Poetslife

12/23/2016

Tom Glenn's Last of the Annmese


I first met Tom Glenn while reading poetry at the War Writer's Memorial Project near the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. He's intense. Some of his experiences, listed below, drawn from his life as an intelligence officer in combat, helps to explain why.
I post my review of his book Last of the Annamese (U.S. Naval Institute, publisher) first, then some posts from his blog that help provide background.
 "Did it have to end like this? After 58,000 American military dead, at least a million communist soldiers, and who knows how many million civilians? What the hell have we done?”  
This question, posed by Sparky, the tooth pick chewing analyst who works with Chuck Griffin, the books main character, informs every page of Tom Glenn’s Last of the Annamese.
In the spring of 1975, the time period for this work, I was a 19-year old student at the American College in Paris, France. Although largely forgotten by a war-weary American public, other 19-year-old Americans worked as Marines protecting the last Americans remaining in Vietnam trying to assist the fast crumbling South Vietnamese. Their courage and dedication, and those remaining National Security Agency (NSA), Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), U.S. Navy, U.S. Army and other American intelligence and military professionals, is well recorded here. More importantly, it is saved from disappearing from the American collective memory.


While on my semester abroad, every day on the way to class I passed by a communist bookstore with a map of French Indo-China, with Laos, Cambodia and North and South Vietnam. As each province would fall to the communists in Vietnam, the communists in the bookstore would color it red.
I was watched the ignoble end of American involvement in the Vietnam War through the International Herald Tribune, the BBC and on French radio and TV thousands of miles away. Tom Glenn, in contrast, was in the chaos, civil riots, ineptitude, neglect, horror, treason, death, cultural clash, and destruction of the real, and surreal, event.
Listening to Signal Intelligence (SIGNET) day and night, he was intimate with the bloody and confusing details. He writes about the human debris of the damaged quilt that was the chaotic end of American involvement in the Vietnam War.
He records the details of that end as only one embedded in it can.
The teen-ager of the French family in Paris with whom I lived rarely spoke to me. But one afternoon in April 1975 he burst into my room and said, “C’est incroyable! C’est extraordinaire! C’est formidable!  Vite! Regard! Les Americans! Vite!”
In the living room of his 17th Arrondissement apartment he pointed to the small black and white television. There in grainy images, I saw U.S. Marines throwing helicopter after helicopter off the side of an American aircraft carrier.
He continued: “C’est extraordinaire!!!” Then, because he was very French, he began to lecture me that France would never, ever throw millions of dollars’ worth of helicopters into the ocean. And also like a good Frenchman, he wanted me to explain why my country was doing this.
I told him in broken French I had no idea.
But Tom Glenn does…because he was in the thickest part of the unraveling of 13 years of American involvement in Indo-China. His novel ties together the disconnect between his excellent intelligence gathering and analysis, the deliberate denial of facts and ineptitude of the American Ambassador, Graham Martin and the CIA that such a tragedy could never happen, and the political elite in Washington, D.C. who had neglect of American political leadership that had grown weary of the adventure.
I had two uncles who served multiple tours in that conflict, one as an officer in U.S. Air Force intelligence and another as a Chief Master Sergeant in the U. S. Army. Like most who served there, neither of my uncle’s wrote down a word about what they did or why. (Once when I asked my Uncle Ray at my father’s funeral what he did in Vietnam, he responded, “How about those Phillies!”)
They were true Quiet Professionals to the end. As they are now buried at Arlington National Cemetery and can no longer speak about their experiences in Vietnam, So, I am especially grateful that Tom Glenn wrote down his memories of the last days of the Vietnam War. Future generations may know what happened.
As with the best historical war fiction, so many lessons in the book apply even more so today, as shown in this passage:
“Chuck placed him then. [He was] The Hungarian member of the International Commission of Control and Supervision. Chuck had seen him at the party for Senator Nunn. He stretched his memory. The ICC, a group established by the United Nations to monitor the so-called peace after the signing of the treaty in 1973. Chuck grimaced. The Ambassador was consulting with a representative of a communist government allied to North Vietnam. It sucked.”
An additional plus with this book is that Tom Glenn provides deep background about it on his blog https://tomglenn.blog/. For example, he chronicles the actual death of the two last U.S. Marines in fiction in Last of the Annamese in this blog post.
“During the last week of April, 1975, as the North Vietnamese conquest of Saigon approached, I was stranded at Tan Son Nhat, on the northern edge of Saigon, in the DAO building. As mentioned in earlier blog installments, I had succeeded in evacuating 41 of the men who worked for me and their families.
Since the U.S. Ambassador, Graham Martin, had forbidden evacuations, I got my people out by any ruse I could think of. Only three of us remained: the two communicators who had volunteered to stay with me to the end, Bob Hartley and Gary Hickman, and me.
Among my regular stops was the Marine guard post at our western gate. I traded scuttlebutt with the embassy guard Marines posted there. Among them were Corporal Charles McMahon and Lance Corporal Darwin Judge. They looked so young to me (I was 38; they were 21 and 19 respectively) that I wondered at their presence in a war zone and why they weren’t back in the world in high school where they belonged.
When the North Vietnamese began shelling the compound in the pre-dawn hours of 29 April, [1975] the gate was hit. McMahon and Judge were killed. They were the last U.S. servicemen to die on the ground in Vietnam. I grieve for them to this day. And I recorded their deaths in the final pages of Last of the Annamese.”
Who were the last two Americans to die in Vietnam? Due to the honorable grief of Tom Glenn, now you know.
I highly recommend that you read Tom Glenn’s blog to check the fictional book against the factual entries there about the same events. How often do you get to do that? Here is a wonderful telling in the blog of events at the end of the book.
