What is all this then?

What is this blog about?

Starting with the purpose of the blog, in true BLUF fashion, I am writing this in order to bring together links to various work I do in academia and consultancy and to allow me to test out ideas and highlight new work in the fields of Training & Education, CBRNE, Intelligence Analysis, Risk analysis and Forensic Science. There may even be a smattering of capability development and defence and security writing.

It may seem like quite a wide range, but it reflects my career and I believe hangs together well. The heart of my interest has always been investigation of hazardous scenes (Fire, explosion, CBRN etc.) and this led quite naturally to work in Forensic Science. Better investigation needs good analysis and intelligence, not just for operations but also to develop capability. Capability development itself – while so often focused on equipment – in my opinion really lives or dies by the strength of the training and education provided.

Why ‘Sinking Black Swans’ ?

The phrase black swan has been made pretty famous by Nassim Taleb ( His website ) and subsequently by the entirely unrelated film (here). I first encountered the phrase being used in the catastrophic terrorism insurance field. I wasn’t a huge fan of how it was being used. It had become a shorthand for catastrophic but (potentially) low probability. This seemed to be at odds with the concept of a threat which you truly couldn’t predict. In my mind, there was a difference between threats we knew about but discounted and threats we genuinely couldn’t have anticipated. In truth, I wasn’t really sure if there were black swans or just constraints on planning and resources that caused us to limit our thinking.

Full of fire and motivation I decided to start a blog in which I would address and discuss various ‘black swans’ to see if there really were black swans. Hence the idea of ‘sinking black swans’. 5 years later I hadn’t really done more than register the domain. Now slightly older and wiser, I am determined to get it off the ground.

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