Monday, June 19, 2006

When not to be on the front page of the news


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Originally uploaded by drsash.
Two articles from the New York Times reminds me that sometimes transparency strains an organization. First, word of a well-known former Coastie (who still trades on being a Coastie) might have crossed some ethical boundaries.
WASHINGTON, June 18 — When the storm erupted several months ago over plans by a United Arab Emirates-based company to take over management of a half-dozen American port terminals, one voice resonated in Washington.

"The top priority should be working with the overseas terminal operators and putting in place a system that is being piloted in Hong Kong," Mr. Flynn told a House panel in March. "We have to view every container as a Trojan horse."

Homeland Security Department officials and lawmakers had been aware of the innovative port security approach in Hong Kong, but they had been reluctant to embrace it, convinced that screening every container at a port would be impractical. Mr. Flynn's forceful advocacy has changed that view.

But as Democrats and Republicans rushed to act on his advice, one fact usually remained in the background: From 2003 until 2005, he was a paid consultant to the Science Applications International Corporation, or S.A.I.C., the San Diego company that manufactured the system and could make hundreds of millions of dollars if its port security solution is adopted worldwide.
And, second, breaking news that the first courts martial at the Coast Guard Academy has kicked off with a plea of not guilty.
At the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, where cadets in pressed shirts and gold-buttoned blazers train to become officers, a court-martial this week could provide a far less distinguished view of student life, one involving sex and drinking to the brink of unconsciousness.

Cadet Webster Smith, 22, pleaded not guilty Monday to charges of rape, sodomy, extortion and assault at the start of his court-martial, the first of its kind in the 130-year history of the academy.

Smith faced misconduct accusations from several female cadets. Pretrial testimony in the case centered on several nights of heavy drinking, including one in June 2005 in Annapolis, Md.
Who was it would said "the only thing worse than being in the news is not being in the news"?

1 comment:

  1. I read this article and have to wonder why people always have to look for the bad in everything. Flynn's endorsement should get less weight because he did part-time consulting for SAIC? Ridiculous. If companies didn't go out and get experts to endorse their solutions then people would complain about that as well.

    I think Flynn is right on the money. Container security is a huge gap and he is passionate about getting the government to do something be it SAIC's solution or another. Flynn is an academic, and yes academics tend to sit in their ivory towers keeping themselves pure from evil industry. But Flynn spent 20 years as a CG officer. CG officers are responders. They see a problem and want to fix it not for personal gain but for the service it provides. You can't just extract that once the retirement letter is final. People don't understand the culture of the CG and it affects so many things.

    As for the factory story....let's just say it shouldn't have been the first cout martial in canoe u's history.

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