”…I had succeeded in getting my 43 men and their wives and children out of Saigon by virtue of lying, cheating, and stealing despite the Ambassador’s refusal to call for an evacuation or to allow me to evacuate my people. Only three of us remained at Tan Son Nhat, on the northern edge of Saigon: my two communicators who had volunteered to stay with me to the end (Bob and Gary) and me. We were shelled all night and two of the U.S. Marines at our gate were killed. Around four in the morning, we got in a dispatch telling us that the evacuation had been ordered—apparently Washington had countermanded the Ambassador.”
Central to this work is the professional military and personal relationship among Chuck Griffin and the Vietnamese family of Thanh, an honest and honorable South Vietnamese Marine Colonel, his royal wife Tuyet, and their son Thu. Each represents Vietnams past, present and future. Moral and noble reactions to betrayals can only happen to such a remarkable degree in times of the stress and survival demanded by war. Glenn manages the passion, poison and predicaments of those relationships so adroitly I will leave it to you to read them in the original.
Among the wonders of this book are the insights recorded that only come from being in the middle of such a cataclysmic disaster when Chuck Griffin asks: “Somehow the endless reports of gore and annihilation no longer moved Chuck. Was there such a thing as disaster fatigue?”
I am on the board of directors of the American Civil Defense Association and have studied disasters, and those who have been through them, for 35 years. Yes, there is such a thing as disaster fatigue. And if anyone had experienced enough to have reached that point, it is Chuck Griffin in this book.
As for the Vietnamese and others left behind when we abandoned them, one passage of the book captures their desperation well. A mother and daughter who have a laundry shop plead t with Chuck Griffin to get them out of the country.
“My momma and me. We very afraid. We Chinese, sir. We work for American. The VC torture us. Kill us. You help us?”
Sadly, tens and thousands of such people were slaughtered when the communists took over all of Vietnam and Cambodia.
Even if Ambassador Graham refused to acknowledge or develop contingency plans for getting out Americans, their dependents, and their Vietnamese allies, the extremely inflated prices in the street presented the reality daily.
For example, when Chuck Griffin tries to buy flowers, the street vendor charges him three times the price of just a few days ago. When Chuck Griffin questions this he is told, “All costs go up now, you know? It is war.” A street vendor knew what the American Ambassador did not.
“Remember us.”
That is the final line in Fighting with the Filthy Thirteen, the WWII story of Jack Womer, Ranger and Paratrooper. The film The Dirty Dozen was based on them, although Hollywood, as always, got it wrong. As Jack always said when he was alive, “We weren’t criminals. We just didn’t like rules or protocols because they got our guys killed and got in the way of defeating the enemy.”
John Glenn magnificently describes how those rules and protocols failed so horribly at the end of the Vietnam War. From the American Ambassador Graham Martin’s refusal to believe the factual data and excellent analysis that Chuck Griffin presented him in briefings of the communist force strength and movements, to not planning for the evacuation of the Vietnamese who were doomed to death if not evacuated, to failing to plan to evacuate the remaining Americans to avoid their deaths, the CIA and State Department protocols that kept Americans and our allies in place and exposed to potential death daily…were criminal.
He has also remembered, resurrected really, the granite men and women who were the most exposed, who suffered and died, as Saigon crumbled. Although there are not mountains big enough to be honor their courage, as least their story is now down.
The American Ambassador, the State Department, and the CIA chose small-minded group think and to believe their bizarre reality, well chronicled in the book, that there would be some magical “deal” with the communists that would avoid the obvious...that the communists did not need to negotiate. Victory was already theirs.
Glenn does a masterful job of relating just how high up and how massive the incompetence was in the American leadership just before Saigon fell.
“Forgive the interruption, sir,” Chuck Griffin panted. “I just briefed the Ambassador on the military situation and urged him to call for an evacuation. He cut me short.”
“The [CIA] chief laughed. He opened a manila folder on his desk and handed Chuck Griffin a message printout. It was from the Ambassador to the president and secretary of state, dated that morning. It declared that the North Vietnamese were using communicator’s deception to mislead the Allied intercept effort. They were trying to frighten the Republic of Vietnam into negotiations by transmitting false data.
Chuck Griffin’s mouth dropped open. He read the message again to be sure he got it right. ”What evidence do you have, he said to the chief, “what evidence does the Ambassador have, of communications deception?”
The Chief laughed. “Tell you what. I’ll bet you a bottle of champagne, vintage an chateau of your choice, that a year from now you and I will both still be still be in Saigon, at our desks, following our usual routine.”
A few days after the CIA chief made his delusional remarks, Saigon and all of South Vietnam fell to the communists. Too much of this history remains untold. Glenn has done a masterful job of relaying the story in fictional form based on historical facts.
If you doubt the accuracy of his story, here is a how these same events were described in a 1999 NSA history called The Secret Sentry:
"In Saigon, Ambassador Graham Martin refused to believe the SIGINT (signals intelligence) reporting that detailed the massive North Vietnamese military buildup taking place all around (Saigon) ... and repeatedly refused to allow NSA's station chief, Tom Glenn, to evacuate his forty-three man staff and their twenty-two dependents from Saigon."
Tom Glenn has preserved the individual and collective memory of the men and women who were hung out to die by a delusional American ambassador who would not make the common sense call to evacuate.
That ambassador was backed and supported by the CIA and the United Nations. Hmmm…has this pattern repeated again since 1975?
Glenn reminds us of those who sacrificed their health, futures, and often their lives to protect and preserve ours.
We owe it to them, and this is on every page of Last of the Annamese, to gain strength and inspiration from their lives and sacrifices.
Their actions provide clarity in a world that lacks clarity.
Honor their sacrifice by remembering them.
One of the few places you can learn about them to remember them is Last of the Annamese.

