BOOK EXCERPT

‘The President is Missing’: What Bill Clinton writes when he (co-)writes a thriller

An excerpt from a book written by the former US President and bestselling author James Patterson.

Everything I did was to protect my country. I’d do it again. The problem is, I can’t say any of that.

“All I can tell you is that I have always acted with the security of my country in mind. And I always will.”

I see Carolyn in the corner, reading something on her phone, responding. I maintain eye contact in case I need to drop everything and act on it. Something from General Burke at CENTCOM? From the under secretary of defence? From the Imminent Threat Response Team? We have a lot of balls in the air right now, trying to monitor and defend against this threat. The other shoe could drop at any minute. We think – we hope – that we have another day, at least. But the only thing that is certain is that nothing is certain. We have to be ready any minute, right now, in case –

“Is calling the leaders of ISIS protecting our country?”

“What?” I say, returning my focus to this hearing. “What are you talking about? I’ve never called the leaders of ISIS. What does ISIS have to do with this?”

Before I’ve completed my answer, I realise what I’ve done. I wish I could reach out and grab the words and stuff them back in my mouth. But it’s too late. He caught me when I was looking the other way.

“Oh,” he says, “so when I ask you whether you’ve called the leaders of ISIS, you say no, unequivocally. But when the Speaker asks you whether you’ve called Suliman Cindoruk, your answer is ‘executive privilege.’ I think the American people can understand the difference.”

I blow out air and look over at Carolyn Brock, who maintains that implacable expression, though I can imagine a hint of I-told-ya-so in her narrowed eyes.

“Congressman Kearns, this is a matter of national security. It’s not a game of gotcha. This is serious business. Whenever you’re ready to ask a serious question, I’ll be happy to answer.”

“An American died in that fight in Algeria, Mr President. An American, a CIA operative named Nathan Cromartie, died stopping that anti-Russia militia group from killing Suliman Cindoruk. I think the American people consider that to be serious.”

“Nathan Cromartie was a hero,” I say. “We mourn his loss. I mourn his loss.”

“You’ve heard his mother speak out on this,” he says.

I have. We all have. After what happened in Algeria, we disclosed nothing publicly. We couldn’t. But then the militia group published video of a dead American online, and it didn’t take long before Clara Cromartie identified him as her son, Nathan. She outed him as a CIA operative, too. It was one gigantic shitstorm. The media rushed to her, and within hours she was demanding to know why her son had to die to protect a terrorist responsible for the deaths of hundreds of innocent people, including many Americans. In her grief and pain, she practically wrote the script for the select committee hearing.

“Don’t you think you owe the Cromartie family answers, Mr. President?”

“Nathan Cromartie was a hero,” I say again. “He was a patriot. And he understood as well as anyone that much of what we do in the interest of national security cannot be discussed publicly. I’ve spoken privately to Mrs Cromartie, and I’m deeply sorry for what happened to her son. Beyond that, I won’t comment. I can’t, and I won’t.”

“Well, in hindsight, Mr President,” he says, “do you think maybe your policy of negotiating with terrorists hasn’t worked out so well?”

“I don’t negotiate with terrorists.”

“Whatever you want to call it,” he says. “Calling them. Hashing things out with them. Coddling them – ”

“I don’t coddle – ”

The lights flicker overhead, two quick blinks of interruption. Some groans in response, and Carolyn Brock perks up, writing herself a mental note.

He uses the pause to jump in for another question.

“You’ve made no secret, Mr President, that you prefer dialogue over shows of force, that you’d rather talk things out with terrorists.”

“No,” I say, drawing out the word, my pulse throbbing in my temple, because that kind of oversimplification epitomises everything that’s wrong with our politics, “what I have said repeatedly is that if there is a way to peacefully resolve a situation, the peaceful way is the better way. Engaging is not surrendering. Are we here to have a foreign police debate, Congressman? I’d hate to interrupt this witch hunt with a substantive conversation.”

I glance over to the corner of the room, where Carolyn Brock winces, a rare break in her implacable expression.

“Engaging the enemy is one way to put it, Mr President. Coddling is another way.”

