This blog began as my
The absence of a clear goal for the blog, beyond the simple need to write (“butt in chair”), the topics largely followed my studies and contemporary and past interests. The first post of MountainRunner was entitled “Robot Grunts.” Other subjects included examinations into the privatization of force (
Eventually, late in 2006, I “came out” of the darkness and put my name on the blog, and yet the blog still grew. While there have always comments on posts, generally there were 3-5 offline conversations for every online comment. Invitations to meet in DC increased in frequency — with House and Senate staff, State Department leadership and employees, and Defense Department officials and staff. Conference invites, speaker engagements, advisory and consulting roles followed.
In 2011, I became the Executive Director of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy. In late 2010, as the bureaucracy was doing the background checks and other preparations, the then-Under Secretary of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs placed a condition on my hire as Executive Director: that I stop blogging. While this was a violation of State Department policy then (and probably still), I was burned out on blogging and agreed.
In 2013, when I was confirmed by the Senate to the position of Governor on the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the public affairs team expressed real concern over what I might write after I expressed an interest in relaunching this site.
I never did really return to blogging, but I reserve the right to post my personal views when I feel like it. There is an email list that will occassionally include items not posted on the blog, so feel free to click the link above to subscribe to that.
I do accept guest posts, but read the policy on guest posts before submitting an idea or post. Guest posts reflect the views of the author and are not necessarily a reflection of my opinion. They may, in fact, be counter to my opinion(s) and hosted here to further a discussion. There are boundaries and basic qualitative requirements to further the conversation for a guest post to be published here. Guest posts that are clearly promotional will not be published. This blog is apolitical and will not be used to further political positions or an official agency viewpoint.
As always, don’t hesitate to let me know if you have a suggestion, comment, or criticism about an item on the blog or related to a blog topic. I enjoy an informed debate, which is a key reason for restarting this blog.
Considering that the bulk of this blog’s archives date from before 2010, it is worth stating that as knowledge and experience is gained, views evolve. With that, let me share a relevant quote from John Maynard Keynes: ‘When facts change, I change my mind. What do you, sir?’