Thursday, September 08, 2005

Investigation? Are You Sure?????

Investigations are veritable treasure troves of information. The view of the value of this information generated is directly related to which side of the table you are on. I conducted two investigations as the investigating officer, and I did just about everything else for another one, when my boss was the named IO, however, I was the poor guy with the past experience with the issue at hand, so I may as well have been the IO as far as the work load I had. Senator Hillary Clinton is now demanding an investigation. Wonderful. I'd think the "breaking news" of the last few days regarding how the breached section of levee was actually the most recently reworked section, and how millions and millions have flowed into NO for such projects, but the money didn't seem to go where it was needed, would cause her to sit back in the saddle for a few weeks, and wait for the fallout to settle. It may come ouot that not only was there a disaster for humanity, but it may well turn out a pile of Democrats may end up looking rather stained by the results. Another issue is how to "man up" the investigative team. While it may be exciting for some old cronies of each party to come out and get a big paycheck in the service of their country, that sort of investigation, in recent history doesn't seem to get to the meat of the issues. I'd suggest, humbly, of course, that you put some of the best and brightest we have in the disater preparedness and recovery professions, as well as those from supporting disciplines, sucah as medical/public health, logistics/transportation, civil engineering, etc, etc, but you get the idea. This group has the potential of bringing us some information we can take to the bank, and have more hope pf things working out better in the future. I have a candidate in mind who has had experience in investigations of big and highly visible disaster: Admiral Hank Gehman, USN, Ret. I'm sure he can take the heat, and can lead an investigative team to a proper set of conclusions, FOR THE BETTERMENT OF OUR CITIZENS, and not the betterment (in terms of not getting caught) of politicians. His "black shoe" (Surface Warfare Officer) background and senior leadership positions have equipped him for such a task. I'd rather have a man of the caliber of Admiral John Bulkeley, but he's passed on, for the task. Besides getting MacArthur out of the Phillipines, he went on to head the Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey, and he doggedly pursured propblems aboard our ships, so future ship architects would build the ship's we needed. That's a story for another day. I met the man and he just was all business. We sure could use him right about now. General Schwartzkopf comes to mind as a man who could slice thru the BS and get us to where we need to be as well. Speaking of "black shoes," the next issue is how to conduct the investigation. We, the black shoes, who have been known to "eat our young," seem to be very anal retentive in the conduct of these types of fact finding missions. They have a two fold mission, and it's hard to figure out which takes the greater precedence sometimes, but the competition is between "What went wrong (so we can keep from it happening again)" and "who's the guilty 'ONE'?" We get to the bottom of it, but we like to know who to write up the UCMJ charges for, too. Contrasting this are my fellow aviators, the "brown shoes," when a crash type situation occurs, they immediately have a mishap board for the aircrew. from what I understand, the purpose is to figure out if there is some kind of mechanical or aerodynamic reason for the mishap. If so, they want to know right away, to save lives in expensive flying machines. Anything the crew spouts out in this forum is no longer fair game for disciplinary charges, so they regularly spill everything, knowing they have a form of immunity for what they have disclosed there. The thought to leave with is: They do this to save lives and airframes. Assessment of guilt will be handled later on, safety is paramount right now, while thoughts are fresh in people's minds. I also think Senator Clinton would be well advised to look at the recent debacle over the Rep Tom DeLay trip funding. The Democrats planted their battle standard and promptly found out they had also been funded in a like manner, and in some cases, hadn't filed the right reports. Once this happened, we just heard the crickets chirping away. Senator Clinton, get a clue before you end up with your party looking very bad over this..... More thoughts later, or not...I have notes from listening to the news today on this topic. Above, I have mentioned some...

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