4.0 out of 5 stars All About Rights–Very Little About Loyalty or Duties, June 2, 2001
I have mixed feelings about this book. On the most positive side, it is the only, and therefore the best, treatment of the issues of citizenship that I could identify, and that is why I bought it. The range of authoritative essays that have been brought together is very worthy, and anyone contemplating this topic must take this work into account.
On the other hand, as I went through chapter after chapter, what I tended to see was an awful lot of academic whining about how the world is getting too complex and too multi-cultural to be able to pin someone down to just one citizenship, let them have many. Reality check needed here. Governments exist to preserve and protect very specific moral, ideological, and cultural values, and governments are the means by which a Republic finances what are called external diseconomies–those things that are needed for the common good but not profitable for the private sector to do.
There are glimmers here and there of how one might better integrate new immigrants and otherwise promote good citizenship, but overall what this book is missing is a major commitment to thinking about how one draws the line between nationalized citizens truly loyal to their newly chosen nation-state, and those who choose to retain another primary citizenship and simply enjoy the bounty of the land they have chosen to VISIT….
Of all the contributions, the one that stood out for me was by Adrian Favell, on “Integration Policy and Integration Research in Europe: A Review and Critique.” Despite the title, the heart of this chapter concerns the information “sources and methods” that underlie conclusions about citizenship and the policies on citizenship. There is a great deal of meat in this chapter, and it could useful guide the next book in what I hope will become a series.
I like this book. It forced me to think and it certainly opened my eyes to how we are letting a whole bunch of people debate the nature of citizenship without ever really being committed to the idea that an oath of loyalty is fundamental–as universal service should be fundamental, not to flesh out the military, but rather to provide a common foundation for knowing one another intimately, for respecting one another from that common ground. How one defines citizenship is fundamental to the future of every nation–this book both enlightens and frightens.
Double Value: on Environmental *and* Information Strategy
June 2, 2001
This is the best of the several environmentally-oriented books I have reviewed recently, and it offers a double value: not only does it lay out a persuasive social, economic, and political case for abandoning the Risk Paradigm of permissive pollution in favor of an Environmental Paradigm of zero pollution; but it also provides a very fine–really excellent–case for why the current government and industry approaches to information about the environment and threats to the environment are severely flawed. In a nutshell, the current approach divorces “good science” (code for permitting what you can’t prove will kill the planet today) from social consciousness and good policy; and the current approach insists on studying risk one contaminant at a time, rather than as a whole.
This book is persuasive; I believe author has the right stuff and should be consulted on major policy issues. I believe the underlying moral values and intellectual arguments that this book makes, about both science and social policy, should be adopted by the Cultural Creatives and the independent voters of America, and that the recommendations of this book are so serious as to warrant country by country translations and promulgation.
This book is exceptional in that is combines a readable policy essay for the non-technical citizen, with deeply documented technical appendices and notes that support a middle ground series of chapters relating scientific findings to long-term policy issues.
From many small actions come revolutionary change–this book is a necessary brick in the road to environmental reform. The bottom line is clear: every year more and more toxins are building up in our blood streams, and this is going to have an overwhelmingly negative impact on the humanity, capability, and survivability of our great grandchildren three generations down–we have not have grandchildren seven generations down if the insights from this book fail to reach the people, and through the people, the policy makers and legislators.
Carol Dumaine was for a few years allowed to manage an internal revoslution in intelligence affairs that ultimately failed, but left its mark. She is still standing, and we expect to see her at the finish line when we finally do achieve a revolution in intelligence affairs and create both a Smart Nation and a World Brain.
Above, with a full title of Are You Ready?: Implications of a Changing Global Information Environment for Open Source Intelligence, was published in June 2001. It remains a precious point of reference.
The internal revolution failed, Global Futures Partnership was transferred to the Department of State where it has been stuffed in a closet, and Carol Dumain marches on professionally.
Deeply Researched Facts About the Secret Signals War,
May 12, 2001
I like this book because it is a deeply researched investigation of the National Security Agency, a part of the U.S. government that is always “in harms way”, and because it offers up over 15 genuine journalistic investigative “scoops”, shows how much can be learned about secret matters through persistent and professional exploitation of open sources, and paints a compelling dramatic picture of the honorable and courageous NSA employees, the less capable senior officers in the Joint Chiefs of Staff who risk their lives and do not provide them with emergency plans and air cover, and the man in the middle, LtGen Mike Hayden, whom the book portrays as a truly competent person who “gets it.” This is the stuff of history and a very well-told tale.
