A Navy SEAL Provides Lessons on Security

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Ali-Reza Anghaie


Book Review: "Powerful Peace: A Navy SEAL's Lessons on Peace from a Lifetime at War"

Today I found out Amazon is listing Powerful Peace for pre-order and I'm happy - delighted even - to provide you my review based on a review copy provided by author J. Robert DuBois. Since Doctor Who is not in season there will be no Spoilers. ;-)

Mr. DuBois isn't a new face on the geopolitical circuit and he isn't an academic. What Mr. DuBois is - and we're all lucky for it - is an honorable, well studied, and experienced practitioner of "Applied" Smart Power. And, not of small coincidence, a Veteran of the Navy SEALs who was in theatre before, during, and after the past decade's operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The body of Mr. DuBois' book is divided into Body - Mind - Heart - and Soul and each section is divided into short chapters that further open with a succinct Mission Statement of sorts and an applicable quote. This format maintains a conversational tone and provides an immediate connection to the author and his experiences.

Indeed the book is written as a window - an introspective window, into Mr. DuBois' experiences and desires for The People. You're not being lectured by a journalist or academic - Mr. DuBois is inviting you to the geopolitical and physical battlefield, into the homes of enemies and friends, through the military and political processes of War, and into the minds of the many men and women that serve in the Armed Forces.

Consider the opportunity here... you have, in effect, an ideal man to take you through the whole process and history of - there isn't a word for it even... Of an organization, a culture, a point in history of remarkable consequence - at a unique intersection of culture, technology, religion, and history.

To use analogies Mr. DuBois has been the engineer, the shop blacksmith, middle management, the consultant, the diplomat, and now a Professor of Powerful Peace. You simply don't get these opportunities often - and when they come about they have the ability to resurrect a dying cause or organization.

The content itself, from my viewpoint, really attacks two broad problems pervasively:

  1. The sources of hatred among and between people
  2. The "solutions" to hatred that do not work

The second point is key here - Mr. DuBois isn't providing an academic survey - he is providing a real effectual narrative based on first-hand observations in (easily) the most conflict prone and conflicted theatre of ideological, military, and political battle since World War II.

Powerful Peace isn't an absolute proponent or doesn't absolutely condemn any course of action - he merely, and compellingly, asks the reader to consider their actions in a new light. And this if the the ultimate strength of the book in my opinion - he isn't forcing the read to "choose a side" other than that of humanity. And that type of neutrality to all views (Hawks and Pigeons alike) makes this a great - GREAT - book to build a sense of pride and urgency upon.

You can simultaneously be embarrassed and Proud - entirely Proud - entirely embarrassed but whatever feeling you want to take away - or even agonize over - Mr. DuBois leaves you with hope and an urge to action.


So let me tie this to the burgeoning field, like it or not, of Cyberwarfare. Powerful Peace absolutely applies in our field as well. In a series of different contexts an Information Security professional can draw out the roadmap to economic and potential physical catastrophe. In this field we won't have the benefit of hindsight, we need to get it right before it gets out of control, otherwise the consequences will be every bit as bad as a brutalized and devastated physical theatre of operations.

Instead of smoldering rubble you'll have a series of ill-advised Nation-State Intranets that will further oppression, censorship, and economic isolation - and that will all in-turn further provide a platform of radicalization and roots for Terrorism.

While the predominant powers of the world are ignoring the diplomatic channels or the economics of potential Cyberwarfare - while they sometimes incubate Cybercrime and Cyberespionage - there are huge swaths of the Globe that remain only superficially "connected" both economically and technically.

And while "we" are all busy laying battle lines we're neglecting the ICT, education, and economics that will make the world a safer and more free place.

I hope Mr. DuBois sticks around in the writing field and provides wise mediation to the discussions that need to be had. And I hope you do him the respect of reading his first and compelling entry as an author.

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