Author Archives: Ben

About Ben

I'm a senior Sport Business major spending my final semester interning with a consulting firm in Washington, D.C. My hobbies include movies, disc golf, basketball, poker, and reading. I am a die-hard fan of Cleveland Sports, and am eternally convinced that "this is the year" the Browns are winning the Super Bowl.

A Quick Look into the Problem-Solving Capabilities of Congress

A Quick Look into the Problem-Solving Capabilities of Congress

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Problem: The U.S. is facing an increased number of cyber-attacks, which originate primarily from China and Russia. Not only are private businesses being targeted for proprietary information, but the federal government is a target as well. A major cyber-attack on the U.S. has the potential to cripple economic and military capabilities nationwide and could result in mass deaths, evacuations or a catastrophic national security breach.

Solution: Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) is sponsoring the Cybersecurity Act of 2012, which would create government jurisdiction over key infrastructure systems (such as the power grid and water supply) and develop cybersecurity performance requirements for any system categorized as critical infrastructure.

Problem: Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is leading a campaign and proposing new legislation to oppose the Cybersecurity Act of 2012, which would, as currently written, designate regulatory power to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). McCain, wanting regulatory authority to go to the National Security Administration (NSA), will not support the current bill, and may succeed in preventing it from passing into law this year. This means that another year will pass without a bolstering of federal cybersecurity, and critical infrastructure will be more vulnerable than ever to cyber-attacks.

Solution: ???

Problem: This type of opposition is not uncommon. Partisan debate is a natural product in creating policy, and is foundationally beneficial for creating laws that balance the interests of different groups. Such an argument becomes irrelevant, however, in this case, due to a number of factors that should be considered.

First: Sen. McCain has a history of agreeing with Sen. Lieberman (who is a stingy conservative on security issues) on cybersecurity issues, as they are both proponents of a strong national defense.

Second: The basis of disagreement is over semantics. Does is really matter which executive agency governs cybersecurity issues? The reality is that Sen. McCain, being born into a renowned military family and having an extensive and decorated career in the armed services as well, is likely to have an unspoken allegiance towards military-run agencies (the NSA would be included in that category, DHS would not).

Third: This bill is too important not to be passed into law. As previously stated, the high vulnerability of critical systems that support the United States is a monumental threat to national security. Should a landmark cybersecurity bill be halted, and possibly stopped, due to the personal political loyalties of a few senators? Even if there were highly credible criticisms of the bill (which there are), the partisan differences need to be reconciled quickly, because neither the public nor private sectors can afford for the bill to fail.

Bottom Line: The abysmal Congressional practice of maintaining one’s “electability” and obliging to personal loyalties should never come in front of making good decisions for the country. But it does… Maybe that’s why Congressional approval is at 10%. Maybe that’s why most people have a passionate hatred of politics. Maybe that’s why China is catching up to us as a superpower at record-pace.

Whatever the reason may be, the partisan politics and disagreements need to stop. There’s too much good that can be done in this country, only to waste our government time and resources on issues that can be reconciled. The specific senators mentioned in this post have worked together on several related issues. It’s time for them to step up to the plate and do it again.

Week #1 – The Budget Control Act and its Profound Impact on my Life

Week #1 – The Budget Control Act and its Profound Impact on my Life

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Washington has been a unique and exciting experience thus far. The generic expectations of life such as work and academics are only the foundation of what has been a broad experiential process this past week. Filling in the gaps between these pillars are opportunities that weren’t apparent or expected. I spent my Thursday attending networking and informational events on Capitol Hill as well as across the Potomac. These events, both focusing on national security and the new defense budget, immersed me into the atmosphere of my internship. They also provided me with an excellent opportunity to network with professionals in the industry I will be interning in, making them invaluable experiences. I have found the prospects of this city to be nearly endless.

This new city has a large set of “unwritten rules” that are ritually followed by its citizens. Escalator etiquette (walkers on the left, standers on the right) is the most prevalent of these traditions, being demonstrably vital to surviving in the city. The local influence of widespread professionalism dominates the atmosphere of Washington, and always demands cordiality and professional demeanor. Fortunately, my internship does not abide by a strict set of rules. If I have nothing to do in the office, I am encouraged to leave and take advantage of what the city has to offer. This is awesome and it encourages me to make the most out of my experience, whether that is in the office, at a conference or just out exploring the city.

I am a research analyst (that’s the name they give interns, I think it’s pretty cool!) for the Potomac Advocates. A significant amount of responsibility is placed upon the other interns and I for a variety of tasks. As a defense consulting firm, my office sends out several reports to clientele with information regarding various topics in defense. My primary responsibility for the current time being is to create one of these reports weekly, specifically on cyber security. I also work directly with one of the partners on tasks involving a specific client of his, and I imagine that I will be used to perform whatever miscellaneous tasks are needed to aid the partners with their work. My favorite responsibility involves being a courier for the firm, taking documents to the Senate and House office buildings on a regular basis!