Remember them by reading about them there.

Below are blog posts from Tom Glenn's blog that explains the facts behind the fiction. Many others may be found here: https://tomglenn.blog/ 

Last Two Servicemen Killed in Vietnam

During the last week of April, 1975, as the North Vietnamese conquest of Saigon approached, I was stranded at Tan Son Nhat, on the northern edge of Saigon, in the DAO building. As mentioned in earlier blog installments, I had succeeded in evacuating 41 of the men who worked for me and their families. Since the U.S. Ambassador, Graham Martin, had forbidden evacuations, I got my people out by any ruse I could think of. Only three of us remained: the two communicators who had volunteered to stay with me to the end, Bob Hartley and Gary Hickman, and me.
For days, Bob, Gary, and I were short on food—we survived on bar snacks we’d been able to scrounge at a hotel before we could no longer get out into the streets of Saigon—and we were working 24 hours a day, alternating with each other for two-hours rest breaks on the single cot we had in the comms center where we were holed up.
I wanted to know beforehand when the North Vietnamese breached the perimeter fence around our compound, so several times a day and sometimes at night, I went outside and wandered through the parking lots, tennis courts, and trash collections areas to see what was going on. Among my regular stops was the Marine guard post at our western gate. I traded scuttlebutt with the embassy guard Marines posted there. Among them were Corporal Charles McMahon and Lance Corporal Darwin Judge. They looked so young to me (I was 38; they were 21 and 19 respectively) that I wondered at their presence in a war zone and why they weren’t back in the world in high school where they belonged.
When the North Vietnamese began shelling the compound in the pre-dawn hours of 29 April, the gate was hit. McMahon and Judge were killed. They were the last U.S. servicemen to die on the ground in Vietnam.
I grieve for them to this day. And I recorded their deaths in the final pages of Last of the Annamese.

The Character of Ike in Last of the Annamese

I find Ike likable. He’s the housemate of the novel’s protagonist and a Marine officer working with the Marine guards at the U.S. Embassy in Saigon, the only Marines left in-country in 1975, after the withdrawal of U.S. troops two years earlier. Ike’s character is drawn from the many Marines I worked with during my years in Vietnam. He’s down to earth—and earthy, too—and unpretentious. He is an honorable man. His honor is unspoken and inherent. It’s the quality that defines him, built in and always operational. I suspect he’s not even aware of it.
In that respect, he’s like all the Marines I knew and worked with. Typical was Al Gray, a captain when I first met him in Vietnam in the early 1960s, a colonel when he saved my life during the fall of Saigon in 1975, and finally, as a general, the commandant of the Marine Corps. I’ve never met a Marine who didn’t know of and honor Al Gray.
Ike’s motto is “Do what you have to do, whatever it takes.” Those words become a guide for the protagonist, Chuck Griffin, himself a retired Marine officer. At the end of the story, the motto leads Chuck to do the right thing even though it hurts more than he thinks he can stand.
The reader may notice that I always capitalize “Marine.” I do it to show my deep respect for the Marine Corps.

