John Guandolo – Knights of Malta and the Peruvian Hospital Ship

A retired United States Marine Corps officer and FBI special agent, John Guandolo applies his skills in counterterrorism and national security as the vice president of strategic planning for Strategic Engagement Group. Additionally, John Guandolo belongs to the Knights of Malta.

For nearly 1,000 years, the Knights of Malta (full name: Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta) has provided medical attention to people in need. Operating in 120 nations and holding permanent observer status from the United Nations, the group conducts missions of chivalry, and trains people in first aid and other medical care. More than 80,000 people volunteer with this group.

One of the Knights of Malta’s most notable humanitarian initiatives is the Hospital Ship, which is run by its Peruvian Association. Sailing along the Rio Napo, the Hospital Ship visits rural locations in Ecuador, the Amazon, and Peru. Throughout 2014, this ship’s medical crew performed more than 50,000 procedures, including births. Additionally, its on-board cash dispenser makes it easier for its employees, including local teachers, to obtain salaries. Despite some initial distrust of the indigenous population, the Hospital Ship has become a major success and receives the support from local communities. The Knights of Malta’s Peruvian Association hopes to expand its presence in the Amazon with as many as a dozen ships.

The Need for Change in the Counterintelligence Community

The founder of UnderstandingtheThreat.com, national security expert John Guandolo is the author of Raising a Jihadi Generation. A military veteran, John Guandolo has written extensively on counterterrorism and counterintelligence.

In 2012, the scandals involving General David Petraeus and Nada Prouty underscored the need for a more thorough vetting process in the upper levels of the CIA and FBI. Both scandals highlighted lapses in the process that may result in infiltration by foreign intelligence operatives. Other such instances include a person with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood movement being invited to lead prayers at the White House’s Iftar Dinner, or the National Security Council, State Department, and White House consulting the Islamic Society of North America and other groups for input regarding the American Muslim community.

Overall, he stresses the importance of identifying areas of government and government-connected organizations where radical Muslims and other foreign agents may hold positions of power, and of safeguarding against possible threats.

VFW Action Corps – Grassroots Advocacy on Behalf of Military Veterans

Retired Marine Corps officer John Guandolo served in Iraq as an infantry platoon commander with the 2d Battalion 2d Marines during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. As a member of Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), John Guandolo contributes to an organization that supports fellow veterans and their families through various services and activities, including the national grassroots advocacy group Action Corps.

A component of the VFW’s National Legislative Service, Action Corps comprises a network of more than 25,000 VFW members and supporters who call, write, e-mail, and visit legislators in Washington, DC, to represent the interests of veterans in policy matters that impact their lives. Membership in Action Corps is not restricted to members of VFW and any American citizen concerned with the welfare of military veterans can join at no cost.

Action Corps members have been an integral part of recent successes for VFW’s National Legislative Service. In January 2014, Congress repealed reduced cost-of-living adjustments for military retirees, thanks in part to 30,000 e-mails sent at the behest of Action Corps to every Congressional office. Currently the Senate is considering the comprehensive veterans’ benefits bill S. 1982 and Action Corps members have sent approximately 10,000 messages urging passage of the measure.

American Red Cross Instructors Teach Others to Save Lives

As a military veteran, service to others comes as second nature to John Guandolo. Besides serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, he supports numerous charitable organizations, such as the American Red Cross. As a CPR and first aid instructor, John Guandolo teaches others to save lives.

A CPR and first aid instructor teaches individuals, such as school staff healthcare workers and workplace responders, to perform chest compressions and operate an automated external defibrillator (AED), a machine used on victims of sudden heart attacks. Every year, the number of people who die from sudden heart attacks rises, and a percentage of those could be prevented if an AED was nearby, as well as an individual trained in using it properly.

Although those interested in becoming an instructor can choose one area to focus on, such as CPR and first aid, cross training in other courses, including swimming and water safety, is encouraged. Additionally, the American Red Cross provides opportunities to train in wilderness and remote first aid. After finishing their instructor training courses, individuals prepare to teach lifesaving techniques in a vast number of settings, whether it is co-workers, clients, people at community events, or family and friends.

American Legion National Junior Law Cadet Program

A retired US Marine Corps officer, John Guandolo supports a number of charitable military organizations, among them the American Legion. John Guandolo helps this organization sponsor its National Junior Law Cadet program, a community program geared towards instilling respect for law enforcement officials in the country’s youth.

Established in 1985 at the American Legion National Convention in New Orleans, Louisiana, the Junior Law Cadet program seeks to build patriotism among young people and help them become better citizens by respecting US laws. Every year, 17 American Legion departments around the country, in conjunction with local sheriff and police departments as well as police academies, host a week-long junior cadet program. Attendees learn in-depth information about law enforcement technologies and procedures, and are able to witness the daily activities of police academy cadets. Junior cadets in the program also participate in physical fitness training and learn survival techniques and defensive maneuvers.

To be considered for the Junior Law Cadet Program, young men and women must be high school students in good academic standing, and have an aspiration to a career in law enforcement. Usually, an American Legion member will recommend a young person for the program.