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This is an end-of-mission report for The Bruce-Partington Planners within the Military-Industrial Complex, a BSI scion society that was not entirely a figment of my imagination during the years I lived in Washington, D.C.
But there was no forum for strategic sodality in 1971, so after getting the drift of things from Julian Wolff and John Bennett Shaw, The Bruce-Partington Planners was launched. These were still Cold War years, after all, with Soviet submarines (not Bruce-Partingtons!) violating neutral Swedish waters, and Moscow trying to deny it by comparing the charges to a€?a cheap Sherlock Holmes,a€? and later having to admit that they might not have invaded Afghanistan if theya€™d known their Sherlock Holmes better. Bruce-Partington Planners have no constitution, dues, toasts, rituals, officers, awards, events, artifacts, archives, scion society reports for The Baker Street Journal, or other impedimenta and paper trails that might call public attention to itself and its members. To date, the scion societya€™s sole project has been to collect funds for a larger-than-life-sized bronze statue of Mycroft Holmes, which eventually will be placed anonymously next to the statue of Winston Churchill on the grounds of the British Embassy in Washington, D.C.
As time passed, The Bruce-Partington Planners did come to include others at the Pentagon, the State Department (most notably Thomas Cynkin, a past winner of the Morley-Montgomery Award, now stationed overseas), and some other agencies.
And when Caleb Carra€™s Sherlock Holmes novel The Italian Secretary came out last year with an afterword by me, his following resulted in my hearing from professional colleagues from coast to coast, secret Holmes fans all, whoa€™d never detected any literate streak in me before: from a senior colonel at Special Forces Command, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to the director of the special ops program at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, and others in between . Another former member of my staff, Special Forces Lieutenant Colonel Donald Bolduc, is now the commander of 1st Battalion, 3rd U.S. Don and his troop visited the battlefield on their way back to Kandahar during a combat reconnaissance patrol, following the same route the Afghans and the British troops took that terrible day in 1880. For 35 years, it was my great privilege to work closely with the exceptional men and women of the U.S. JON LELLENBERG (a€?Rodger Prescott of evil memorya€?) has edited six eight volumes of the BSI Archival History so far [but hasna€™t gotten to the 1950s yet!], and is a past winner of both the Two Shilling Award and the Morley-Montgomery Award.
Baker Street Irregularity is a state of mind more than anything else, and much the same must be said of Washington, which at various times resembles a company town, a theme park, a political mirage, or (in the Marion Barry era, not yet over, alas) a small corrupt Third World country. Candidates are examined in the fields of cryptography, identity of foreign agents, and submarine design. Financial contributions to this project may be sent to The Bruce-Partington Plannersa€™ point of contact.
The deplorable New Yorker article in 2004 exploiting Richard Lancelyn Greena€™s tragic suicide was enough to identify me to a member of my own staff, a Navy commander and SEAL in our special operations bureau a€” but he learned long ago to take the press with a big grain of salt, since his father happens to be G. Perhaps what most made life seem to imitate art was a telephone call I received on my cellphone in New York in January a€™03, during the BSI weekend, as I was hastening to the Williams Club for the Morley-Montgomery Award reception.
But contrary to what some suspected, The Bruce-Partington Planners did have an existence beyond me, and even whimsical aspects of it took on corporeal dimensions as time went by. I found upon arriving that The Red Circle had been revived the year before, giving me an excellent introduction to organized Sherlockiana. Watson used to complain to Sherlock Holmes that he had received his leg wound nowhere else but in Herat.a€? (Herat, Afghanistana€™s third largest city, is located in the western part of the country, far from Maiwand.
Since the examination requires access to classified data, only those already inside the military-industrial complex with the proper security clearances are able to satisfy the requirements for membership. In 1987, Sherlock Holmesa€™s centenary year, our security was breached by an a€?odd people in funny hatsa€? article about Sherlockians in Smithsonian magazine, but fortunately no Plannersa€™ names, especially mine, were divulged.
It was from a new member of my staff, and until that moment, switching mental gears from Sherlock Holmes back to special operations, I swear it hadna€™t occurred to me that I had Colonel Moran for a henchman. In 35 years I have never known a more dedicated soldier, and my excitement grew as the time for Dona€™s reassignment approached a year ago, for I realized that by July 27th, the anniversary of the Battle of Maiwand, his new headquarters would be barely 25 miles away.