Post Trauma Stress Injury

I mentioned in an earlier post that I suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress. I’ve been pushing as hard as I can to change the nomenclature from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to Post-Traumatic Stress Injury (PTSI). My point is that the disease is not an internal system gone awry but an externally inflicted wound. The “disorder” label reinforces the notion that strong and brave men don’t suffer from it; only the weak and cowardly do. I find a strong strain among the military who dismiss PTSI as cowardice. It’s obvious to me that it is as much a wound (Ron Capps calls it a wound to the soul) as any physical laceration. The difference is, it never heals.

The Wounds of War

No one escaped whole from the fall of Saigon. We were all damaged. I know. I was a survivor.
I escaped under fire after the North Vietnamese were already in the streets of the city after being holed up for weeks during the siege. I suffered ear damage, amoebic dysentery, and pneumonia—due to sleep deprivation, muscle fatigue, and poor diet—and I still cope today from Post-Traumatic Stress Injury. And I was one of the lucky ones.
The experiences I attribute to the protagonist of Last of the Annamese, Chuck Griffin, are all things I went through myself. My assessment is that I am a better man for having lived through it, but the psychic wounds still haven’t healed. They never will.

Historical Background of Last of Annamese

The complete details of what happened to me during the fall of Saigon—the historical basis for Last of the Annamese—were declassified last year. The story was published twice earlier this year, once in CIA’s Studies in Intelligence and then reprinted in The Atticus Review. You can read the complete document at http://atticusreview.org/bitter-memories-the-fall-of-saigon/
By 27 April 1975, I had succeeded in getting everyone from my office and their families, 43 men and their wives and children, out of the country despite the U.S. Ambassador’s refusal to call for an evacuation. He was persuaded that the North Vietnamese would never attack Saigon. Only three of us remained holed up in the DAO building in Tan Son Nhat, on the northern edge of Saigon: me and the two communicators, Bob Hartley and Gary Hickman. Here, quoted from the published account, is what happened next:
Not long before sunset on 28 April, I made a head run. The mammoth Pentagon East [the DAO building] was in shambles. Light bulbs were burned out, trash and broken furniture littered the halls, and the latrines were filthy and smelled disgusting. I came across men on stepladders running cables through the ceiling. They told me they were wiring the building for complete destruction. “Last man out lights the fuse and runs like hell,” they joked.
I went into the men’s room. I was standing at the urinal when the wall in front of me lunged toward me as if to swat me down, then slapped back into place. The sound of repeated explosions deafened me and nearly knocked me off my feet. Instead of sensibly taking cover, I left the men’s room and went to the closest exit at the end of a hall, unbolted it, and stepped into the shallow area between the western wall of the building and the security fence, a space of maybe ten to fifteen feet, now piled high with sandbags.
The first thing I noticed was that the throngs of refugees had dispersed—no one was clamoring outside the barrier—presumably frightened away by the explosions. My ears picked up the whine of turbojets. I shaded my eyes from the setting sun and spotted five A-37 Dragonfly fighters circling above the Tan Son Nhat runways. They dove, dropped bombs, and pulled up. The resulting concussions sent me tumbling, but I was on my feet and running before the planes went into their next approach. Back in the office, I found out shortly that renegade pilots who had defected to the Communists were bombing Tan Son Nhat.

PTSI

I mentioned in an earlier post that I suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress. I’ve been pushing as hard as I can to change the nomenclature from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to Post-Traumatic Stress Injury (PTSI). My point is that the disease is not an internal system gone awry but an externally inflicted wound. The “disorder” label reinforces the notion that strong and brave men don’t suffer from it; only the weak and cowardly do. I find a strong strain among the military who dismiss PTSI as cowardice. It’s obvious to me that it is as much a wound (Ron Capps calls it a wound to the soul) as any physical laceration. The difference is, it never heals.











Is Chuck Me?


