Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

May 3, 2013

Friday Free Forum

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Philip J. Palin on May 3, 2013

On this day in 1999 three days of violent storms began plowing across the Great Plains States.  One hundred forty-one tornadoes were confirmed over the outbreak, including an F-5 tornado with winds exceeding 301 miles-per-hour.  Fifty people died. Damages exceeded $1.9 billion.

What’s on your mind regarding homeland security?

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15 Comments »

Comment by William R. Cumming

May 3, 2013 @ 7:06 am

DECISION SUPPORT SYSTEMS FOR HS AND EM AND PUBLIC SAFETY AND HEALTH!

About three decades ago the DoD started to invest heavily in what I call Decision Support Systems. They include of course GPS, Heads Up Displays, GIS and other new ways of displaying information to end users whether those engaged in fighting or support.

I started to ask my Beltway Bandit colleagues why so little was being done to develop or even identify needs in the civil sector. They unanimously stated Pay US First then we will develop them.

The real point of this comment is to focus on what the Decision Support Systems are needed for HS and EM and other portions of the civil sector involved in prevention, protection, mobilization, mitigation, response and recovery from crisis events or disasters.

So first help me identify the needs and then help me identify end products available not by brand but by function. Or perhaps not available at all and that causes me to wonder what effort the S&T Directorate of DHS has put into Decision Support Systems, and also of course HARPA.

The real driver of course is that often too much information is available and directing attention to or processing the most important information is always going to be a priority. Perhaps even Social Media 2.0 is a kind of Decision Support System.

In my days as an Artillery Officer we learned to lay a firing battery with sticks much like in the Civil War. Now of course the first FADAC computers to do the same long since passed by. So I guess the computer [perhaps modified in specific ways] is a tool to help in decision support.

Are TRIAGE protocols now computer based and computerized? That is certainly the most important end of the Public Health and medical spectrum.

Again curious as to what others know or think or understand about what I will now refer to as DSS!

Comment by JD

May 3, 2013 @ 11:13 am

Bill, DHS S&T did a project last year that addressed this, I believe, at least from the perspective of the first responder. Link to pdf is below.

http://www.firstresponder.gov/Miscellaneous%20PDFs/ProjectResponder3Report.pdf

Comment by Dan O'Connor

May 3, 2013 @ 12:04 pm

Long but cathartic! Posted twice.

META HOMELAND SECURITY.

We spend a lot of time talking about what is homeland security. It’s a relative question. We spend a lot of time speaking about policy. Again, relative and necessary from a strategic point of view. The problem is neither effectively addresses the”… the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds…”

We’ll invariably discuss the efficacy of the selection of Rand Beers as S2. The naysayers already have the long knives out questioning his capability and leadership. According to rumblings within the “enterprise” the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) has not distinguished itself and is referred to by many as the “No Particular Program Division”. We shall see what he brings…but he should not be the focus. He should not be the focus because of finite time and resources. We have more important thinking to do.

There is so much going on that affects the idea of a robust capability and resolve to thwart, mitigate, absorb, and respond to disruption…sounds like resilience!

Education
it is going to cost the U.S. an investment of over a quarter of a trillion dollars to upgrade our nation’s schools just to working order, and nearly half a trillion to bring them into the 21st century. The cost of tuition continues to skyrocket and what it yields in terms of building capable, innovative, and adaptive thinkers remains to be seen. The idea of education liberating creativity and synthesizing information seems to be a bit of epistemological quackery based on some of the interaction I have had with recent academics and the colleges of America. It is an issue.

Obesity
The burden of obesity on American taxpayers is about $147,000,000,000 a year. That is a conservative estimate. It is the primary cause of chronic disease. The average American has gained a whopping 20lbs since 1990. Its affects are felt everywhere. Some studies having obesity rendering upwards of 75% of the population unfit to serve in the military. Over 75% of First Responders are overweight or obese as well according to other reports. At the increase of 1lb a year, by 2030 the average American male will weigh 200lbs. In 1950, that average American male weight was 155lbs. We’d like to blame the gluttonous and sloth-like American for their behavior because it’s easy.

