Global Operation, the DSS Web Series — Still Coming

Sit back and relax, the commercial is still on…

Global Operation, the DSS series that’s coming to the web missed its February release target.  I am told that the pilot episode is running a week late. So we’ll stay in the lookout for that.  The creators told me they got some bad emails and some supportive emails since I wrote about it. The episode has not been released yet, so I’ll wait until I see it before I write them a complaint.   

That said, there are a few items that would probably bug watchers about this forthcoming show. The Bureau’s HQ and center of the universe is in Washington, D.C. not the Field Office in LA. Still, the creator/producer who has zero budget lives and works in LA. So…that’s the main reason, money or the lack thereof. Perfectly understandable.           
Female agents are a minority in the Diplomatic Security Service. Note that the photos in this gallery, you can only find one single female agent.  If you know how many female agents are there in the 1500+ DSS agents, we’d love to know.   All DSS agents that you see especially those on protective detail are in sober dark suits, with dark sunglasses, a gold pin on their lapels, and a communication wire connected to their ears.  That’s the look, see them here. Those assigned overseas, observe a different dress code.    
There is a unique function that DSS actually does – apprehension of fugitives overseas.  Wouldn’t that be fun as a reality show? Fugitives may even want to get caught, just to get on tee-vee, did you consider that?  We can start filming in Belize.   
But seriously, in the United States, the Bureau protects the Secretary of State, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and foreign dignitaries below the head-of-state level who visit the United States. DS develops and implements security programs to protect the more than 100 domestic State Department facilities as well as the residence of the Secretary of State.  DS also conducts criminal investigations into passport and visa fraud violations, conducts personnel security investigations, and issues security clearances (how sexy is that?). You will notice, of course, what is glaringly absent from this – investigating human trafficking. If DS is involved at all, I doubt if they take the lead over the FBI and ICE inside the United States. In fact, this TV movie on human trafficking makes special mention of ICE.
On guns, DSS Special Agents are law enforcement officials and are indeed authorized to carry guns.  Technical Security Specialists, however, are support personnel. I have never seen one with a gun. I don’t even know that they’re authorized to carry one since they’re kind of like — the geeks on call when it comes to security technical stuff – CCTVs, security gates, etc.         
Even with those shortcomings I admit I have empathy for the makers of this series.  Can you imagine if you’re in your 30’s or 40’s trying to break into Hollywood where youth and looks are the top currency? So they get points in my book for seeking out their own opportunity.  I also belong to the congregation of “if you build it, they will come,” (remember Kevin Costner and the Iowa cornfields? I know, I know).  Put it another way, if you film it, they will watch it. See? I’m a “glass is full” kind of person. Sometimes.
I imagine that the response to this series will be divided into large two camps. The purists who would like to see DSS depicted in the most authentic manner and in the best light possible (think NCIS with Mark Harmon, the CIA with Harrison Ford, etc. etc.). I can understand that; I would like to see DSS with Mark Harmon, too. I’d even volunteer to be investigated.  Tee-hee! But he’s tied up with NCIS. And the only folks who are interested on making a web movie about DSS right now happen to be these independent actors with no money. Perhaps DS can offer a public affairs consultant for free as part of its public outreach?
The other camp, of course, is the non-purists who think that #1, this is entertainment, and #2, any press is good press.
Okay, hit #3 for let’s sit back and relax; the commercial is still on.


Wowee! US Embassy Jakarta now has 49,286 fans

Just a quick update.  The U.S. Embassy in Jakarta is holding a competition for its 30,000 40,000 plus Facebook fans to find the biggest fans of the month before the visit of U.S. President Barack Obama to Indonesia. The competition is to find who the top fan — the “President” — of the Embassy’s Facebook fan page is, by encouraging fans to promote the page, telling their friends about what the Embassy is doing by including the status tag “@U.S. Embassy Jakarta, Indonesia.”  
The contest runs from February 12 until March 12, 2010.  As of this writing, the embassy’s Facebook page has raked in a total of 49,286 fans. The State Department’s Facebook page remains at 32,187 32,249 fans.

Nine Themes of Outstanding Leaders Plus One

The British non-profit organization, The Work Foundation has released a paper on Exceeding Expectation: the principles of outstanding leadership (Authors:  Penny Tamkin, Gemma Pearson, Wendy Hirsh and Susannah Constable). It lists nine themes which characterize outstanding leaders.

