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Haystack Blog

Haystack Blog

Posted by Mark Testoni, December 7, 2014

Remembering Pearl Harbor

73 years ago this morning Imperial Japan attacked our country at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. Less than an hour after the most significant US naval installation in the pacific was substantially damaged—20 major ships, hundreds of aircraft and more than 2000 Americans lay dead with another 1500 wounded. Nearly half those who perished were crew of the USS Arizona, it munitions compartment hit directly by a Japanese bomb.

This single attack led to the largest mobilization of force and might in the history of the world…and the US entry into wars in Europe and the Pacific tilted the odds in favor of the allied forces who ultimately prevailed in WWII. It would be nearly another 60 years before we were attacked on our soil directly on September 11, 2001.

As a child growing up in the 1960s and 70s, December 7th was always recognized as an important day to reflect. However, there are rapidly diminishing numbers of veterans of this attack and WWII veterans. I’ve sensed a national decline the memory of the significance of this date. Please remember the sacrifices of those veterans and our country made during those turbulent times to give us the life we have in the 21st century. Spend a moment discussing this importance of this anniversary with those younger people in your life.

Our prayers to all our men and women who today stand vigilance protecting our freedom.

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Posted by Mark Testoni, November 26, 2014

Many Reasons to Be Thankful This Thanksgiving

Modern Thanksgiving embodies turkey, football, family and friends … and the day before Black Friday (which is now working its way into Thursday night).

Sometimes lost in all the commotion is a sense of the history behind Thanksgiving. Nearly 400 years ago, people looking for a better life ventured out on the sea to come to a new world and life in North America. Legend suggests that after a successful harvest in 1621, those emigrés celebrated a Thanksgiving feast based on European traditions started centuries earlier. A couple of centuries later, President Lincoln codified the last Thursday in November as a standard American holiday. President Franklin Roosevelt realigned it specifically to the fourth Thursday in November and helped create the aura of a holiday shopping season to drive some economic activity at a difficult time for our country.

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Posted by Mark Testoni, November 11, 2014

On Veterans Day

Ninety-six years ago today, "the war to end all wars" - now known as World War I – ended after four years of unprecedented carnage, largely in Europe and the Middle East. The United States had entered the fray in late 1917 and helped turned the tide. A few years later, both the U.S. and Europe identified November 11 as a day to reflect on the sacrifices of our military. We call it "Veterans Day" in the U.S., and most other places refer to it as "Remembrance Day."

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Posted by Mark Testoni, October 30, 2014

Solutions Summit 2014 Features Record Turnout, Thought-Provoking Dialogue

This morning, SAP NS2 hosted our Third Annual Solutions Summit, attracting a record turnout of more than 800 government technology executives, mission professionals, policy makers, and business partners who participated in a dialogue on the top national security issues of our time.

It was also a chance to see NS2 solutions in action at a series of "Innovation Bars"; and to present a progress report on NS2 Serves, the nonprofit we launched in 2013 to provide world-class training and employment opportunities for U.S. military veterans.

More than 2,000 years ago, the great Chinese strategist Sun Tzu said, "What enables the good general to strike and conquer is foreknowledge." The same could be said today. Our government's ability to collect, analyze and act on relevant information is increasingly central to our national defense.

We are living in the "Big Bang times of the Information Universe." We are buried in information. But we are far better at collecting this information than we are at analyzing and figuring out what to do with it.

The great promise of IT is in harnessing the data and making it actionable. The threat demands so much more today, but the tools are within our grasp. And we must be much more nimble in developing and employing these tools.

The challenge is especially acute for those working in national security.

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Posted by Mark Testoni, September 25, 2014

Security Begins and Ends in the Home

Those of us who work in the business of national security spend considerable time and resources trying to protect our country from a variety of global threats, and we do a pretty good job of it. However, recent events cause me to wonder how broadly we're failing on a more basic level — protecting those within our own homes and communities. Ensuring the safety of those who can't defend themselves at home is at least as important as securing the nation from external threats.

The widely publicized incidents involving players in the National Football League bring the specter of domestic violence to the forefront of the national debate. Most of the commentary seems to second guess the handling of the specific incidents. Clearly, the facts of each case will play out, and those who are culpable should be held accountable legally. Those who turned a blind eye will be judged in the court of public opinion.

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The Haystack Blog is where SAP NS2 President and Chief Executive Mark Testoni shares his perspectives on how to advance the national security mission through I.T. innovation. The name comes from his observation that in the 21st century, "We seem to be collecting more and more haystacks in which intelligence needles must be found."

SAP NS2 President and Chief Executive Mark Testoni
Mark Testoni
President and Chief Executive of SAP NS2