Friday, March 6, 2009

Coming Down the Pipe...and it won't be pretty!

Good Afternoon!

Not sure if any of you have been following this story of how the current Administration and certain members of Congress are attempting to bring to trial Intelligence Community Personnel for torturing enemy combatants and certain High Value Targets captured across the globe.

Mark my words - these trials are going to happen!

It appears that some people in the current administration are getting what they want - proof that torture actually happened - through the actions of certain CIA Officials who destroyed video footage of this alleged torture. The question - "did persons in the employ of the United States torture enemy combatants?" - seems like a fair question to ask however it does not take a Harvard Law Degree to figure out that it did!

The recent CIA admission that it actually destroyed 93 interrogation tapes is cause for concern BUT is not an admission of guilt. The issue of torture is sharply politicized as is the reason why torture actually occurred. In the end it will be a sad day for our country when CIA agents and "contractors" are prosecuted for following orders but this topic goes much deeper in its nature and has the potential to derail the very fiber that holds the global war on terror together. A recent quip by Secretary Clinton that our image in the Middle East was lessened based on torture of prisoners is very slanted. Perhaps Madam Secretary should have looked at the list of countries where the "Rendition Program" actually dropped suspected enemy personnel - most were in the Middle East and ARE staunch allies of the US in the global war on terror.

As America ramped up after the attacks of 9/11 I remember sitting in a hotel room in Uzbekistan when the first laser guided munitions were dropped into Afghanistan and the POTUS stating that "any and all means would be used to bring these terrorists to justice as well as prevent other attacks."

As I did then...and do now...and state so emphatically...I agree with him!

I will go on record as stating that folks such as Mr Holder and other senior members of the Obama Administration as well as members of Congress have not thought this line of questioning through.

The enemy that we face will do anything in its power to destroy our way of life and they will not play by the rules. If you decide that you are going to take on the challenge then you have to willing to adapt to their thought process...just not their way of life.

Now for all my liberal friends please understand me - I am not stating that we throw the rules out the door at all - just the opposite. We need to maintain the moral high ground at all times however in matters where National Security comes into play or the likelihood of another catastrophic event (9/11 scenario or worse) could take place a process must be executed that takes into account the criticality posed by High Value Targets and the utilization of whatever means is necessary to extract relevant information to ensure the safety of our citizens, our allies and our way of life.

You can call it torture; you can call it extracting valuable information from operational threats. Whatever you call it know has saved lives!

Do I agree with Guantanamo....No!
Do I agree with torturing soldiers....No!
Do I think a sitting President has the responsibility to address those threats against his/her Nation in a manner that clearly utilizes all methods at his disposal...YES I DO!

Our country is facing very dark times and it would appear the current Administration is going to move forward with an inquiry into whether or not our Intelligence Community has tortured those in its custody. It is a shame that these same Administration Officials would jeopardize the lives of its citizenry in support of ideals and principles that our adversaries do not care about.

I can only hope these officials NEVER have to relive what happened that fateful day back in 2001 as our enemies are plotting to do just that...again!

Have a Great Weekend

Brian Hayes

Monday, February 23, 2009

Back...from the Attack

Hello All!

Well it has been an interesting several weeks. As many of you know I have a couple of real "kicker" illnesses that re-appeared and have required my utmost attention. In both cases I am moving ahead with some trepidation however forward progress can only be considered....good!

There is much to talk about in the news these days and many things I need to catch up on; stimulus packages; Bush/Cheney fighting (called that one!) and a myriad of issues that have a direct effect on the way each of us lives our lives. Too many roads to go down today in discussion but leave it to the Army Times to come up with a point of emphasis that I can run with.

I have always enjoyed the Army Times if for no other reason then for its "reporting" about what is happening in the service itself...but I digress...what drew me to today's copy was a cartoon that is a weekly staple of the paper. Pvt. Murphy's Law allows readers an inside view of Army life through the eyes of a private. Some of these comics are quite good and others are...well... open to imagination!

