"We – those of us in the business of defense and security assistance – must collectively be more efficient and effective at our tradecraft to meet and beat the threats presented by exponentially accelerating technological development, the shift to an asymmetric or non-state threat landscape, and resulting diffuse threat centers of gravity."
-Shawn Baker Garcia,
CEO, The Critical Mass
From the "Iraq experience"...
The Critical Mass (TCM) begins its story in the fertile crescent, Iraq, one of the first areas where people learned to live and work together in communities for survival and shared prosperity. In 2013, TCM co-founder and CEO, Shawn C. Baker-Garcia helped conceptualize and implement a joint U.S. Government-to-Government of Iraq (GOI), multi-year effort to stand up a chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) response team to help counter the ISIL chemical weapons threat in Iraq. In the years that followed, Shawn supported different public and private U.S. organizations with the hopes of rediscovering the magic of the Iraq CBRN Response Team experience. Failing to do so, one evening on a balcony in Amman, Jordan in 2018, Shawn, alongside a friend and colleague who had also been part of the “Iraq experience”, conceived of this idea to coalesce and focus a “critical mass” of human capacity to sustainably replicate the efficiencies and impact of that Iraqi effort.
...The Critical Mass is born.
Shortly after, Shawn joined forces with TCM co-founder and COO, Jordan Wilhelm. Together they began the process of methodically analyzing what had made the CBRN Response effort so successful, and in such a relatively short time (~3 years). They also sought to answer how this could be achieved systematically so that all foreign defense and security assistance was as effective.
Shawn and Jordan, having spent nearly 30 combined years studying, living, working, and serving U.S. government agencies, in primarily the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, in addition to Asia and Europe, and started to see patterns emerge from different U.S. Government assistance programs. In most cases, the assistance programs and policies that informed them were creative and on the right track. Further, those on the receiving end of the assistance worked tirelessly to make the most of the resources, capacity building, and expertise being offered.
However, too often outcomes were undermined by a lack of practical coordination among sponsoring bureaucracies and their implementing teams, and absence of mechanisms to obtain and integrate constructive stakeholder feedback into programming.
Further, most assistance is currently grounded in outmoded engagement models that are based upon a 20th century framework that emphasizes state-created or state-centric threats. To be sure, those challenges remain, however in the 21st century, of equal and perhaps greater concern, are the global security and threat vulnerabilities and trends presented by non-state actors through the weaponization of commonly accessed, uncontrolled, and/or and dual-use resources.
We – those of us in the business of defense and security assistance – must collectively be more efficient and effective at our tradecraft to meet and beat the threats presented by exponentially accelerating technological development, the shift to an asymmetric or non-state threat landscape, and resulting diffuse threat centers of gravity.
...turned into applicable solutions...
Toward that end, Shawn and Jordan took those recurring elements from their experiences and organized a framework called “E-CCEL,” that is specifically designed to build meaningful, measurable, and viable sustainment into any assistance effort by adding context, sequence, precision, and relationship management to the equation.
TCM offers a suite of professional and consultative services to develop both individual and institutional stakeholders representing the public and private sectors who have some role or responsibility for anticipating, mitigating, and responding to ongoing and emerging threats. TCM’s approach is to apply expert “bureacraft” to navigate and catalyze academia, industry, health, environment, responder, intelligence, law enforcement, and security communities, so that they may act as force multipliers to achieve common and evolving security goals.
...for the sustainment of security.
The end goal for TCM is to help create a new paradigm for how people live and work collectively to resolve global security problems for sustainable and shared prosperity.