“I do not coddle our enemies,” I say. “Nor do I renounce the use of force in dealing with them. Force is always an option, but I will not use it unless I deem it necessary. That might be hard to understand for some country club, trust-fund baby, who spent his life chugging beer bongs and paddling pledges in some secret-skull college fraternity and calling everybody by their initials, but I have met the enemy head-on in a battlefield. I will pause before I send our sons and daughters into battle, because I was one of those sons, and I know the risks.”

Jenny is leaning forward, wanting more, always wanting me to expound on the details of my military service. Tell them about your tour of duty. Tell them about your time as a POW. Tell them about your injuries, the torture. It was an endless struggle during the campaign, one of the things about me that tested the most favorably. If my advisers had their way, it would have been just about the only thing I ever discussed. But I never gave in. Some things you just don’t talk about.

“Are you finished, Mr Pres – ”

“No, I’m not finished. I already explained all of this to House leadership, to the Speaker and others. I told you I couldn’t have this hearing. You could have said, ‘Okay, Mr President, we are patriots, too, and we will respect what you’re doing, even if you can’t tell us everything that’s going on.’ But you didn’t do that, did you? You couldn’t resist the chance to haul me in and score points. So let me say to you publicly what I said to you privately. I will not answer your specific questions about conversations I’ve had or actions I’ve taken, because they are dangerous. They are a threat to our national security. If I have to lose this office to protect this country, I will do it. But make no mistake. I have never taken a single action, or uttered a single word, without the safety and security of the United States foremost in my mind. And I never will.”

My questioner is not the least bit deterred by the insults I’ve hurled. He is undoubtedly encouraged by the fact that his questions have now firmly found their place under my skin. He is looking at his notes again, at his flow chart of questions and follow-ups, while I try to calm myself.

“What’s the toughest decision you’ve make this week, Mr Kearns? Which bow tie to wear to the hearing? Which side to part your hair for that ridiculous combover that isn’t fooling anybody?

“Lately, I spend almost all my time trying to keep this country safe. That requires tough decisions. Sometimes those decisions have to be made when there are many unknowns. Sometimes all the options are flat-out shitty, and I have to choose the least flat-out shitty one. Of course, I wonder if I’ve made the right call, and whether it will work out in the end. So I just do the best I can. And live with it.

“That means I also have to live with the criticism, even when it comes from an opportunistic political hack picking out one move on the chess board without knowing what the rest of the game looks like, then turning that move inside-out without having a single clue how much he might be endangering our nation.

“Mr Kearns, I’d like to discuss all my actions with you, but there are national security considerations that just don’t permit it. I know you know that, of course. But I also know it’s hard to pass up an easy cheap shot.”

In the corner, Danny Ackers has his hands up, signalling for a time-out.

“Yeah, you know what? You’re right, Danny. It’s time. I’m done with this. This is over. We’re done.”

I lash out and whack the microphone off the table. I knock over my chair as I get to my feet.

Excerpted with permission from The President is Missing, Bill Clinton and James Patterson, Century.

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The next Industrial Revolution is here – driven by the digitalization of manufacturing processes

Technologies such as Industry 4.0, IoT, robotics and Big Data analytics are transforming the manufacturing industry in a big way.

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This is substantiated by a PWC research which shows that across industries, the most innovative companies in the manufacturing sector grew 38% (2013 - 2016), about 11% year on year, while the least innovative manufacturers posted only a 10% growth over the same period.

Along with innovation in products, the transformation of manufacturing processes will also be essential for companies to remain competitive and maintain their profitability. This is where digital technologies can act as a potential game changer.

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Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, artificial intelligence and Big Data analytics are some of the key technologies powering Industry 4.0. According to a report, Industry 4.0 will prompt manufacturers globally to invest $267 billion in technologies like IoT by 2020. Investments in digitalization can lead to excellent returns. Companies that have implemented digitalization solutions have almost halved their manufacturing cycle time through more efficient use of their production lines. With a single line now able to produce more than double the number of product variants as three lines in the conventional model, end to end digitalization has led to an almost 20% jump in productivity.

Digitalization and the Indian manufacturing industry

The Make in India program aims to increase the contribution of the manufacturing industry to the country’s GDP from 16% to 25% by 2022. India’s manufacturing sector could also potentially touch $1 trillion by 2025. However, to achieve these goals and for the industry to reach its potential, it must overcome the several internal and external obstacles that impede its growth. These include competition from other Asian countries, infrastructural deficiencies and lack of skilled manpower.

