Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Can the “art of the deal” rein in defense procurement?

President-elect Donald Trump is going to be an unconventional president as he was an unconventional presidential candidate.  Trump has now turned his Twitter account against two of the largest defense contractors – Boeing and Lockheed Martin.  Both are reeling and the defense industry in general must be nervous.

On December 6, 2016 President-elect Donald Trump Tweeted, "Boeing is building a brand new 747 Air Force One for future presidents, but costs are out of control, more than $4 billion. Cancel order!" Boeing stock immediately dipped after Trump’s Tweet and Boeing’s Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg arranged for a call with Trump.

On December 9, 2016 Trump Tweeted, “The F-35 program and cost is out of control.”  Since then Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Air Force have been jumping through hoops to mitigate any potential immediate damage and begun building their case to present to a newly empowered Trump Administration.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Russian hacking - misplaced outrage

Much of the media is repeating Washington Post reporting that alleges Russia tried to help Donald Trump win the 2016 Presidential election.  As is the standard for our time this issue too has been politicized with Democrats screaming outrage and Republicans skepticism.   The average citizen doesn’t know what to think, but may better be advised to focus their outrage not at Russia, but at U.S. officials that move the country toward greater and greater digital dependence while failing to protect critical infrastructure, financial, economic, and government systems from hacking, cyber theft, and cyber attacks.

The Washington Post reported on December 9, 2016 that a “Secret CIA assessment says Russia was trying to help Trump win White House.”  As the principle drafter of a major National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) for the Intelligence Community while temporarily assigned to the CIA I have detailed personal knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of Intelligence Assessments.  I am skeptical of the Washington Post report conclusions, but I am not surprised that the Russians may have hacked the DNC.

The real issue that should spark outrage throughout the citizenry is the fact that systematic hacking of critical U.S. systems has been rampant for decades. Our government and political leaders speak of it as if it is inevitable and we are powerless to do anything about it except complain about it when it suits a political purpose.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Hillary is ahead by 2.5 million votes - so what

Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election. Hillary Clinton lost.  Many who are dissatisfied with the outcome are latching on to immaterial and irrelevant efforts and discussions that will not or cannot change that fact.

One theme says it is unfair or even immoral that Clinton won the national popular vote yet Trump won the election.   Memes appear on social media as Clinton’s national popular vote tally increases to near 2.5 million.   The disgruntled anxiously await the next tally announcement.  The press continues to report the count in daily headlines as if it means something to the election.  It does not.

The United States of America was founded as a representative republic under a federalist system - NOT A DEMOCRACY.  The sovereign states joined in a federation under specific rules embodied in the Constitution.