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  • Great Powers: America and the World After Bush
    Great Powers: America and the World After Bush
    by Thomas P.M. Barnett
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    Blueprint for Action: A Future Worth Creating
    by Thomas P.M. Barnett
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    The Pentagon's New Map: War and Peace in the Twenty-first Century
    by Thomas P.M. Barnett
  • Romanian and East German Policies in the Third World: Comparing the Strategies of Ceausescu and Honecker
    Romanian and East German Policies in the Third World: Comparing the Strategies of Ceausescu and Honecker
    by Thomas P.M. Barnett
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    by Vonne M. Meussling-Barnett, Thomas P.M. Barnett
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    The Emily Updates (Vol. 2): One Year in the Life of the Girl Who Lived (The Emily Updates (Vols. 1-5))
    by Thomas P.M. Barnett, Vonne M. Meussling-Barnett
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    The Emily Updates (Vol. 3): One Year in the Life of the Girl Who Lived (The Emily Updates (Vols. 1-5))
    by Thomas P.M. Barnett, Vonne M. Meussling-Barnett
  • The Emily Updates (Vol. 4): One Year in the Life of the Girl Who Lived (The Emily Updates (Vols. 1-5))
    The Emily Updates (Vol. 4): One Year in the Life of the Girl Who Lived (The Emily Updates (Vols. 1-5))
    by Thomas P.M. Barnett, Vonne M. Meussling-Barnett
  • The Emily Updates (Vol. 5): One Year in the Life of the Girl Who Lived (The Emily Updates (Vols. 1-5))
    The Emily Updates (Vol. 5): One Year in the Life of the Girl Who Lived (The Emily Updates (Vols. 1-5))
    by Vonne M. Meussling-Barnett, Thomas P.M. Barnett, Emily V. Barnett
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2:55PM

(RESILIENT BLOG) A Squirrelly Argument Regarding Critical Infrastructure And Our Resilience In The Face Of Attacks

THE NATIONAL SECURITY COMMUNITY TENDS TO ATTRACT DOOMSDAY TYPES, WHILE THE UTILITIES SECTOR TENDS TO ATTRACT PRETERNATURALLY CALM ENGINEER TYPES - GO FIGURE! That's the just the nature of their respective businesses, so no big surprise that, when national security officials highlight the hacking threat to critical infrastructures (most frequently, electrical grids), plenty of practitioners in the utilities arena counter that "alarmism" with more prosaic examples of power outages - namely, those caused by rodents and birds. This is a classic argument between those who focus their professional attention on low-probability/high-impactevents (e.g., foreign military hackers attacking our critical infrastructure as a prelude to war-initiation) and those who must deal with high-probability/low-impact events - like a squirrel chewing through a wire and triggering a local blackout ...

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1:52PM

(RESILIENT BLOG) The Ultimate Enemy Of Resilience – And Democracy – Is Fear Of The Future

THE POOR WANT PROTECTION FROM THEIR CIRCUMSTANCES WHILE THE RICH WANT PROTECTION FROM THE POOR, BUT THE MIDDLE CLASS WANTS PROTECTION FROM THE FUTURE. They've achieved something both modest in scope but profound in political implications - a good life that they seek to protect. And when that middle class no longer feels sanguine about the future? Then their fears become the political system's driving dynamics ...

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3:05PM

(RESILIENT BLOG) Police Pioneering Minority Report-Like, Big Data-Driven, Predictive Technique On Individual Criminals

AS THE U.S. MILITARY EMBRACED COUNTER-INSURGENCY AND "SMALL WARS" AFTER 9/11, IT INVARIABLY PIVOTED FROM CLASSIC DEFENSE TO UNCONVENTIONAL SECURITY, AND - SINCE THEN - THAT SHIFT HAS TRICKLED DOWN TO POLICE DEPARTMENTS ACROSS THE NATION IN THE FORM OF REVOLUTIONARY TECHNOLOGIES DEVELOPED AND FIELDED. If you're the type who errs on the side of 9/11 changed everything, then this is a good example of its wide impact: what began in the national-security community, driven by the ambition and urgency to connect the dots, now migrates into law enforcement. Drones fall into this category (they connect the dots operationally and tactically in a myriad of ways), and so do Big Data techniques designed to sniff out potentialities and likelihoods ...

