Briefing

Global Warning

It might seem counterintuitive, but global warming probably means the Navy and U.S. Coast Guard will need more icebreakers. As rising temperatures melt the permanent ice in the Arctic, the region will open for shipping, oil drilling, mineral mining and even tourism. But a warmer Arctic still will be cold enough to freeze some of the time, so the United States will need icebreakers to escort commercial ships, deliver supplies, conduct research and carry out rescues, according to a National Research Council study on what climate change means for naval forces. The United States has only three icebreakers, and two of them are inoperable.

The Navy also will need more hospital ships, according to the report. Global warming is likely to cause more droughts, floods and severe storms, which will mean more disaster relief missions. The Navy has two hospital ships now and could increase that number by leasing commercial ships.

-William Matthews

Leading With The Mind

No manager is an island. But an ability to find calm amid the frantic pace, pressing demands and negative thoughts that clutter the mind makes for a better leader, according to Washington-based neuroleadership development coach Suzanne Kryder. "Create an island within yourself, or in your team," she says, noting that human minds are instinctively distracted, overreactive and in a hurry. "Our culture says react now."

Neuroleadership, a budding management discipline predicated on the science of brain functions, aims to give managers the tools to progress from snap decisions to permanent solutions. Kryder says key techniques include:

  • Deconstructing negative attitudes (pay attention to what employees say, not how they say it).
  • Developing the art of laser communication (imagine how you would make your point in 12 words or less).
  • Reducing stress (eyes closed, sit with feet flat on the floor, focus on relaxing the body).

President Kennedy spent five minutes a day with his eyes closed, according to Kryder. Even the leader of the free world needs a break from the tension.

-Susan Fourney

First Lady

Growing up, Rear Adm. Sandy Stosz knew she didn't want a desk job. "I wanted an adventure," says Stosz, who will take over in June as superintendent of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn.

She'll be the first female to lead a military service academy. "I tell you, I will be most thankful when I'm looked at as the 40th superintendent, and not just the first female superintendent," Stosz says.

The native of Ellicott City, Md., says she hopes to boost diversity among the academy's student body and to strengthen the school's partnerships with other groups at the state and federal levels as well as in industry. In fact, Stosz talked to Government Executive while she was in New York visiting the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Stosz is the Coast Guard's director of reserve and leadership, where she develops policies to recruit, train and support more than 8,000 reservists. She offers this advice to young women who are contemplating a career in the military and might be feeling pressure to marry and raise a family too: "You need to know yourself before you can start the whole process of trying to be something to someone else." Stosz says young women and men should use the time in boot camp "to find themselves and get to know themselves, so they can understand what drives them, so they can make some good decisions and pursue something with passion."

-Kellie Lunney

Do-It-Yourself Deficit Cuts

The AARP Bulletin in March offered its website readers a chance to balance the federal budget. Players use a graphic calculator to pick from a list of deficit-reduction proposals.

Focusing on the items affecting the federal workforce, our math shows, would slice only about an eighth of the $607 billion reduction the ground rules say is needed by 2015. That includes the pay freeze, hiring freeze and contract employee cuts. Determined players might have to move along to higher-impact sacrifices-Social Security payroll tax hikes, or a national sales tax.

-Charles S. Clark

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