Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

November 28, 2014

Friday Free Forum

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Philip J. Palin on November 28, 2014

William R. Cumming Forum

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • Reddit
  • Facebook
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • Print
  • LinkedIn


Comment by John Comiskey

November 28, 2014 @ 5:33 am

Storm Surge: Hurricane Sandy, Our Changing Climate, and Extreme Weather of the Past and Future by Adam Sobel

I am researching the establishment of congregant shelter in the wake of Superstorm Sandy at Monmouth University a midsized private university in Monmouth County N.J.

Though less than a mile from the coast, the campus is on high ground. The University’s Multiple Activity’s Center (The MAC) provided shelter and otherwise cared for over 1,000 persons for over a week.

Sobel’s book amongst many others informs my work and particularly the concept of surge. Here I depart from the main theme of the book (climate change and nexuses to extreme weather). My comments today are mostly about surges, HLS, and life in general.

Last week my wife and I celebrated our anniversary at a nearby restaurant. We arrived at 6:00 p.m. to a restaurant that was less than half full. I estimate that the establishment has a seating capacity of 125 persons.

By 6:45 we had finished our cocktails and appetizers. Then came the surge. A party of about 50 persons arrived almost simultaneously. They quickly overwhelmed the greeter and coat checkers. They also drowned out the dinner conversation my wife and I were enjoying. Soon thereafter the 50+ made their way to an upstairs room.

Dinner finished (we passed on desert) we made our way to the parking lot. When we first arrived at the restaurant two valets gleefully greeted us. Upon our return, the same two valets were un-gleefully maneuvering too many cars that pushed the parking lot way beyond its capacity. We unhappily waited over 20 minutes for our car. It should be noted, the greeter, coat checker, waiter, maître d, and valets were polite and professional. The food was excellent.

This morning I added the final comments in a notebook I used to plan the first Thanksgiving Dinner that my wife and I hosted. The family’s Thanksgiving mantle has been handed down to us. At a critical moment, the serving of the meal, we struggled to keep many of the side dishes hot. Microwave notwithstanding, we were overwhelmed.

Black Friday is an event my wife and I avoid. Shopping on Thanksgiving evening would be even more of an abomination. Still there are presents to buy and we will shop for those on our list. But, we shop on non-peak days and hours. We do more than half of our shopping on line.

My book synopsis, shelter, busy restaurant, and Christmas shopping anecdotes are my ways to describe a core HLS capability, surge capabilities.
Hurricane’s damage and particularly the damage caused by Superstorm Sandy comes mostly from storm surge, hurried and voluminous amounts of water that pound the shore way beyond natural and manmade catchments. Simply stated, coastal areas are overwhelmed.

Conversely, HLS capabilities need to counter HLS threats and vulnerabilities at critical times. HLS101 is aggregating, integrating, and coordinating HLS capabilities to counter all-hazards.

This HLS blogger will not be shopping today.

Comment by claire rubin

November 28, 2014 @ 6:13 am

This blogger will not be shopping either.

Interesting when you make the surge and other stressors personal.

Comment by Philip J. Palin

November 28, 2014 @ 6:43 am


Love it. We had two Thanksgivings this year. Last week some of my in-laws visited. On Friday it was spontaneously decided (while I was not present) that Saturday we should have a traditional Thanksgiving meal.

Worth noting: I am the principal cook. I was also hosting an exercise till noon on Saturday.

On Saturday — early — morning I started by shopping. Three stops were needed to complete the list. That afternoon I was in our daughter’s kitchen depending on what I could find. Several staples were missing. I quickly concocted a second oven rack. The turkey was at least thirty minutes late being put in the oven. It was an exercise in culinary minimalism, necessitated by conditions.

It actually turned out pretty well. By general consensus the turkey was the best ever. Probably from being lightly microwaved at the start to make up for the delay, rubbed in oregano, basil, and pepper and being wrapped for the duration… and maybe the half-bottle of Chablis added in the last hour.

For the first time our twenty-something son seemed to notice what Dad was doing in the kitchen. He asked what was the biggest challenge. “Sequencing”, I replied. “Deciding priorities, understanding how they are related, then executing so the priorities don’t get in each others way.”

After reading your comments, maybe I was proposing a formula with broader application. I should have also said something about accepting the reality of your situation and working with it not against it.

Yesterday we had a special breakfast at home but went out to a restaurant for the main meal.

