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The work ethic is fading among millennials. That applies to royals too

Once upon a time, brother would happily have murdered brother to wear the crown. Families were ripped asunder in pursuit of it, pretenders to the throne routinely met grisly ends, and even marrying into the proximity of royalty could be lethal.

How puzzled Prince Harry s ancestors would be, then, by the interview[1] he has just given in America explaining that nobody really wants to be king any more. The royals are, he explained, only still in business now for the greater good of the people , not because they actually enjoy the gig. Is there any one of the royal family who wants to be king or queen? I don t think so, but we will carry out our duties at the right time, he told the US edition of Newsweek. Like celebrities who tire of fame, or titled families moaning about the cost of maintaining the ancestral pile, princes gloomy about one day having to be king do not exactly invite instant sympathy. After all, if the burden of all that unearned wealth and privilege is so terrible then they could always give it up. Renounce the throne, hand back the keys to Kensington Palace, and see if the life of a commoner forced to earn your own living but free to wander down the street on a sunny day without trailing clouds of close protection officers and paparazzi really is as appealing from the inside as it must sometimes look. Hell, why not go the whole hog and come out for an elected president instead of a monarchy? Let the cursed burden fall to someone who actively wants it although, as ever, the glaring flaw in this argument is imagining the sort of person who might want it. (President Blair? President Richard Branson? God help us, President Farage?)

But constitutional implications aside, there is a human story here that will be recognisable to many distinctly un-regal families, and that s the creeping renunciation of what previous generations have unquestioningly assumed work should be. William and Harry are certainly not alone among millennials in not wanting to slog their guts out as their parents did, and choosing to allow more space for relationships and families. And instead of dismissing them as spoilt brats, older generations might usefully reflect on what it could possibly be about their burnt-out, grumpy, professionally insecure parents that they don t wish to emulate.

It s true that the vast majority of young people can t afford to be so picky. Thousands would be grateful for a job full stop, let alone a crown; others are busy stringing together several precarious half-livings to make the rent, and the great whoosh of twentysomething rage unleashed at the last election[2] is testament to how very far from professionally secure they feel. But it s precisely that insecurity and anxiety, rather than laziness, that seems to be increasingly shaping attitudes to work. If the payoff for doing well at school and slogging through a good degree is a pile of debt, a starter job that could have been done by a school leaver and zero chance of ever having a mortgage, then why pour every ounce of energy into work that seems to offer so little back? Exposure does have consequences; it changes the nature of any job, and who is likely to be attracted to it

Even among those lucky enough to be on relatively secure career paths, something is clearly changing.

Only a third of trainee GPs, according to a survey carried out recently for the King s Fund[3], plan to be working full-time even straight after qualifying. They ve seen the stress older doctors are working under, taking life or death decisions, back to back, all day and then catching up with paperwork late into the night, and they re afraid of burning out if they do the same. Further up the career ladder, the NHS is struggling in some parts of the country to find hospital chief executives because of the pressure that comes with the top job; the knowledge that you ll be held very publicly accountable if anything goes wrong, in a funding climate where things may be increasingly likely to go wrong. Stay one rung below the top, and at least you ll sleep at nights. Governors looking to recruit headteachers[4], especially in challenging neighbourhoods, report similar problems in getting junior teachers to step up. Why take the professional risk of trying to turn schools with deeply entrenched problems around, when it will be your head on the block if Ofsted deems you to have failed? All this may be horrifying to older doctors and headteachers, driven by a strong sense of public service and self-sacrifice and a desire to put something back. But younger professionals who want to work like this aren t necessarily shirking their duty to those they serve, so much as interpreting that duty differently; wanting to be rested enough to take good decisions rather than lurching into sleep-deprived mistakes for which they could find themselves in court. It s failure they may fear, more than hard work.

Obviously, the job the young royals are so gloomily contemplating a bit of light ribbon-cutting, plaque-unveiling and Christmas message-filming, rather than anything life or death is infinitely less demanding by comparison. But again it s the intense public scrutiny[5] to which the princes seem to object, rather than the workload; the daily intrusion[6] into their private lives that is the price now paid for privilege, but which didn t apply in the same way to a previous generation of royal babies. And before dismissing that as whingeing, it s worth remembering that their mother blamed anxiety induced by marrying into the spotlight for fuelling her bulimia, that she died in a car crash while being chased by paparazzi, and that as bereaved children they were expected to walk behind her coffin under the open gaze of millions of strangers[7]. It would be more alarming in the circumstances if William hadn t chosen to hide his children away in rural Norfolk[8], if Harry hadn t grown up with deeply conflicting feelings about the family business.

There s no going back to a time before public servants were held publicly accountable for their mistakes, any more than it is possible for the royals to retreat to an era when all we expected them to do was smile and wave. But exposure does have consequences; it changes the nature of any job, and who is likely to be attracted to it. Princes William and Harry have a perfect right to grapple with these questions, publicly as well as privately. Even if they would be wise to expect precious little sympathy for doing so.

