Yazidi Plight Brought to UN by Amal Clooney

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Yazidi Plight Brought to UN by Amal Clooney

Amal Clooney delivers rebuke to UN human trafficking panel.Yazidi

As follow-up to our very own Valerry Mannarino’s article from 22 August 2016 “Girl on Fire”, we needed to share the continuing efforts of Beirut, Lebanon born Amal Clooney as she fights for the rights and very existence of the Yazidi people in Northern Iraq.  Ms. Clooney is a 38 year old activist and attorney who has taken up the mantle of the Yazidi’s very fight for existence, through ISIS kidnap and sex slavery survivor Nadia Murad Basee Taha.  Ms. Basee Taha, a beacon of hope for the Yazidi people, has been appointed as the UN Office on Drugs and Crime’s Goodwill Ambassador.

The two ladies also attended the Women In The World reception and are being featured in an interview with NBC’s Cynthia McFadden.

During her speech at the United Nations, Ms. Clooney share her disgust because the UN is “failing to prevent or even punish genocide because they find that their own interests get in the way.”  Amal continued, “I am proud to know you, Nadia, and I am sorry that we have failed you.  I hope that your appointment today can be a turning point for all victims of sexual violence and human trafficking.”

You can see portions of the full interview here: Amal Clooney NBC News Interview.

For more information about the ongoing fight being waged against tyranny by the Yazidi Women, and humanitarian and educational projects to support the Yazidi People, visit Yazda – A Global Yazidi Organization.

“Ground truth…”

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Pittsburgh Comic Thrives on Success

Comic Shaun Blackham Finds SuccessComic

Once again, we do LOVE everything Pittsburgh!  Most especially when we’ve got something clearly positive — a success story — about a friend from Kiski Area.  The Pittsburgh Tribune article about local comic talent and fellow KA Cavalier Shaun Blackham written by  explores:

Q: So you weren’t the class clown?

A: I was very quiet in school. A few years back, I did a local show, and the guidance counselor from my high school was there.  She came up to me and said she was amazed and shocked at how great the show was because I was one of the quietest people she ever met.

Well.  We DON’T remember things that way at all Shaun!  Hmmm…

As always,  “Ground Truth…”

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Leah Smith — Excellence

Leah+Smith+Olympic+Gold+MedalA Pittsburgh Native’s Commitment to Excellence

A March 2013 Athlete of the Week television spot from WTAE, features now Olympic Bronze and Gold Medal winner Leah SmithWTAE’s Mike Clark again featured Leah in an interview only a few weeks ago that moved us to throw in our 2 cents as well!  At RTSGC we feel it is important to seek out and laud Commitment to Excellence wherever we find it!  In this case, Leah is extra special to us because she is not only a Western Pennsylvania native with extremely deep roots but also an Oakland Catholic High School graduate (GO OC!).  We LOVE everything Family and everything Pittsburgh!!

Leah’s focus on excellence comes, in great part, from her family.  In only her second year at the University of Virginia, her commitment and that special excellence derived from her family resulted in the continuation of a family legacy at UVA.  Her finishing time in the 500 freestyle at the NCAA Championships set a collegiate record and her time in the 1,650 freestyle set UVA and ACC records as well.  This is follow-up to her father’s silver medal winning pole vault in an ACC Championship match.

From her “All in the Family” article in UVA MAGAZINE, Errin Whack wrote:  Competing at the highest level might be in Smith’s DNA.  Because of his competitive streak, Smith’s great-grandfather Jimmy Smith, who was an infielder for the Cincinnati Reds, holds the distinction of being the only player ejected from the 1919 World Series, for tirelessly heckling White Sox second baseman Eddie Collins.  Smith’s great-uncle, boxer “The Pittsburgh Kid” Billy Conn, fought Joe Louis for the heavyweight championship twice.  In his first fight he lost by a knockout in the last round, even though he was well ahead of Louis on points.  His second challenge to Louis, a knockout loss in the ninth round, was the first televised heavyweight championship.  Smith recalled being inspired as a young girl by her relatives’ athletic feats, poring over old newspaper clippings, and admiring trophies – including those belonging to her father, Dan.  “I definitely think it made me want to be like my dad and have the same success that he did,” Smith says. “I used it to motivate me in the pool.”