The catastrophes that the protagonist of Last of the Annamese suffers through are, with rare exceptions, the same ones I lived through. So is that protagonist me in disguise?
The principal character in Last of the Annamese is Chuck Griffin, a retired Marine officer who returns to Vietnam after the withdrawal of U.S. troops in 1973. He is determined to do everything he can to help win the war against the North Vietnamese because he can’t tolerate the idea that his son, Ben, who was killed in action in Vietnam, died in vain.
That’s very different from me. I returned to Vietnam in 1974 as head of the covert NSA operation in-country because I was a signals intelligence expert on Vietnam and spoke the three languages common in Vietnam—Vietnamese, French, and Chinese. I had mastered the signals intelligence disciplines used to intercept and exploit North Vietnamese communications, and I knew those communications better than I knew my own body. I had eleven years of experience trundling between the U.S. and Vietnam—I’d been there at least four months every year from 1962 on. In short, I was the right person for the job.
And the character of Chuck is not me. He is a Marine (I regret that I never was) and lost a child in the war (I didn’t). He is older than I was and in many respects stronger than I was. I don’t detect in him any of the terror I felt toward the end. In some ways, he’s the man I wish I had been
Finally, I didn’t write Annamese to tell my story. I’d already done that in a nonfiction article. I wanted to tell the story of what happened with complete historical accuracy—including details previously classified—and to show how ordinary people, both Vietnamese and American, lived through it. The character of Chuck come into my consciousness fully formed. I ended up liking him. I admired his courage and toughness, and I knew he’d make it through to the end and survive. I ended up telling his story, not mine.

Military Pride

My posts for the last two days stressed the pain so many veterans suffer as they recall what happened in combat. What most noncombatants don’t understand is that in combat, in those moments when men fight one another to the death, those deaths are grisly. I’ve confronted my memories, but I still have experiences I can’t talk about. Men died by my side in hideous ways. Why them? Why not me?
The other side of the coin is intense pride. We risked out lives, willing to die for the good of our country. We didn’t question our orders or shirk from mortal danger. That’s why the jeering crowds who spat on us and called us butchers and baby-killers hurt so much. I was shamed. I didn’t speak of Vietnam for many years after the fall of Saigon. And my writing about what happened in Vietnam was uniformly rejected by editors.
But my pride and my love of the men who fought at my side survived intact. Soldiers and Marines don’t use the word “love”—it’s too sentimental. But that’s what it is. The strongest bond I know of is between men who fight side by side. We share a pride and honor totally unknown to the vast majority of Americans who have never seen combat.

11/29/2016

Reversing the Latest Mohammedan Jihad

It is time to admit the Mohammedan's are setting the American house on fire and we need to put it out. 
Now that they have published a list of thousands of Christian churches for their hard core and wannabe's to assault, maybe it is time to plan for our counterassault.
ISIS, the latest version of a 1,400 year old Mohammedan jihad, and many other Mohammedan terrorist groups, has proven very adept at using social media tools to win power, influence, recruits and strategic advantage over their opponents. So far, they've mostly portrayed their strategic, battle field, psychological and opponent success after they achieve it. 
But, soon, they will use social media as a significant force multiplier if they coordinate their assault with their social media skills to cause panic, chaos, death and destruction in the United States and in other civilized nations.
​Back in 2008, I wrote an article in the TACDA Journal called, "Free Web Safety & Emergency Tools" for the Journal of the American Civil Defense Association (TACDA). It highlighted how first responders could use social media tools to work better. ​That is the good side of the social media technology use.
Sadly, there is an evil side using the same technology,
ISIS or an ISIS clone can create widespread panic through the use of social media such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram as a force multiplier if they use these tools in tandem with an actual physical assault within the United States.
Think about that. ONE rogue ISIS devotee in a truck shut down the city of Berlin, Germany, Christmas week. 
Imagine if they get their act together and organize a coordinated attack.
Like on multiple churches and day care centers.
A social media force multiplier as I use the term here is an individual or small team who, through the use of special tactics, can do the damage of a much larger force. It is easy to understand that a skilled sniper is a force multiplier on the battle field. Why? Because snipers are capable of force multiplication without ever directly engaging the enemy, they are a commonly known force multiplier. I propose that a few jihadi social media “snipers” can create the kind of chaos, death, destruction, and panic to millions of American civilians.
Orson Wells in his famous 1938 drama “War of the Worlds” achieved massive citizen panic using just his voice and an earlier social media tool, the radio. ISIS has far more sophisticated tools at its disposal, and it knows how to use them.
Once underway this kind of large-scale citizen panic is difficult to contain. As they have already cut off captives heads, engaged in mass murder and mass rape, enslaved thousands, turned Christian churches into prisons, recruited, trained and activated suicide bombers and engaged in other widespread and repeated violent behavior, their launching multiple attacks inside the U.S. is easily imaginable.
Given their proficiency and experience coordinating their attacks with social media propaganda, ISIS using social media as a multiplier force is also easily imaginable.
The full impact of that attack is not imaginable, although their use of these social media tools for the past several years in the Middle East and globally shows they are proficient in their use.
We can shut down ISIS social media tools BEFORE their use of them results in large numbers of death, panic, mayhem and destruction.
The consequences of waiting until AFTER this social media force multiplier is used on a larger scale are unimaginable. We can connect the dots on this one now. We can also take care of this threat now if we show the wisdom, courage, and action that our future children and grandchildren depend upon.
For more information, see: Scribd background documents.




