5 Stars – Utterly brilliant insights and data, but publisher should have invested in graphics to match
Parag Khanna is for me the single best observer and reporter on the substance of Asia which he takes great pains to point out is not just China (a third of Asia’s population) but includes particularly vast swaths of Russia, India, Central Asia, Southeast Asia including Indonesia and Australia, and Turkey.
“Margin of Victory: Five Battles that Changed the Face of Modern Warfare” by Douglas Macgregor. Naval Institute Press. 2016, Hardcover, 268 pages, $34.95.
“Margin of Victory” is about change, intelligently and soberly recognizing the need for that change regardless of preconceived notions and the consequences of failing to do so. Each of the conflicts analyzed by Macgregor, all seemingly unrelated at first glance, center on his repeated premise that victory will depend on lessons learned that will drive accepting change and implementing the hard decisions that must accompany transformation – notably in technology, people, strategy and organization. While history provides perspective that must be considered, holding on to outmoded concepts or failing to properly leverage what’s been learned will ultimately lead to decisive defeat.
If Mike Pompeo wants to commit virtual suicide and end his prospects of being an effective Secretary of State, three recent articles document his death wish – championship of a rogue intelligence network proposed by Erik Prince and beloved by Oliver North – both arguably ripe for indictment for crimes against humanity. If this asinine, unconstitutional, unethical idea survives the week, the President will not recover.
That such as idea would even be considered suggests to me that Mike Pompeo – the honor graduate of his West Point class – has failed completely to get a grip on the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and is disqualified from any other post in the Trump Administration until he does so. It takes brains and balls to get a grip on CIA and through a revitalized CIA, the rest of the US Intelligence Community (IC). Escaping to the Department of State to herd cats and be a cocktail-sipping cookie pusher is a demotion. Pompeo needs to get a grip and demonstrate he can inspire loyalty and competence not just at CIA, but across the IC which does not now serve the President.
Robert Steele’s quite extraordinary book, INTELLIGENCE FOR EARTH, is now available in Kindle, which means that the hundreds of links within the book are easily exploitable. There is no one else on the planet that is a former spy, honorary hacker, #1 Amazon review for non-fiction, and the “top gun” for ethical evidence-based decision support to leaders who wish to be ethical and effective.
5.0 out of 5 starsFrom coffee table to scientific salon, a worthy offering, November 4, 2014
This is a spectacular offering on multiple fronts. On the low-end, it has got to be the coolest coffee table book around, something that could be usefully offered in every waiting room across London — and hopefully inspire copycats for other cities including Paris and New York and Dubai.
At the high end, the book offers the most current available understanding of just what can be gleaned from “big data” that is available from open databases — one can only imagine the additional value to be had from closed data bases (money movement, for example). And of course we have to persist in our demands that all data and the software and hardware needed to process the data be open source so that it is affordable, interoperable, and scalable.
5.0 out of 5 starsNobel-Level Work Essential to Understanding Our Bright Future, October 29, 2014
Sadly, the author is deceased. I have always considered him a contender for the Nobel Prize.
I am upset with Amazon for not carrying over reviews from past editions — new readers are advised to look up older editions of any books if they wish to take advantage of some of the extraordinary material provided by past reviewers. I will not replicate those other reviews — they are worth finding.
Here’s the math that I was surprised to not see in the book: the top billion people that business focuses on are worth less than a trillion in potential sales. The bottom four billion, with less than $1000 a year in disposable income, are worth four trillion in potential sales.
The Open-Source Everything Manifesto is a distillation of author, strategist, analyst, and reformer Robert David Steele life’s work: the transition from top-down secret command and control to a world of bottom-up, consensual, collective decision-making as a means to solve the major crises facing our world today.
The book is intended to be a catalyst for citizen dialog and deliberation, and for inspiring the continued evolution of a nation in which all citizens realize our shared aspiration of direct democracy—informed participatory democracy. Open-Source Everything is a cultural and philosophical concept that is essential to creating a prosperous world at peace, a world that works for one hundred percent of humanity.
The future of intelligence is not secret, not federal, and not expensive. It is about transparency, truth, and trust among our local to global collective. Only “open” is scalable.
As we strive to recover from the closed world corruption and secrecy that has enabled massive fraud within governments, banks, corporations, and even non-profits and universities, this timely book is a manifesto for liberation—not just open technology, but open everything.