What greater testament to her father and her family could Leah possible be?!  We salute her, her accomplishments, and her family.  Congratulations Leah Smith!

“Ground truth…”

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Management Consulting Group – Planning

Management ConsultingStrategic

Strategic and Tactical Planning

Introduction

As an ethos, Management Consulting is at the very heart of who we are and what we’re about.  After all, bringing together the highest quality deliverables to address engineering needs, develop process auditing,  manage risk, or guide your project is meaningless if we don’t already have set in place a bullet-proof management plan that will ensure success.  Because of our 70+ years of combined experience in these areas, our Client Family is assured of comprehensive guidance.  In today’s post we’ll focus on one area we absolutely love and thrive upon – Strategic and Tactical Planning.

 

Strategic and/vs. Tactical

First off, let’s recognize that there is a difference between the two.  Strategic refers to long-term, broad-based business goals, objectives, and even wishes.  The Tactical Plan feeds from the Strategic and is much more short-term (even immediate) and normally narrowly focused.  Finally, a strategic plan is more concerned with the future while the tactical is concerned with the here and now.  To be even more specific, it is possible to have a Strategic Plan without a Tactical Plan but, in the strict interpretation, you cannot have a Tactical Plan without a Strategic Plan.  Why?

For those familiar with the strategic planning/project management process, the creation of action items and assignment of individuals or groups to complete them is a sign that you are nearing the “end of the beginning” in creating your strategic plan.  Many times those responsible for completion are key-persons involved in plan creation resulting in no “trickle-down” to management at other levels – NO Tactical Plan.  In others, the direct result of action item creation is the Tactical Plan and assignment of action items (the tactical plan itself) to management staff at lower levels who have a better understanding of day-to-day mechanics and are more in-tune with “how” as opposed to the “what”.

 

RTSGC Planning Aspects

  1. We utilize your key personnel, and others, in the creation and facilitation of an Advisory Board.
  2. We guide a review of your company’s Goals and Objectives, Mission and Vision Statements, and previous elucidations (if any), in the strategic plan area.
  3. We arrange for and guide a complete evaluation of your organization’s Corporate (or Agency or Non-Profit) Structure and reassignment or modification of hierarchical metrics, as needed.
  4. We perform an in-depth analysis of Internal Operations, preparing and delivering a report, for the preceding 3 years, minimum.
  5. Following recognized best practices, we guide you in completing a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) Analysis, defining Core Purpose & Ideologies, identifying long-term goals and objectives, and completing an Environmental Scan.
  6. We facilitate the creation of a Media/Marketing/Advertising aspect of your Strategic and Tactical Plans.
  7. We aid your embedded HR department in full development of all key Position Descriptions.
  8. When appropriate we facilitate the process of converting Action Items to a geographically by department focused Tactical Plan.
  9. We annually direct the process of setting in place an operational work plan for the upcoming year based upon creation of the Tactical Plan.
  10. Annually we guide your CXO professionals in defining/redefining aspects of the strategic plan to be addressed in the Tactical (Operational) (Work) Plan.

The planning process is NOT just for large corporations.  In fact it can be especially beneficial for small, family run businesses and non-profit organizations because it brings experts with different perspectives to the table and requires a great deal of introspection from participants.  There are so many other areas in which a properly facilitated and executed plan can concern itself and most of these are specific to you, your company, and the industry in which you operate!  Reach out to us for more information Info@RTSGlobalConsult.com.

