Sunday, August 29, 2010
I received numerous inquires over the past week regarding the new direction for Life On Point Consultants (LOPC) and what we were working on. Suffice to say that our latest efforts will take us to a region where I personally have not operated in but have a wide familiarity with. LOPC is also working on initiatives within Mexico and the Horn of Africa for both private and federal entities as we move from 2010 to 2011.
If it seems like I am being vague…well I am…but that is only to protect both ongoing operations as well as to ensure that our future initiatives are not compromised in any way. In close discussions with the LOPC Chief Operating Officer (COO) and supported elements across the globe we will expand what we currently provide to our customers in the way of Strategic Leadership, Program Management Support and Critical Infrastructure Protection.
I know…these are all big words and you are still asking…”so what does it mean Brian?” – well let me give you some background on one of the prime areas that LOPC and its staff are now focusing on…the Union of Myanmar…or as many know it…the country of Burma.
For more than five decades, Burma has been entrenched in political and armed conflict between the repressive ruling military regime, political opponents, and ethnic groups, resulting in the displacement of over 3.5 million Burmese. While many inside the intelligence community as well as LOPC strongly believe only a change in political leadership can address the structural causes of poverty in Burma, few forecast an end to the country’s political stalemate. It is my personal belief that the international community must do more to address the humanitarian needs of Burma’s 55 million people in the absence of political progress.
Although Burma is a resource-rich country with a strong agricultural base, it is one of the poorest countries in the world. According to a published UNICEF report, under-5 child mortality averages 104 per 1,000 children, the second-highest rate outside Africa, after Afghanistan. Burma also has the highest HIV rates in Southeast Asia, and malaria, a treatable and preventable disease, is still the leading cause of mortality and morbidity. Despite this, Burma receives less international assistance at just $4 per person; less than any other of the poorest nations in the world, where the average is $42.30 per person.
Following the disaster caused by Cyclone Nargis in May 2008, international aid entered the country at an unprecedented rate. Because of these increased resources, aid agencies report an unprecedented level of access and mobility. But the gains these agencies have made in delivering relief supplies, gathering information about needs and supporting local communities are at risk without continued international support for food security, livelihood and early recovery activities. Many donors have begun to increase resources for nation-wide operations, but as of yet, the US government lags behind other countries in helping to alleviate poverty in Burma.
The Life On Point Team…Our Efforts in Burma
As previously detailed I will be heading to the region to begin working with the Life On Point Consultants supported contractor and the various humanitarian organizations within Burma in bringing aid, training and support to these impoverished and persecuted peoples. My staff, and especially our COO will keep you all updated while I am away with insights and situational reports (when available) … suffice to say I see this as a serious issue and a threat to freedom abroad.
Regards…and enjoy the rest of the summer!
Thursday, August 26, 2010
26 August 2010
It has been quite awhile since I have posted to the BLOG and much has happened over the past 20 + days! I have heard from many of you inquiring about my health, the book, the kids and my future plans. To put everyone at ease...you should know that my health has stabilized somewhat and that I am feeling considerably better then I have at any point over the past five months.
The ACE/I that I am currently taking has made a huge impact on my life...at least in the short-term...and given me back a measure of functionality that was missing from my life since April 14, 2010. Gone are the blackouts and low blood pressure issues that punctuated my daily routine...my heart is not getting better but it is not deteriorating as quickly as it had in the past...and my kidneys have done a complete "180" ...so yes...I am in a better place then when I last chatted with many of you. More about that later....
The day has finally come when our eldest son, Jake, heads off to college. Suffice to say there is an equal measure of both exhilaration as well as sadness as he moves to this next phase in his life. Gone are the days of the little kid learning to ski; afternoons at Holy Cross Academy; the young hockey player at the Fredericksburg Ice Park and the many high school lacrosse games across the state....all replaced by the stark reality that he is now a college student...an athlete...and now...an adult!
As many of you know Jake will be heading out to Ferrum College (www.ferrum.edu) to play Lacrosse and ultimately...to study business administration. It has been a long summer leading up to this moment...and one that was punctuated by equal amounts of travel, friends, additional travel and finally...yes more travel! Jake spent a good part of his summer on the road with his brother, his close friends and visiting relatives...and a large portion of that time was spent at the beach. He called me yesterday from Virginia Beach where he and his friends had gone for the day...in a last ditch effort to capture some "rays" before everyone in his inner circle finally disperses and heads off to school.
As I look back over the past 18 years, I have often told both Jake and Ian that I remember (vividly) the day that each of them was born....as well as the ensuing emotions over those years...as they developed and matured into the young men they are today. They don't necessarily understand why I tell them this...but one day...when they become parents...they will! To see Jake packing his stuff up to finally leave is bittersweet as a parent...proud of this accomplishment on the one hand...and yet...sad...as he moves on with this next chapter in his life.