Never mind that the food industry has increased the amount of sugar we eat, subsidize those who create it, reduce its nutritional quotient, and then tells us to eat a diet that is 65% carbohydrate… Two hundred years ago, the average American ate only 2 pounds of sugar a year. In 1970, we ate 123 pounds of sugar per year. Today, the average American consumes almost 152 pounds of sugar in per year. That’s not even counting the high Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) we ingest. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, each person in the United States consumes on average 69 pounds of corn-based sweeteners such as high-fructose corn syrup every year.

We are sick, we are fat, and there is far more wrong than right in our food system. It’s an issue.

Entitlements
A third rail subject to be sure. However, it needs to be addressed. An unprecedented number of our neighbors, citizens, and “others” are using food stamps, known today as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Why? Enrollment in the food stamp program has increased by 70 percent since 2008, to 47.8 million people as of December 2012, the Wall Street Journal reported. The biggest factor driving the increase is the stagnating job market and a rising poverty rate. This means that a staggering 15 percent of the US population receives food stamp benefits, nearly double the rate of 1975. I find it ironic that the USDA and their trillion dollar subsidy programs for corn, wheat, and soybean (the key ingredients in processed food and the fuel of obesity and diabetes) is also in charge of food stamps.

Let’s not leave out JP Morgan though.
According to the company’s most recent quarterly filing with the SEC, the Treasury & Securities Services segment, revenue was up 2% in the last three months of last quarter and brought in $5.47 billion in net revenue. Each month, JP Morgan makes between $.31 and $2.30 for every single person on food stamps (and that does not even include things like ATM fees, etc.). It’s a good business if you can get into it. It’s an issue.

Economics/Jobs
The percentage of self-employed Americans was fairly stable between 1970 and 1990, but since 1990 it has been steadily eroding and it has now reached a level never seen before…

At this point, only about 7 percent of non-farm workers are self-employed. The rest, according to simple math means that the overwhelming majority of those that are employed in America are working for the system in one capacity or another. Who is generating jobs and revenue? There is anecdotal evidence that the U.S. policy environment has become inadvertently hostile to entrepreneurial employment. The bottom line is we make less, do less, and create less than ever before.

But not to worry. Hiring is picking up steam, according to CNN. 165,000 jobs have been added. The report goes a long way “toward soothing fears of another spring slowdown,” said Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist for Capital Economics. Really? If hiring keeps up at its current pace, it will take about five more years to get back to a pre-recession job market. It has been five already. Wall Street reacted as expected and we celebrate that all is right in America. But wait, there’s more.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is reporting that currently there are 89,967,000 working age Americans that are “not in the labor force”. While astonishing and a record of sorts that number increased by a whopping 663,000 during the month of March alone. When you add 11,742,000 working age Americans that are officially unemployed to the 89,967,000 working age Americans that are “not in the labor force”, you come up with a grand total of 101,709,000 working age Americans that do not have a job.

For new veterans aged 18-24, the unemployment rate averaged 20.4% in 2012, more than five percentage points higher than the average among non-veterans aged 18-24. So how is it that we celebrate? It is an issue.

The American malaise
It seems like an awful lot of American are sad. Currently, eleven percent of U.S. adults are taking an antidepressant medicine. How is it that antipsychotics are now the largest revenue producers among all classes of medicines? These mental health prescriptions bring approximately $15 billion per year — much of it coming from excessive use in vulnerable populations of children and the elderly. We are hurting ourselves a lot too. Suicide rates have climbed sharply for middle aged Americans.
Pat Smith a violence-prevention program coordinator for the Michigan Department of Community Health said the recession — which hit manufacturing-heavy states particularly hard — may have pushed already-troubled people over the brink. Let’s not forget our .03% of the population either.

The U.S. military lost more service members to suicide than combat last year as the number of troops who took their lives rose to a record high. Service members committed suicide at the rate of one every 25 hours. 349 took their own lives across the four branches. And it’s worse for Veterans. Almost once an hour – every 65 minutes to be precise – a military veteran commits suicide, according to a new investigation by the Department of Veterans Affairs. It is an issue.