“Ground Truth”

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Pittsburgh Symphony Sensory Friendly

PITTSBURGH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA SENSORY FRIENDLY PERFORMANCEPgh Sym Orch.jpg

Sensory-friendly performances, at the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra are open to people of all ages and abilities but designed especially for individuals with autism spectrum disorders, sensory sensitivities, or other disabilities.  The symphony works closely with its Accessibility Advisory Committee and others in the Pittsburgh community to plan these performances, which give patrons the opportunity to enjoy symphony concerts together with family and friends in a welcoming, inclusive, and relaxed environment. Everyone is welcome to come and appreciate the music in his or her own way at our sensory-friendly performances!

https://www.pittsburghsymphony.org

We absolutely DO love everything Pittsburgh!

We at RTS Global Consulting applaud the symphony and most especially the work being done with children in our community.

“Ground truth…”

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Seven Virtues of Bushido

The Seven Virtues of Bushido

In consideration of the divisiveness created by the current U.S. Presidential race, we wanted to share something a bit more centered and uplifting, the virtues of Bushido.

The Bushido code is typified by seven virtues (as visioned by Nitobe Inazo):Bushido

  1. Rectitude ( gi) – morally correct behavior
  2. Courage ( yū) – strength in the face of fear and adversity
  3. Benevolence ( jin) – a disposition to do the good, right thing
  4. Respect ( rei) – actions and conduct to others reflecting esteem and deference
  5. Honesty ( makoto) – high principles in telling the truth
  6. Honour (名誉 meiyo) – quality of worthiness and respectability
  7. Loyalty (忠義 chūgi) – strong feeling of allegiance, support, and devotion

Nitobe Inazō (新渡戸 稲造, September 1, 1862 – October 15, 1933) was a Japanese agricultural economist, author, educator, diplomat, politician, and Christian during the pre-World War II period.  By published by 東洋文化協會 (The Eastern Culture Association) – The Japanese book “幕末・明治・大正 回顧八十年史” (Memories for 80 years, Bakumatsu, Meiji, Taisho), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=32816856.

“Ground Truth…”

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RTS BLOG Post Inception and Development

RTS BLOG POST INCEPTION AND DEVELOPMENT

How we create and Cultivate Blog Articlesblog

We begin our blog development process with a concise 5-Step Process that is grounded in company CEO Sam Miess’ long-time compelling need to research, develop, and share information –

  1. (Always) Do the right thing, tell the truth, (and for God’s sake) be nice!
  2. HUMINT is the most dependable form of information.
  3. (Whenever possible) share the HUMAN side of every story.
  4. (Lou says) Avoid hyperbole.
  5. Know your subject matter – Research, research, RESEARCH!

“What?”  (You question.)  “Research?  You mean you don’t just simply re-post or re-tweet a blog that someone else has put together?”

We rarely re-post.  Instead, we follow the money and the information to its logical conclusion, recognize our sources, and post what is most meaningful to us as a team.  This takes a LOT more time so we hope that you not only find real value in our posts but that you will also share with family and friends.  In fact, because we LOVE responsible dialogue, we hope that you will feel comfortable in sending us your thoughts, opinions, and questions about our company and our blog!

Finally, always remember…

“Ground truth…”

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Cultivate Female Afghanistan Leaders

CULTIVATE FEMALE LEADERS IN AFGHANISTAN

(In)Effectiveness of Targeted USAID Afghanistan Program

In late 2014 the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) announced that it would be spending in excess of 400 million U.S. tax dollars on a program to “empower AfghanistanAfghan women”.  Called Promoting Gender Equity in National Priority Programs or “PROMOTE”, it “seeks to advance opportunities for thousands of Afghan women to help them become leaders in the political, private, and civil society sectors”.  Less than 2 years later the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR), expressed concern stating that “the Afghan women engaged in the program may be left without any tangible benefit upon completion” — which could be construed as the American taxpayer having squandered (potentially) hundreds of millions of dollars.