In dark green battledress beside Don is Major Sahky Bariz of the Afghan National Army, representing the victorious side in the historic battle; we Americans and our trusty comrades in Afghanistan have in common the experience of driving British armies from our lands. I will miss them greatly as I take up residence in Chicago, and devote more time to literary matters now. Sprague de Camp, he was one of Americaa€™s leading military and naval historians from the 1930s on, and his book Secret and Urgent (1939) is a cryptography classic. The membership list itself is classified, and The Bruce-Partington Planners is so covert that several members are not aware of its existence. Discretion and confidentiality are the hallmarks of Bruce-Partington Planners, and requests for information are never entertained.
I showed him the opening chapter of A Study in Scarlet, and a smile spread across his face.
During World War II, therea€™d been The Blanched Soldiers of the Pentagon a€” about whom one of the few things known today is that they didna€™t include the Pentagona€™s mobilized BSI during 1943-45: Irregulars Colonel John Winterich, Major Robert Keith Leavitt, and Captain Howard Haycraft a€” members of what were called the Pentagona€™s 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Chairborne Divisions a€”plus Lieutenant Wilbur McKee over at the Navy Department, and Elmer Davis running the Office of War Information. Moran, no less, though in this case it stood for Sylvia, not Sebastian: one of the first women to graduate from West Point, an Arabic-speaking intelligence officer, and a smart tough professional who also supports half a dozen foster children in Third World countries. It worried me, new to the business at age 25, that those who approved (or disapproved) Pentagon security clearances might not understand a deep interest in treating Sherlock Holmes as fact. Three months later, on July 27, 2005, he and a Special Forces A-team of his were present on the battlefield of Maiwand to commemorate the event as shown in the photograph below.

Conan Doylea€™s letters to his mother, in collaboration with my fellow Irregulars Daniel Stashower and Charles Foley, but, at last, the BSI Archival History of the 1950s.
Intimate moments shared between a husband and wife occur in the bedroom.A Although the husband and wife love their children in nearly every other sphere of their lives, this isA one sphere that isna€™t available to anyone else. This does not literally mean you must pray in the bedroom any more than it means you must pray in a closet. However, as it is used here, it includesA the management of the house and everything that happens in that house. The concept of a bedroom is only used to convey the idea of an isolated and solitary place where you can be alone with the Lord.A When we enter into a time of prayer, it should be done at a place and time when we are not interrupted so the Holy Spirit can speak to our hearts and we can bare our hearts to Him. Thus, a€?rulinga€? onea€™s household would include how a leader manages his home life, his children, the upkeep of the physical house or apartment where he lives, and his personal finances. All of this would be part of his oikos a€” his house.A Important information about how well potential leaders will serve at church or at work can beA ascertained by delving into these four points. Each of us should make it a daily priority to have this special time of communion with the Father through the Holy Spirit.
It doesna€™t matter where you and I spend this private time with God; it just matters that we actually do it.
One of the most strategic factors to consider when selecting new married leaders is the conditionA of their marriage.
He often prayed on a mountaintop or out in the wilderness, far fromA the hustle and bustle of the city.
There is nothing in the Bible that says the early morning hours areA more holy than other hours of the day, and nowhere does the Bible teach that praying on a mountaintopA is somehow better than other places. Jesus chose those early morning hours because it was aA moment when He could find solitude and quietness with God. Although you cana€™t make this a hard and fast rule, most often the children of potential leaders are a reflection of the kind of leadership those candidates are currently exercising in their own home.A Since people can impart only what they have in their private lives, it is good to observe what potential leaders have imparted within their own homes.
If theya€™re not leading their own homes with excellence, why would you imagine they could lead an entire division of the ministry with excellence?
So if you really want to be with the Lord, you will find time for that as well.A Think about it.
One thing is for sure: If a potential leader cana€™t decently take care of his own domain, youA dona€™t want to put him in charge ofA your domain. But with all the distractions of modern life we often find ourselves living on spiritual snack food instead of a healthy diet of God's Word. It tells a lot about his personal integrity, his character, and how he respects the rights of others. When a person doesna€™t regularly pay hisbills on time, he inconveniences and upsets other peoplea€™s financial plans.
Here are seven suggestions that may help you have a better quiet time in a noisy world.A 1. This failure to keep financial commitments often reflects a lack of respect for othersa€™ needs and rights.A It also may simply be a sign that this person is immature in his understanding of money management and responsibility.
A persona€™s financial problems may also be an indicator that hea€™s experiencing problems in his marriage as well.
Or perhaps his life is unstable due to irregular work conditions.A No matter which of these factors may be the cause for a candidatea€™s financial problems, they are all serious enough to require thoughtful consideration on your part.
