Edmonds Military Wire: Budget challenges impacting local and national security

Michael Schindler, as sketched by Steve Hartley during an Operation Military Family fundraiser Sunday night.
Michael Schindler, as sketched by Steve Hartley during an Operation Military Family fundraiser Sunday night.

By Michael Schindler

North Korea. Boston Marathon. MIT Shooting. Ricin. Edmonds school lockdown. The headlines the past week were far from encouraging and indicate that America is facing both national and local threats. The recent events strike when Army leaders are telling Congress that the readiness Americans have come to expect from the Army “is at risk if sequestration and continuing resolutions are allowed to go on.”

On April 16, Lt. Gen. James L. Huggins Jr., deputy chief of staff for Operations, U.S. Army and three other Army generals testified to lawmakers that “bigger impacts (to readiness) in fiscal year 2014 will be felt if the budget is not addressed.”

The budget may or may not get addressed. Regardless of what happens at the national level, there are strong indicators that every-day America, right down to the people in our city, will need to be prepared to act and respond; and to do so with potentially fewer government-funded resources.

Ask yourself if you know what your school’s lockdown policy is should there be an active shooter (recent events suggest we as parents should know this) or what you should do in the event there is a major derailment and toxic spill here in Edmonds, much like the one that forever changed Graniteville S.C. in 2005. Or…how about an earthquake?

What’s your plan?

If you know the answers to these questions – good. Better to be prepared than forced to figure it out on the fly. But many don’t – and with a decrease in the availability of federal, state, and local funding, now just may be the time to explore options that will supplement the government-funded ones.

After last week’s events, I had the privilege of meeting with an extremely highly qualified individual who is involved on many levels with terrorism and disaster preparedness planning and our conversation was enlightening and intriguing on so many levels.

More to come on that down range; but here’s the take-away:

We need to think outside the box. Fire District 1 is doing just that (no, I’m not campaigning for them – I’m just complimenting them for being thought-leaders) and it is time we get our schools, hospitals, and local leaders better prepared to lead in this ever-changing environment. Not to mention, ourselves.

Bottom line: If your plan is to solely rely on a government plan in times of crisis, you may want to explore developing your own plan and support network. Rock band Nickelback so eloquently states in their song, If Today was Your Last Day, “Each day is a gift and not a given right.” We all need to operate under this premise – and we can do so while becoming better prepared should some tragic event happen here. Doing so just might give you or someone you love one more day – and that is a gift we can all live with.

Michael Schindler, Navy veteran, and president of Edmonds-based Operation Military Family, is a guest writer for several national publications, author of the book “Operation Military Family” and “The Military Wire” blog. He is also a popular keynote and workshop speaker who reaches thousands of service members and their families every year through workshops and seminars that include  “How to Battle-Ready Your Relationship” or “What Your Mother-in-Law Didn’t Tell You.”  He received the 2010 Outstanding Patriotic Service Award from the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs.

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