No matter how you cut the data, torture the facts, and shape and bend the information, there is far more important “stuff” to be discussing than what “it” is and how to politicize it. Given the time and opportunity I am sure someone could refute all my claims as rhetoric or histrionic…go ahead, that’s your right. To me, the fact remains that we are spending more time eroding trust, robustness, capability, and civility for the sake of power and politics.

“To all who shall see these presents, greetings: Know ye that reposing special trust and confidence in the fidelity and abilities of…” these are the words on a promotion warrant for enlisted Marines.

Special trust and confidence in the fidelity and ability of! If we lose that; that special trust and confidence, then nothing else matters. We once knew or thought we knew “… great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

The time for timidity and weakness, political and moral malfeasance must end, now. There is much to talk about and more to do. These are a few of my thoughts. I am grateful for the opportunity to share them in an open forum on open mike Friday. Thanks, Phil, Chris, Bill, Tingus, HGRatten, Brady, Bogus et al. Your contributions are routine and provocative…therefore useful and necessary to move along those timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
Semper Fidelis and good day.

Comment by William R. Cumming

May 3, 2013 @ 12:31 pm

Thanks JD for the link and I did not know about this report. The report certainly does related to DSS IMO!

Comment by Philip J. Palin

May 3, 2013 @ 5:29 pm

Dan:

Thanks very much. Your thoughtful comments over the years have earned my careful reading.

Aristotle wrote that catharsis is a “purgation of pity and fear” that is, among other things, a healthy audience response to tragedy. The vast majority of theatrical tragedies in the classical era hinged on the exposure of hubris — fatal pride — on the part of the hero and vicariously on the part of the Athenian audience. Recognizing an inclination to this fault was hoped to be a mitigation measure. It did not always work (see especially the trial of Socrates and the Peloponnesian War).

Imperial success seems to inevitably breed cultural, political, and military hubris. There are, as well, almost always opportunities for self-awareness and correction. Historically they are rather seldom embraced and never idyllic in themselves. Currently we often seem disinclined to recognize or seize our opportunities.

But Dan I will challenge your persuasive perspective in this one way: While I share most and more of your concerns as I am consuming the news, in my day-in-day-out engagement with professional colleagues, neighbors, friends, and even a couple of people I despise, I generally find men and women who want to do good, who are ready to listen, and consider, and collaborate, and compromise in order to achieve a common purpose. Some of us are odder than others. Some of us are more complicating than others. But in my actual experience there is much less hubris than is described in the Washington Post, New York Times, CBS, NBC, Politico, Fox News, National Review, or Weekly Standard.

Comment by Dan O'Connor

May 3, 2013 @ 7:43 pm

Thanks Phil;

I appreciate and accept the essence of your challenge. I too generally find men and women who want to do good, who are ready to listen, and consider, and collaborate, and compromise in order to achieve a common purpose.

My introduction of the aforementioned themes were that; an introduction of issues that are often fodder and not symptoms.

Perhaps its time to dismiss all the providers of hubris and self actualize in common purpose.

Have a pleasant weekend, Sir.

Comment by Christopher Tingus

May 3, 2013 @ 8:01 pm

Thank you Dan from all of us and certainly in reciprocal and sincere appreciation to You for your valued comments and keen perceptions as We have much to concern ourselves as Americans who love our Republic and care so much about fellow citizen and fellow mankind….while it is so obvious many seek our demise.

Tonight is Good Friday and Sunday, Easter for those of us who celebrate Jesus Christ with obvious differing calendar than others as GreeK Orthodox Christian and fellow brethren in the Eastern Orthodox Church like all Christians who Love fellow mankind and hope with all our prayer that the seemingly dysfunctional ways, selfish and so arrogant, affording apparently less and less value for another’s Life so easily judged and innocents as we saw here in Boston, murdered and with limbs of some sixteen fellow Bostonians blown away and over 200 injured in some way…what has become of mankind’s kindness and consideration towards one another….

