Running

Pipiwai Trail

I tell people now that I use to run some. I often get odd looks when I say these things. Not that I was ever really a runner, but I put in some miles. Sometimes, I try to explain the link between running and that period in my life – when I was bouncing back and forth between Iraq, stress levels were high, and I was here and there between the islands, the mainland, and Europe and the Middle East. I ran everywhere. There was that day, when we made a trip out to the Seven Sacred Pools at Ohe’o,

Drones

On commercial drones: in and out of out control

As we get ready to start into another semester, my head is again filled with thoughts of drones. Spring – when the drones return to campus, like the swallows to Capistrano, and I get all excited about drones. Weighing heavy on my mind is where we stand with our not-so-new administration, and policy for the commercial use of drones in support of deliveries especially. Something is going to have to give, to change, if this is going to become “a thing” for US businesses, especially big businesses like Amazon. Under the Obama administration, the US went from no rules

Congress / Intelligence / Politics / etc.

The President under investigation

I have continued to watch the news with regard to the Russian intelligence operations against the US elections in 2016, part of which included cyber operations but also clearly included good ol’ human intelligence operations. I’ve continued to watch, in part for the sadness over how this is continuing to impact our country, our House and Senate, and our new administration, but also out of professional curiosity – I am these days teaching counterintelligence to undergraduates and graduate students. One thing that continues to amaze me is the Trump’s obsession with being told that he isn’t under investigation, even

Intelligence / Military / Politics

Looking Back: 8 Years of an Obama Administration

I have been recently reflecting on what these last eight years have meant, and in part on how I think they will written in the history books. Reflection is, after all, an important tool for me – I’ve written about that before. But with my 25 years in the intelligence field, and my current work teaching intelligence, security studies, and a lot of topics related to policy to undergraduate and graduate students, I have and continue to spend time thinking about decision and policy makers. History is going to judge them. History is going to make judgement about these

Intelligence / Politics

Dear Mr. President-Elect: “Reforming” the CIA as a Priority

Donald, I continue to read reports, dating back to the time of the election, that you want to initiate significant reforms to the Central Intelligence Agency and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). With this, you may look to significantly change and even eliminate the position of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI). Intelligence reform is a topic I teach at the undergraduate and graduate level. This includes the reforms made after the Bush / Cheney / Wolfowitz / GOP abuses of the Intelligence Community in 2002, but also the abuses committed by American intelligence agencies

Writing

On Good Writing: Mahood

Make time to go read these two articles when you get the chance. The Hunt for the Death Valley Germans The Hunt for 928 Tom Mahood is the author, and he has had an interesting life. He gets into a subject, and then boy, does he. But he also writes very, very well. These long stories are amazing tales, in and of themselves, but they are worth reading in large part because of his storytelling, too. Good writing is important.

Congress / Ethics / Politics / etc.

Donald, Congress and Ethics

I see no reason why Congress would not go ahead and gut the Office of Congressional Ethics, as it did today, moving the office from being independent to being under the control of the very people the office is charged to oversee. I mean, why not. This is a new era, the Donald era. This is an era in which the new White House Director of Strategic Communications Hope Hicks can just say, “The transition is not concerned about the appearance of a conflict,” and declare that, with regards to his $525-per-plate New Year’s Eve dinner actually selling access to the

Military / Politics

The US and Ukraine – BFF in 2017, We Swear

“I send the message from the American people – we are with you, your fight is our fight and we will win together,” Senator John McCain said today, as he visited Ukraine’s front lines in its ongoing conflict with Russia. “In 2017 we will defeat the invaders and send them back where they came from. To Vladimir Putin – you will never defeat the Ukrainian people and deprive them of their independence and freedom,” he said. But when Russia influenced the elections in Crimea in March, and annexed it, where was the United States? In light of the revelations

Terrorism

2016 and the Drones

I spent much of this fall semester diving back into drones, drone technology, and policies related to drones. This was, in large part, because I had agreed to take on leading this cohort of undergrads through an internship regarding drones starting next month, and it’s about all things drones. I have a solid background in drones – well, I tell myself that – but I really needed to bear down and ensure I had maintained my subject matter expertise in the whole of the subject. Nobody wants a professor who sort of knows the material. I don’t want to

Education / Portland / Writing

Coming to Terms with Mistakes

One of the key requirements for reflection is coming to terms with your mistakes. It’s not enough to look back at what has happened and just see the past, it’s taking the time to more than recognize the mistake, but accept them for what they are. I try to do this, and often. Reflection has been a part of my own continued personal and professional development, in the Army and now in education, since my 20’s when I had Army leaders talk with me about the need to include reflection and our open and honest embracing of mistakes as

Army

Our Homeless Vets

Just over a year ago, my buddy Tom arrived in Portland. I had been following his journey, as he rode his motorcycle up out of the deep South, blogging about his adventures, and headed this way to see family and possibly spend the holidays in the Portland area. I was excited at the prospects of getting the chance to see him, if only for a little bit, before his plans had him heading East and on to other parts unknown. He had just closed one large chapter of his life, and he was free – or adrift – to go

Education

Mentoring: Modeling for others

I say all the time, model the behavior you want to see in others. Some of the time, I am talking to or with students, about the challenges in growing up. But often, I am talking with teachers and other educators about the struggles we ourselves face, in continuing our own personal and professional development. We can sit around, and wait for the world to come to us with what it thinks should happen to us or for us. Or we can start to have the effect we want to see. That’s especially true with mentoring. In K-12 education,