There is a common sentiment across big manufacturers that India lacks the eco-system for making sophisticated components. According to FICCI’s report on the readiness of Indian manufacturing to adopt advanced manufacturing trends, only 10% of companies have adopted new technologies for manufacturing, while 80% plan to adopt the same by 2020. This indicates a significant gap between the potential and the reality of India’s manufacturing industry.

The ‘Make in India’ vision of positioning India as a global manufacturing hub requires the industry to adopt innovative technologies. Digitalization can give the Indian industry an impetus to deliver products and services that match global standards, thereby getting access to global markets.

The policy, thus far, has received a favourable response as global tech giants have either set up or are in the process of setting up hi-tech manufacturing plants in India. Siemens, for instance, is helping companies in India gain a competitive advantage by integrating industry-specific software applications that optimise performance across the entire value chain.

The Digital Enterprise is Siemens’ solution portfolio for the digitalization of industries. It comprises of powerful software and future-proof automation solutions for industries and companies of all sizes. For the discrete industries, the Digital Enterprise Suite offers software and hardware solutions to seamlessly integrate and digitalize their entire value chain – including suppliers – from product design to service, all based on one data model. The result of this is a perfect digital copy of the value chain: the digital twin. This enables companies to perform simulation, testing, and optimization in a completely virtual environment.

The process industries benefit from Integrated Engineering to Integrated Operations by utilizing a continuous data model of the entire lifecycle of a plant that helps to increase flexibility and efficiency. Both offerings can be easily customized to meet the individual requirements of each sector and company, like specific simulation software for machines or entire plants.

Siemens has identified projects across industries and plans to upgrade these industries by connecting hardware, software and data. This seamless integration of state-of-the-art digital technologies to provide sustainable growth that benefits everyone is what Siemens calls ‘Ingenuity for Life’.

Case studies for technology-led changes

An example of the implementation of digitalization solutions from Siemens can be seen in the case of pharma major Cipla Ltd’s Kurkumbh factory.

Cipla needed a robust and flexible distributed control system to dispense and manage solvents for the manufacture of its APIs (active pharmaceutical ingredients used in many medicines). As part of the project, Siemens partnered with Cipla to install the DCS-SIMATIC PCS 7 control system and migrate from batch manufacturing to continuous manufacturing. By establishing the first ever flow Chemistry based API production system in India, Siemens has helped Cipla in significantly lowering floor space, time, wastage, energy and utility costs. This has also improved safety and product quality.

In yet another example, technology provided by Siemens helped a cement plant maximise its production capacity. Wonder Cement, a greenfield project set up by RK Marbles in Rajasthan, needed an automated system to improve productivity. Siemens’ solution called CEMAT used actual plant data to make precise predictions for quality parameters which were previously manually entered by operators. As a result, production efficiency was increased and operators were also freed up to work on other critical tasks. Additionally, emissions and energy consumption were lowered – a significant achievement for a typically energy intensive cement plant.

In the case of automobile major, Mahindra & Mahindra, Siemens’ involvement involved digitalizing the whole product development system. Siemens has partnered with the manufacturer to provide a holistic solution across the entire value chain, from design and planning to engineering and execution. This includes design and software solutions for Product Lifecycle Management, Siemens Technology for Powertrain (STP) and Integrated Automation. For Powertrain, the solutions include SINUMERIK, SINAMICS, SIMOTICS and SIMATIC controls and drives, besides CNC and PLC-controlled machines linked via the Profinet interface.

The above solutions helped the company puts its entire product lifecycle on a digital platform. This has led to multi-fold benefits – better time optimization, higher productivity, improved vehicle performance and quicker response to market requirements.

Siemens is using its global expertise to guide Indian industries through their digital transformation. With the right technologies in place, India can see a significant improvement in design and engineering, cutting product development time by as much as 30%. Besides, digital technologies driven by ‘Ingenuity for Life’ can help Indian manufacturers achieve energy efficiency and ensure variety and flexibility in their product offerings while maintaining quality.

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The above examples of successful implementation of digitalization are just some of the examples of ‘Ingenuity for Life’ in action. To learn more about Siemens’ push to digitalize India’s manufacturing sector, see here.

This article was produced on behalf of Siemens by the Scroll.in marketing team and not by the Scroll.in editorial staff.