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

The Congressional Report of Bias at CENTCOM

For my friends and colleagues still in the business, it might be worth the time to read the newly released report from the Congressional Joint Task Force that looked into allegations that CENTCOM senior officials and senior intelligence analysts slanted intelligence analysis and the intelligence process.   This is good reading, and key to understanding – and remembering – so many of the things that led to the debacle of the poor intelligence support to policy and decision makers in 2002.   This speaks to the role analysts play in supporting policy and decision makers; to analysts vs those

Intelligence / Iraq / Syria

American strategy and politicization

Geoff Arnold pointed me towards a great article in The American Conservative, The Pentagon Fights Back. I’m going to plan to use it in future iterations of one of the classes I teach, ISSA 3302, Fundamentals of Intelligence Analysis, specifically during the section about the perils of politicization. Giraldi makes a good point, comparing current American actions and apparent strategy to a thinking of that of 1938 in Munich. I don’t think it’s just Rwanda that hangs over the head of this Democratic administration (Bill Clinton regrets how he handled it), but other atrocities and acts of genocide, to

Education / Iraq / Research

Google Searches and Alerts

I just created another Google Search today. I thought I would share with you what I used and how. As background, I have an ongoing interest in the Shia (and Sunni) militias in Iraq. The Shia ones have a long history of being supported by Iran, directly and indirectly. In 2014, the Iraqi government rolled many of the Shia ones into an umbrella organization, in response to the fall of Mosul and the need to officially bring these groups – armed – into the fight. Think of that action as mobilizing a well armed militia, in accordance with the US’s

Army / Iraq / Syria

America on being, or not being, in Syria today

The White House announced Friday that the US is going to deploy Special Forces personnel to Syria. The announcement specified that these SF personnel, described as intending to number less than 50, are going there as advisers to moderate rebel groups fighting against ISIS/ISIL. Today, President Obama faced questions from NBC Nightly News about his September 2013 pledge to not put troops on the ground in Syria. Back then, President Obama had stated, “My answer is simple. I will not put American boots on the ground in Syria. I will not pursue an open-ended action like Iraq or Afghanistan. I will

Army / PTSD

On PTSD

Megan has an interesting and awesome blog post here, about being a teacher, being an alcoholic, and being public with her addiction. It’s a short but worthwhile read. She talks of the strength of AA, but the fear of being an alcoholic and what the exposure would mean – until now, when she publicly blogs about it. And I totally get it. I have PTSD. I have had it, for coming up on a dozen years. It’s been, for too long, something we don’t talk about. Except – I’ve always talked about mine. And that was deliberate.

Blogging / Garmin Forerunner 305 / Google Earth / etc.

Running in 2010: How I got here

I spent 2009 in Iraq. I ran some during the first part of the year, but not enough, and certainly not many long runs. As the mid point of the year approached, and as I got ready to return home to my family in Hawaii, I decided that I’d crank up my miles to the point where I’d be able to run a half-marathon without dying. My R&R arrived, I flew to Hawaii, and while there, I did some running. But after my R&R, I returned to Iraq and a new, very stressful job. Long hours, crazy hours. So,

Iraq / Running

Week 5

I made it through another week, injury free. That, though, is getting tougher as the lunar month comes to a close this week and the moon goes away. Running it darkness can be awesome, but it can be tough on ankles. After five weeks of running, I am .29 miles ahead of the training plan. Not too bad. It’s always give and take with me — lots of little days of just a pinch more than required, and then the one or two days where I come up short a mile or two. My shortfall was the other week