Among the “scoops” that I as a professional intelligence officer will list for the sake of showing how wide and deep the book goes, are:
#1. Extremely big scoop. Israel attacked U.S. military personnel aboard the USS Liberty with the intent of simulating an Egyptian attack on US forces that would permit a joint US and Israeli retaliation. Even after the ship was destroyed, with very clear evidence from NSA tapes that the Israeli’s deliberately attacked a US ship while the ship was flying US colors, President Johnson is reported to have betrayed his military and his Nation by covering this up, intimidating all survivors, and saying he would “not embarrass our allies.” In consultation with my naval colleagues, I am satisfied that the author has it right.
#2. US SIGINT failed as North Korea invaded South Korea. Our lack of preparedness, in both systems and linguists, was dereliction of duty at the highest levels. Fast forward to Sudan, East Timor, Burundi, Yugoslavia, Somalia, and Haiti.
#3. US “Operations Security” (OPSEC) is terrible! Bad in World War II, bad in Korea, bad in Viet-Nam, bad in Somalia and bad today. This book is a stark and compelling indictment of the incompetence of U.S. military and political leaders who refuse to recognize that the rest of the world is smart enough to collect our signals and predict our intentions with sufficient effectiveness to neutralize our otherwise substantial power.
#4. Eisenhower, as President, controlled the U-2 operations over Russia and lied to the world and the people about his individual responsibility for those missions.
#5. US SIGINT failed in Arabia and against Israel. “The agency had few Arabic or Hebrew linguists and it was not equipped to eavesdrop on British, French, or Israeli military communications.” We are often unable to sort out the truth in conflicts between Arabs and Israel, and this allows Israel to deceive and manipulate American policy makers.
#6. In the early years of the Cold War, the US was the aggressor, and ran incredibly prevocational full bombing runs into northern Russia, simply to test for defenses and to see if it could be done. Young American military personnel were sent as expendable cannon fodder, with the ultimate result that Russia spent billions more on its defenses than it might have if America have been a “good neighbor.”
#7. The Joint Chiefs of Staff was “out of control” during our confrontations with Cuba, and proposed to the President of the United States that U.S. military capabilities be used to murder Americans in order to provide a false cover for declaring war on Cuba.
#8. The most senior military officers serving under Kennedy did not have the moral courage to tell him that the Bay of Pigs was a doomed operation. They allowed hundreds to die and be captured rather than “speak truth to power.” NSA provided ample SIGINT.
#9. Imagery intelligence beat signals intelligence in answering the ultimate question about the presence of Soviet missiles in Cuba. Those who practice “OPSEC” can defeat our SIGINT capabilities.
#10. US telecommunications companies have for years been giving NSA copies of all telegrams sent by foreign embassies and corporations, compromsing their private sector integrity.
#11. US military power is hollow. For both the USS Liberty and the USS Pueblo, a combination of screw-ups put military personnel in harms’ way and a combination of incapacities helped get them killed and captured. In all of Korea only six U.S. aircraft were available to help protect the USS Pueblo, and they required several hours to get ready. The South Koreans, ready to launch defense forces instantly, were forbidden to do so, US leaders being more concerned about avoiding provocation of the North Koreans than about protecting U.S. military personnel.
#12. US successes against the Russians and other targets were completely offset by the combination of the John Walker betrayal (turning over the key lists, this has been known) and the Soviet receipt from the Vietnamese (this has not been known) of a complete warehouse of NSA code machines left behind in Saigon. The Soviets have been reading our mail since 1975, and NSA did not want the President or Congress or the people to know this fact.
#13. The North Vietnamese beat us on SIGINT, with 5000 trained SIGINT personnel and a system that stretched from Guam (where the B-52’s were launched and the ground crew radios were in the clear) to the day-to-day operational orders going out to helicopters and fighters “in the clear”. The book paints an extraordinarily stark contrast between North Vietnamese competence and US incompetence across all areas of SIGINT and OPSEC.
#14. There are others, but the final scoop is summed up in the author’s concluding chapter on NSA’s race to build the largest fastest computer at a time when relevant signals are growing exponentially: “Eventually NSA may secretly achieve the ultimate in quickness, compatibility, and efficiency-a computer with petaflop and higher speeds shrunk into a container about a liter in size, and powered by only about ten watts of power: the human brain.”
