Thursday, August 31, 2006

Writing Reality

Kirk was still doing work creating excercise scenarios. He was very good at it in Alaska, and he was good at it here; still coming up with creative ideas to test people in new ways.

The trouble is, sometimes people don't want to be tested in new ways. It's much nicer to be tested in old ways, so you're ready and you have all the answers set to go. Notice, this isn't something unique to the military! Don't we all want to have the questions before hand? Don't we wish we could take the test we did last time, because now we know exactly what to say.

So in the Spring or Summer of 2000 Kirk wrote up a little scenario that involved a large navy ship. The idea was that a few terrorists would load up a small zodiac - an inflatable boat with a great little engine and no draft - with explosives, then float it up right next to the ship and detonate it.

The navy was not amused. Their ships, their nice, big, powerful ships, were not vulnerable to things like this. Terrorists would never attack a heavily armed and armored vessel - it just didn't make sense. The scenario was disgarded, never seriously looked at.

The USS Cole was bombed on October 12th, 2000. 17 sailors were killed.

Kirk was deeply troubled. He knew it had just been an idea, just one of several concepts he had come up with. But there was such a large 'if only' there. If only they had run the excercise. If only someone had noticed that this was a possibility. If only...

There had been so many people saved at Y2K, such an amazing day of success. Was this the inevitable flip side? And how do you cope with something that was, however improbably, preventable.

I know he thought about it. I don't think he ever found any real answers.


Anonymous said...

What did Kirk think about ethnic profiling?

Anonymous said...

Kirk and I went through Goodfellow together. On day we were paired to come up with a terrorist attack against the base. We drove around that tiny base all morning until Kirk found his inspiration in the form of an EZ-Go brand golf cart. We would kill the base commander and bomb the club with suicide EZ-Go bombers. We had a great laugh briefing that to the class. I guess it's a good thing Wahabists don't golf.

For Kirk said...

I hadn't heard that story! I notice you go for the really vital stuff right away - bombing the club. Does that mean you feel the most essential personnel are to be found at the O-club on a fine golfing afternoon? Or was this a snide comment on the low intelligence of the average terrorist....