10/17/2016

USS ZUMWALT DDG 100 Commissioning



On 15 October 2016 I had the honor of attending the commissioning of the US Zumwalt DDG 100 Pax Propter Vim (Peace Through Power). It's just a stunning break through in American war fighting technology.
It was built by General Dynamics at their Bath Iron Works shipyard in Bath, Maine.
Specifications::
Length: 610 Feet
Beam:  80.7 Feet
Draft:  27.6 Feet
Speed:  30 Knots
Displacement:  15,742 Lightweight Tons
Installed Power:  78 Megawatts
Crew Size:  175 Personnel
James A. Kirk, the Commanding Officer of the USS ZUMWALT, had this to say about the Admiral Zumwalt the ship is named after.It was an honor to attend this commissioning. I loved seeing the old Navy Vets who were as startled by the technology evident on this space-age ocean ship as I was. It is no coincidence that the Commander is named James A. Kirk.
"Forty-six years ago Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr. became our Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), a spition he held from 1970 to 1974. At only forty-nine years of age, he remains the youngest to have been appointed as CNO. On his watch, he reformed the Navy making it both a more capable fighting force during the Cold War and a more just institution by comforting discrimination and removing barriers for women and minorities. He ended regulations that were burdensome; embraced the important role that families play in our Sailors' carers; and demanded that people be treated with dignity and respect regardless of rank. He was a "Sailor's Admiral" in heart and deed..."
"...USS ZUMWALT's entry to the Fleet marks the beginning of a wave of anew technologies that will inevitably alter the trajectory of naval shipbuilding. ZIMWALT (DDG 1000) is a powerful ship. Stealth, power -- 78 megawatts -- enough to power a medium-sized city, electric propulsion, advanced sensors and weapons and an unprecedented level of automation enabled by a sophisticated information network will bring agile and precision combat power to hear wherever the ship sails. USS ZUMWALT is a potent instrument of Sea Power -- and that is fitting given Admiral Zumwalt's lifelong belief in peace through strength, or Pax Propter Vim, the motto of this magnificent ship and crew."
Here are a few photos I took of this magnificent event.































