Search This Blog

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

UNITED STATES WARFARE REALITIES TODAY


PLEASE CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE
In the last 17 years the US has reacted to the 911 tragedy by creating a behemoth machine that:

Knows Only Killing  








This outrageous explosion of watch listing—of monitoring people and racking and stacking them on lists, assigning them numbers…  assigning them death sentences without notice, on a worldwide battlefield—it was, from the very first instance, wrong,” the source of the documents told the Intercept. “We’re allowing this to happen. And by ‘we,’ I mean every American citizen who has access to this information now, but continues to do nothing about it.”

She Kills People From 7,850 Miles Away

Has Little Understanding of Foreign Cultural Factors in Nation Building


Our government has not considered the risks, the indigenous cultural impact, the expense and the sacrifices required to sustain the nation building that must occur after we invade countries in pursuit of perceived enemies and place the burden of governance on military personnel who are not equipped to deal with it or manage USAID contractors who have profit motives in mind and corruption as a regular practice. 

Risks, Expenses and Sacrifices in Nation Building 

Spawns New Versions of Our Old Enemies 











An observer of our military actions over the last two decades in the Middle East could in no way have predicted the splintered, irrational, “Turn-Your-Back-And-You-Have-Two-New-Enemies”, scenario the US faces today. Perhaps a look back over our shoulder, examining cause and effect relationships along the road is in order.

Cause and Effect Relationships in the Middle East 

Creates a Dangerous Outgrowth of Technology in the Military Industrial Complex and Then Exports It for Profit











The United States remains the leading arms exporter increasing sales by 23 percent, with the country’s share of the global arms trade at 31 percent.

Record US Weapons Sales to Foreign Countries – $1.6 Billion in Lockheed Martin Missiles Alone

 Very smart people in the Pentagon believed that connecting sensitive networks, expensive equipment, and powerful weapons to the open Internet was a swell idea. 

This ubiquitous connectivity among devices and objects — what we now call the "Internet of Things" — would allow them to collect performance data to help design new weapons, monitor equipment remotely, and realize myriad other benefits. The risks were less assiduously cataloged.

That strategy has spread huge vulnerabilities across the Defense Department, its networks, and much of what the defense industry has spent the last several decades creating.












The Pentagon Hooked Everything to the Internet 

Defies Financial Control With Dire Consequences for the Nation’s Economic Future










A law passed in 1994 initially set the deadline for 1997, but the Pentagon’s books were in such disarray that it blew past that date. Then, in 2010, Congress told the Pentagon to comply by 2017.

The next year, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta pledged that the department would by 2014 be ready for a partial account of its finances – a much less detailed accounting than requested of the military services — but the department missed that deadline too.

Pentagon Remains Stubbornly Unable To Account for Its Billions 

The Above Machine  Cannot and Will Not Continue.

The debt is too great a burden for generations of tax payers.

It is too risky in terms of technology that has fallen into enemy hands, either through the "Internet of Things" or by blunders in export management. 


It will be replaced by domestic and foreign relations programs that emphasize global human progress and economic development in lieu of threats.  The result will rely on uplifting, cooperative efforts among nations in lieu of killing. 


The globe has become too small to operate the Military Industrial Machine and the resources that have fueled it will be redirected. 


There simply is no other way. 


The change will be brought about in the following manner:


Facing geopolitical and economic realities, stopping war interventions and investing in relationships within and without our country by offering mutual collaboration.


Ceasing to dwell on threat and building long term infrastructure, education and international development.  The threats will melt away. 


Investing for the long term at the stock holder, company and  national levels based on a strategy dealing with both present day and long term challenges in education, communication and society value transitions.


Electing a Congress and an Administration that knows how to strike a balance between long and short term actions. Letting them know what we think regularly by communicating with them. 


Knowing that most cultures and societies in upheaval today are watching our national model and choosing whether to support it, ignore it or attack it.