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2:33PM

(RESILIENT BLOG) The Big (Ratings) Short(age), or Why a Soda-Straw View of Enterprise Resilience Doesn't Cut it Anymore

WE HAVE LONG DEFINED ECONOMIC RESILIENCE OVERWHELMINGLY IN TERMS OF CREDIT RATINGS, AND IT IS THAT SODA-STRAW VIEW OF MODERN COMPLEXITY THAT LEAVES US FATALISTIC ABOUT "TOO WHATEVER TO FAIL" SCENARIOS.  As the book/movie, "The Big Short" made abundantly clear, we expect far too much from our classic credit rating systems (Standard & Poor's, Moody's), which are themselves subject to the same competitive pressures (in effect, rating-shopping by customers) as any other business enterprise. Now, a depressing NYT article about a recent SEC industry review suggests that little has changed since the 2008-09 Subprime Crisis . . .

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2:30PM

(RESILIENT BLOG) Nations Are Only As Resilient As Their Middle Class is Happy

IN HIS BRILLIANT BOOK ON "THE MORAL CONSEQUENCES OF ECONOMIC GROWTH," HARVARD POLITICAL ECONOMIST BENJAMIN FRIEDMAN DEMONSTRATED HOW AMERICA'S RESILIENCE AS A NATION IS - AND ALWAYS HAS BEEN - DIRECTLY RELATED TO THE ECONOMIC VITALITY OF ITS MIDDLE CLASS.  Whenever that middle class enjoyed rising income and expanding economic opportunity, the nation was more welcoming of immigrants, more tolerant of diversity, more progressive in its reforms, and more beneficently - and outwardly - focused in its state affairs.  In short, a happy middle class makes for a better America and better American leadership in this world.  But, when the opposite conditions arise, and the US middle class feels pressed upon, marginalized, and economically threatened, then America inevitably turns less welcoming of immigrants, less tolerant of diversity, more regressive in its politics, and more withdrawn from global affairs . . .

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1:54PM

(RESILIENT BLOG) The World’s Greatest Stability Enabler – Can North American Agriculture Remain Resilient?

WHEN I FIRST SAW THIS CHART IN THE WASHINGTON POST ALMOST A DECADE AGO, I WAS GENUINELY SHOCKED TO REALIZE HOW CENTRAL TO GLOBAL FOOD SECURITY NORTH AMERICA HAD BECOME. The chart basically shows which regions in the world produce more grains than they need, thus making them available for export - in a net fashion. That's the key point:  everyone exports some grains, but which regions export more than they import? Where are the reserves in the global food system? Where can we count on our resilience as food producers to keep feeding humanity?

 

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2:37PM

(RESILIENT BLOG) Ukraine's Electrical Grid Gets Knocked Down, But It Gets Up Again … In a Sign of Threats to Come

RUSSIA IS OFTEN CREDITED WITH EXPLORING THE SUB-THRESHOLDS OF TRADITIONAL STATE-ON-STATE WARFARE, OR WHAT ONE DEFENSE ACADEMIC HAS DUBBED "GREY-ZONE CONFLICTS."  In some ways, Moscow's experiments in interstate aggression represent a continuing acknowledgment of the overarching strategic reality of mutually assured destruction created by the still-formidable nuclear arsenals of the world's major military powers - i.e., Russia knows not to go there.  But great powers still want to act like great powers, so they meddle, they intervene, they topple governments, they support proxies in civil wars, they build artificial islands and militarize them, they insert computer viruses into other states' networks . . . and sometimes they merely send a signal like I can turn off your lights whenever I want . . .

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2:32PM

(RESILIENT BLOG) Strategy & Culture as Dimension of Resilience: Uber’s Strategy Lacks Cultural Awareness

UBER IS A FASCINATING COMPANY THAT'S STEAMROLLED ITS WAY GLOBALLY TO A VALUATION ON PAR WITH HONDA AND GM, but the Achilles heel of its planet-conquering strategy is the assumption that it can transplant its northern Californian business values to any society and watch them remake the local cultural landscape.  Resilient Corporation's focus on Culture & Strategy as one of its Ten Dimensions of Resilient might, at first glance, suggest a rating of inner functionality only, but, in truth, both enterprise strategy and enterprise culture are meaningless measures when glimpsed in isolation from the external environment.  In short, strategy without cultural awareness is closer to self-deluding hallucination than genuine vision . . .

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3:03PM

(RESILIENT BLOG) A Troubling Start to 2016 and Global Energy Security

NBC News CRUDE OIL PRICES ARE PRESENTLY TESTING HISTORIC LOWS, WITH "NEW" IRANIAN OIL SET TO HIT THE MARKET IN 2016.  In general, that's good news for a global economy that's greatly benefited from lower energy prices thanks to the North American-led fracking revolution in tight oil and shale gas production.  That production growth has allowed the US to continue to cut its crude oil imports, thus allowing major Persian Gulf exporters to further concentrate on meeting South and East Asia's ever growing demand ...