Eight month old aborted and new born murdered….Few willing to repent!

For those of us who truly care…who are willing to stand forthright and on behalf of our Constitution and our founding Judeo-Christian principles, We may not necessarily embrace another, however with firm handclasp to fellow citizen adhering to our principles and laws, We look forward to mentoring our children and passing the torch to a generation who has read and has studied our American history….though to my dismay, the White House Doors these days are shuttered to our kids when visiting washington, however open to invited guests of the Obamas only….w/secret service on guard to safeguard the rappers….

We shall never forget the “Benghazi Massacre” and the blatant lies spewed forth as Barry Obama and Hillary Clinton stood shoulder to shoulder in breach of faith, treason!

God Bless America!

Christopher Tingus
Harwich (Cape Cod), MA 02645
chris.tingus@gmail.com

Comment by William R. Cumming

May 4, 2013 @ 3:36 am

Hey DAN a record number of incumbent long term US Senate members have announced their retirements in 2014. That is good news IMO! But apparently few candidates available for replacing them. Very bad news!

Comment by Philip J. Palin

May 4, 2013 @ 7:40 am

Mr. Tingus:

Best wishes for a blessed Easter. Kairos tou poiesai to Kyrio!

May we each and all be attentive to the opportunities of kairos.

Phil

Comment by William R. Cumming

May 4, 2013 @ 9:31 am

Dan and Phil! There are many many men and women of good will! Unfortunately good will may not be enough. IMO power is taken not given. And the corruption of the National Security State and its hubris has led to a nightmare for our democracy [Republic]!

Comment by Philip J Palin

May 4, 2013 @ 10:10 am

Bill:

We may see similar outcomes, but I perceive a somewhat different cause. In my experience, power — for good and ill — is not so often taken as claimed in-absentia.

What I mostly see is people of good will failing to act or say what is needed at the right moment (hence today’s particular encouragement to Mr. Tingus). In their absense others claim the initiative — sometimes purposefully, often rather casually — and in the process twist unfolding reality in unexpected ways, often unexpected even by those “taking” power.

This failure to act at the right time in the right way is a particular concern within the apparatus of a National Security State which, I agree, tends toward its own sort of profound hubris.

Now… where I will fully agree with you is that over time this failure to act sets-the-stage for those who would purposefully take power. That is a real danger, but it is not the sort of threat I have specifically observed. At least where I have operated banality is more a threat than will-to-power.

You perhaps have been deeper in the beast.

Comment by William R. Cumming

May 4, 2013 @ 4:09 pm

Thanks Phil!

Comment by Christopher Tingus

May 5, 2013 @ 7:26 pm

Thank you Philip. The Easter Midnight service was truly magnificent as darkness in the church at midnight is replaced with the Light of Christ and from one candle to another in all its meaning and celebration of Christ and a reminder for us of God’s Love for each of us…. God bless us all!

As breaking news finally places the spot light on the “Benghazi Massacre” and the blatant lies spewed by those we have “entrusted” by pledge to our beloved Republic and We the People….as I have been writing at least from my perspective, a breach of faith, treason…

…with heightened tensions as a result of Iranian and Syrian actions and at least the Israelis willing to address the devil, while Barry Obama has gone our of the way to weaken our relationship w/Israel and two weaken our long standing alliance between our two nations, , it is very worthy to note that in this recent visit to Israel, the very first for Barry Obama, his choice in speaking venues told much…

Turning down an invitation to speak before Israel’s elected representatives at the Knesset, Obama chose rather to speak to a bunch of handpicked university students on the left as Caroline Glick pointed out and actually denied students more on the conservative side and again, his continued snubbing of Israel’s elected government while inviting the Egyptian Brotherhood to Washington as well as having visited Cairo almost immediately upon his first time election.

There is no doubt that this WH’ intentional foreign policy in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood and this geopolitical shift as we have seen newly imposed WH anti-Israeli officials now at post spells much concern…much grave danger….See (Hosea 5:13) and you shall see Germany arriving on scene (ancient Assyria) and the unfolding tragedy unfolding….

