Monday, September 23, 2013

Taking it up a notch

I like applying what I know to related disciplines, so it was a real pleasure to be invited for two days of panel work in Washington DC last week, at the National Academies.  All four are housed in The Keck Center -- the National Institute of Science, the National Institute of Medicine, the National Institute of Engineering, and the National Research Board, under whose aegis my panel was located -- and it's an elegant, functional building.

I was most taken by the large interior wall that I never did get a full shot of, but here are some of the elements that are part of the wall.

The Darwin quote and image to the right are part of an element of the wall shown above.

I was also taken by the cornerstone quote from Thomas Jefferson on the outside of the building.

The work we were able to accomplish in two days was significant.  It will lead to the creation of a guidebook for managing risk across the enterprise in state departments of transportation.  Our ten person panel is a mix of risk managers from departments of transportation around the country and several risk experts, as well as liaisons from federal agencies like the Federal Highway Administration and TSA.  I'll be reading a number of proposals from potential contractors for the work, as well as coming up to speed in risk literature that has already been created by the National Research Council.  We'll meet again later this year to select the contractor.

A side benefit of the work is access to the National Academies Bookstore.

I brought back two books published by the Council that pertain to my ongoing research, writing and speaking, but especially to the introductory operational risk course I start teaching this week.   The first is an older publication, Biotechnology Research in an Age of Terrorism.  The other is more recent, but still four years old:  Technology, Policy, Law, and Ethics Regarding U.S. Acquisition and Use of Cyberattack Capabilities.

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