One of the supported activities of PROMOTE is the educational workshop.  In a recent article by Dr. Cheryl Benard published via the National Interest, USAID’s design, staffing, and implementation of PROMOTE workshops was brought into serious question.  The author notes that the workshops are set-up specifically to not provide deliverables like educating attendees on increasing crop yields, basic how-to’s on identifying diseases, or teaching carpentry 101.  Instead they apparently are, “sessions in which women, mostly, and generally the same ones over and over again are informed by their trainers that they are equal, important, and born to be leaders.”  Dr. Benard goes on to explain that the reason why the same participants are seen continuously at these workshops is that, “those who speak good English and have the savvy to get themselves on the invitee list (are) recycled endlessly because that’s so much easier than looking for new candidates.”  Bernard also claims that the USAID trainers direct participants to “practice writing their ‘visions for the future’ on a whiteboard and giving fictitious radio interviews.”  Benard concludes by stating that, “if they play their cards right, (the women can move on) to the advanced class and the refresher workshop and the specialized class on how to run for office.  It can become something like a profession, with free meals, a stipend, days spent in nice hotels and for the especially lucky, conferences in Dubai or Europe or even the United States.”

We at RTSGC believe the PROMOTE program, while striking in planned scope and potential coverage, has fallen short of expectations most especially when it comes to implementation and gaining traction.  “Young Afghans are the future of their country, and our aim is for the young women who participate in this program to be the future leaders of all sectors of Afghan society.” – USAID Afghanistan Mission Director Bill Hammink.  An admirable goal to be sure, however only cursory research is required to find just how non-impactful the program appears to have become.

Created in 2008, SIGAR’s mission is to “promote economy and efficiency of U.S.-funded reconstruction programs in Afghanistan and to detect and deter fraud, waste, and abuse by conducting independent, objective, and strategic audits, inspections, and investigations to promote efficiency and effectiveness of reconstruction programs, and to detect and prevent waste, fraud, and abuse of taxpayer dollars.  SIGAR also has a hotline that allows individuals to report suspected fraud”.  Unfortunately with little or no ability to affect and enforce change or at the very least to refer for accountable consequences, SIGAR’s exemplary reporting has resulted in limited meaningful action and is unlikely to do so unless the new U.S. administration follows-up to effect change and eliminate waste.  In fact in a December 18, 2014 report, SIGAR states, “the Defense and State Departments and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) were (in many cases) unable to identify the portions of programs that specifically related to Afghan women.”

So, all of this begs the question, “How do Afghan women benefit from this costly USAID program (PROMOTE)?  At RTSGC, this is of special concern to us as our CEO invested many years embedded in-country working with the very people, men and women, the PROMOTE program is attempting to educate and protect.  He witnessed first-hand the well documented physical and mental abuse and oppression of women.  In her National Interest Article, Dr. Benard opines that, “The challenges & atrocities that women in Afghanistan face in order to secure an income for her family to raising children amidst the harsh economic crisis are increasing and it is primarily because of the lack of political will and laws that perpetuate gender inequity at the national level.  When you are highly advanced and living in peacetime, and your switch turns on the lights, you can define “empowerment” as meaning that women should speak up more loudly in the next board meeting.  But when you are trying to dig out from over  forty years of war, and when you were one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world even before that, “empowerment” might (simply) mean: (a dam that brings actual power to your home).”

In a country so fundamentally different culturally from the US, we at RTSGC, agree fundamentally with Dr. Benard.  We believe a more appropriate course of action would be to focus first on completing “bricks and mortar” projects such as power generation and distribution, textiles, rare-earth mining, specialized agricultural development (e.g. saffron production), building new schools, road construction, providing safe drinking water, and other infrastructure type/impactful-on-the-LONG-TERM opportunities versus attempting to dramatically shift an existing culture to a more Westernized way of thinking.  Opportunities for such efforts could synergize with women-owned business development efforts.  In fact, we believe that a much more effective way to spend US tax dollars would be to focus on those ideas and projects that are going to have the most impact, over the longest period of time, impacting the greatest number of people.  Common sense?  You decide.

