I’m getting ready to head to the airport first thing in the morning to travel to visit family. This will be my first time traveling by air since I had my hip replaced 8 weeks ago. From what I hear, the machines we have at checkpoints do an excellent job detecting metal hips; I guess I will find out. I’ll let you know how it goes – and I will plan to get to the airport a little earlier than usual.
I am still following the media treatment of all this and remain perplexed and unhappy with most of it. I heard one reporter ask the following: “Is it smart to go to whole body imaging machines, won’t the terrorists just try to find a way to beat those, perhaps hiding explosives in their body?” Just incredible. Of course, the answer is that the terrorists will always be trying to beat whatever we have, they are not going to give up. There is no silver bullet that will end this process for all time. We must make good decisions, think ahead, and be ready to adjust – constantly.
I am pleased by the administration’s focus on intelligence. As my ACI Europe counterpart, Olivier Jankovec has said, “focusing exclusively on detection at the airport is not the way forward.” It seems as if our intelligence community had plenty of information on this guy. We have to make sure it is better used next time.
Before I conclude I want to recognize two people who were involved in the aviation industry and who passed away in recent weeks.
Harry Kluckhohn was a friend to many in the ACI family for a long time. If you have traveled in airports such as Los Angeles, San Francisco or Kansas City then you have seen the results of his work. You see, Harry began his career in finance on Wall Street as a young man after service in the Navy. He soon realized that he was often the youngest person in the room by 20 years, and he also yearned to do something a little more interesting. So he was transferred to San Francisco and got involved in public finance, including a number of airport projects, on many of which he worked closely with my good friend Oris Dunham. I was also interested to learn that in addition to his Navy service, Harry was also involved in football, boxing AND the school musical when he was at the Naval Academy. A really well rounded guy, and well loved by his many friends and associates. Harry Kluckhohn, RIP.
Jack Stempler lived two doors down from me. He served as General Counsel of the United States Air Force, and he also served twice as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs, including during some of the worst days of the Vietnam War. Jack served in the Marines in World War II, and took part in two of the bloodiest landings of that war. I actually didn’t learn much of this directly from Jack, he hardly ever talked about himself. He’d come out and join me when I walked the dog and we’d talk about the issues of the day, and he always wanted to know what I was up to. In fact, I didn’t find out about his role at DOD during the Vietnam War till I saw a picture of him with General Westmorland when I was in his house and asked about it (and the picture was NOT on the wall, if was on a table with some things he was preparing to store). He was a classic example of the Greatest Generation. He provided extraordinary and exemplary service to this country in difficult circumstances over a period of decades and never called attention to himself. A great guy. Jack Stempler, RIP.