OPEN THE WHITE HOUSE DOORS NOW – OUR KIDS DESERVE BETTER….

The “Benghazi Massacre” and leaving our brave Patriots behind is an opportunity to nab both Barry Obama and Hillary Clinton who are Not above the law and place them under House arrest and under suspicion for breach of faith – treason and then let’s see what Ms. Hillary has to say about her hand waving and heightened response of “What;s the difference” – standing shoulder to shoulder w/Barry Obama, Hillary and Barry lied. They lied and Barry’s intent on making good in his pledge to the neighborhood to diminish US security presence weeks and months before must now come to light….The reality is…we live in a very dangerous world with many seeking our demise and we must see reality and not blinded by such blatant disregard for our nation’s brave soldiers….and the intent to disarm Americans at home and to weaken our military where we have again seen the balk on the red line as more empty rhetoric and just a month ago, an aircraft carrier diverted from deployment supposedly because we could not afford it, yet this “Chicago city street slicker” and an individual obvious in pledge top Hussein Obama and his Kenyan anti-Christian pals and the likes of Bill Ayers…this half-white man who has left Black Americans five years later with staggering unemployment and visits Palestine last week speaking to an audience with Arafat’s Banner behind him televised throughout the Middle East…

Wake up! A tragedy is before us and recall back in ’08 when the Rev Wright, with Barry Obama in his pew for 20+ years listening…recall that Rev Wright clearly stated that as long as the “Zionists” had a WMD in hand, there would be nothing wrong with Tehran having same…What has Barry Obama truly done to thwart the building of the WMD…now, very close and an intentional look the other way by this WH…Nearly 50% of this nation voted to oust this Constitutional foe and who supports late term abortions and plan B for kids…yes, kids… our children who as adults and parents, each responsible for their own children and family, not an imposing government! Enough is enough!

Again, as I have offered time and time again, as a natural born US citizen, I offer my availability in coming forward and placing Barry Obama and Hillary Clinton under Citizen’s arrest for suspicion of breach of faith, treason for all they willingly knew before, during and after the “Benghazi Massacre” — and by the way…what’s this about taxpayer monies to support via Cambridge, MA city government to pay for a burial place for this terrorist – some 16 wonderful human beings left without one or more limbs and the government will pay for his burial…hang his body at city hall upside down in the hot sun for the stench of blood and skin and photos I received this week showing such brutality…since when does the government have funds to bury when none of us could have such benefit — what reckless governing…what mixed messages qwe send to the many who seek our demise — wake up —

In the words of James Madison (1785), “If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be under the guise of fighting a foreign enemy. But, in reality it will be an Enemy from within” –

I say, hold your muskets high and for all lawful purpose….

As Samuel Adams said in (1775), No people will tamely surrender their Liberties, not can they be easily subdued, when knowledge is wide spread and Virtue is preserved. On the Contrary, when People are unwisely ignorant, and debauched in their manners, they will sink under their own weight without Aid of foreign invaders” –

OPEN THE WHITE HOUSE DOORS NOW – OUR KIDS DESERVE BETTER AND WILL SOON VISIT WASHINGTON, DC WITH THEIR CLASSMATES AND THEY SHOULD SEE THE WHITE HOUSE, THEIR WHITE HOUSE WHERE WE HAVE SEEN SECRET SERVICE PROTECTING IN THSE LAST TWO WEEKS, SELECTED RAPPERS AND GUESTS OF THE TEMPORARY EIGHT YEAR GUESTS, THE OBAMAS OPENING THE DOOR TO ENTERTAINERS AND OUR AGAIN SEEING THE ELOQUENCE OF MICHELLE OBAMA MOVING HER HIPS NOT ONLY ON LATE NIGHT TELEVISION, BUT NOW AT THE WHITE HOUSE PARTIES…..A WHITE HOUSE WHeRE THE NIECES AND NEPHEWS, EVEN THE KIDS OF THOSE ON 911 WHO YELLED, “LET’S ROCK ‘N ROLL” HAVE A RIGHT TO SEE THEIR WHITE HOUSE AND THE RCH AND VALUED HISTORY OF OUR NATION FAR MORE THAN THE PERVERTED AND NARROW PERSPECTIVE OF THE BIASED OBAMA THINKING THAT AMERICAN HISTORY IS ONLY ABOUT SLAVERY ISSUES….WHER WE AS A NATION, BLACK, WHITE, BLUE, GREEN AND VIOLET AND OTHER HAVE IN THIS

