Lawrence Korb of CAP and CDI advocates a militia

Summary:  When an idea’s time has come, it rises up from many sources.  Who can best act as fast responders to local disasters, whether natural or deliberate?  Lawrence Korb proposes creatino of a “home guard”, much like what I propose in “Militia – the ultimate defense against 4GW” (originally written in September 2005).  Lawrence Korb is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress (CAP) and a senior adviser to the Center for Defense Information (CDI).  He served as an assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan Administration.   {Hat tip on this to Adam Elkus, who posts at Rethinking Security}
Home Guard“, Lawrence Korb, Democracy  (Spring 2008) — free registration required.  Excerpt:

The National Guard’s primary task is responding to natural or manmade disasters that strike the homeland. Yet, when Hurricane Katrina struck in the summer of 2005, the combat brigades of Louisiana and Mississippi, along with their equipment, were in Iraq and Afghanistan. Countless lives were lost before the Bush Administration could scramble Guard units from other states and active-duty soldiers in the Gulf region. This situation was repeated in 2007 when tornados struck Kansas and fires engulfed Southern California. Put bluntly, the members of the Guard cannot protect us here while fighting over there. 

… Even in the event of a withdrawal from Iraq, our ground forces are likely to be called upon to help stabilize other areas of the world; such potential situations might include a collapse of the government in Pakistan or Saudi Arabia. And given budget and political realities, the active Army is not likely to be expanded back to anywhere near its Cold War level of 800,000, nor will we reinstitute the draft. Moreover, as the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have shown, technology is no substitute for boots on the ground.

Because the National Guard will continue to be needed overseas, the next president and the nation’s governors should establish an adequately trained, non-deployable Home Guard in each state. These all-volunteer units would consist of doctors, nurses, construction workers, firefighters, police officers, communications experts, city planners, engineers, and social workers–all skills central to responding to catastrophic terrorist attacks and natural disasters. To enable states to train and equip these units adequately, the new president should ask the Congress to increase the budget of the Department of Homeland Security by at least $10 billion, the cost of one month’s operations in Iraq.

A real-world application of this is Project White Horse, who are working from the grassroots up towards something similar, training and coordinating the efforts of community police and disaster-preparedness organizations.

Please share your comments by posting below (brief and relevant, please), or email me at fabmaximus at hotmail dot com (note the spam-protected spelling).

Fourth Generation Warfare

I have developed a simple typology to show the relationship of the many works on modern warfare, to show the relationships among the various theories about modern warfare.  This has evolved into a first cut at a solution to 4GW.  These are the first steps in a long series.

  1. A solution to 4GW — the introduction
  2. How to get the study of 4GW in gear
  3. Arrows in the Eagle’s claw — solutions to 4GW
  4. Arrows in the Eagle’s claw — 4GW analysts
  5. Visionaries point the way to success in the age of 4GW
  6. 4GW: A solution of the first kind – Robots!
  7. 4GW: A solution of the second kind 
  8. 4GW: A solution of the third kind – Don Vandergriff is one of the very few today implementing solutions of the third kind.

7 thoughts on “Lawrence Korb of CAP and CDI advocates a militia”

  1. “Because the National Guard will continue to be needed overseas…”

    And this would be…why? Because we have a 12-division foreign policy and a 10-division Army? Because we are unable to resist the siren call of being “Cheney of Arabia”? WTF?

    The National Guard was mobilized only during existential wars for over a century. The fact that for six years the current gang of idiots in “charge” of our national defense and foreign policy have managed to fuck that up like a football bat doesn’t invalidate the preceding 94 years.

    The ARNG is only debilitated because our “leaders” have determined that getting our land forces onvolved in two guerilla wars on the Asian mainland and financing it by mortgaging everything to China is a good idea. It isn’t, any more than going against a Sicilian when death is on the line. When we figure that out we’ll be on our way to restoring the ARNG as the community crisis contingency force – and a degree of fiscal soundness – and not before. Mr. Kold confuses coincdence with causation.
    Fabius Maximus replies: Korb plans on the basis of actual US policy. Read Thomas Barnett’s books. Read the DoD literature on COIN, an expression of the vision of Barnett and his peers. Barnett just thinks and writes bettern than the others, but collectively they have changed the course of US foreign policy. This is a bipartisan policy, as evident in the speeches by Hillary Clinton and Obama during the campaign.

