Choices and Consequences
One of the first lessons we teach Soldiers in is about personal responsibility.† Itís a lesson that leaders constantly reinforce.† Without personal responsibility, which makes individual readiness possible, the military fails.† We remind Soldiers of something that they may not have heard so plainly before entering the service.† Choices have consequences.† When you have time, weigh the consequences before you make the choice.† When you make a choice, the consequences of it become your responsibility.† For a well-known example of how this works, review the Jessica Lynch story.† Individuals with weapons not properly maintained, were not able to fight back.† You know the consequences.†
Following Katrina and the
levee break in
It caused me to take inventory.† In our world of potentially disastrous terrorist attacks, I looked around to see how ready I was to look after my wife and myself.† We donít have a supply of food and water squirreled away.† We donít have extra flashlight and radio batteries, candles or lanterns.† There is no prepared ďsurvival kitĒ to toss into the truck.† And, after watching the idiots looting and shooting, my house is not well armed.† Those things are my responsibility to fix Ė and I will.† I hope all Americans will review the status of the true first responder.
The first level of response
There were people that did
not have the means, other than shoe leather, to leave the city.† The government is responsible to help
evacuate them from the danger.† That
starts at the municipal level.† The mayor
The City of
Hundreds of busses sat until they were under water and useless.
City officials had 550 municipal buses and hundreds of
additional school buses at their disposal but made no plans to use them to get
people out of
Choices have consequences.† The mayor did not take responsibility for the consequences of his choice.
More Army Corps of Engineers
project money poured into the state of
In Katrina's wake,
We use another technique in the Army that politicians might consider.† We call it an After Action Review.† The key words here are After Action.† After people are accounted and cared for and cities back on track toward restoration then we review the actions taken.† We determine what went well, what didnít go well and what we have to do to improve our performance next time.† There is no blame handed out and we donít bring people in front of television cameras and fire nonsensical political speeches at them.† We donít need another bogus commission to sort out our response to Katrina.† Politicians would do well to review their approach to problem solving and performance improvement and should weigh carefully the consequences of the one they select.
There is one more concern.† Weíve heard it said repeatedly that the federal government was to slow to react.† Itís as if some think the federal government should have been the first responder pushing municipal and state government aside from the outset.† Do you really want the federal government to take control of emergency management state by state?† If you do, remember that choices have consequences.
Copyright © J. D. Pendry
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