Comment by Christopher Tingus

November 28, 2014 @ 7:58 am

Thank you William Cummin and Mr. Palin (Friday Weekly Forum),

Homeland Security: The Electric Grid and Cyber Security and more and more evidence that the ever sophisticated “cartel” initiatives especially as can be seen coming from “Putin Country” is of immense concern this holiday season and every day. IQ Defence (November) references: Critical Infrastructure

“September saw the emergence of the Shellshock (aka) Bashdoor) flaw, a bug that allowed hackers to take control of hundreds of millions of devices worldwide and forced governments into rapid response.

The UK?s national cybersecurity response team (Cert-UK) sent out an alert
that the glitch presented the “highest possible threat ratings” for impact and
exploitability, while experts recommended that everyone refrain from using their credit cards for online purchases until the situation had been resolved.

Shellshock posed a threat to systems using Bash software, which includes
critical national infrastructure (CNI) and therefore heightened fears that attacks
could result in more than just monetary theft.

Aside to financial services, the CNI arena has been under similar criticism in recent years for failing – as a collective – to effectively address cybersecurity standards in spite of its potential bullseye status among state-sponsored cyber
attackers. Predominantly owned by private companies in the West, CNI remains at such a vulnerability to sabotage that public money continues to be
used to offset the gaps.

The UK recently announced a new reserve of £2.5m ($4m) for research into
enhancing cybersecurity for industrial control systems (ICS) responsible for running CNI, including power stations, manufacturing plants and transport networks. Teams from four universities are working alongside industry
professionals to analyse and mitigate the risks of hackers and malware, ultimately producing effective tools and guidance for those managing the infrastructure.

Submitted by
Christopher Tingus
“Main Street USA”
Harwich (Cape Cod), MA 02645

*The White House failed in its Beijing meetings to address real concerns about China’s intentional aim in its focused efforts to attack us with cyber security concerns and here on “Main Street USA” worries even more so about the shirtless KGB Putin and his ambitious aim in intimidating NATO and very possibly stepping forward and crossing boundary lines and not just in the Ukraine! Moreover, real concerns as to the level of cyber aptitude and their utilization to truly disrupt us so as the new Congress convenes shortly, is there anyone truly disciplined to assure us that our electric grid which is so vulnerable even in a nor’easter, never mind intentional attack…is our electric grid safe from attack?

Comment by Christopher Tingus

November 28, 2014 @ 6:00 pm

Iran: Sultan of the Red Sea
Brent Nagtegaal | November 28

“In case you missed it, on September 21, the Islamic
Republic of Iran expanded its foreign holdings to include
Sanaa, the capital city of Yemen. That same day, Iran also
took over Yemen’s al-Hudaydah port, almost 100 miles
southwest of Sanaa, on the eastern bank of the Red Sea.
Capturing these Yemeni strongholds indicates Iran is
right now pushing to implement its strategy of controlling
the Red Sea, as previously forecast by the Trumpet.

To reach the Mediterranean Sea from the Indian Ocean,
all seafaring trade, including 3 million barrels of oil per day,
must pass through the Bab el-Mandeb Strait. Measuring
just 18 miles across, the channel is the closest point between
the two landmasses of central Africa and the Arabian
Peninsula. The northeast edge of the strait is firmly within
Yemeni territory. The strategic importance of controlling this
passage is equal to controlling the Suez Canal, since both are
part of the same thoroughfare.

To control this trade route, Iran needs to dominate Yemen.
That is why the events of September 21 are so significant.

Iran did not send its Revolutionary Guard to gain control of the country. Rather, as witnessed in Lebanon with Hezbollah,
Iran activated one of its terrorist proxies to do its legwork. In
Yemen, “Hezbollah” is Ansar Allah, the military wing of the
Shiite Houthi tribe, which comprises 30 percent of Yemen’s
population. The majority of the country is Sunni.
In the two months following the capture of Yemen’s
capital, the Houthis entered a power-sharing agreement
with the Yemeni government.

Again, this is similar to what happened in Lebanon with Hezbollah. While Iran denies activating and arming the Houthis in the coup, many Iranian personalities could not help but gloat at their achievement. “We in the axis of resistance are the new sultans of the Mediterranean and the Gulf,” said Mohammed Sadeq alHosseini, adviser to former Iranian President Mohammed Khatami. “We in Tehran, Damascus, [Hezbollah’s] southern suburb of Beirut, Baghdad and Sanaa will shape the region. We are the new sultans of the Red Sea as well.”