Comment by Christopher Tingus

May 5, 2013 @ 7:31 pm

21ST CENTURY MOVED FAR PAST THIS RESPECTING ONE ANOTHER AND REACHING WITH HANDCLASP TO ONE ANOTHER AS WE SAW EVENE HERE IN BOSTON WHERE WE WERE ATTACKED…HOW DARE OUR BOSTON ATTACKED…A CITY WHERE WE ARE – BOSTON STRONG – AND AS OFTEN SAID, ALMOST EVERYONE IS RELATED OR IS A FIRST RESPONDER…AND WE ARE PRPOUD OF OUR FIRST RESPONDERS AS EVIDENCED BY THEIR ORGANIZED AND PROMPT RESPONSE WHEN TRAGEDY STRUCK…WE ARE SO PROUD OF EVERY POLICE OFFICER, FIREFIGHTER AND EMT, PHYSICIANS AND SO MANY OTHERS…CITIZENS ALIKE…BRAVO TO ALL AS THE SPIRIT OF DEMOCRACY HERE IN BOSTON WILL NEVER BE QUELLED BY THE SUBVERSIVE…

We shall never forget our brave Patriots left behind at the “Benghazi Massacre” –

God Bless America!

Christopher Tingus
Joe Citizen
“Main Street USA”
PO Box 1612
Harwich (Cape Cod), MA 02645
chris.tingus@gmail;com
http://www.bigdiglifevest.com

Comment by Christopher Tingus

May 5, 2013 @ 7:57 pm

In the words of champion, Frederick Douglas: “Find out just what People will submit to, and you have found the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue until they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress” –

Wake up! Wake up! Barry Obama has set course to weaken America and its defense and knows that a Democracy must have a strong defense if it to survive and his pledge to Hussein Obama and his Kenyan anti-colonialist pals, to bring our great nation to par with other countries…How dare you permit Barry Obama et al to diminish our strength and undermine our principles…We have many friends in the Middle East and his intent to allow Tehran to have WMD in hand is a travesty…for those in the Middle East fully understand the ramifications of an Iran with WMD! At least the Israelis understand the shock and awe to follow and it will not only be felt in Tel Aviv, but throughout the Middle East and our friends.

Germany and its fast deployment Army, its vessels now in the Mediterranean and billions in defense contracts as it nurtures a new Confederate of Middle East States filling the void of a weakened America under the direction of this “Chicago city street slicker” and nothing more…his support of the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo where a host of Middle East countries are buying weapons and strengthening their own Arab countries with German technology – unknowing that they, too will be eventually duped by the Germans – though a Middle East who understand full well the regional intentions of the “Brutes of Tehran” seeking not only to bringing much attack against Israel, yet to control the Middle East…in the coming weeks and months, even Hamas and Hezbollah to their own shock and dismay will turn their face from Tehran and Assad as even they see fighting spread to Lebanon, a good People who do not want any more strife within their nation…. German weapons and troops and Navy are en route throughout the Middle East and our arch enemy must not be permitted to get so entrenched into Middle East affairs…For the most part, fellow Middle East nations do not particularly like the Germans….

The global scenario unfolding especially given a weakened US executive branch has many adverse implications and given the blatant lies at the “Benghazi Massacre” — let’s not only stand forthright on behalf of our brave Patriots so willingly left behind Ms. Hillary, but let’s show you “what the difference is” as you waved your hands at the last set of hearings where you lied as well under oath once again….

God Bless America!

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