Sunday, December 13, 2009


My Zimbio
Do you know people, as I do, who have detailed goals that they set about acheiving, every year? Life for them, seems compartmentalized, controlled and forward moving.

I'm reminded of my own younger days... and (believe it or not) large communist governments (the Soviet Union, for example). Everything was planned. Every detail was a component of an orchestrated mosaic. Neat. Clean. Wrote a good resume.

Of course, "neat" and "clean" don't seem to describe many successful lives, seems to me. Soviet Russia was incredibly inefficient because goals set sometimes weren't acheived, sometimes didn't make sense when the environment changed and didn't capitalize on smart people solving evolving problems every day.

I think there is no substitution for the energizing value of a good plan -- but somehow we need to be flexible (as individuals and organizations) to modify the plan to capitalize on exciting opportunities that evolve in front of us... and to drop a goal that no longer makes sense.

What's your New Year's Resolution?)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Credentials II

About a week ago, the 2010 winners of the Rhodes Scholarship were announced. A very impressive lot. Presumptuous to say I'd have won, but my undergrad advisor encouraged me to apply for a Rhodes after my thesis took a prize. At the time, I was anxious to get on with life and certain I would win a prestigious MBA or JD either during my tenure in the Army or after I fulfilled my scholarship commitment. I went on to win admission to, and graduate from, the best business school in the world, but still wonder, "what if," when the list of Rhodes Scholars is published every year.

These days I'm considering other credentials. The CISSP. The PMP. The CFA Charter. Like the CPA, CISSP, PMP and CFA credentials add experience requirements to a challenging test (or several tests). People typically study rather extensively for the test component of the credential and find the designation positions them clearly in the job or advisory market. The CISSP is a Cyber Security credential, while PMP is focused around project management. The CFA Charter, on the other hand, is intended to provide a standard experience base around financial instruments and investment decisions.

CPA's didn't prevent Arthur Andersen from stumbling into a disastrous engagement with Enron that resulted in a wide scale sale of its practices to competitors and financial ruin for many employees who invested many years in audit or tax work with integrity. I'm sure you or I could dig up plenty examples to similarly tarnish the CFA and PMP, though the CISSP may be too recent an arrival for much negative press.

Key to building knowledge is finding synergy with past experience and existing talents. Standard tests and programs validate we actually learn something from the pages we read and the work we do. I'd be interested in hearing comments on these credentials....

Monday, November 30, 2009

The environment

My Zimbio
During my first visit to Iraq, I spent some time thinking about a framework for helping a country in a situation like Iraq's-- winning hearts and minds isn't always about selling the American Way... sometimes we must find "common denominator" goals that everyone can understand. Safe, moral and productive were consensus principles. We hold "free" as a key principle as well, but other countries do not place the same weight on this one.

I chose "moral" to define one of the tenets, because parents in a Christian community might disagree with certain legal requirements common in Muslim communities. We shouldn't dictate nuances of one religion, but rather foster a secure environment where morality can be upheld. More on this later... essentially, building an environment where businesses, organizations and individuals can thrive is key... "e" for environment, "e" for eWISEinc(TM)....

Monday, November 23, 2009

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cyber Czar

Word on the street is: President Obama will appoint the new Cyber Coordinator ("Czar") next week. Inside scoop is that Frank Kramer will win the job. Kramer was an assistant Secretary of Defense under Bill Clinton and evidently did well during his interview with Obama's Chief Technology Officer, Aneesh Chopra.

Melissa Hathaway resigned from her Cyber post in the Obama administration, ostensibly because next week's appointment was too long coming. Hathaway's Cyberspace Policy Review (completed this past summer) provided "near-term" and "mid-term" action plans, which Hathaway presumably would have prefered to implement.

Another contender for the job, Howard Schmidt (President and CEO of something called the International Security Forum), is published on the net observing the US operates under of framework of '60's era security laws in a dramatically modified landscape of data storage and retrieval. There is a Cyber Security Act of 2009 in the works... perhaps you've heard about that... but law enforcement would like more leeway, the intelligence community is occasionally stymied under existing law... and of course, private citizens like you or I worry about "Big Brother" checking our email or chatroom activity.

Government, corporations and tech-saavy individuals increasingly have the ability to be all-knowing. There are laws against some of the damage tech-saavy people can do to your credit and identity but we need to do more to guide large organizations and public servants to keep us safe while occasionally allowing us to rant and rave in private.

Good luck Frank!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Healthcare Reform

The last time the US examined massive government reform of the health care system, I was being paid to help improve claims processing. We had a solution that helped automate reception and processing of claims, which improved process efficiency pretty significantly. The effect of the national debate on the health care system, however, was to freeze all privately funded improvements until the dust settled.

Debate back then seemed to center on the role of the physician in health care decisions... who could possibly advocate blocking the physician's authority to help patients choose optimal care? Of course, debates about unhealthy influences on physician decisions (such as risk of malpractice litigation) were also prevalent.

I'm not a doctor and admittedly haven't read the two-thousand page bill. I'm enthusiastic about the effect of modern medicine on longevity and survival rates at all ages but am concerned with both the rising cost of health care as a percentage of National GNP and the unnatural pressures on physician/patient decisions.

Finding a system that informs good decisions and eliminates care deemed gratuitous from public funding seems appropriate, but drawing the line between urgent, wellness and gratuitous treatment will be tricky to legislate!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Today's Commentary

SUNW changes name to JAVA, China becomes most significant issue for USA, Afghanistan casualties continue to rise. Lots of threads to consider, none of them related to Cyber Defense, really. Or maybe they all do.

I'm not going to attempt to tie them all together over the next few lines, but ... over a week's worth of blog entries??? Tune in later to find out.


A week after installing our new French Drain, we've had a chance to watch Mother Nature's review. Like any project, begun as a novice, but executed none-the-less, I'm pretty proud of the effort. Water is making its way to the front yard and puddling seems to be reduced to a minimum. We'll be better off when there is a new covering of grass on the backyard, but all that will take time.

Here is my "Hello World!" to the Blogosphere. After nearly five years of dormancy, eWISEinc(TM) is officially reborn. I've had a chance to visit Iraq not once, but twice... once as a contractor, once as a mobilized Reserve officer leading a team. Reunited with family and well versed in the satellite communications industry, eWISEinc(TM) is giving me a second (third? fourth?) chance.

I'm sure my third "go" at a French Drain will be fantastic... let's hope the same for eWISEinc(TM)!!!