The Dire Necessity for U.S. Long Term Strategic Vision 



Saturday, September 01, 2018

MJ Hegar Sued the Pentagon and Won. Now She's Running for Congress

"Shoot Like a Girl"  and "Doors" Pilot MJ Hegar
MILITARY.COM"
Hegar was one of four female veterans who signed on to a lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in 2012 against then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. Panetta reversed the combat ban in for women in January 2013. 

She earned the Purple Heart and the Distinguished Flying Cross with "V" device for her actions, which helped save the lives of those aboard her helicopter.   Running as a Democrat against John Carter, an eight-term Republican, she won the democratic primary runoff in May."

"In a powerful campaign video, "Doors," that debuted in June and quickly went viral, Hegar showed the world her story of surviving childhood domestic abuse and the negative effects of gender inequality in her military career. As the ad shows, she'd go on to make her mark on history despite it all.



"We need a new freshman class of servant leaders who are used to working with people we disagree with," Hegar said in a telephone interview with Military.com on Monday.

Hegar, an Air Force and combat veteran, believes her prior service aligns with the type of leadership the U.S. needs at a time of "hyper-partisan" politics that affects the way Americans deal, interact and empathize with one another. Her new mission is to work with her prospective lawmaker colleagues to back a stable, national security environment while fighting for better jobs and medical care back home.

"I see an uncomfortably flippant attitude toward putting our men and women in uniform at risk, by how we treat our allies, or how we treat a nuclear power or how we treat countries that are actively attacking our democracy. I think there are a lot of things that we need a lot more veterans in Congress because of that," she said.

Carter, she said, once denied her a meeting years ago when she was looking for congressional support to pressure the Pentagon to allow women to serve in combat.
Hegar was one of four female veterans who signed on to a lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in 2012 against then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, calling existing restrictions against women serving in ground combat units unconstitutional. Resolution ultimately did not come through the courts -- the case remains open. But amid mounting pressure, Panetta reversed the ban in January 2013, paving the way for women to serve in previously closed units.

It is one of the reasons she wanted to put her story out there. Eventually, she said, it became the motivation behind her current campaign.

"In the military, we are thrown into a melting pot of cultures and communities and we disagree a lot on how to accomplish the mission, but when it comes time to get the work done, we focus our energy on accomplishing the mission," Hegar said. "We've got to tell our stories to influence culture, and we have to get more people elected who have faced challenges like domestic violence, working minimum-wage jobs, wondering how to get food on the table ... regular people."

OPENING 'DOORS'

Hegar describes herself a private, introverted person who doesn't seek attention. But she says she's concerned about the inadequate representation she's seen throughout her life as a service member, mother and proud Texan.

The "train had already left the station" for getting pretty personal during her powerful commercial, she said.

"Doors" had garnered more than 5 million combined views on YouTube and Facebook as of Tuesday, and in recent weeks has grabbed the attention of fellow veterans, lawmakers and even celebrities.

In the video, Hegar walks viewers through her life: Dreaming, as a young girl, of flying for the Air Force, to lobbying lawmakers to reverse outdated policies, to moments of pain that shaped her life story.

It "was very out-of-character for me, especially with anything to do with my kids [in the public eye] … but this is really who I am," said Hegar, who partnered with Putnam Partners, a political advertising firm, for the commercial.

"This district that I grew up in is a part of who I am, and I love my home, and I feel we deserve better representation," she said.

She won the primary runoff in May. She goes up against Carter in November.
"I got so sick of hearing, 'This is a state this or this is a state that, or I don't have to have a campaign or town hall' " to deal with issues, Hegar said. "If we elect people who have never been to public school, never had to worry about counting on Social Security, then how can they effectively legislate?"

WOMEN AS WARRIORS

Hegar served in the U.S. Air Force first as an aircraft maintenance mechanic working on F-16 Fighting Falcons and then B-2 Spirit bombers between 2000 and 2004.
Her memoir, "Shoot Like a Girl," which contains the occasional F-bomb, was published last year.