Many nations, especially the European nations on the
other side of the Red Sea trade, are concerned by Iran’s
pushy moves in Yemen.

In a November 4 fact sheet analyzing the Iranian takeover of Yemen, Michael Segall wrote:

“Iran also sees Yemen as an important factor in its policy of establishing a physical Iranian presence, both ground and naval, in the countries and ports of the Red Sea littoral, which control the shipping lanes that lead from the Persian Gulf to the heart of the Middle East and onward to Europe.

If the Shia rebels gain control of the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, Iran can attain a foothold in this sensitive region giving access to the Red Sea and the Suez Canal, a cause of concern not only for its sworn rivals Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the Gulf states, but also for Israel and European countries along the Mediterranean” –

Submitted To HLSWatch by:

Christopher Tingus
Harwich (Cape Cod), MA 02645

Comment by William R. Cumming

November 28, 2014 @ 10:00 pm

Thanks Phil. Christopher, and Arnold for the recognition.

Comment by Christopher Tingus

November 28, 2014 @ 11:20 pm

I was reading an article earlier today which shared a differing perspective in questioning this long term involvement by the US throughout the Middle East and talks to just what might happen if the US totally disengaged or at least chose not to interfere so much. In seeing all this hardship, all the killings and loss of Life on both sides and all this continued Middle East dysfunction and generation after generation, even among families quarreling with one another and a US far less dependent on oil in 2015 when America is said to become energy independent, the article states:

“Disengagement may inconvenience several countries, and it would certainly shake up the region. But that doesn’t mean it would be bad for the U.S. — or the Middle East for that matter. The core complaint and founding impetus of Al Qaeda, for example, was the presence of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia, Islam’s holy land.

“Apart from the direct costs, extensive U.S. interference had two obvious negative effects: It helped fuel anti-American terrorism, and it gave some regional powers additional incentives to pursue weapons of mass destruction,” says Stephen Walt at Foreign Policy. When we talk about U.S. strategy in the Middle East, “we need to start by recognizing that the United States is in very good shape, and a lot of what happens in that part of the world may not matter very much to the country in the long run.”

As the French ambassador to the United States said in 1910:

“The United States was blessed among nations. On the north, she had a weak neighbor; on the south, another weak neighbor; on the east, fish, and on the west, fish.”

Today, the United States possesses the world’s most capable conventional military forces and most sophisticated nuclear arsenal, giving Washington a deterrent power that others can only envy. Indeed, the main reason the United States can roam around concerning itself with other countries’ business (and interfering in various ways) is because it doesn’t have to worry about defending itself against foreign invasions, blockades, and the like. [Foreign Policy]

The U.S. has several moral and strategic reasons to remain actively involved in the Middle East, Walt continues, but “the last thing the United States should do is try to play referee or try to impose its preferred political formula on these event.” That doesn’t mean the U.S. should disengage, only that “it should not be overly eager to interfere.”

Comment by William R. Cumming

November 29, 2014 @ 2:13 am

One of the least discussed threats to the continental [island?] U.S.A. is SLBM [submarine launched ballistic missiles. Any good links to analysis of U.S, sub forces and the world’s? Use for INTEL collection as opposed to Strategic Triad membership may be US Sub-forces most important role IMO!

How do the oceans affect U.S. FP and HS? My new house [new to me] will have an excellent view of the triple-size VLCC transiting the Chesapeake Bay to Port of Baltimore from the enlarged Panama Canal! Is there an HS threat now or will there be an increased one from these VLCC and their unexamined containers?

Comment by William R. Cumming

November 30, 2014 @ 3:34 am

Finally obtained a copy and will reread several times to fully absorb [or try to] John Brockman’s book entititle WHAT SHOULD WE BE WORRIED ABOUT? [2014] SUBCAPTIONED: Real Scenarios That Keep Scientists Up at Night!