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3:41PM

(RESILIENT BLOG) Government and Corporate Transparency Are Resilience Indicators

 

RESILIENT CORPORATION'S STOCK-IN-TRADE IS BASICALLY TRANSPARENCY IN THE SERVICE OF ORGANIZATIONAL RESILIENCE.  Everybody talks about resilience, but few can agree on what it means because it's so inherently specific to any enterprise's goals and missions.  That's why we define resilience as an organization’s capacity to anticipate disruptions, adapt to events, and create lasting value.  That last bit about "lasting value" may strike you as a bit of a punt on our part - Shouldn't you be more specific? But if you're talking to the entire universe of public and private enterprises out there, you need to leave in that definitional space for them to individually declare what it is they're trying to protect in terms of their core enterprise functioning/service/goal . . .


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1:07PM

(RESILIENT BLOG) Dependency as Vulnerability Means the Best Cyberdefense is a Wicked Cyberoffense

NATIONAL SECURITY, AS A BUSINESS DOMAIN, IS DRIVEN BY THE MANTRA OF "BE AFRAID, BE VERY AFRAID.  When we're just talking among ourselves, the conversation remains professional.  But there's always that temptation to go all apocalyptic when you take those conversations into the public realm.  It's the old if you only knew what I know trump-card that any professional has a hard time not using.  We can currently blame this dysfunctional dialogue on the media (driven to sensationalism) and the Internet (nutcases galore), but we cannot dismiss the grounded reality at the core of these discussions, which is dependency as vulnerability . . . 

 

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11:17AM

Check it out: "The Past as a Prologue: The Future of the U.S. Military in One Graphic"

The author is Daniel Sukman -- strategist in the U.S. Army and a member of the Military Writers Guild

Interesting and ambitious look at US military operations since 1980, positing logical operational postures for the Combatant Commands on that basis.  Starts off with a fascinating world map, and then goes through the COCOMs individually.  Very nicely executed.

The conclusion caught Dave Emery's eye, so he sent it to me.

Conclusion

The New Map…The Non-Integrating Gap aligns with U.S. Operations over the past 30 years

Interestingly, this review of operations since 1980 confirms the Non-Integrating Gap theory proposed by Thomas Barnett in his seminal book, The Pentagon’s New Map. According to Barnett, areas of lesser development — Latin America, the Middle East, and areas of the Pacific — constitute this gap. Moreover, use of the military element of national power tends to occur in these areas. Nations outside of the gap tend to resolve conflict without outside intervention.

To address global requirements, Barnett introduced the concept of the Leviathan and Sysadmin force. In Barnett’s paradigm, the focus of the Leviathan force is major combat operations. The focus of the Sysadmin force is other missions ranging from humanitarian assistance to “Phase 4” nation building activities.

The creation of the Sysadmin and Leviathan force as envisioned by Barnett may not achievable in an era of fiscal constraints. However, the joint force should prioritize the ten missions outlined in the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review per geographic area of responsibility. Using the past as a prologue indicates the feasibility of this approach.

 

1:40PM

(RESILIENT BLOG) Rating US Healthcare Systems On Infectious Diseases: Which US States Are Most Resilient?

IN THE ADVANCED WEST, WE'VE LONG AGO SHIFTED OUR THINKING ON HEALTHCARE FROM INFECTIOUS DISEASES TO CHRONIC OR "LIFESTYLE" DISEASES.    Why?  Vaccines, antibiotics, and better sanitation in general put most infectious diseases (and subset communicable diseases) in the West's rearview mirror, compared to the East and South. Plus, they've been our biggest killers for a long time, thanks to modernization. Moreover, the big medical gains that we've seen with globalization's spread include a strong shift from infectious to chronic diseases in the "rising" East and a similarly unfolding shift across the South.  Now, of the top-ten killers in the world, according to the WHO, seven are considered chronic problems  That's the good news ...

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1:27PM

(RESILIENT BLOG) The Case of Preparedness v. Resilience

IT'S AN OLD QUESTION WITHIN SECURITY COMMUNITIES: DO YOU FOCUS ON THE "LEFT" OR THE "RIGHT" OF THE "BOOM"? In other words, how much do you focus on what you can do prior to the bad event (boom) versus what you can manage following the event. Thinking more externally to your immediate environment, like a Department of Defense does, Left tends to equate to pre-emption, best-defense-is-a-good-offense, power projection, and the like, while Right tends to be your perimeter and close-in defenses (keep 'em out, shoot 'em down, and so on). Thinking more internal to your environment, like - say - a Department of Homeland Security should, Left of Boom would be more about preparedness to deal with the aftermath (bit more top-down, Federal), while Right of Boom would be more in the resilience realm - or making everything more flexible, recoverable, adaptable from the bottom-up (more local, enterprise, state-focused). So, preparedness tends to be more about stuff (resources, capabilities) that can be scrambled, delivered, and distributed, while resilience tends to be more about behavior (plans, readiness, response patterns, workarounds) ...