"There were very personal, private things like the domestic violence in my life," among other challenges, she said.

"I got this question once where someone asked me, 'How do you resolve the conflict of your warrior heart and your mothering, nurturing nature?' And it's the same thing. I don't know why the American culture separates the two for some reason, when in other cultures throughout history, women have been utilized in various military roles," she added.



MJ Hegar appears in uniform in this undated Air Force service photo.
MJ Hegar appears in uniform in this undated Air Force service photo.
Hegar experienced sexual assault in the Air Force. Her commanding officer helped her file the paperwork in order to deal with the crime internally, but justice never came. It was one of the reasons she left active duty when an opportunity to fly HH-60 Pave Hawks in the Air National Guard opened up in 2004.

On her third tour in Afghanistan in 2009, Hegar, co-piloting a helicopter during a combat search-and-rescue operation, came under direct enemy fire from the Taliban outside Kandahar.

She was shot, but hung on as the helicopter went down a few miles away. Two Army helicopters rescued the downed crew. Hegar returned fire as they circled over 150 Taliban fighters below. She earned the Purple Heart and the Distinguished Flying Cross with "V" device for her actions, which helped save the lives of those aboard her helicopter.
"I feel like everyone always focuses on the shootdown," she said. "Being a pilot was a lot of hard work … and I had to demonstrate a skill set that I think will come in handy in D.C. and that was … to study and be an expert on a multitude of systems and things like that."

Hegar spent the first half of her career as an aircraft maintenance officer, an experience she said helped her develop management and business leadership skills.

"That's definitely more of the experience I lean on," she said.

Hegar served 12 years before separating as a major. Now, she wants those who exemplify "exceptional fortitude and courage under pressure" and "an inability to accept intimidation and bullying" to step up in Congress.

"The people who are sending our men and women in uniform into conflict need to understand that there are some things worth fighting for, but also understand the high cost of war," she said.

CATALYST FOR CHANGE

Regarding the 2012 lawsuit, filed with the aid of the American Civil Liberties Union, Hegar said her primary concern was for military effectiveness and the impact the exclusion policy had on recruiting and retention.

"We were losing women like myself because those women couldn't move on to jobs that were a natural progression or a natural fit for their skill set because they were women. Which was ridiculous," Hegar said, calling the lawsuit an extra boost to amplify the needed change.

"I was trying to provide a catalyst for change," she said, to "help push the administration over toward the other side of the fence to go ahead and take the very monumental and historic steps to actually repeal the policy."

Hegar helped co-found the Women in International Security's Combat Integration Initiative, a program that supports connecting female veterans through partnerships, conducts independent research to provide lawmakers, and meets with them or their staffers.
"I hate talking about women as a group -- I hate talking about any group as a group, because there are unique attributes to each individual, and that was really my whole argument for opening jobs and competition for women," she said. It should be about, "Let the best soldier win."

Hegar was supposed to sit down with Carter in 2013 to discuss these ideas, but he never showed up, she said. Carter has denied this account.

Hegar said she realized in the end that Carter's no-show wasn't just about trying to repeal one policy. It meant that better representation was needed across the U.S.

STOPPING THE DIVIDE

Over the next few weeks, Hegar anticipates more town halls with community members and door-to-door visits with potential constituents.
It means "there's a real race on our hands," not just going to the ballot box and checking a name of someone district voters wouldn't know, she said.

"I'm doing my part to show the district that we deserve present representation who will listen to the different communities ... and not just stay in D.C. the whole time, but actually stay in the district, talking to and helping people in this district. Helping bring jobs here, helping people bring opportunity here."


