selling War Made New, “My view is that technology sets the parameters of the possible; it creates the potential for a military revolution.” And indeed, the Navy’s journey to field effective fleet air defense has represented both an evolutionary and revolutionary approach.

Read more here on Defense Media Network

Life’s Lessons from the Source

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In “Life Lessons From Navy SEAL Training, Admiral William McRaven, U.S. Navy SEAL and now the commander of the United States Special Operations Command (where he has stewardship over all U.S. military special operations forces), and the man who, as the Commander of the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command was responsible for the planning and execution of the takedown of Osama bin Laden offers ten lessons gleaned from Navy SEAL training. In his words:

The training also seeks to find those students who can lead in an environment of constant stress, chaos, failure and hardships. To me basic SEAL training was a lifetime of challenges crammed into six months. So, here are lessons I learned from basic SEAL training that hopefully will be of value to you as you move forward in life.

Read more here

Look Up!

What harm could come from having your head down looking at that important e-mail or interesting text. This may give you pause – and inspiration.

Tom Clancy Presents: Out of the Ashes

Out of the Ashes

A key book reviewer, Bookist, had this to say about Tom Clancy Presents: Out of the Ashes, just out this week:

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.

More reviews on Amazon here

The United States QDR Report: Implications for the Asia-Pacific Region

Read the about the QDR, the U.S. Budget and the impact on the Asia-Pacific region here

As the name implies, the United States publishes its major strategic document, Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) once every four years. Mandated by the U.S. Congress, this report focuses both United States defense strategy and military spending. Not coincidentally, the 2014 QDR was released on the same day as the Obama Administrations Fiscal Year 2015 budget (for reference the United States Fiscal Year runs from October 1 through September 30).

Tying the 2014 QDR so closely to the President’s budget was done purposefully and sends a clear message the U.S. Department of Defense is operating in a tight fiscal environment. And it is also clear that the department is making strategic choices that are informed by a number of factors ranging from the substantial United States debt, to constant budget deficits, to the desire for a bit of a peace dividend as the United States extracts itself from two decade-long land wars in the Middle East and South Asia.

Read the about the QDR, the U.S. Budget and the impact on the Asia-Pacific region here

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