This weeks comic portrayed a young Army soldier (female) and a Muslim woman covered from head to toe in the traditional Burqa gazing at each other. The Army female was equipped with an M-4 rifle, combat helmet, boots and all the accoutrement's that being in combat affords soldiers these days. The Muslim woman is dressed so that the only thing visible are the hands and the eyes from under her burqa. For those of you who don't know, the burqa is the garment of choice in the Middle East and the one that covers the women most completely: either the eyes and hands are visible or nothing at all is visible.

Sorry fellas - no mid-drifts with this ensemble!

Originating in what is now Pakistan, it is more commonly associated with Afghanistan. Typically, a burqa is composed of many yards of light material pleated around a cap that fits over the top of the head, or a scarf over the face (save the eyes). To say it is not

Now all that said does anybody else see the cultural dichotomy of this cartoon? The United States sends thousands of female soldiers around the world in the pursuit of freedom and democracy yet those we protect are not afforded the same freedoms ALL of us enjoy. I look at the woman in the burqa and wonder what she might be thinking as G.I. Jane is standing there in all her regalia.

Mark Baker - who writes the cartoon - has pulled off a coup (if you will) of personal, religious and women's rights and freedoms in oppressive countries. No doubt the Muslim lady portrayed in the picture will never see this cartoon for what its net worth awareness! I will make some assumptions that others will see this and change could happen. Even if it does not it is still a very touchy subject and kudos for mark for addressing it!

You can view the whole set of comics at

Stay Warm and looking forward to getting back in the saddle!

Brian Hayes

Monday, February 2, 2009

Wait....Something More Important

February 2, 2009

I had originally intended on writing about the Center for a New American Security( today as I recently discussed this unique organization with several current and former military strategists however my usual ramblings took a different path as I was cut short by a co-worker asking if I had heard about the new Kevin Bacon film by HBO titled Taking Chance.

I mentioned that I had indeed heard about the film and then I fell silent for just a moment.

Now for those of you who have not seen or heard about this cinematic work let me be the first to warn you that it is and will be a major "tear jerker" no matter how hardened your heart is.

Mr. Bacon (expertly) plays Lt. Col. Michael Strobl, an officer in the United States Marine Corp who voluntarily accompanies the body of fallen Marine Private Chance Phelps as he is returned home for a military burial in Wyoming in 2004. Private Phelps was killed during intense ground combat by insurgents in Al Anbar Province, Iraq.

What this movie does is chronicles one of the silent, virtually unseen journeys that takes place every day across our great country, bearing witness to the fallen and all those who, literally and figuratively, carry them home.

Witnessing the spontaneous outpouring of support and respect for the fallen Marine - from the groundskeepers he passed along the road to the cargo handlers at the airport - Lt.Col. Strobl was moved to capture the experience in his personal journal. His first-person account, which began as an official trip report (every military event concludes with such) gives an insight into the policy of providing a uniformed escort for all casualties.

The story became an Internet phenomenon when it was widely circulated throughout the military community and eventually reached the mainstream media winning accolades and awards at the Sundance Film Festival.

In reading a recent quote regarding the movie, several words expressed by Lt.Col. Strobl resonated deeply with me:

“Perhaps it might be good if we saw or thought more about them than just a line in the newspaper and went on with our day...hopefully, this movie will make people realize"

As I have repeatedly watched the trailer, I think back to my time in both Iraq and Afghanistan where I witnessed remains leaving for the United States and the subsequent impact that single vision had on me. In the end it was nothing compared to the loss that a family suffers when their Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine comes home for final resting.

Taking Chance will undoubtedly pay tribute to all of the men and women who have given their lives in military service as well as their families who have suffered this loss. I can only hope that perhaps one of the major networks picks up this film and airs it in its entirety if only for the fact that it is a work that we as a Nation should all watch to fully understand and comprehend the cost of being free.

If you are not busy February 21st at 8PM and have access to cable TV and HBO I would suggest watching this I a Nation it is a must see.

