By Irvin Varkonyi
Originally published in NDTA Defense Transportation Journal, April 2009
The Value of Human Capital
The nation has met the harsh challenges of protecting our national security, weakened by the tragedies of terrorism, natural disasters and low priorities of infrastructure protection, with an immense response at all levels of Government and the commercial sector. This response called on its citizens, whether they are the President of the United States, a night watchman at a semi-conductor factory or a university professor of supply chain management to not only exert maximum effort to protect each other but to recognize the value of human capital to detect, plan for, mitigate, respond and recover from disasters. Such action can make the difference in protecting our Defense Industrial Base, the loss of which, or severe weakening, would compound our weakness in maintaining national security.
Educating and training Human Capital will be the responsibility of the enterprises who employ us; of the universities who teach us rational reasoning and acquisition of knowledge; of professional associations such as the National Defense Transportation Association through their educational activities; and most importantly each of us to learn and continuously improve our knowledge in a rapidly changing world.
DHS’ Critical Manufacturing Sector Specific Agency
Among recent developments at the Dept of Homeland Security in support of protecting critical infrastructure has been the formation of the Critical Manufacturing Sector Specific Agency (SSA). This SSA joined sixteen other SSA’s including the Defense Industrial Base Critical Sector. The two SSA’s are obviously interrelated as the security of the nation depends on our ability to produce the goods to support warfighters, Federal, state and local homeland security, and the commercial sector to sustain itself.
It is undeniable that the loss of key manufacturers in industries such as transportation equipment, automotive, electricals, primary metals and more will severely impact the security of the nation. How well do stakeholders understand these relationships? More important, how do stakeholders learn to collaborate to be Secure, Resilient and Prepared? The answer lies clearly in the ability to train, educate and motivate human capital.
Please pass on your experiences with institutions, organizations and universities who accept the value of human capital as the bulwark to protect the nation.