With help from Don Gessaman, Sean O’Keefe at Office of Management and Budget (OMB) was briefied on the need for a national Open Source Program, and agreed in principle to a $125 million first year start. Then he moved to the National and Aeronautics Administration, and the opportunity for a Presidential Initiative was lost.
This book will be helpful to every knowledge worker–the title should not scare off the 99% of the population that does not qualify for “genius” status.
Certainly there will be those looking for some magical way to lift themselves from obscurity, or lethargy, or oppression, that that think they are unappreciated geniuses and are simply looking for the window-dressing they need to be recognized. This book is not for them.
What this book does, in a very nice way that reminds one of Drucker’s belief that the best work is work as a “calling”–work as a beloved endeavor that brings out the best we have to offer–or of the 7 Habits book that emphasizes the urgency of protecting those activities that are important but not urgent (things like family time, exercise, and freedom from the telephone–or now, email)–is “review the bidding” on five different workstyles, and how to make them better.
In a nutshell, this book is what results when Myers-Briggs and 7 Habits have children, and the children grow up to be artists. It is a good read, and at a minimum it will help *anybody* bring more reflection and more peace back into their daily work routine.
This book is for graduate students and hard-core professionals whose lives might depend on really understanding the ugly complexities of places like Burundi where they will be sent again and again.
This book is depressing. One sees both the heroism and the futility of United Nations activities. Sadly, whereas the Texas Rangers might have gotten away with sending one great man to handle a major crisis, the United Nations, sending one great man and an assistant, is decades behind the times in terms of understanding what it is about and how to obtain results in today’s world.
The lessons from Burundi summarized by the author at the end of the book are an excellent conclusion:
Problem Area #1: Shortcomings in UN Machinery and Culture, including no intelligence gathering and analysis; weak institutional memory; lack of accountability; and luxury and inefficiency.
Problem Area #2: Overreliance on Military Intervention
Problem Area #3: Unintended Consequences of Humanitarian Assistance
This book left me with a profound respect for the people that work for the United Nations, and with a continuing profound distrust and disrespect for the United Nations as an entity. It is not working. It needs a complete make-over, and one wonders if the time has not come for a new international gathering of governments and non-governmental organizations, to conceptualize a completely fresh start that harnesses distributed resources spanning the full range from civil economic assistance to police protection and training, to violent military intervention.
Let me say this again: this is a very good book, it is only for the best and the brightest, and it calls into question the entire United Nations structure and management. Instead of paying our dues to the United Nations, instead of Ten Turner giving them a billion dollar tax avoidance contribution, we should probably create a new international Fund for Peace that uses the Internet and the network effect to nurture “many small acts” instead of one large industrial-age monstrosity called the United Nations.
Every page offers up elegant thoughtful, *relevant* ideas that connect people, technology, and their government in dramatic useful ways.Core ideas explored by the book include the difference between populism and deliberative accountable judgment; the relationship between free speech and social well-being; the vital importance of being exposed to diverse opinion, not just similar opinions; the danger of cyber-cascade information, a form of Hitler-esque propaganda with malicious effect; the true potential (unlikely to be achieved at this point) of the Internet if managed in keeping with the original Constitutional understanding of the role of education and free speech); the absurdity of the notion of free speech as an absolute [on this see my review of Roger Shattuck’s Forbidden Knowledge: From Prometheus to Pornography, St. Martin’s Press, 1996]; the importance of thoughtful regulation; and the destructive effects of market pressures on both culture and government.
This is important helpful legal opinion that is clearly “tuned in” to modern information technology and all its dangers as well as its potential. This book is designed for the citizen-reader worried about the future of the Republic. It is both easy to read and necessary to read–a very articulate and comprehensive starting point for devising new law appropriate to the 21st century. I recall Mike Nelson, the author assistant to then Senator Gore in the crafting of the National Information Infrastructure legislature, talking about the frustration of trying to manage 1990’s technology with 1950’s law. This book, and its author, represent the first decent intelligent brief I have seen connecting the first principles of our Constitution and our Supreme Court interpretations, with the realities of this century’s information technology and the threat of chaos in cyberspace.