Washington, DC runs on a different wavelength than the rest of the world. While the general public thrives on sports, music and keeping up with the Kardashians, the culture of Washington centers around a different, more refined nucleus. This past Tuesday, I was bewildered to discover that President Obama’s State of the Union Address was the Capitol’s equivalent of the layman’s Super Bowl, filling every bar and restaurant in the city with animated and charismatic viewers. Washington’s inherent bond to politics and government is perhaps the city’s most defining trait, and is what separates it from any other city on earth.

This has had a significant impact on my stay in Washington. Working for a defense consulting firm, I have been submerged into the political atmosphere of DC quicker than I would have ever expected. Only two days after the State of the Union Address, the interns in the office were summoned for another big event. Due to the Budget Control Act passed by Congress, the Department of Defense was mandated to cut almost $500
billion from the defense budget over the next decade. This has huge implications on defense contractors, who will be scrambling to determine how it will affect their business with the government.  A very long story made short – the Budget
Control Act will dictate almost every action that I take for the next 13 weeks of my internship! I think that’s pretty cool, and am very excited to see how my firm, as well as the entire Washington community, embraces this new situation.

The Road to Washington

The Road to Washington

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As a man who was born and raised in a suburb of Cleveland, I have had the opportunity to experience (nearly) everything Northeast Ohio has to offer. I have swum in the hazardous waters of Lake Erie, attended the famed St. Patrick’s Day parade and enjoyed the theatrical and cosmetic brilliance of a production at Playhouse Square. I have felt the pride that manifests intrinsically within every Clevelander and felt that same pride get mangled and scarred as a certain basketball star (I have vowed to refrain from saying his name in 2012 as a New Year’s resolution) took his talents to South Beach. Through the good and the bad, I have been with this awesome community for my entire life.

As I approached my final semester in college, the prospect of a new chapter in my life led me to make a difficult decision. I have chosen to spend my last 4 months in the nations capital to intern in a program called The Washington Center. During this time, I will be working for a consulting firm and getting a good taste of the “real world.” It is an excellent opportunity to explore a career path that is known for it’s fast-paced and high-pressure environment.

When people ask me why I decided to go on this journey, the answer I give them is reaffirmed constantly by what we see in the media. The best example is the republican debate just a few days before the South Carolina primary elections. Witnessing grown men attacking the character and integrity of other grown men on national television illustrates that there is something very wrong with how we choose our nation’s leaders. It is my goal to DO GOOD in the world and to change the hostile atmosphere of politics, one person at a time.

I am writing this post on the road to Washington. All my belongings are sitting next to me, as I begin a new and exciting experience in my life. This blog will help chronicle some of my adventures in D.C., and I’ll probably throw some fun stuff in too. I hope you enjoy reading these entries as much as I will enjoy writing them!

I will certainly miss my friends, family, dear old Mount Union, my awesome girlfriend of almost three years and my beloved Cleveland sports, but I am confident that this is a risk worth taking. There is, as with many things, opportunity to fail, but that will only make success that much sweeter if obtained. Anyone who has taken Finance 101 will know that “the greater the risk, the greater the reward.” It’s about time for me and every ambitious reader out there to prove that saying true.

The Road to Washington

The Road to Washington

Read more

As a man who was born and raised in a suburb of Cleveland, I have had the opportunity to experience (nearly) everything northeast Ohio has to offer.  I have swum in the hazardous waters of Lake Erie, attended the famed St. Patrick’s Day parade, and enjoyed the theatrical and cosmetic brilliance of a production at Playhouse Square.  I have felt the pride that manifests intrinsically within every Clevelander, and felt that same pride get mangled and scarred as a certain basketball star (I have vowed to refrain from saying his name in 2012 as a New Year’s Resolution) took his talents to South Beach.  Through the good and the bad, I have been with this awesome community for my entire life.

As I approached my final semester in college, the prospect of a new chapter in my life led me to make a difficult decision.  I have chosen to spend my last 4 months in the nation’s capital to intern in a program called The Washington Center.  During this time, I will be working for a consulting firm and getting a good taste of the “real world.”  It is an excellent opportunity to explore a career path that is known for it’s fast-paced and high-pressure environment.

When people ask me why I decided to go on this journey, the answer I give them is reaffirmed constantly by what we see in the media.  The best example is the Republican debate just a few days before the South Carolina primary elections. Witnessing grown men attacking the character and integrity of other grown men on national television illustrates that there is something very wrong with how we choose our nation’s leaders.  It is my goal to DO GOOD in the world, and to change the hostile atmosphere of politics, one person at a time.

I am writing this post on the road to Washington.  All my belongings are sitting next to me, as I begin a new and exciting experience in my life.  This blog will help chronicle some of my adventures in D.C., and I’ll probably throw some fun stuff in too.  I hope you enjoy reading these as much as I will enjoy writing them!

I will certainly miss my friends and family, dear old Mount Union, my awesome girlfriend of almost 3 years, and my beloved Cleveland sports, but I am confident that this is a risk worth taking.  There is, as with many things, opportunity to fail, but that will only make success that much sweeter if obtained.  Anyone who has taken Finance 101 will know that “the greater the risk, the greater the reward.” It’s about time for me, and every ambitious reader out there, to prove that saying true.