MJ Hegar is running against Republican incumbent John Carter in Texas’ 31st Congressional District. After winning her primary in May, Hegar will face off against Carter in the November general election. Courtesy MJ Hegar’s campaign
Hegar is running against Republican incumbent John Carter in Texas' 31st Congressional District. Courtesy MJ Hegar's campaign
She continued, "I think this toxic, hyper-partisanship is part of a gridlock that keeps us from getting anything done in D.C. It disgusts people and makes them tune out, turn off their TVs and stop reading the news. And that's dangerous."

https://www.military.com/daily-news/2018/08/08/mj-hegar-sued-pentagon-and-won-now-shes-running-congress.html







Saturday, August 25, 2018

The Management of Our Leaders Must Come From Within the American People

Photo Credit: (Taken from a magnetized seal on the door of an F-150 Truck in Hastings, MN - driver would not disclose where he acquired it).

Geopolitical expert, George Friedman at STRATFOR and Columnist Aaron David Miller have maintained that the office of the American Presidency is designed to disappoint and that the time of great US Presidents is past. 

Friedman:

“Each candidate must promise things that are beyond his power to deliver. No candidate could expect to be elected by emphasizing how little power the office actually has and how voters should therefore expect little from him. So candidates promise great, transformative programs. What the winner actually can deliver depends upon what other institutions, nations and reality will allow him.”


Miller:

"Greatness in the presidency is too rare to be relevant in our modern times and - driven as it is in our political system by big crisis - too risky and dangerous to be desirable. Our continued search for idealized presidents raises our expectations and theirs, skews presidential performance, and leads to an impossible standard that can only frustrate and disappoint. To sum up: We can no longer have a truly great president, we seldom need one, and, as irrational as it sounds, we may not want one, either." 

 PUTTING THE CITIZEN BACK IN GOVERNMENT

As we approach the National Mid Term Elections we must examine the true strength that springs from our form of government. That strength is in each of us. It simply needs to be projected in managing our leaders.  We must manage our government by becoming involved, conveying to our officials what we individually value and making sure they understand our views continually, not just during an election season.



Technology has made the above objective easier more communicative and effective.

It is not only our vote that is golden but our opinion via surveys and direct input to our government as well. Collectively we must replace the lobbyist, the Super PAC and the stagnated political process by getting through to the pols with focused precision. Social networking, pressure via the collective use of email, public meetings, the press and the media is possible on an individual basis. It is a  matter of becoming motivated to use what is ours and what we pay for with our taxes.

BECOMING OUR OWN MEDIA SOUND BITE, LOBBY AND "IPAC" (INDIVIDUAL PERSON POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE)

It is generally accepted that money drives politics. We must change that outlook by putting ourselves as individuals in the driver seat, tuning out the ludicrous media ads, pulling out our bull horns and expressing how we feel. Where others speak with their money we must convey our values with technology, persistence and management.

Let's examine our daily life, our hopes for the future for ourselves and our families and succinctly provide guidance to those who represent us – locally, at the state level and particularly in Washington.




Letters to the editor, blogging, social networking, and physical visits to town hall meetings, representative's offices and similar individual activities exercise strength and grow robust participation. Collectively, the rest of the presently stagnated structure will follow our lead. 

If we believe we need training in communication we must get it, practice and nurture it. If we know someone who is good at oral and written conveyances we must team with he or she and "Bull Horn" the views we personally believe must be addressed. 

In an election year and throughout the year we cannot say we have not the time. We must take the time to exercise our rights or others will sell them. 











Thursday, August 16, 2018

Retirement – Personal Invention and Re-Invention

Please Click On Image To Enlarge

If one aspires to simply maintain one’s material life style, retain responsibility for those close to us and relax as objectives, that is one form of retirement – call it maintenance.

Many cannot undertake a maintenance retirement due to challenges such as the economic events of recent years, family responsibilities involving their children, or aging parents. They must continue to generate an income but must adjust to advancing age and find new ways to generate revenue.

I hear from many individuals at “Small to Feds” http://www.smalltofeds.com who seek to go into business for themselves on-line or in the home as a way to supplement their retirement.

