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A Lesson from the Coasties

The best military bar on Oahu? The Coast Guard club at Barbers Point. I long suspected that they could afford to charge only $2.00 (‘early 90s prices) for import bottled beer because it all “fell off a tanker.” But I digress . . .

Distorted press reporting today points out that the Coasties had issues with the DP World deal. “Intelligence Gaps” say the headlines in most papers, though buried in the text is the fact that eventually enough cork was found to help assuage fears related to plugging said gaps.

The bigger point to take away? Some of your clearest or more original thinking on a topic is going to come from a quarter you least expect. Just as no one thinks of them as a military service (it is but it isn’t) that doesn’t stop them from firing shots in anger here and overseas. One of my best friends is a PJ, but I also keep in mind that it was coasties that pulled pararescue jumpers from the “perfect storm.” Working at a certain level in the IC you tend to discount (unintentionally or not) the work of others who are farther away from the First Consumer. Your ignorance is usually exposed publicly in some inter-agency meeting, or if you are lucky privately as you read one of the best briefings on subject X that you’ve ever seen by someone you’ve never heard of.

The more complicated things get, the more you realize that you’re not all that. Something to keep in mind as we build memberships, expand contacts, and otherwise try to figure out how to best make sense of this crazy world.

Michael Tanji

Michael Tanji

Michael Tanji spent nearly 20 years in the US intelligence community. Trained in both SIGINT and HUMINT disciplines he has worked at the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, and the National Reconnaissance Office. At various points in his career he served as an expert in information warfare, computer network operations, computer forensics, and indications and warning. A veteran of the US Army, Michael has served in both strategic and tactical assignments in the Pacific Theater, the Balkans, and the Middle East.