Does this person have the time, energy, or maturity to handle a position of greater responsibility in your church, ministry, or organization?A Never forget that it is impossible to separate a persona€™s public life from his private life. What is in a potential leadera€™s personal life is exactly what he will bring into his public life.A If he has order and peace in his private life, it will give him a solidfoundation for public ministry. A  I learned something from every man I met or exchanged emails with, and Lou taught me a few words in Spanish.A  Ole! If this is the case, what do these things reveal about those people who are being consideredA for leadership at church, business, or organization?
Since what is happening in my privateA life is exactly what I will bring into my public life, I want to bring more order into my ownA personal affairs.
Help me take an honest look at my life so I can see those areas that desperatelyA need my attention.
Once I acknowledge the areas that need fixing, please give me the courageA to delve into those areas and to get things right. The way I handle my familyA life, my children, my physical home, and my finances brings glory to Jesus Christ. If you want to have a more meaningful quiet time, view Bible reading and prayer as a daily dialog with God, a daily meeting.A 3.

I am seriousA about my walk with God, and I therefore invite Him to invade every sphere of my life and toA bring it under His Lordship.
DON'T FEEL GUILTYHave you ever heard someone confess, "I'm having trouble keeping a regular quiet time. If you are seeking new leadership for the church, business, or organization, have you considered these deeper issues? If you had considered this before selecting leaders in the past, do you think it would have helped you make better leadership choices?A 2.
Have you seen glaring problems in a potential leadera€™s home that you overlooked because his gifts and talents were needed?
Did you later regret your choice because he brought many of those same problems to his job?A 3.
FIND A PLAN THAT FITS YOUMany people say, "I love to cook but I hate to decide what's for dinner." The same principle is true when it comes to a daily quiet time.
There are manyA good Bible reading guides available from other publishers or your church denomination. Then you won't have to spend your quiet time in "menu planning" and you can experience "the joy of cooking."A 5.
We can take a little walk, maybe get our feet wet, and then lie on a blanket and listen to the waves.
I do the same thing myself, when the mood strikes.A  And how about this for being an "in tune with women" kinda guy?A  A few days after I had ordered myself 2 new green dresses and several in black to add to my collection from a mail order company named Newport News, he sent an email asking:A  "So, what are you wearing right now? A  For Christ Sake!!A  How about saving the Taxpayers a buck?A  In addition to that $6 million you've already blown by hovering and covering me, and scheduling a proper Face to Base meeting in your office; at my convenience?
Put into practice some of these ideas and soon you'll discover that those few quiet time minutes may become the most meaningful part of your day.A A So select a quiet place where you wona€™t be disturbed.
Once you go to that place, shut the doorA to outside interference and to the voices that are constantly calling out for your attention. Focus onA only one thing: this very intimate and private time with the Father.A This is so important that you shouldna€™t delay in acting on it! The truth is, IA havena€™t made my prayer time a priority in my life; therefore, I havena€™t been consistent inA prayer. So I am asking You to help me locate a time and place where I can be alone and uninterrupted with You.
I am faithful to pray, to fellowshipA with the Father, to bare my heart before Him, and to listen to what His Spirit has toA say to me. What time of the day have you found to be best for you to really pray without being interrupted by other people or business?A 2.
When you do spend time in prayer, what is the average amount of time you stay in the Presence of God?
Dramatic, but no drama.A  Short black skirt, or long black dress?A  Heels or boots?A  Camo, or commando? Can you honestly say you linger in His Presence, or do you have a a€?rush-in, rush-outa€? experience with the Lord?A 3. If you examine your prayer time, what do you find that you pray about more than anything else? Until then, as in the end,there is much more to come.A A A  Once Upon a Time, a little mushroom popped through the moss covered ground of the Southeast Alaska Rainforest. But with all the distractions of modern life we often find ourselves living on spiritual snack food instead of a healthy diet of God's Word.
IT'S A MEETING, NOT A HABITPeople refer to the habit of daily Bible reading and prayer.
Grant, Attorney at Law, Juneau, AK From Wedding Bells to Tales to Tell: The Affidavit of Eric William Swanson, my former spouse AFFIDAVIT OF SHANNON MARIE MCCORMICK, My Former Best Friend THE AFFIDAVIT OF VALERIE BRITTINA ROSE, My daughter, aged 21 THE BEAGLE BRAYS! Don't focus so much on the mechanics of the process that you miss the Person behind it. HELL'S BELLS: THE TELLS OF THE ELVES RING LOUD AND CLEAR IDENTITY THEFT, MISINFORMATION, AND THE GETTING THE INFAMOUS RUNAROUND Double Entendre and DoubleSpeak, Innuendos and Intimidation, Coercion v Common Sense, Komply (with a K) v Knowledge = DDIICCKK; Who's Gunna Call it a Draw?

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