Given reasonably good health and a responsibility-free environment, most find retirement rather boring after a time and seek continued professional growth. In fact it has been espoused that such a lethargic existence can be hazardous to our health.

Balance is the key – Balancing age with wisdom, lifestyle with responsibility and available means; a new professional endeavor, volunteer work, recreation, the arts, – that which gives meaning to continued existence.

If the need to generate revenue is a prominent factor, care must be taken in assessing risk to health and fortune by investing too much in effort or treasure. That is where the balance comes in.

We have heard 40 is the new 30, but yet I think “old” seems to always stay the same distance for me. At 25 I thought 50 was old, at 35 I thought 60 was old, now that I am approaching 70 years of age, 95 is old.

I know true age is more a matter of mind. I took a fall on the ice in front of the Middle School and 2 dozen 5th graders. The fall didn’t hurt nearly as much as the laughter and the subsequent whispers this year, “There goes that old guy again, do you think he might fall?”

I took a nap out in the wildlife refuge in a beautiful stand of aromatic pines. When I awoke I found two huge turkey buzzards staring at me intently from their perch nearby. I had known I was getting older but had not realized I had reached the carrion stage.

I reported a pollution spill in the Vermilion River and the Minneapolis paper picked up the story. A reader commented on the web site that the Minnesota pollution control program had now been relegated to an “Old Guy” in the vets home.

I feel fine about getting old. It’s how I am perceived by others that bothers me.

We will all retire in some form. We have no choice. What we invent or re-invent along the way to make the most of it is our personal challenge.

Ken Larson



Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Foreign Governments Receiving Obsolete Export F-35s Until 2023