1. The Real Risk Factors for War;

2. MADness;

3. We are in Denial About Catastrophic Risk;

4. Living Without the Internet for a Couple of Weeks;

5.Safe Mode for the Internet;

6. The Fragility of Complex Systems;

7. A Synthetic World;

8. What is Conscious?

9. Will There Be a Singularity Within Our Lifetime?

10. “The Singularity”: There’s No There There;

11. Capture;

12. The Triumph of the Virtual;

13. The Patience Deficit;

14. The Teenage Brain;

15. Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Words?;

16. The Contest Between Engineers and Druids;

17. “Smart”;

18. The Stifling of Technological Progress;

19. The Rise of Anti-Intellectualism and the End of Progress;

20. Armageddon;

21. Superstition;

22. Rats in a Spherical Trap;

23. The Danger from Aliens;

24. Augmented Reality;

25. Too Much Coupling;

26. Homogenization of the Human Experience;

27. Are We Homogenizing the Global View of a Normal Mind?;

28. Social Media: The More Together The More Alone;

29. Internet Drivel;

30. Objects of Desire;

31. Incompetent Systems;

32. Democracy Is Like the Appendix;

33. The Is-Ought Fallacy of Science and Morality;

34. What Is A Good Life?;

35. A World Without Growth?;

36. Human Population, Prosperity Growth: One I fear, One I Don’t;

37. The Underpopulation Bomb;

38. The Loss of Lust;

39. Not Enough Robots;

40. That We Won’t Make Use of the Error Catastrophe Threshold;

41. A fearful Asymmetry: The Worrying World of a Would Be Science;

42. Misplaced Worries;

43. There is Nothing to Worry About, and There Never was;

44. Worries on the Mystery of Worry;

45. The Disconnect;

46. Science by (Social) Media;

47. Unfriendly Physics, Monsters from the Id, and Self-Organizing Collective Delusions;

48. Myths About Men;

49. The Mating Wars;

50. We Don’t Do Politics;

51. The Black Hole of Finance;

52. The Opinions of Search Engines;

53. Technology-Generated Fascism;

54. Magic;

55. Data Disenfranchisement;

56. Big Experiments Won’t Happen;

57. The Nightmare Scenario for Fundamental Physics;

58. No Surprises From the LHC: No Worries for Theoretical Physics;

59. Crisis at the Foundation of Physics;

60. The End of Fundamental Science?;

61. Quantum Mechanics;

62. One Universe;

63. The Dangerous Fascination of Imagination;

64. What-Me Worry?;

65. Our Increased Medical Know-How;

66. The Promise of Catharsis;

67. I’ve Given Up Worrying;

68. Our Blind Spots;

69. The Anthropocebo Effect;

70. The Relative Obscurity of the Writings of Edousrd Glissant;

71. The Danger of Inadvertently Praising Zygomatic Arches;

72. The Belief or LLack of Belief in Free Will Is Not a Scientific Matter;

73. Natural Death;

74. The Loss of Death;

75. Global Graying;

76. All the T in China;

77. Technology May Endanger Democracy;

78. The Fourth Culture;

79. Classic Social Sciences’ Failure to Understand “Modern” States Shaped by Crime;

80. Is the New Public Sphere . . .Public?;

81. Blown Opportunities;

To Be continued if necessary!

Comment by William R. Cumming

December 1, 2014 @ 6:27 am

Since less than 1/2 of the chapter titles posted in comment above as you might guess all chapters are 5 pages or less Like peanuts hard to resist reading just one and stopping.

I started with a chapter titled GRAYING and was startled to learn that in 2050 one out of every five people on planet Earth will be 60 or over.

Comment by Christopher Tingus

December 3, 2014 @ 9:31 pm

What absurdity? If it were Not for the United States of America, every9one would be talking in German and the independence of sovereign nations, well, How dare you?

From one American at least, tell the Hague to …….I guess Uncle Tommy’s kid is Not coming to the Hague to protect you against the evils and dastardly deeds perpetrated by Tehran!


The War Over U.S. War Crimes in Afghanistan Is Heating Up

The Hague’s International Criminal Court has long avoided pointing the finger at U.S. misdeeds in Afghanistan. That truce is about to end.


Comment by football jumpers

September 28, 2015 @ 1:35 am

Everything said was very logical. But, what about this? what if you composed a catchier title?
I am not saying your information isn’t solid.,
but what if you added something that makes people want more?
I mean Homeland Security Watch ? Friday Free Forum is a little vanilla.
You ought to peek at Yahoo’s front page and see how they
write post headlines to get viewers to click. You might try adding a video or
a picture or two to grab people interested about everything’ve written. In my opinion, it would
make your website a little livelier.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>