Gems abound. From the author’s deep understanding of the dangers of undocumented computer code that contains pre-planned censorship and routing and privacy violation hooks, to his understanding of the need for diversity filters that expose one to contrasting viewpoints, to his discussion of emerging solutions from deliberative opinion polling (includes intelligence) to constructive URL linkages to the dangers of .coms over-whelming .orgs and .edus, this book is the best single lecture in the literature I have read in the past ten years–certainly important to the future of democracy in an electronic age.
The author concludes with a discussion of six reform possibilities, including deliberative domains; required disclosure by communications firms; voluntary self-regulation; economic subsidies for democracy-beneficial content and websites; “must carry” rules on *popular* websites (one might include pornographic websites) in the form of links designed to nurture exposure to substantive questions; and “must carry” rules on divisive highly-partisan websites in the form of links to contrasting views.
The book includes excellent biographical notes suggesting other readings, has strong and interesting footnotes, and a good index. This is an intelligent, moral, civic book.
The author renders us all a major service in bringing forth our foundational thinking–Mill on the importance of humans being exposed to the diversity of the human experience; Dewey on the infantile state of social knowledge, Brandeis on how public discussion is a political duty and that the greatest menace to liberty is an inert people–examining the current and projected legal and moral and social Internet and information trends–and suggesting how good law might yet lead to good results.
At 202 pages, pocketbook size despite its hard cover, this is a well-developed contribution to the great conversation that should be owned and read by anyone who cares to speculate on the future of the Republic. Seriously powerful stuff–and an ideal gift to include when you write a check to your elected representatives.
This is a very thoughtful and well-documented book that has been 20 years in the making–although it was actually researched and written in the past three years, the author is on record as having discussed water wars in 1980, and should be credited with anticipating the relationship between natural resources, ethnic conflict, and great power discomfort well before the pack.
He covers oil in particular, energy in more general terms (to my disappointment, not breaking natural gas out from oil, a very relevant distinction for commodities brokers), water, minerals, and timber. His footnotes are quite satisfactory and strike a very fine balance–unusually good–between policy, military, and academic or industry sources.
Sadly, I believe that this book, as with Laurie Garrett’s book on the collapse of public health, will be ignored by the …Administration, which appears to have decided that real war is only between states, that energy is something to be increased, not moderated in use, and that real men do not concern themselves with ethnic conflict, small wars, or scarcity of any sort in the Third World.
As I reflect on this book, and its deep discussion of the details of existing and potential resources wars (it includes a very fine illustrative appendix of oil and natural gas conflicts, all current), I contemplate both my disappointment that the author and publisher did not choose to do more with geospatial visualization–a fold out map of the world with all the points plotted in color would have been an extraordinary value–and the immediate potential value of adding the knowledge represented by this book on resources and the Garrett book on public health threats–to the World Conflict & Human Rights Map 2000 published by PIOOM at Leiden University in The Netherlands.
What I really like about this book is its relevance, its authority, its utility. What I find frustrating about this book is that it is, like all books, an isolated fragment of knowledge that cannot easily be integrated and visualized. How helpful it would be, if US voters could see a geographic depiction of the world showing all that the author of this excellent work is trying to communicate, and on the same geographic depiction, see the military dollars versus the economic assistance dollars that the U.S. is or is not investing. The results would be shocking and could lead to political action as the community level, for what is clear to me from this book is that there is a huge disconnect between the real threat, our national security policies, and how we actually spend our foreign affairs, defense, and trade dollars from the taxpayers’ pockets.
A trillion dollar tax cut, or a trillion dollar investment in deterrence through investments in natural resource stabilization and extension? Which would be of more lasting value to the seventh generation of our children? The author does not comment–one is left to read between the lines.
Extraordinary Contribution to National Sanity and Security,
May 31, 2001
The Honorable Daniel Patrick Moynihan
Senator Moynihan applies his intellect and his strong academic and historical bent to examine the U.S. experience with secrecy, beginning with its early distrust of ethnic minorities. He applies his social science frames of reference to discuss secrecy as a form of regulation and secrecy as a form of ritual, both ultimately resulting in a deepening of the inherent tendency of bureaucracy to create and keep secrets-secrecy as the cultural norm. His historical overview, current right up to 1998, is replete with documented examples of how secrecy may have facilitated selected national security decisions in the short-run, but in the long run these decisions were not only found to have been wrong for lack of accurate open information that was dismissed for being open, but also harmful to the democratic fabric, in that they tended to lead to conspiracy theories and other forms of public distancing from the federal government. He concludes: “The central fact is that we live today in an Information Age. Open sources give us the vast majority of what we need to know in order to make intelligent decisions. Decisions made by people at ease with disagreement and ambiguity and tentativeness. Decisions made by those who understand how to exploit the wealth and diversity of publicly available information, who no longer simply assume that clandestine collection-that is, ‘stealing secrets’-equals greater intelligence. Analysis, far more than secrecy, is the key to security….Secrecy is for losers.”