The term Open Source refers to universal access to a product or services core design or primary features. Without Open Source there would be no Internet in the way that we currently enjoy it for it is in digital publishing and information sharing that Open Source has been such a powerful force for change.
In this book, the author, drawing extensively on his intelligence and military background, has cleanly written an easy to follow book, that outlines a careful course of action for developing a new kind of global information sharing infrastructure. To be headquartered at the UN, this new infrastructure would make it possible for every organization (and through them, everyone) on the globe to share open-source intelligence equally as a free public resource. If it is successful, this new global brain could transform our world from its current insecurity-driven and corrupt corporate dominated lose-lose, economic and conflict trap, into a much revived win-win strategy for bottom-up collective survival in a peaceful and sustainable world economy.
At least that is the theoretical hope and vision. On paper, and in principle, it is a stunningly sexy and attractive vision, one that, should it prove operationally testable and feasible, could indeed have the important side benefit and advantage of creating new bottom-up wealth, energizing the world economy and easing world tensions by reducing mistrust and fear back down to the noise level.
Who is fighting the war in Afghanistan? Did you know that 52% of people fighting in Afghanistan are contracted to do so? Contractors operate far beyond the borders of Afghanistan, they operate globally. Real people. Real missions. Real wars. After the United States was attacked and the President vowed to search and destroy the enemy, the government formed a secret unit comprised of civilians. Paid civilians. Contracted civilians. Many of these people left their jobs, families, and friends to voluntarily serve alongside their military brethren. They did it out of love, passion, and deep patriotism. Declan Collins is one of those men. Just another patriot you have never heard of working to keep America safe. A former member of the US Armed Forces trying to make it in the civilian world as a newlywed, Declan quickly found himself working for one of America’s most secretive organizations. He fit the role of what they needed perfectly. This novel is about what happened after Declan received a mysterious phone call, was paid and given two weeks to get into Afghanistan all the while placing his life on hold to preserve and protect America. Find out about the fighting force rarely ever spoken of, those who were Contracted–America’s Secret Warriors. Inspired by true events.
Contracted: America’s Terror Trackers takes readers into the very real world of covert and clandestine operations. These operations aren’t always conducted abroad; oftentimes they occur deep inside the United States. Those who conduct these missions are not always government employees. In fact, most of America’s government fails to recognize these patriotic warriors willing to sacrifice everything for this nation. They are contractors. Like Contracted: America’s Secret Warriors, the first of the Contracted trilogy, this novel was inspired by true events, real people, and real operations. It takes readers on a journey with contractor, Declan Collins, who recently returned from operating as an unconventional human intelligence collector in Afghanistan. A severely injured Collins, who refuses to allow his injuries to stop him from protecting America, accepts a challenge to hunt the world’s most ruthless terrorist organization–Hezbollah. With Hezbollah’s global footprint, Declan Collins travels throughout the United States and several locations abroad ranging from Jordan, Jamaica, Mexico, and of course Lebanon as he collects intelligence with hopes to take down the world’s number one evil. What he uncovers through his journey is overly alarming and makes him begin to dig deeper into his own faith as a modern day Christian Crusader.
An unprecedented, raw, first-hand look into the life of America’s private paramilitary warriors and their highly secretive work around the world. Jamie Smith, a contractor with more than two decades under his belt, has planned and executed hundreds of missions on behalf of government agencies and private industry in some of the world’s most dangerous hot spots.
They are elite warriors who run highly dangerous missions deep inside foreign countries on the brink of war. Jamie Smith knows these men well. Not only is he one of them, but he cofounded one of the most successful private contracting multinational firms in the world. For the first time, he breaks his silence, detailing the ultimate danger and risk of paramilitary operations—both officially government-sanctioned and not. Pulling back the curtain of secrecy, he reveals in very intimate terms exactly what private soldiers do when the government cannot act or take public responsibility.
Combining the thrilling narrative of a riveting international spy thriller with boots-on-the-ground realism, Gray Work follows Smith through his CIA training and career as an operative, his co-founding of and eventual exit from Blackwater, and his creation and direction of his own company. Espionage and assassinations, rescues and renditions, the turbulence of the Arab Spring, the fall of Qadhaffi, the grit and gristle are all here in covert black ops from Syria to Libya, Iran, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and beyond.
As the founder and director of Blackwater, Smith’s initial vision has undeniably shaped and transformed a decade of war. He argues that this gray area—and the warriors who occupy the controversial space between public and private—has become an integral element of modern warfare.