1. Think systemically and act long-term
Outstanding leaders achieve through a combination of systemic thinking and acting for the long-term benefit of their organisation. They recognise the interconnected nature of the organisation and therefore act carefully.
2. Bring meaning to life
Outstanding leadership enables a strong and shared sense of purpose across the organisation. They emphasise emotional connection for people with a focus on passion and on ethical purpose.
3. Apply the spirit not the letter of the law
Outstanding leadership focuses on the few key systems and processes which help provide clarity, give structure, enable feedback, allow time for discussion and enable the development of vision. They use them to achieve outcomes rather than focus on the process, and put flexibility and humanity first.
4. Self-aware and authentic to leadership first, their own needs second
Outstanding leaders unite a deep understanding of others, high levels of self-awareness and a systemic appreciation of their symbolic position to become a role model for others.
5. Understand that talk is work
Outstanding leadership depends on trusting and positive relationships that are built over time for the long-term benefit of the people and their organisation. They spend a significant amount of time talking with people to understand what motivates and how they can support and boost enthusiasm in others.
6. Give time and space to others
Outstanding leaders both give significantly more time to people than non-outstanding leaders and allow their people considerably more freedom and influence over the work they do and how they do it.
7. Grow people through performance
Outstanding leaders passionately and constantly invest in their people and use the challenges presented every single day to encourage growth, learning and engagement.
8. Put ‘we’ before ‘me’
Outstanding leaders work hard on issues such as team spirit, shared decision making, collaborative working and a strong bond within and between teams. Sustainable performance comes from collective wisdom and intent, encouraging people to get involved, and giving them voice and autonomy.
9. Take deeper breaths and hold them longer
Outstanding leaders actively build trust by delivering on promises and acting with consistency, which in turn, leads to a sense of security and greater freedom of expression. They understand the power of trust to speed up interactions, enable people to take risks, diminish arguments or disputes and underpin innovation.
The report says that becoming an outstanding leader is likely to depend a great deal on maturity, self-awareness and self-development within the job. And points out that some of the outstanding leaders featured in the research did not originally have a people-focused approach, but realised the impact they were having on people and therefore adjusted their style accordingly.
The Work Foundation says it aims to improve the quality of working life and the effectiveness of organisations by equipping leaders, policymakers and opinion-formers with evidence, advice, new thinking and networks.
Read the whole thing here.
Perhaps this list of themes is missing a 10th item
Do no harm, especially when it comes to the office coffee pot. Outstanding leaders understand that people at work know how to use the office coffee pot properly.  They issue 3-page memos sparingly; in fact, only when people start using gin instead of water in their coffee.    

Ambassador Oreck with the Finish Flyboys on an F18

The US Ambassador to Finland, Bruce Oreck recently got an invitation from the Finish Air Force to fly on its F18 aircraft and has the photos to show for it; more here and here.
 Ambassador Oreck with Major General Lindberg before takeoff
Photo from Ambassador’s Journal


He also blogged about it in the Ambassador’s Journal: Flying with the Finnish Air Force:

Several months ago I mentioned that I would love to have to opportunity to fly in one of the Finnish Air Force’s F-18D Hornet aircraft. Soon after that I received an invitation from Major General Jarmo Lindberg, the Commander of the Finnish Air Force, to come to Kuopio and participate in an orientation flight.
After a busy morning of preparation, we were at last off to the flight line.  Strapping into one of these aircraft was a challenge for me, but it wasn’t too long before the pilots started the aircraft engines and repositioned for takeoff.  After one last sweep by the snow removal equipment, four F-18s launched into cold skies with a thin cloud deck about 5,000 feet above the ground.  While airborne, the aircraft maneuvered and simulated an air policing exercise … the primary day-to-day mission of the Karelian Air Command

I added some active links added above. Unfortunately, I know nada about aircraft.  A quick look around on the web indicates that the F-18 Hornet is a supersonic, all-weather carrier-capable multirole fighter jet, designed to attack both ground and aerial targets. If you have seen the Blue Angels, you have seen this gal in the sky.

According to Wikipedia the Finnish Air Force uses F/A-18C/D Hornets, with a Finland-specific mid-life update. The first 7 Hornets (D-models) were produced by McDonnell Douglas.[46] The 57 single-seat F-18C model units were assembled by Patria in Finland. A damaged F-18C was rebuilt into a F-18D. In order to do so, a forward section of a Canadian CF-18B was purchased and incorporated into the jet.[27] However, the modified plane crashed during a test flight in January 2010.[28]
After that January crash, YLE.fin reported this:  “The new aircraft was pieced together by the Finnish defence contractor Patria. The high-tech fighters are very expensive – the reassembly job alone cost about 15 million euros. It was dubbed the Frankenplane, according to a classic character from horror literature, who was likewise assembled from spare parts. With the crash in Juupajoki the Frankenplane also goes down in aviation history as a rare veteran of in-flight mishaps.”

Well, that’s interesting.