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Opinion | Vote yes on Amendment One

Alabamians should follow Governor Kay Ivey, and Senate Pro Tempore Sen. Del Marsh, by voting yes on Ballot Amendment One, for the State Appointed School Board. Let me begin by discussing the magnitude, criticality, and significance, why this education bill must favorably pass.

First, let’s talk about the current world, in which we live, and how blessed that we all are, to live in the greatest nation on the planet. The United States of America. Many people often ask, why are these active duty airmen, and their families so special? An exemplary example, and the correct answer, is when U.S. Air Force airmen, and Space Force military members, raise their hands, and they pledge, to make the ultimate, sacrifice for our country. Not everyone, is willing to give their lives, for our nation.

The reasons they are so special, is because they, have been entrusted with the heaviest burdens, and most critical missions, in the protections and defense of our nation, allies, earth and space. This can’t be done without top education and training, along with trust.

Many of our top adversaries, are North Korea, China and Russia. Some are trying, to gain and surpass our military advantages on earth, and in space.

The best people, best education entities, most effective hardware, and the fastest software systems, have allowed our country, to be number one, on earth and the top leaders in space. By being the most effective Air Force and Space Force through, overwhelming dominance, and unarguable superiority in the air, space and cyberspace. With the ultimate goal to fly, fight, and win.

Our missions are national, international, earth and space, which includes cyberspace, Low Earth Orbit, Geo-Stationary Orbit, Medium Earth Orbit and Highly Elliptical Orbit.

Many of us take for granted, the numerous conveniences that space, provide us daily, such as Global Positioning Systems, Satellite Radio, Banking, Drones, Commerce, America’s Defense, Weather, Mapping, Telecommunications, Environmental Data, Research and National Defense Strategy Policies.

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Our Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett, by becoming the leader of two military services, and in my estimation; unarguably she is, one the most powerful persons, on earth, and in space.

Last week, again Madam Secretary Barrett, mentioned, our Air Force wants top- notch education for military families. Madam Secretary discussed, most assets in space are defenseless. Our Space Force, will surely have to use education, to determine the space weaponry that must be developed and utilized.

Additionally, our leaders have discussed convergence, in which all devices are synchronized, and in real time, while communicating simultaneously, between leadership, command and control, sister services, allies, planes, missiles, smart bombs, ships, tanks; troops on the battle field, special operations and drones.

Education will be required to ensure slow and buffering equipment are not utilized.

Recently, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein stated, “our great nation, and our allies sleep very comfortable, and very well; because we are awake; and we never sleep. Surely, the most educated, and most-trusted persons, have been placed in these positions, to defend, and protect our country, and our allies, in other nations.

Not long ago, I read some comments, and some statements from Chief of Space Operations, Gen. Jay Raymond concerning leadership, in which he basically, stated to subordinate commanders, “you don’t need my permission to carry out the mission.” Again, education and trust, are required.

Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. John Hyten, recently discussed, that space devices, must get to the launching pad. His correct point, was some in space production, and manufacturing, may be trying, to develop a perfect device, which is a virtually impossible goal, to reach 0% risk. Education was needed, to decide go, or no- go, range levels; considering the safety of manned vehicles, personnel and occupants, unmanned devices, and safety of the public.

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There will always be bugs in software, and hardware systems. How many times have new gadgets, just rolled out, and released, and the devices and equipment, are recalled; updates must be made, due to bad data, new threats and vulnerabilities?

Gen. Goldfein, not long ago, mentioned commerce. For years, the military services have protected the commerce shipping lanes in the ocean. Today, soon there will be, commercial space flights, with paying civilians. Additionally, there are numerous, profit motive companies with satellites in space.

Some satellites may be from allies, adversaries, noncombatants, combatants, commercial companies, NASA, research companies, and non-profit companies.

Think about Artificial Intelligence, in which software may be utilized to make it appear, and look like one device, and it may really be 20 devices with one piece of hardware. It’s software, that can’t be seen nor touched.

Education will be required, when our Air Force, and our Space Force leaders, develop their Space Contingency Plans, while looking at, and considering, how to coexist, in space with the aforementioned satellites, devices, probes, space vehicles, manned and unmanned devices. What are our top leaders, Assumptions, Threats and Contingencies, in LEO, MEO, HEO and GEO?

In Alabama, the economy is awesome, and unemployment is at the lowest levels ever. Top Education is needed for the Space Centers, commercial space entities, automotive manufacturers and Airplane builders.

Education in robotics is needed for manufacturing, building and welding.

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Due to our current environment, of multiple apps, and software in our daily uses; many of our public schools don’t have Coding, and Programming in their curriculum.

As a Certified Professional Ethical Hacker. I highly recommend that, all public schools, first begin students, with Programming Logic, and Design Courses. To gain the basic foundations, fundamentals, terms, symbols, methodologies, through scaffolding, starting a baseline, and gaining more information, and knowledge.

In the Programming Logic and Design Courses, students are not learning any particular language at that point.

After completion of the course, students, can begin to learn, the many different coding languages, which are more easily learned, because students know the logic, and they are only swapping out symbols, and characters, based on the language, rules, protocols and agreements. At this point, students can basically do a lot of cut and paste. Anyone who reads well, may perform coding, and programming.

Today, programmers need to learn numerous multiple coding languages, for their professional survival.

The main causes of third-world country poverty, are poor education and lack of education.

Just for our Air Force and our Space Force history buffs. On December 4, 1959, Sam the Space monkey went into space from Wallops Island, VA. Radiobiologist and Physiologist Colonel H.L. “Lou” Bitter went home for lunch and advised his wife Edna, that his team needed a space suit, for the monkey that was heat resistant, with straps, to keep the monkey restrained. Col. Bitter asked his wife, if she had any ideas.

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According to the 2017 San Antonio Express article, Edna started eyeballing, her ironing board, and stripped off the silver padded cover, making two pads. After cutting out a small hole, in one panel Mrs. Bitter, fashioned the remaining material of the remaining fabric, to hold the panels.

Within a matter of 30 minutes, Mrs. Bitter had made the first Hoover apron, and monkey space suit prototype. Many of her suit designs followed. Col. Bitter was over the School of Aerospace Medicine at Brooks Air Force Base in San Antonio. The initials of the school form the name SAM.

My wife’s mother, Maria Smith, was best friends with Mrs. Bitter. I met Col. Bitter a few times, and chatted with Mrs. Bitter a lot. Last year, I meet her daughters. The Colonel and Mrs. Bitter, never mentioned their space accomplishments. No one in our families, knew until after they both had deceased.

When we visit San Antonio, there is a nice 90-year old widow, named Mrs. Sissy, and spouse of a retired Air Force General, who still drives her car, and she treats us as though, we are special, by leaving a fruit basket on the front door steps. My lovely wife of 31 years, is also an Air Force veteran. Along with many of my in-laws.

Vote yes for Ballot Amendment 1. Education and trust, are vital for our survival. By the way, I forgot to mention that our Air Force, and our Space Force families, are well educated, fun to be around, and they are very intelligent, and smart. Just like our awesome, Alabama families!


Glenn Henry is retired from the U.S Air Force. He has been a high school teacher and university adjunct professor. He has earned numerous IT Cisco certifications. He is a Certified Professional Ethical Hacker. He lives in Montgomery with his wife Teresa.

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Glenn Henry
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