Standard
F-35-Money-4-copy AR15 dot com
Click on Image or Download to Enlarge
DEFENSE-AEROSPACE.COM
“Three-quarters of all the F-35 Joint Strike Fighters delivered to foreign customers until 2023 are [or will be] obsolete and will require major retrofits before they can deliver their promised performance.  
[10] Foreign “partners,” [See table] who have already paid a portion of the F-35’s development costs as well as paying for their own aircraft, will realize that they have been abused by Lockheed and the Pentagon.”
___________________________________________________________________________________________
“An analysis of F-35 contracts awarded to date shows that fully 343 – or 74% — of the 460 export F-35s that Lockheed is to deliver until end 2024 will be in the current, obsolete Low-Rate Initial Production configuration.
These 343 aircraft are limited both in terms of operational capabilities and of the weapons they can use. They are, and will remain, obsolete because their software is incomplete and because their sensors – designed over 20 years ago – have been overtaken by several generations electronics progress.
Lockheed and the F-35 Joint Program Office have quietly decided that all of the planned sensor and avionics upgrades needed to bring the F-35 to full capability will be deferred until 2023, when the first Full-Rate Production (FRP) aircraft (Lot 15) will begin to roll off the production lines.
All this, however, is a best-case scenario, and assumes that the F-35 will pass its Initial Operational Test & Evaluation (IOT&E). Due to be completed in 2019 or 2020, IOT&E will allow the Pentagon to take the (Milestone C) decision to launch Full-Rate Production (FRP).
If it doesn’t – and the GAO reported on June 5 that “As of January 2018, the F-35 program had 966 open deficiencies, of which 111 category 1 (critical)” – then all bets are off, and the program will have to undergo a major restructuring.
Fully-capable F-35 only after 2023
Aircraft of the first Full-Rate Production batch (Lot 15) will be the first to benefit from the new package of sensors, electronics and software bringing them to full capability, and which will notably include:
— a new TR-3 (Technology Refresh 3) computer supplied by Harris Corporation that is key to allowing integration of the new capabilities planned for the Block 4 standard. This will include computing infrastructure for new panoramic cockpit displays, advanced memory systems and navigation technology, according to Brad Truesdell, Harris Corp.’s senior director of aviation systems.
— Raytheon’s new Electro-Optical Distributed Aperture System, which Lockheed announced June 13 would replace Northrop Grumman’s current AN/AAQ-37.
— a new Advanced Electro-Optical Targeting System (EOTS) to replace the current system, also made by Lockheed. The company says the current EOTS meets all the contractual specifications, but that the new system – which offers a significant increase in terms of target recognition and detection capability – “would be a further upgrade option purchased at the discretion of the DOD and international F-35 partners and customers,” Lockheed told FlightGlobal at the time.
— a new Panoramic Cockpit Display System (PCDS) made by Elbit Systems of America. In June 2017, Elbit announced a contract from Lockheed Martin to develop a panoramic cockpit display unit to replace the current one, made by L3 Aviation Products.
These new sensors are crucial for the F-35 to achieve the capabilities it was designed to deliver, but which are still not available today, after 17 years of development. Lockheed says, for example, that the new DAS will have five times the reliability and twice the performance of the current system, despite being 45% cheaper to buy and 50% cheaper to operate.
However, Lot 15 deliveries will only begin in early 2023 and, meanwhile, deliveries will continue with the current electronics and sensors.
The US services will also receive obsolete aircraft, but their problem is less severe because they all operate other kinds of combat aircraft, and because they already have indicated they may use the early aircraft for flight-training or as spare parts banks if the cost of upgrading them to Block 4 standard is too expensive.
This is not an option for export customers, however, as for several – notably Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands — the F-35 will be the only combat aircraft, while for all others it is the primary strike aircraft.
Allies to receive obsolete aircraft until 2022
Until 2023, all the Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP) aircraft ordered by the program’s foreign partners (Australia, Denmark, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Turkey and the United Kingdom) and Foreign Military Sales customers (Israel, Japan and South Korea) will be delivered in the current configuration.
Click on Image or Download to Enlarge
They will require substantial — and expensive — upgrades to bring them up to the latest Block 4 standard, after the new sensors and electronics become available in 2023.
The cost of developing and implementing the Block 4 configuration is as yet unknown, and figures have been quoted of between $3.9 billion and as much as $16.4 billion.
In any case, it is high enough that the F-35 Program Executive Officer, Vice Admiral Mat Winter, “said his office is exploring the option of leaving 108 aircraft in their current state because the funds to upgrade them to the fully combat-capable configuration would threaten the Air Force’s plans to ramp up production in the coming years,” according to an October 2017 report by the Project On Government Oversight (POGO)
To our knowledge, European operators of the F-35 also have “overlooked” mentioning the cost of upgrading their older aircraft to Block 4 standard when reporting to their respective Parliaments, to which they will now have to go cap-in-hand to request the necessary funds. One can imagine the welcome they will receive from their lawmakers.
And Block 4 is non-negotiable because unless upgraded, all F-35s delivered before 2023 will be severely limited in their capabilities and will only be able to use very few weapons.
Lockheed is currently delivering aircraft with the latest Block 3F software, the first “combat-capable” standard. Block 3F should (but maybe will not) be retrofitted to earlier aircraft. Block 3F allows the use of the Small Diameter Bomb, Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) and the AIM-9X short-range air-to-air missile, in addition to the Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM), Advanced Short-Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM) and various kinds of laser-guided bombs used with earlier software.
Only Block 4 allows most capable weapons – after 2023 
But only Block 4 will allow the F-35 to use the most capable air-to-air missile in the Western inventory – MBDA’s Meteor – as well as two new long-range missiles being developed specifically for the F-35: the Joint Strike Missile (made by Kongsberg, Norway) and the SOM-J air-launched cruise missile (Roketsan, Turkey) as well as the Small Diameter Bomb II and other cutting-edge weapons to come.
If 74% of all export F-35s will be obsolete when delivered, some export customers will receive an even higher proportion: Australia will receive 63 of its 72 aircraft (87%) in LRIP configuration, while the proportion of LRIP aircraft will attain 100% for South Korea, 81% for Japan and 77% for Norway. (see Table 1 above).
Foreign operators will receive a few of the state-of-the-art Lot 15/Block 4 aircraft after 2023, except for South Korea, whose deliveries will be completed in 2021. Quantities will be limited, however, as for example Norway will receive only 12 Block 4 aircraft out of 52, and Australia only 9 out of 72.
These foreign operators are caught up in a dilemma: the F-35 needs new sensors, but cannot integrate them without new computers and memories that will only be available with Block 4 software, in 2023 at the earliest.
In other words, pray there’s no shooting war in the next 6-7 years.
Assuming they do decide to retrofit Block 4 improvements, export customers will have to pay for it themselves, on top of acquisition and post-delivery upgrade costs.
This is when foreign “partners,” who have already paid a portion of the F-35’s development costs as well as paying for their own aircraft, will realize that they have been abused by Lockheed and the Pentagon who, in their rush to produce as many F-35s as fast as possible, have delivered “fifth-generation” aircraft that do not meet contractual performance and cannot match the capability of “legacy” aircraft like Typhoon, and the latest F-15 and F-16s.”