9/24/2016

Business Continuity Disaster Recovery Plan Outline

Why create and use a Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plan (BCDRP)?
For the same reason you have a health plan, a car insurance plan, or a home owner’s policy...to prepare for, respond to, and successfully overcome a disaster.  If you experience a major disaster, and man-made and natural disasters happen daily, having a BCDRP may make the difference between your business surviving or going out of business.  As importantly, having one may mean the difference between who lives and who dies. Think of it as life insurance YOU write that helps ensure that you, your loved ones, your employees, and your business go on.
What follows are some of the major parts of any BCDRP. It is only a guide. Every BCDRP must be custom written and tested to your unique needs and circumstances. Use this for ideas of how to create your plan, but make sure you create a plan that reflects your needs.
Disaster Management Plan Purpose
The purpose of the BCDRP is to ensure that a clearly define BCDRP structure and accountable and responsible Disaster Management Team is in place to quickly, efficiently and effectively recognized and respond to any business disruption to:
  •         Ensure the safety of our employees and the security of our property
  •          Coordinate continuity of high quality service to customers
  •          Coordinate communication (both external and internal)
  •           Prioritize recovery efforts
  •          Activate  the BCDRP
  •          Invoke emergency authorization to procure and allocate resources and support
What is a Disaster
  •         Anything that causes harm to people or significant damage to property
  •         Anything that adversely affects the value or financial survival of the company
  •         Anything that disrupts routine business operations or wastes significant management time or financial resources
BCDRP Guiding Principles
Any good BCDRP includes the following tested and proven principles:
  •         Describe the business impact
  •         Identify impacted stakeholders
  •         Identify who does what and when
  •         Do not use overly technical information
  •         Provide an escalation point for issues and concerns
  •         Test the plan and incorporate lessons learned for future plans
In addition, here are some fundamentals your basic plan should cover:
  •         Develop and practice a contingency plan that includes a succession plan for your leadership.
  •         Train backup employees to perform emergency tasks. The employees you count on to lead in an emergency will not always be available.
  •         Determine off site disaster meeting places and disaster communication plans for all your employees.
  •         Practice disaster communication with employees, customers, suppliers and the outside world.
  •         Invest in an alternate means of communication in case the phone networks go down.
  •         Make sure that all employees are involved in the exercises so that they get practice in responding to an emergency.
  •         Make business continuity exercises realistic enough to tap into employees' emotions so that you can see how they'll react when the situation gets stressful.
  •         Form partnerships with local emergency response groups (firefighters, police and EMTs) to establish a good working relationship. Let them become familiar with your company and site.
  •         Evaluate your company's performance during each test, and work toward constant improvement.      Conduct continuity and disaster recovery exercises to reveal any changes and weaknesses. Technology, personnel and facilities are in a constant state of flux at any company.
BCDR Plan Outline
The most important fact about the BCDRP is that those who need the information can get it quickly, efficiently, and easily. One way to accomplish that goal is to separate the plan into two major sections: the plan itself and the material that supports the plan that goes into the appendix. Here is a suggested outline that has worked well for many companies.
Disaster recovery planning is the process of creating a document that details how your business will recover from a catastrophic event. These steps include:
  •        Create a List of Jobs: Know all the office jobs that would have to be relocated to an alternate location.
  •        Create an Inventory Necessary Office Equipment:  For each employee, list only the essential office equipment and furniture that they need to perform their jobs. Remember, in the event of a disaster, space, time and money will be at a premium.
  •         Create a Catalog of Supporting Software and Computer Equipment: Create a catalog of the essential office computer software and equipment you use.
  •         Identify an Alternate Office Space:  Now that you have a list of people, furniture and computer software, networks and equipment, you will need a physical place to put them. Find several alternative places to relocate your office.
  •        Create an Insurance and Budget Document:  After you decide where to put people, you will need to start buying them the stuff they need to do their jobs. Estimate how much each piece will cost to buy or lease. The time spent up front on this task will shave days off of the recovery process because you will be able to provide a list to your insurance agent of what you need.
  •        Share It and Store the Plan Off-site: Share your plan with several people and keep it in several places.
  • See the table below for a suggested table of contents that should be included in any BCDRP.
Recommended BCDRP Table of Contents
What
Description
Business Continuity Contact List
Name, phone, email, home address, home numbers. Placing it upfront makes it easier to find in an emergency.
Disaster Recovery Contact List
Name, phone, email, home address, home numbers. Placing it upfront makes it easier to find in an emergency.
Disaster Recovery Escalation Process
Clearly identify who is to be notified and who has the title and responsibility for declaring an event and activating the plan.
If Disaster Recovery Plan is Activated
Concise immediate steps that must be taken once a disaster is declared. Goal is to preserve life, prevent injury, and protect property and to lay the foundation for restoring normal business operations.
Disaster Recovery Plan Major Steps
Clearly identified major steps that must be taken to resume routine business operations
Disaster Recovery Facilities Location
Location of the alternative recovery location along with instructions for whom to contact and what to do when there. It can be held in readiness for use during the disaster to recover technical assets and for recovery of business processes. For small- and medium-sized businesses, this can mean employees working from home using their laptops.
Resuming Daily Business Operations
Establish the goals, milestones and metrics that will indicate that the disaster recovery has succeeded and routine business operations have resumed.
See the table below for what material belongs in the appendix to the BCDRP. By organizing your document in this way it is easier to write, organize, and update.
Recommended BCDRP Appendix Sections
What
Description
Appendix A: Disaster Management Team Activation Guide
Rules for the activation and the Incident Commander, Coordinator and the rest of the Disaster Management Team.
Appendix B: Emergency Evacuation Procedure and Safe Assembly Areas
Instructions for when and how to evacuate and where to gather once out of the building.
Appendix C: Exit, Fire Extinguisher, Fire Alarm and Hose Locations
Description of how to exit the floor and building, and the location of the emergency equipment.
Appendix E: Shelter-in-Place Instructions
Instructions for when and how to shelter in place if necessary
Appendix F:  Reporting Disasters
Instructions for how and to whom to concisely and accurately report disaster.
Appendix G: Floor Plan
Drawing of each floor with employee name, phone, and email on the drawing, along with clearly identified exits.
Additional Appendixes
Add any sections that are necessary to your plan.

Additional Tips
  •        Make a list of all your software you may need to replace.
  •        Back up all your files.
  •         Put your essential files of a thumb drive. You may need them to get restarted.
 Using Social Media to Respond to a Disaster
Increasing, using social media correctly to respond to a disaster is one of the most critical parts of your BCDRP. To ensure your social media presence is ready for a disaster, make sure that you:
  •        Have a media plan with the tools, skills and resources to promptly execute your media
  •        Have accounts with the right social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) before the disaster
  •         Monitor social media before, during and after the disaster
  •        Designate one employee to speak for the company through social media outlets because social media is driven by trust in people, not an organization
  •         The audience has the tools to investigate, record, and publish, so content accuracy is critical
  •        A good response should include negative perceptions and address causes and facts
  • ·       With your posts, tweets, photos etc. a link with more information will always help support your message
Disaster Management Team Roles and Responsibilities
When the Incident Commander convenes the Disaster Management Team (DMT), he or she also authorizes the BCDRP and declares an emergency. Each member of that team has specific responsibilities that are listed below.
Core DMT Roles and Responsibilities