When I see Jake take off for the western portion of Virgina here in a couple of days I will be overcome with emotion...just as I was on the day he was born. You see...Jake has become a "go to guy" when things needed to be done or I needed help in any way...Jake (and Ian) was always there...he was a cornerstone for me over the past couple of months given all the medical issues I was tending to and I know he will continue to be there...its just he will be 4.5 hours away...and so meeting at Potomac Mills, or on Route 610 or at the house will soon become a distant memory...and it is those memories that I will always cherish...and yes Jake...I will always remember the good looking kid pulling up in the parking lot with his sun glasses on and stepping out...always with an air of confidence...and always ready to banter with his Dad no matter the situation.
Jake recently had his wisdom teeth taken out and I went to the dentist office with him. He suffered through the painful extraction of four teeth with only general Novocaine...suffice to say he was in quite a bit of pain for a few days following that...but true to form...he was soon up and running around...and back at the beach with his friends! I was happy that the extraction was not the final memory that he had from the summer of 2010...and hopefully the day of wake boarding we recently had will also hold a special place in his heart as well!
I will miss him when he goes...I know its easier today to stay in touch with phone and email as well as social networking...but not having him close really drives home the fact that we are all getting older...and that life does go on! Jake will have a host of activities and early morning classes to keep him occupied...not to mention college lacrosse season as well...but I am sure that when the money runs dry or a new stick, clothes, computer or shoes are needed...or just some sage advice...Dad will always be on speed dial...as it has been so many times in the past...and will be well into the future! I look forward to those calls Jake...and I will always be there to answer!
Ian and I spoke yesterday as well...he is running cross country for Colonial Forge High School this year...and he had just made it through his first team practice...and he let me know...he was hurting! I know the pain he went through and will go through as he pushes himself in preparation for the season opener. Cross country was an event I ran in high school as well...many hours spent recovering from the miles as well as spills encountered out on the trail... but Ian is a runner...and built like one...he has morphed into this long and lean machine capable of racking up the miles...I have no doubt that he will excel at this sport! He also has hockey season quickly approaching and will assume his position as goaltender once again...we are anxiously awaiting his first game!
For those of you wondering....yes...the book is already available in "e-format" version through venues such as Amazon.com or E-books.com...but please...do not buy it...at least not yet...the first run did not incorporate the pictures that I had originally submitted and I am holding the publisher accountable to make sure that this effort encapsulates everything that I put into it...I hope to have the hard copies in my hand in the coming weeks and will disperse them accordingly. One venue in Stafford, VA has already agreed to keep the book on its shelf and IAVA as well as other veteran organizations in the DC area are also looking at "sponsoring" the roll out of the book...more to follow on that!
Life On Point Consultants (LOPC) has also taken off and is currently working for a major Not For Profit Organization in California with a strategic focus on humanitarian work throughout Asia. I will travel to the region here shortly to lend subject matter expertise to ongoing efforts. The LOPC website (lifeonpointconsultants.com) will be updated once I return to reflect the new direction and organizational approach in working in Asia as well as our other initiatives across the globe. Additionally a new LOPC Chief Operating Officer will also be introduced at that time...in this role she will assume responsibility for ensuring that both the LOPC mission as well as future operational initiatives are carried out in a professional manner. We are very excited this new venture and how it will impact not only LOPC but the federal and private sector clients we currently serve.
That is it....but more to follow!
Monday, August 2, 2010
Good Morning! I hope that this finds everyone well and enjoying the heat! This is a very short posting about an incredible story getting ready to air on National Geographic. A good friend (Rosemary) from NY sent this to me recently…it had a profound impact on me for several reasons based not only on my doctorate work but also working with a soldier in the DC area.
As some of you know I had worked at the Walter Reed Medical Facility in DC a couple of years back while doing “pre-doc research” into PTSD. At that time I met a young Army Sergeant who was being treated for severe depression bought on by PTSD. His story is not unlike the young Army Captain chronicled in the National Geographic TV piece...suffice to say that they both suffered from PTSD from what they had viewed in Iraq and Afghanistan. When this veteran was given a “working dog” to help comfort him from the continuous nightmares he was suffering from, the positive change was almost instantaneous.
The animal allowed the young man to immediately regain his functionality, independence and personal motivation. The VA recognized this and hired him to work with other like veterans in the DC area showing how these working dogs can help veterans cope with the debilitating effects of PTSD.
I recently saw this Sergeant and he told me how he had regressed after the animal died unexpectedly but that through the working dog program at the VA he was able to continue to not only get better but to help others with similar issues find greater independence. On one hand it was a sad story…but it also goes to show the healing power of animals for some of our veterans suffering from PTSD.
I hope you will take a moment and watch the show Sunday 8 August 2010 titled…”and Man created Dog”…I have copied the link below.