References

  1. ^ interview (www.theguardian.com)
  2. ^ unleashed at the last election (www.theguardian.com)
  3. ^ survey carried out recently for the King s Fund (www.kingsfund.org.uk)
  4. ^ to recruit headteachers (www.nfer.ac.uk)
  5. ^ intense public scrutiny (www.theguardian.com)
  6. ^ daily intrusion (www.theguardian.com)
  7. ^ expected to walk behind her coffin under the open gaze of millions of strangers (www.theguardian.com)
  8. ^ hide his children away in rural Norfolk (www.theguardian.com)

VIP Close Protection Course Ends in Uruguay

The VIP Close Protection course was held at the Uruguayan School for Peacekeeping Operations, in cooperation with the U.S. Embassy in that country. A course on VIP Close Protection was held at the Uruguayan School for Peacekeeping Operations (ENOPU, per its Spanish acronym), in May. ENOPU instructors and personnel from the U.S. Embassy in Montevideo coordinated and executed the event with the purpose of providing personnel with the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to successfully protect VIPs on the ground in peacekeeping missions and in high-risk areas, when the duties to be carried out in a peacekeeping operation demand it. A total of 47 students participated in the course: 32 from the Uruguayan Army, 14 civil servants from the president s security detail and the Ministry of Interior, and one participant from Mexico. Each course at ENOPU has up to six slots reserved for foreign students. The class content was divided into theory and practice and focused on the deactivation of improvised explosive devices and car bombs, and on putting protective measures into practice for vehicles and buildings in high-risk areas.

Uruguayan Army Lieutenant Colonel Alejandro Mart nez, the assistant director of ENOPU, explained that the topics developed in this course are geared toward training teams to protect VIPs, and on unit organization, the roles of each staff member tasked with protection duties, and their responsibilities and equipment. Topics related to assessing the terrain, protecting people and residences, tactical communications, protective equipment, field medicine, and evasive driving were also developed, Lt. Col. Mart nez explained. Among the activities, two hands-on exercises were performed under the supervision of instructors from the 14th Parachute Infantry Battalion of the Uruguayan Army, staff from the U.S. Embassy, and ENOPU instructors. The exercises consisted of performing operational procedures for protecting VIPs in high-risk areas. This was the most important part for the students, as they were able to partially apply the skills they had learned throughout the course, such as some of the resources of field medicine, Lt. Col. Mart nez emphasized. Uruguayan Army Colonel Niver Pereira, the director of ENOPU, explained to Di logo that they have been promoting the VIP Protection course since 2013, which is not taught in consecutive years. For example, in the 2018 academic offering, it s not planned to be held. It s just as important to underscore that over the years, we have accumulated knowledge and experience to be able to continue improving and modernizing these practice exercises according to new trends, he explained.

VIP Close Protection Course Ends In UruguayMembers of the Uruguayan Army took part in practice exercises on the last day of the VIP Close Protection course. (Photo: Uruguayan School for Peacekeeping Operations)

ENOPU

ENOPU s chief predecessor, founded in 2008, is the National Peacekeeping Operations School of the Uruguayan Army, in existence since 1998. Following the creation of ENOPU, personnel from the three branches of the Uruguayan Armed Forces were brought in, thereby making the school a dependency of the Ministry of Defense. ENOPU has 288 instructors charged with organizing all of the activities. ENOPU has a fixed series of courses taught year after year. Their duration varies from one to four weeks. They are short courses focused on the needs that the armed forces, and other state and non-state actors have when they find themselves operating in a peacekeeping mission, Col. Pereira added. According to Col. Pereira, the most sought-after courses for the Uruguayan Armed Forces and those from abroad, are Protection of Civilians, Contingents in Peacekeeping Operations, Press Correspondent, and Close Protection. In the coming years, we hope to expand the number of training courses, and it is with that objective in mind that we are working jointly with various international organizations, such as the United Nations and other state agencies, such as the ministries of Interior, of Foreign Affairs, and of Defense, Col. Pereira added.

In addition to the courses, ENOPU offers a series of conferences and lectures. This year, more than 10 lectures are planned on issues such as gender, threat identification, logistics, intelligence, and protecting socially vulnerable populations, among others, Col. Pereira concluded.

Will storm barriers arrive in time for the next Hurricane Sandy?

The warming Atlantic Ocean has raised the risk of another Hurricane Sandy. And still, trillions of dollars of real estate and infrastructure near the shores of New York City and northern New Jersey remain vulnerable to devastation. A storm-surge barrier similar to those in Louisiana and parts of Europe might protect the area, but politicians have questioned its $30 billion cost, effectiveness and environmental impact. A group of scientists, planners and property owners[1] is urging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to accelerate its study of the project. It may take another hurricane to speed up the process.

The danger is increasing as the sea level rises, said Malcolm Bowman, an oceanographer at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, who is among the group. It won t take a monster storm like Sandy to devastate the region.

