Thursday, November 8, 2007

High profile DV speaker

You'd think we were at the airport. MPs thoroughly metal detectored us. My co-worker was asked to leave a Gerber outside and the Colonel had to leave his backpack outside - unheard of. I had no idea this was going to be such a high profile event.

You've gotta love the military. The speach began at 1600, so they rolled it back to telling us to be seated by 1530, so we rolled back our arrival to 1500 - and we got there early. An hour before the event would start most of the 800 seats were filled. By a half hour early, it was standing room only. As 1605 rolled around, the Major I was with was bitching about man-hours of productivity. The Colonel responded that "we have a tradition of this" - the little wood choppers were missing hours of productivity waiting for General Washington to bring morale to their little hearts in Lexington.

Admiral Mullen got right down to business. He apologized for being 15 minutes late - he had been on a VTC with el presidente. They, he, the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Secretary of Defense, were traveling through East Asia meeting with their high level defense counterparts. His speech was a fascinating half hour. He kept re-emphasisng his three pronged priorities and switching his focus between transformation and leadership. He then opened it up to a half hour Q & A. Questions came from the gambit, very low rank to very senior. All were well formulated, most very good pointed questions. There were a few that you could only shake your head at - one was about his response to a specific conspiracy theory question about 9-11. He answered all of the questions very well. The ones that were less relevant led into supporting points about what he mentioned earlier. Afterward my co-worker mentioned that at the last similar event a very senior military spokesperson was asked by a female servicemember (in formal terms) if the military was investigating devices that would allow females to go to the bathroom upright. You've got to be kidding! I have no idea how I would smooth over a question like that on international tv.

Afterward they wisked the Admiral off - flashing sirens, motorcade, and all. An MP was directing traffic. No, she wasn't directing, she was controlling it with steadfast intention. If I wasn't with a group in such heavy traffic I would have stopped to watch. There was never a question as to who should be stopped and who should be moving. She would direct multiple streams at a time like a stoplight. Some cars would be turning left, some going straight, and pedestrian control - all based on the number of people waiting. With all the Generals and Admirals she had to pop to and salute several times in the middle of the traffic direction. It was amazing.

I need to be more ready on my camera. I saw the funniest thing on road so far. it was a motorcycle that had a huge, maybe 10 foot tall trailer behind it. The trailer had garbage and the many recycleables, brooms, rakes, etc. It also had a passenger standing way up high in the air. That doesn't sound like much, but a pic will leave you rolling.

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