Monday, July 23, 2018

ODYSSEY OF ARMAMENTS






- Ken Larson - from the book, "Odyssey of Armaments, My Journey Through the Defense Industrial Complex" available as a free download in the BOX at the right margin of this site. 

In 1968, I came home from serving two US Army tours in Vietnam, having been awarded five medals, including a Bronze Star. During my second tour I acquired Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Depression. Treatment would not become available for either ailment until the mid to late 70's. Returning to the University of Minnesota at Morris, I found that most of my former classmates were either facing the military draft or were violently against the war. I was not their favorite person.

Feeling isolated and alone, I was unable to relate to my family due to untreated Depression and PTSD. Disillusioned with school, I moved to Minneapolis Minnesota and began a career in the Defense Industrial Complex that would span over three decades from 1969 through 2005. I thought that through working on defense systems, I could contribute to the quality and quantity of weapons that the next generation would take to war. Given a clearly defined mission and the best armaments and systems in the world, I believed that another Vietnam could be avoided for the American Soldier. In pursuit of this goal, I participated in the design, development and production of 25 large scale weapons systems under Federal Government and Foreign Military Sales Contracts. I worked in several different disciplines for the companies that produced these weapons, negotiating and controlling the associated contracts with procurement agencies in the US Armed Forces and in 16 allied countries.

By the time treatment for PTSD and Depression became available, I had such high security clearances that had I been treated for these disorders, the US Government would have revoked my clearances and my career would have ended or would have been sharply curtailed. This quandary led to my journey through the Defense Industrial Complex. I found that accepting extreme challenges and succeeding at them became a way to displace PTSD and elevate depressive moods. For extended periods of time this method of self-management led to a satisfying, although somewhat adventurous and diversified life. However, down periods always occurred, especially after the latest challenge had been met. A new challenge was then required. Family, friends and acquaintances were often puzzled by the frequent changes in my job sites and locations. Two marriages fell by the wayside.

I became known in the industry as a front-end loaded trouble shooter on complex projects, installing processes and business systems required by the Federal Acquisition Regulation. These systems included estimating and pricing, proposal preparation, contract administration, cost and schedule control, program management, design to cost, life cycle cost, export management and other specialties unique to US Government Contracts. Getting through government source selection boards and surviving audits during competition was a significant challenge for defense contractors. Installing required business systems after contract award, under ambitious cost, schedule and technical conditions, was an even more difficult undertaking. I became a leader in the problem solving and creative processes necessary to win contracts and successfully fulfill them. When my mood demanded it, there was always a new job, with a new challenge and a subsequent elevated feeling from success. It was not unusual for a career professional in the Defense Industry to move regularly with the ebb and flow of competitive procurements and associated government funding shifts.