Well done Kevin Bacon and HBO Films...and Thank You.

Brian Hayes

The trailer can be found here:

Friday, January 30, 2009

The Trouble with

30 January 2009

Although I am anxious to hit the movies this weekend to see "Taken" I have some other issues that will be the focus of much of my attention. As many of you know I have two sons; a 17 and 14 year old who are currently at war with each other.

Now to set the have to fully understand that both boys are the love of my life and each has qualities that resonate with me on different levels.

The eldest, Jake is an athlete and willing to try anything. I recently returned from a skiing trip with them and watching Jake manipulate his snowboard was absolutely magical. I have been skiing since I was 4 and I have seen both good and bad but to see Jake "free ride" is art all by itself.

Ian is the reserved yet very dedicated skier. He handles all the terrain on the mountain to include the big bumps and does so with gusto. He, like his elder sibling is masterful as he descends the mountain without any hesitation. His lines are clean and he is constantly chasing his brother to find the quickest, most difficult difficult path forward

And there is where the problem begins....

You see they have been inseparable since birth and now as one is older and "experiencing" life anybody that gets in his way is fair game...including his brother.

That is just not right!

Looks like I am in for a very long weekend of attempting to mend fences between the two.

Perhaps I should go to Sports Authority and buy some boxing gloves (like my Dad did) and do what my brother and I did to settle family arguments...fight each other!

Hmmm.....I miss my brother...I have not spoken to him in almost a year and have not seen him in ten years.

Brian Hayes

Thursday, January 29, 2009

When is an increase not good for our Soldiers

I recently read an article on regarding the rise in military suicides. I have attached the web version (link) below for everyone to review. Some sobering statistics.

The figures - as a segment of our national population - are not staggering (an often overly used DC term) however they do show a marked increases over the past several years specifically with our returning combat veterans. At least 125 soldiers were confirmed to have taken their own life in 2008, compared with 115 in 2007, 102 in 2006 and 87 in 2005. This figures show a definitive increase even though the services are rapidly moving to address the matter.

Army BG Sutton who is the director of the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury states that these men (and women) "have been exposed to the most corrosive environment known to warfare and that they have lost fellow soldiers and friends."


Now I don't know about you but BG Sutton's comments do not strike a very solid chord with me. We all understand that what they are seeing in war is not what you see in the video games however lets get past that and focus on the "what to do when soldiers return from combat duty" and how best to help them adapt.

I never made the rank of General nor did I play one on TV however a rational person looking at this would say that since these deaths are all occurring once soldiers redeploy shouldn't we concentrate our collective efforts at that point versus worrying about the prosecution of the war?

Too many times, and in this case too many dollars are being spent incorrectly. Assisting troops as they go through the decompression stage of returning home as well as providing outlets so that these losses decrease should be the core focus of BG Sutton, the DoD and the Veterans Administration rather then discussing what they do in combat. We get that! What we don't get is how we can afford to let this increase over the past several years continue to...well...increase without putting in check what we have supposedly accomplished to date.

No doubt this will be high on the list of the new incoming VA Secretary, GEN (Ret) Shinseki as he prepares for confirmation hearings. Although it is a very somber topic I am anxious to hear how this old soldier plans to fight this campaign

Brian Hayes

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


January 28, 2009

As many of you know I have worked across the globe in a multitude of high-risk, high reward assignments however my current position takes me into the world of the "not-for profit community"

Now let me first state that I love what I do - other then being a soldier it is the most tangible assignment I have ever had and affords me the opportunity to look in the mirror at the end of the day and KNOW that I really have made a difference!

So why am I writing about expectations and the management of such?

Well when a task is given to a professional person in a professional organization one expects that a professional effort will be given in completing said tasks. Right?

