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


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

What Made Tom Clancy So Unique?

Tom Clancy

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 about Tom Clancy and his knack for writing prescient books here.

Too Busy? Or Just Right

Wall Steet Journal

In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, Sue Shellenbarger takes on the familiar topic of work-life balance – but with a new twist. She begins with what likely sounds familiar to most of us:

A friend you admire just asked you to head a fundraiser. You have a full-time job, and this sounds like a lot of work. But look at her: a working mom who is active in the school PTA, just ran her first marathon, does Suzuki violin with her daughter and even carries on an active social life. Why can’t you do as much as she can? And just how do you tell when you have taken on enough?
The sweet spot is different for everyone. Unfortunately, most people don’t know when they have reached their limits and need to stop saying yes to new activities. Many take their cues from others, such as a boss who never says no to new demands or a colleague who juggles career, family and board duties.

Read more of this Wall Street Journal article here.

One Year – Two Reboots


The Reboot of the award-winning series 24 comes just two weeks before the release of our reboot of Tom Clancy’s Op-Center series with the release of Out of the Ashes. What do these two efforts – a mutli-Emmy winning series and a twelve-book best-selling book series – have in common? It’s this. Americans have lost confidence in the routine levers of national power – whether domestic or internationally – to protect Americans at home and aboard. One only need look at the success of the wildly-popular series House of Cards or Scandal and these comes home with emphasis. The president needs a special organization – unfettered by bureaucratic in-fighting or inertia – one the chips are down.

Game Changers Rocking Our World


As we’ve noted in other posts on this subject, while not tilting against John Maynard Keynes rejoinder that, “The idea of the future being different from the present is so repugnant to our conventional modes of thought and behavior that we, most of us, offer a great resistance to acting on it in practice,” at the end of the day, megatrends and tectonic shifts represent those trends that will likely occur under any future scenario. In other words, they are things we can “take to the bank” without a lot of argument.

Although these megatrends and tectonic shifts are expected to shape the world out to 2030, Global Trends 2030 acknowledges these critical game-changers have the potential to largely determine “what kind of transformed world will be inhabited in 2030.” These game-changers are questions regarding:

  • The health of the international economy;
  • Global governance;
  • Conflict;
  • Regional instability;
  • Technological breakthroughs, and;
  • The role of the United States.

Read more about the impact these game-changers will have on our world today – and especially tomorrow – here on this Defense Media Network post.

Australia’s Air Warfare Destroyers

Okie Boat launching Talos 1024

As Australia’s Defense Minister suggested in his Foreword to that nation’s Defence White Paper: “One of the fundamental responsibilities of any Australian Government is to protect and defend our people and protect and enhance our national security interests. This requires making complex strategic judgments about risks and opportunities in the international strategic environment. It means providing for an effective and efficiently run Australian Defence Force which is able to make its contribution to meeting strategic challenges.”

The Air Warfare Destroyer, modeled after the U.S. Navy Aegis system on its cruisers and destroyers represents the most technologically-advanced the RAN has ever produced. Read More Here.