Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

August 18, 2013

John “Jock” Menzies

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Philip J. Palin on August 18, 2013

Jock Menzies

I am told that Jock Menzies died unexpectedly on Friday, August 16.

“He was a burning and a shining light: and we were for a season to rejoice in his light.” (John 5:35)

While the issues Jock advanced were serious, troublesome and treacherous, it was easy to rejoice in his presence.   He was a persistent source of intelligence, deep experience, good hope, and practical love.

I depended on him, his network, and his judgment for much of what I have accomplished over the last three years.  We were to have dinner together this Wednesday night.  The meeting will focus on a wonderful opportunity for private-public collaboration that is endangered by bureaucratic myopia.  I explained to others I was inviting Jock because he is “especially well-wired and a wise man.”

As important, Jock listened carefully and sympathetically especially when he profoundly disagreed.  We had worked together for nearly two years before I heard him express real frustration with another, and even then it was with a sort of absurdist humor that emphasized our shared human tendency for folly.

His work spanned preparedness, response and recovery.  Jock was a strategist who could also work the phones to get a critical shipment of pharmaceuticals into a disaster zone just in the nick of time.  He was a broker, communicator, facilitator who — especially in his role with the American Logistics Aid Network — helped translate the very different languages and worldviews of the private and public sectors.

Jock’s death is a serious blow to private-public collaboration in homeland security.  Despite every effort to institutionalize his role, Jock was often the indispensable personal link that allowed huge institutions (and the sometimes huge ego of others) to dispense with self-absorbed distractions and focus on concrete challenges and opportunities.

He became indispensable because in a room full of people wanting to be in charge and demonstrate their power or insight Jock wanted to save lives and lessen the pain of the afflicted.   He was my hero.

Hundreds even thousands will be sad to hear of Jock’s death.  May we honor his memory — and celebrate his life — by listening more carefully, responding more positively, and living more gently with one another.  Perhaps together we can retrieve some small portion of the grace we have lost with his premature passing.

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine

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Comment by Jennifer

August 18, 2013 @ 8:13 am

An inspired and wise man. He will be missed.

Comment by Chip Scholz

August 18, 2013 @ 9:42 am

I am shocked and saddened to learn of his death. We are all a little worse off without him.

Comment by Jamison M. Day

August 18, 2013 @ 9:56 am

Disaster Relief has lost a great contributor. Jock was a colleague, friend, and mentor. His actions will cascade through the lives he touched.

Comment by Cliff Otto

August 18, 2013 @ 10:18 am

I knew Jock for over 30 years. No finer person existed in our industry. It was our honor to support Jock in developing ALAN over the past years. Through Kathy Fulton it is now important that our industry and discipline recommit to this work situation his effort was not in vain.

Comment by Jere Van Puffelen

August 18, 2013 @ 10:36 am

Jock was one of the true Gentlemen and Leaders in our industry. Having the honor to know him for decades, Jock was a very bright, energetic, get it done kind of man. His heart was filled with compassion, and it showed when he talked about the less fortunate, and those in need. He was different than many who talked about it, he did something about. He walked the talk, and inspired others to do the same. I am grateful that he lead and inspired our industry to grab his passion and be involved in ALAN. Jock will be missed.

Comment by Bill Gates

August 18, 2013 @ 10:52 am

We have lost a kind and gentle friend. He will be dearly missed and fondly remembered by many.

Comment by George Yarusavage

August 18, 2013 @ 11:19 am

Jock was a good man with a great vision on an important mission. We will miss him as both a friend and a champion of providing logistics aid for those in need.

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 18, 2013 @ 11:54 am


I need to know more about this man and his contributions. In my 20 years in FEMA logistics a step-child with two unsung heroes–Bruce Campbell and Beverly Vasquez! Either another post or direct e-mail would be welcome.

Comment by Bob Shaunnessey

August 18, 2013 @ 2:08 pm

The loss of Jock Menzies is a shock as he was fully engaged in life and his major goal of helping us all. His gentle yet insistent pushing for rational solutions has benefitted us and it calls for us to pick up his work.

Condolences to his family and myriad other friends.

Comment by Nick Weber

August 18, 2013 @ 5:02 pm

Jock was a true leader and a real down to earth guy. He will be missed by those who him and those who benefited from his leadership.

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