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Lifes Lessons Include Leadership


By: Ralph C. Jensen, Editor-in-Chief of Security Products Magazine

How do you open a tradeshow? Who can keep the troops on the edge of their seats? Few people have as much insight on the current state of the military and global affairs as Gen. Stan McChrystal. Though his topic of discussion did not center on tapping journalists’ phone records or the status of IRS investigations, the general discussed the newest challenges facing America in a globalized world.

McChrystal talked about the proliferation of non-state actors and the advance of information technology, as well as instant communications. He gave a thorough rundown of U.S. security and what the future will hold.

The retired general talked about leadership, and how vital it is to the U.S. position not only to lead by example, but to assume the global role.

McChrystal shared with the crowd, at the opening keynote of GovSec, about key points in his career where leadership made a difference. Among several points was his freshman year at the West Point Academy, where he learned the valuable lesson of hard work.

Secondly, was what he considered his greatest decision ever…to marry his wife. During his presentation, he showed a slide show of his wedding day and then humored the crowd with another slide of his future wife being held by the arm of her father. It was then, he discovered, what leadership meant.

McChrystal enjoyed a long and illustrious career as an Army general officer as the former commander of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan. He is currently a senior fellow at Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs.

Another keynote speaker, former football great, Joe Theismann shared several antidotes about his football career. He said he wasn’t a particularly fast quarterback and that he could run a 5 second, 40 yard sprint. He laughed with the crowd that former Green Bay Packer lineman Reggie White would run a 4.6 second, 40 yard sprint, at which point his time suddenly decreased to a 4.5 second, “40 yarder.”

Theismann’s career, of course, ended when Lawrence Taylor of the New York Giants sacked him, both of their legs smacking together and Theismann’s right leg ending up in a compound fracture. Now, many years later, Theismann can joke about the event.

He said, “Lawrence Taylor got down on the ground and told me he was sorry. He didn’t intend for this to happen.” “‘I told Reggie I know he didn’t mean to, and I apologized to him.’”

Then, Theismann said Joe Gibbs, coach of the Washington Redskins ran out onto the field and expressed his sorrow for the situation, and said, “This is a 'heckuva' situation you’ve put me in Joe."

‘“I said, I know coach. I’m sorry.'"

“I’m the one who is badly injured, and I’ve just apologized to two people.”

On the show floor, Lt. Col Dave Grossman (Army, retired) told attendees that children today are being rewarded as they play video games and watch television where people are killed or their heads are blown off, with the reward being pleasure.

An animated Grossman said that denial of these situations is the enemy, and we must prepare for more violence. He cited numerous examples, such as Virginia Tech, Columbine and the recent Sandy Hook incidents.

Citing education security situations, he said that lockdown drills work, which he called “hunker down and hide.” He also said that law enforcement has trouble with today’s violence because it is not normal for cops to shoot kids. The best strategy is to deter, detect and defeat the violence.

“If you’re sending your children to college, make sure that college has armed security on campus,” Grossman said.

He also cited recent shootings in the United States that mirror events that have become commonplace in Mexico. Those events are the shooting of two prosecuting attorneys in Texas, a state prison official in Colorado and a sheriff in Wisconsin.

Grossman presented a plan to enhance a bulletproof mind: Psychological and Physiological Preparation for Combat.




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