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Bowman warned of a catastrophic storm as far back as 2005, in a New York Times Op-Ed article. Seven years later, Sandy struck the region, flooding airports and tunnels and ravaging shore communities[2] from Atlantic City, New Jersey, to Bridgeport, Connecticut. It caused $68.9 billion in damage, making it the second-costliest storm in U.S. history after Katrina, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Water wars

Bowman s group is pushing for an evaluation of a 5-mile retractable storm-surge barrier at the mouth of New York Harbor from the Rockaways to New Jersey s Sandy Hook. That, and another smaller structure at the western edge of Long Island Sound, could protect about 800 miles of shoreline from Port Elizabeth, New Jersey, to the Bronx, Bowman says. As Bowman describes it, before a major storm, barriers would rise from the seabed or close in a gate-like structure to deflect the force of a wind-blown surge, as occurred with Sandy.

You have to allow for marine traffic and the daily flow of the tides to flush out the harbor, Bowman said, But when a storm is forecast with enough wind at high tide to create a surge, you close the gates or raise it from the seabed so water that wants to flow into the harbor can t.

Studying studies

Weeks after Sandy, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said his administration planned to talk with city and federal officials about the possibility of installing storm-surge barriers. Corps engineers, in discussions with New York and New Jersey since last August, are still studying what protection strategies merit further study.

At this point, it is premature to say whether broad-scale solutions such as that advocated by this group, or other more regional or localized potential solutions will fare best, said Corps spokesman Hector Mosley.

Piecemeal jobs

In the meantime, the state has moved ahead with a $616 million plan for Staten Island that includes a boardwalk promenade that would double as a storm-surge bulwark. The Corps has that project scheduled for completion in 2022, paid mostly by the federal government. Billions more in federal, state and city funds are being spent along shore areas, enhancing dunes and berms on beaches, cultivating wetlands, building walls and awarding subsidies for waterproofing homes and office buildings. City officials also envision a mostly-U.S. funded $816 million horseshoe-shaped elevated park wrapped along the southern half of Manhattan[3], dubbed The Big U, to keep out the Hudson and East Rivers. Such localized approaches may work as well or better than a mega-project, said Jainey Bavishi, Mayor Bill de Blasio s director of the Office of Recovery and Resiliency. Her concerns about a storm barrier include cost and construction time; possible environmental impact; and whether it would leave densely populated areas of Long Island and New Jersey vulnerable, and perhaps even more exposed to flooding from displaced water.

A harbor barrier is not the silver bullet, Bavishi said.

Sea life

Many of these issues have been solved with barriers that protect low-lying populations around the world, said Robert Yaro, former president of New York s Regional Plan Association. Its retractable feature would allow for marine traffic and tidal flow, minimizing impact to sea life and water quality, he said. The technology holds the promise of protecting the region for catastrophic floods for the next 150 years, Yaro said.

The Dutch have used this engineering for decades and barriers currently protect New Orleans, Stamford, Providence, London and St. Petersburg, Russia, Yaro said. We in New York are far behind and among the cities on Earth we have the most to lose. Yaro and Bowman were among several advocates promoting the idea last month at an all-day conference in lower Manhattan attended by 250 municipal bond investors, real estate developers, business owners, insurance companies, and planners.

Lessons learned

They heard Andrew Kopplin, former director of the Louisiana Recovery Authority, describe how in New Orleans after Katrina, a bipartisan coalition of elected officials and business leaders persuaded Congress to approve a $14.5 billion system of levees and a storm-surge barrier. The barrier, a 1.8-mile array of gates, protected the city from Hurricane Isaac s landfall in 2012, said Kopplin, now president and chief executive officer of the Greater New Orleans Foundation, a non-profit charitable civic group.

It was simply a matter of political will, he said. Officials in the Cuomo and de Blasio administrations say they await the Corps findings.

We clearly want to see the New York Harbor barrier studied, said James Tierney, Cuomo s deputy environmental commissioner for water resources. The process requires a full-blown feasibility study. The Army Corps process is what we have to live with.

Next storm

Marco Pasanella, 54, who lives above his gourmet wine shop on lower Manhattan s South Street that got flooded when Sandy hit, says the pace and scope of government response has been disappointing. He s says he s seen no measures that would protect his neighborhood if another storm hit. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has predicted as many as 17 tropical storms, about five more than average, may hit the Atlantic coast this year.

The decisions have Balkanized the neighborhoods with a piecemeal approach, just a series of uneven, irregular blockades that will not stop the water from finding its way ashore, Pasanella said. Across Manhattan at Chelsea Piers, a recreational facility situated over the Hudson, Michael Braito, the property s chief engineer, said neighborhood protections won t be enough to stop storm-surge water coursing through his building.

These piecemeal fixes buy little more than peace of mind, Braito said. It s like a boat with 100 holes and we ve patched half of them and we re going to sink. They need to think bigger.

References

  1. ^ property owners (www.crainsnewyork.com)
  2. ^ ravaging shore communities (www.crainsnewyork.com)
  3. ^ southern half of Manhattan (www.crainsnewyork.com)
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