Role
Responsibilities
Incident Commander
Leads the CMT. Provides guidance to the team and is the final decision maker in the case of conflict or lack of consensus.
CMT Coordinator
Assembles the team at the request of the Incident Commander. Schedules meetings, assists with meeting facilities and general support, and completes additional tasks requested by the Incident Commander. Informs other levels for the Incident Commander.
CMT Member
Participate in discussion and take ownership of actions to ensure resolution of issues within their area of expertise.
Note Taker
Documents all CMT meetings to capture discussion points, actions, owners and deadlines.
Social Media Liaison
Social media expert who has preexisting accounts on social media platforms who professionally and accurately communicate with external and internal customers.
Trusted Advisor
Provides detailed specialized knowledge to provide additional capacity.














Tabletop Exercise

Every BCDRP requires a test to prove that it works and to identify areas that need improvement, also known as a tabletop exercise. Each participant undertakes the actions and tasks as they would during a real disaster. After the exercise, the team members identify the plan strategies that worked and did not work. Then they identify and implement actions that improve the plan, including adding them to the plan.
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BCDRP Terms Like any field, BCDRP has its own terms used by those who work with it to communicate. To help you better understand some of those terms. The table below lists and describes a number of those terms.

BCDRP Glossary

Term
Description
Awareness
To create understanding of basic BCDRP issues and limitations. This will enable staff to recognize threats and respond accordingly. Examples of creating such awareness include: distribution of posters and flyers targeted at company-wide audience or conducting specific business continuity briefings for executive management.
Backup
A process by which data, electronic or paper based is copied in some form so as to be available and used if the data from which it originated is lost, destroyed or corrupted.
Backup Generator
An independent source of power, usually fueled by diesel or natural gas.
Business Continuity
Capability of the organization to continue delivery of products or services at acceptable predefined levels following disruptive event
Business Continuity Plan
Documentation that contains all alternative activities to recover and continue disrupted business activities on an acceptable minimum level, including the transition back to normal operations.
Business Recovery
Recovery steps taken to resume the business within an acceptable time frame following a disruption.
Call Tree
A structured cascade process that enables a list of persons, roles or organizations to be contacted as a part of information exchange or plan invocation procedure. Includes a document that graphically depicts the calling responsibilities and the calling order used to contact management, employees, customers, vendors, and other key.
Communications Recovery
The restoration or rerouting of an organization’s telecommunication network so that it continues to work with few or no interruptions.
Desktop Exercise
Technique for training emergency teams in which participants review and discuss the actions they would take according to their plans, but do not perform any of these actions; can be conducted with a single team, or multiple teams, typically under the guidance of exercise facilitators. You can conduct them at your office, off-site, or in th e back of a truck. During a disaster, you don't always get to choose the best setting.
Disaster Management
Involves the management of an event appropriate to the severity and the impact of the event. It consists of the communication that occurs within the response phase of the continuity event management scenarios.
Disaster Recovery Plan
This refers to the management approved document that defines the resources, actions, tasks and data required to manage the technology recovery effort. It is the result of the Disaster Recovery Planning effort. Documentation that defines the resources, actions, tasks and data required to manage the technology recovery effort. Usually refers to the technology recovery effort.
Emergency Evacuation
The immediate and rapid movement of people to a place of safety away from an area that is subject to a potential imminent major disruption such as natural disasters or terrorist attack.
Emergency Management
Refers to the actions taken in response to an event that has occurred, or is anticipated, and the planning that precedes those actions. This primarily includes safety of employees and security of facilities. Medical alert teams, Floor Warden programs and regular fire drills would all be considered part of Emergency Management.
Emergency Response
The response of an organization to a disaster or other significant event that may significantly impact the organization, its people, or its ability to function productively. Emergency response may include evacuation of a facility, sheltering in place, ensuring the health and safety of employees, performing a damage assessment, and any other measures necessary to bring an organization to a more stable status after an event.
Go Bag
A bag, backpack or other easily transportable carrier, pre-filled with items individuals should have with them if directed to evacuate their home or workplace. The Go Bag should only be taken during the evacuation if it is immediately available and will not create a danger to others during the evacuation.
Loss
Negative consequence, which may be financial, e.g. loss of revenue or cash, or non-financial, e.g. loss of information, goodwill, economic value, function, natural resources, ecological systems, environmental impact, health deterioration, mortality, morbidity.
Off-Site Storage
Any place physically located a significant distance away from the primary site, where duplicated and vital records (hard copy or electronic or equipment) may be stored for use during recovery. Or, the process of storing hard copy or electronic records at a secure location removed from the normal place of use.