“Ground truth…”

To learn more…

  1. http://www.khaama.com/
  2. https://www.usaid.gov/afghanistan/promote/
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special_Inspector_General_for_Afghanistan_Reconstruction
  4. http://www.khaama.com/afghan-women-are-still-hopeless-8904
  5. https://www.usaid.gov/afghanistan/news-information/press-releases/usaid-awards-afghan-women%E2%80%99s-empowerment-program
  6. http://nationalinterest.org/feature/expensive-useless-americas-botched-afghanistan-aid-16491
  7. http://www.rand.org/pubs/authors/b/benard_cheryl.html

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US Plans Expansion of UK Intelligence Drawdown

US PLANS EXPANSION OF UK DRAWDOWN

Civilian Intelligence Assets Pay the PriceSatellite Dish

In early 2015, the BBC reported that, as part of the DOD base-closure/cost-savings program, the United States Air Force would be eliminating intelligence and other facilities located in the United Kingdom.  Specifically those at RAF Mildenhall, RAF Alconbury, and RAF Molesworth.  “US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said the Americans will leave (as) part of a program to save $500m a year across Europe. The USAF lease(s) the RAF bases.”

While significant expansion seems to be taking place at RAF Croughton, as reported in the Banbury Guardian.  “The former RAF bomber base, now fully operated by the USA, is set to become the center for consolidated operations from other US intelligence groups based at RAF Molesworth in Cambridgeshire.  The new, ultra-secure Croughton could be staffed by 1,250 personnel covering operations in Africa, a current focus for US counter-terrorism activities.”

A recent article from Stars and Stripes by John Vandiver calls into question just how far the US will take the drawdown in the “land of our cousins across the pond”.  “Congressional legislation to eliminate housing subsidies for hundreds of U.S. intelligence analysts based in the United Kingdom, the latest salvo in a battle with the Pentagon over a base relocation plan, has raised fears about a possible exodus of qualified personnel.”  Many are concerned that the US Congress may be now irreparably harming the very apparatus that is vital to the protection of its citizens.

The Vandiver article goes on to note that, “The proposal to end housing benefits for all Defense Intelligence Agency employees assigned to U.S. European and Africa Commands is contained in the House’s Intelligence Authorization Act for 2017.  The legislation, which has already passed the House and now must be considered by the Senate, would effectively cut off all living quarters allowances for roughly 1,000 personnel.  Those housing benefits, considered recruiting incentives, apply toward rent and can add up to as much as $3,000 per month.”

A DIA spokesman commented, “Our talented dedicated analytical workforce that fulfills a critical mission requirement overseas, could be faced with a decision of ending their tour early.  Employees considering tours overseas might not want to go.”

This concerns us greatly at RTSGC as we believe there is no substitute for the human component when it comes to information gathering.  HUMINT – arguably producing the highest quality information – is not possible without actual personnel at many levels.  While there is some consolation in the expansion of the US presence at other facilities, we would submit that the potentially permanent loss of civilians operating within our information gathering community is a catastrophe that must be avoided.

“Ground truth…”

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RTS Supports Veterans First Program

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RTS Supports Veteran Owned Businesses

Did you know???

RTS Global Consulting LLC is a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB)?  For more information about this very special designation please visit the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.  Consistent with Public Law 109-461, awarding contracts to Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) firms is the highest priority within the Small Business programs for VA.  Consistent with the mandate and the mission of VA, participation of SDVOSBs in VA Acquisition programs is strongly encouraged.  OSDBU is the advocate that monitors the Veterans-Owned Small Business (VOSB) Program, with a special emphasis on SDVOSBs.  Under the authority granted in Public Law 109-461, VA is authorized to set aside contracts and/or award sole source contracts, to SDVOSB and VOSB firms.