Both my mother and father served in World War II. My father was a combat troop in the Philippines and my mother was a welder state-side at the New York Shipyard in Camden, New Jersey. Nicknamed “Rosie the Riveters”, women like my mother built the ships destined to fight in theaters of war around the world. My mom, and the many people like her involved in the war effort, produced and maintained items that enabled the troops to fight efficiently and effectively. While my mother wasn’t on the front lines of combat or steering a vessel through hostile waters, she and thousands of other Americans provided wartime support that was critical to ending the catastrophic violence of World War II.
The combination of trained personnel, equipment, and material win wars. It’s not simply the combat troop, sailor, or airman alone. All personnel involved play a role in the massive undertaking of preparing and executing a war plan. The ability to put the troops in the right position, at the right time, in the right place with the proper training and equipment needed to accomplish their mission enables wartime victory. The United States’ ability to effectively deliver critical war-time assets – from functioning ammunition and firearms to properly maintained ground vehicles and cargo ships – across thousands of miles was a main reason the Allies were successful in defeating the tyranny and violence of that time.
Today, violence across America has escalated in our schools, places of assembly, and the workplace. Legislators, school officials, mental health professionals, and the public safety community are faced with the extreme challenge of how to best address mass murders that have senselessly taken thousands of lives as well as how to prevent them from occurring in the future. There are no simple solutions. Each discipline must examine their role and responsibilities and ensure they are doing everything necessary to meet their objectives in support of reducing violence. Just as critical is that each discipline looks internally and identifies the type of support needed to meet their objective. While often not highly visible or “flashy”, key roles like the manufacturing role my mother played in WWII was a critical component of the successful fleet fight.
Similar to the key yet inconspicuous role my mother played many years ago, asset managers play a critical (though sometimes overlooked) role in the war against mass violence events. Engaging asset managers in the planning process ensures they support procuring the equipment needed to prevent, respond to, and recover from acts of violence. Once procured, the asset manager works with reoccurring equipment maintenance programs so that equipment is efficiently maintained and available for immediate use when distributed. While asset management is not always a highly visible role, it is always a critical role that enables the mission. A law enforcement officer expects to have a specific weapon that functions properly and a cruiser that can effectively respond in emergency situations.
It wasn’t one specific person or event that allowed the Allied powers to prevail over the Axis powers in WWII, and it won’t be any one person who ends, or even curtails, these mass violence events. It will take legislatures, school districts, mental health professionals and public safety organizations working side-by-side, with each of their critical but often less visible internal support teams optimally functioning, to affect real change. It will take all these disciplines and every citizen working together to do it.