 

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2:43PM

(RESILIENT BLOG) EU Leapfrogs US On Data Privacy Rules – And Punishments, Creating A Regulatory Disruption

Earth within a water drop. Ecosystem conceptTHE EUROPEAN UNION FANCIES ITSELF AS A "RULES SUPERPOWER," meaning it creates new rules within its ranks and, by the power of its economic heft, they are effectively "exported" to other regions in a sort of regulatory osmosis (you do business with Europe, you adapt to those rules, those rules spread throughout your enterprise).

Fair enough, and certainly something the U.S. has been doing on trade for decades ...

 

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3:34PM

(RESILIENT BLOG) Lack Of Enterprise Resilience Is Often . . . The Rest Of The Story.

RADIO PERSONALITY PAUL HARVEY LOVED TO REVEAL "THE REST OF THE STORY" in his regular segment of the same name.  He'd lay out some well-known story of success or failure, describe the great turning point in that trajectory, and then provide the hidden historical nugget that explained that triumph or tragedy from an entirely new perspective.  In many ways, his stories were about resilience, with "the rest" always being some description of an inner strength or weakness unmentioned by history . . .

 

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1:36PM

(RESILIENT BLOG) How Climate Change Will Test Our Resilience On A Very Local – Even Intimate – Level

gr1LIVING IN THE NORTHERN UNITED STATES, ONE DOESN'T EXPECT TO CONTRACT ESSENTIALLY TROPICAL DISEASES LIKE MALARIA (see Lancet's chart on left), and yet, would you be surprised that, in the early-to-mid-19th century, Norwegian pioneers settling in Wisconsin - as a rule - feared malaria significantly more than cholera?  Malaria actually remained endemic in much of the United States (more in the South, obviously) through the 1940s, whereas today in a state like Wisconsin, virtually all cases that present themselves (roughly a dozen a year) feature travelers just back from tropical locations.  But that's changing, per a great WAPO in-depth story of a few days back ...


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1:05PM

(RESILIENT BLOG) Everybody Talks About The [Insert Gripe Here], But Nobody Does Anything About It . . . Without First Establishing Metrics

Resilient CorporationTHE ORIGINAL QUOTE, MISTAKENLY ATTRIBUTED TO MARK TWAIN, CONCERNED THE WEATHER, BUT WE COULD EASILY INSERT "RESILIENCE" TODAY - ALSO MISTAKENLY. It would be a mistake because a lot of people all over the world are working resilience, and yet, like any triumphant management buzzword (big enough to create a C-suite position trend), there's a significant range of thinking as to what the term actually means - hence the interesting blog post ("What is This Thing Called Resilience") by a Harvard academic last year on that very subject. The author, Eric J. McNulty, currently serves as director of research at the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative at Harvard's JFK School ...

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12:25PM

(RESILIENT BLOG) Resilience Begins In Your Head – Or, You’re Only As Brittle As You Think You Are

Image courtesy of nattavut at FreeDigitalPhotos.netAGE IS WHATEVER YOU THINK IT IS.  YOU ARE AS OLD AS YOU THINK YOU ARE - MUHAMMAD ALI.

Well, a couple of new medical studies suggest that your lifelong attitude toward aging and cognitive decline may significantly shape your risk of suffering Alzheimer's Disease in your elder years:

In the first study, researchers looked at data from 158 healthy people without dementia enrolled in the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA). In order to find out how people in the study felt about age stereotypes, researchers used a scale with statements like “older people are absent-minded” or “older people have trouble learning new things.” People in the study gave these answers when they were in their 40s ...

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2:34PM

(RESILIENT BLOG) Globalization = Industrial Agriculture = Monoculture = Loss Of Resilience?

WHEN IT COMES TO THINKING ABOUT THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT (TEOTWAWKI [tee-oh-tuh-WA-ki] as we used to call it during the Y2K build-up), science fiction films provide a great venue for projecting today's fears upon tomorrow's technological landscapes. But those fears shift over time. My favorite example:  I grew up with "Soylent Green" (so many people, we've got to eat them!) but settled into my middle-age with "Children of Men" (nobody's having babies anymore!). What happened between those two films was (a) China's one-child policy and (b) ultrasound technology reaching India and allowing abortions en masse (naturally in favor of males - just like China, which "exported" the surplus females via transnational adoption) ...

 

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