A great deal of work went into conceptualizing and crafting this book, and I give very high marks to the author, who does a really superb job of integrating insights from knowledge management, information technology, cognitive modeling, and client relationship or account management. This book makes the jump from airplane reading, to “hold and read several times more.”
At the heart of the book, and many appear to miss this on the first reading, is the author’s distinction between commoditized information services and differentiated information services. The first, aided by automation, is on a downward spiral in terms of both value and pricing, and competition is fierce. The second, partially aided by automation but ultimately being unique for rising to a higher level of knowledge service delivery that can only be done by expert humans, is where value pricing and differentiation can be found, and where professional services need to go if they are to remain profitable.
The second urgent and valuable insight the author shares with us is the co-evolutionary nature of a service that evolves through constant knowledge transfer to the client and constant co-creation of new knowledge as the competitive advantage; and a very deep and broad relationship with the client at all levels of both organizations. One leads to the other, the other leads to finding new business with the same client, and the cycle repeats itself. This insight is especially relevant to all those who are using information technology to force single human account managers to handle more and more accounts remotely, all the while “losing touch” with their clients for lack of time to make the personal visit or personal telephone call. This is also explicitly contrary to the prevailing “black box” model where knowledge is withheld as proprietary–the author makes it clear that in this new era, withheld knowledge is much less valuable and much less survivable–this is a dying model.
Among the sections of the book that I found especially worthwhile, partly for their elegance of expression and partly because they represent a considerable professionalism in distilling vast arrays of writing by others, were those that itemized the seven processes for adding value to the client relationship by adding converting information into knowledge (filtering, validation, analysis, synthesis, presentation, ease of access and use, customization); the rare simplicity of the distinction between implicit and explicit knowledge and how to communicate both kinds of knowledge; the brief but sufficient discussion of four key humans in the loop: the senior representative, the relationship coordinator, the knowledge specialist, and the knowledge customer; and the more general discussion of the various means for communicating knowledge value to the client, both in terms of channels and in terms of events including scenarios and wargaming.
Contrary to the publicity, this is not a case study book, although the several “gray block” inserts are both helpful and credible. This book is an executive primer for managing value in the 21st Century, and it merits several readings, not one.
Where the book falls short, and it may be that this is deliberate and better left for another book, is in the section on pricing knowledge services. Despite a fine summary of the kinds of pricing that are used, from time and materials (both the predominant means and the least profitable) to retainer to contingency to commissions and tenders, one is left feeling that neither the author nor his otherwise excellent sources have really come to grips with the fact that clients are still mired in an industrial-age financial mindset that values fixed goods and is not yet ready to pay for intangible knowledge goods. My own research suggests that fully half of the competition for knowledge professionals comes from client middle managers and senior sales or production experts who believe that they know everything they need to know to make good decisions–the other half comes from niche providers of very fragmented services, from the aggregators of online information (Factiva, Lexis-Nexis, DIALOG) to the market research firms (FIND/SVP, Fuld, SIS) to private investigative groups (Arkin, Kroll, IGI) to academic consultants (Harvard, UT) to localized information brokers listed in the Burwell Directory…and many many other sources including commercial imagery and Russian military maps of third world regions that most knowledge specialists–as well as their clients–overlook completely. Somewhere in all this mix, the big accounting and legal firms are trying to leverage their access to clients by becoming portals to global knowledge, and they are *not* delivering the integrated value they should–a value that can only come when the author’s wisdom becomes conventional, and every professional services person knows how to define the question, discover and validate the sources, discriminate and distill the many sources into a value-added compelling presentation, and do so in timely easy to use fashion.
Some will be deceived by the very easy to read and well-organized sections into thinking this book is slightly superficial. That is not the case. This is a very well researched book that represents enormous value-added because the author has creatively distilled and organized at least four separate literatures, and done so in a fashion that will repay multiple readings of the book by the new standard: at least twice the value of your time taken for each reading.