That is an assumption that is best left on the side of the road these days. As a manager one must continually follow-up with ones subordinates - that is a given - but as I make my way through this organization I am met with possibilities that doing things the right way is not always the "right way"

I was floored earlier today after being called in and "told" that I needed to be "reeled in" only because "we cant move that fast" - never mind that the customer wants and needs our product or that we have already pledged to meet his timeline without fail in order to secure the work. The expectations of others (our customers) don't matter; what does matter is the internal expectation that (get this...!) everybody is happy.

It amazing to me that these organizations survive. I had heard it one time previously but again it was said with vigor and zest today; "time lines are merely tools to measure how late we will be in delivering a product to our customer"

I I still active on

Brian Hayes

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Tip of the Spear

I recently read and interesting piece in the American Thinker - the article dealt with the recent developments in the Middle East and specifically the fight in Gaza. One quote from the piece resonates with me the most:

"Whether we could or we couldn't or we did or we didn't doesn't matter. They believe we have the capability."

In defeating terrorism a Nation has a right to use whatever means it has at its disposal - what Israel did (besides administering a blistering ground/air campaign) was to initiate an informational campaign based on its its enemies perception of "what Israel could do technologically." Israel knew this and played it out in the prosecution of the campaign and then sat back (euphemistically) and watched the enemy react.

When historians look back at the actions executed by Israel no doubt they will concentrate heavily on the Hamas/Iranian connection. Too much has been captured (and destroyed) by Israel not to fully implicate the Iranians in sponsorship. Only time will tell.

This was a great piece by Mr Joel Sparyregen and well worth the read. Whether you agree or disagree with the issues surrounding the circumstances you at least need a clear and accurate picture. After talking to contacts in the area and bouncing information back and forth this is as balanced a piece as you will find. Too bad it is only the first in many in an ongoing struggle with no end in sight.

Brian Hayes

Full Article

On Point....Running and Driving in Northern Virginina

For some very interesting reason it would appear that once the white stuff starts hitting the ground people just seem to loose it; all sense of civility and even more importantly a sense of what to do.

I began my day today just like any other ...with PT regimen commencing at roughly 530AM. Nobody on the road, a light snow falling and I am wearing...shorts! I do not go for all that frilly running gear they sell at the high end running boutiques. I spend the money on shoes and not on outer garments. That said when the first vehicle approached me with its high-beams and came within a shoe length of plowing into me I could easily make out the driver glancing at her (not a him this time...a her) Blackberry or other like device.

As I recovered from jumping into the grass and ensuring I had everything still attached I continued on my way. I have a route that snakes through neighborhoods which are easier to navigate and keep me away from the traffic yet I still had a quarter of a mile to go till I reached the turn-off and hit Nirvana...the place where my music and breathing become one...but alas another driver had plans for me!

You see I run on the Old Mount Vernon Highway outside of Ft Belvoir. It's a great course but the road itself lends runners to running against the traffic. Its amazing what you can "see" when cars are hurling towards you! I have almost been hit by a young couple sharing a bowl of cereal; a drunk driver who cursed at me violently and several other speeders who always seem to float to the right as they chat on the phone.

I bring up the aforementioned cases only as I make the turn and am immediately confronted with (another) a man on a cell phone who plows through the intersection only to quickly correct his deviation while I (again) dive for the trees.

So I guess the point of this fine rambling is that it has nothing to do with the weather; people just don't care about the act of driving. We have become a society that multi-tasks to the detriment of everything else we do; whether that be driving, texting, eating or chatting or in my case running! SO now add to my daily routine "dodging oncoming multi-taskers who just don't care."

That is Life On Point view...rain, shine or in the case of getting to DC today....snow!

Brian Hayes

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Life On Point Blog

Welcome Everybody!

So this is our first foray into the world of blogging. As the President and CEO of Life On Point Consultants (LOPC) headquartered in Northern Virginia. I will be utilizing this venue to discuss what we at LOPC think are important issues associated not only with our business practice but also life in general; everything from politics in Washington to the traffic in NOVA!

On behalf of LOPC we look forward to hearing from you as we begin this effort and not hold back!


Mr. Brian Hayes
Life On Point Consultants