I came to know many of the career military and civil servants who managed the government procurement process. These individuals never went away, regardless of elections or politics. They developed the alternatives from which elected officials must choose. The American Public rarely heard from these powerful insiders, while the insiders slanted the choices supplied to elected officials in a self-perpetuating manner. I recognized the mirror image way in which procuring agencies and defense contractors organized their operations on the largest systems acquisitions. Key executives regularly moved back and forth between government and industry. I often observed the short, happy life of a defense company program manager. Appointed by the powerful insiders to head a single project, he had no authority over company resources, he perpetually competed with other program managers for the same talent pool and he always took the heat from management when things did not go well. His counterpart in the government quarters had similar experiences. I often supported several program managers at the same time. They all were desperate to achieve success. They each believed they had the most important program in the company.

In early 2005, approaching age sixty, I found myself unable to self-manage an extremely deep depressive episode. The journey had simply wound down. This situation nearly resulted in an end to my life. Recovering with help from my family and the US Veteran's Administration, I now reside in a veteran's home, volunteering to Small, Veteran-Owned, Women-Owned and Minority-Owned businesses that are pursuing contracts with the Federal Government. I provide advice, alternatives and business examples based on my experiences. It is refreshing to witness the successes of small, motivated and flexible companies. I believe they deserve every special consideration they have achieved under our system of government.

After thirty-six years in the Defense Industrial Complex my greatest satisfaction came from watching "Stormin Norman" and his Gulf War Forces defeat the Iraqi Army in Operation Desert Storm. They used the Abrams Main Battle Tank, the Hellfire Missile and an array of communications and other systems on which I worked. I have had the privilege of meeting several young soldiers coming back from current conflicts in the Middle East who have praised these systems for their life saving performances.

Operation Desert Storm had a clearly defined mission to liberate a small country from an aggressor. We accomplished the mission utilizing the best weapons in the world. Unfortunately, we did not leave the area. The lessons of Vietnam have not been remembered and once again political factors govern our presence in several countries. This time it is the Middle East. A Future Combat System (FCS) is now under development geared for urban warfare with unmanned vehicles, state of the art sensors and remote standoff capabilities. The enemy has grown to become a formidable force, cable of striking without notice even within our own country. He threatens the world economy with violent disruptions in several domains at the same time. He is a product of our own creation, rebelling against the "US Police Force" with help from neighbors who play either benign or active roles. Our enemy knows his neighborhood far better than we do. US intelligence and military capabilities are strained to the maximum monitoring perceived hot spots all over the globe. We must face the fact that our long term presence in other countries is resented.

How much longer can we afford to be the "World's Policeman"? We are spending over $700B per year for defense, homeland security and nation building. The largest corporations selling to our government are no more than extensions of our government in the cloak of industry. They are not in the business of making money for the stockholder. They are in the business of spending money for the government. Recent consolidation in the Defense Industrial Complex has dramatically reduced competition. Only public laws mandating a twenty per cent allocation of Federal Contract Funding to small business have kept diversification in the mix. Even then, much of the moneys that flow to small business go through a select group of large business prime contractors who add their respective overhead and general administrative expense to the small business cost and pass it on to the government.

When we consider the largest evolving countries in the world today, such as China, India and others, we should note that they are successfully competing with us in a fast moving, complex world economy. These countries are not all pure democracies and probably never will be. No overt action on our part created these powerhouses. As we struggle to compete with them we must have education, research and development and a healthy work force to keep pace. How much can we afford to spend forcing our capitalistic ideologies on other societies? Events have proven that the world has become a tightly wound place economically. Countries who wish to succeed and grow will play the game anyway.

I hope that this account of my experiences has supplied useful insights into the US Government Defense Industrial Complex. My odyssey was driven by a need to manage illnesses acquired in warfare. I found a way to deal with the maladies for years by spreading myself thin and accepting every new challenge. I thrilled at success and moved on after defeat, pursuing a misguided goal. Out of necessity I have now been forced to look inward, wind down to a smaller perspective, take care of my health - begin serving the little guy.

Perhaps it is time for our country to consider a similar transition.