    “When we figure out” — and when will that be? A policy is supported by both parties when it has broad and/or deep support among powerful elements of the US policy, and historically have been difficult to change.

  2. When looked at in light of the tsunami headed our way as described in the previous post “Another warning from our leaders, which we will ignore” – might not any coming wave of militias be more akin to the privately financed groups we saw spring up in Colombia to offset FARC? If federal and state spending is constrained, all these white papers on top-down organized militias might be trumped in the real world by organic local groups springing up to meet a crisis or need and growing from there.

    Just a thought.

    Fabius Maximus replies: These proposals — Project White Horse, Korb’s “Home Guard”, my “militia” — are all government financed and controlled. While these could spin out of control, so could our current police, Army, and private security forces. The latter is imo the most likely nucleus for private (i.e., out of gov’t control) forces.

    As Martin van Creveld long ago forecast, private security forces are now aprox the same size as the police — and growing in numbers far faster. They range from “rent-a-cops” to Blackwater (hired to protect homes of the weathy in New Orleans after Katrina.

    The phenomenon you describe is a powerful dynamic in deteriorating States, and appears throughout history. Throughout our history. For example, private armed forces were used by the wealthy to clear western land of small ranchers and farmers, to break strikes, and catch/kill outlaws.

  3. Note: Please see “KATRINA: “BROTHERHOOD VS. BUREAUCRACY”, David Rhodes (28 May 20008) — A case study in self-organization.

    Katrina solidified for me that within organizational response, CAT 5 events should trigger a different set of “tasks-conditions-standards,” if you will. Far be it from a Navy guy – aviator to boot – to explain how boots on the ground should work, but it seemed that when the wx guy predicts level/category five anything, NORTHCOM/ARNORTH should go in Navy TACAIR terms to “Alert 5” status, then moving to “surround” the threatened area as close as prudent judgment allows. When conditions permit, they move forward, establishing “out posts” for comm and logistics – Establishing Fort Apaches 1-X, until the local sheriff, fire chief informs them he has the “con,” at which point Army responds “hearty aye-aye, sir” and continues towards ground zero until the next local takes charge (and uses the comm equipment and supplies that are part of the march).

    There are two major aspects of this:
    1) The formal establishment and recognition that “worst cases” are entirely different animals. Response for lower level events do not extrapolate 1-1 to response in the level/cat 5″ environment.
    2) There must be Velcro, meaning people and organizations with rehearsed plans, ready to attach to, utilize, and leverage the inbound Fort Apache Mobile.

    Part of the “Velcro” would be the pieces of the pre-established and practiced “resilient community” made up of what real first responders can muster and the “militia” of citizens and private sector – see previous Fabius Maximus post. Common insight and purpose required. Also at this level of chaos and uncertainty, (Chet Richards on First Responders and 4GW – not only knowing the faces but understanding what is being said is crucial.

    The Stafford Act, mutual aid agreements, and all the local-state-federal dialogue and process has been worked out ad-infinitum and I think by in-large is well understood. (The issue on Mission numbers – see above link – is getting reimbursed) It works just fine (usually) for “normal emergencies,” but it is not geared for “trumpet player coming out of the band attacking the maestro.”

    “CAT 5” events require a different Snowmobile, if you will. Yet when Tim Keating (a friend, so I try to follow his career), Commander of NORTHCOM, shortly after Katrina, proposed a “pre-emptive strike” type concept, governors all over went ballistic, including the Adjutant General for Washington State (is Washington below the Mason- Dixon Line, I’m confused on states’ rights, I guess?)

    Best of all worlds would be a formal stating of “Commander’s Intent” specifically in regard to pending disaster being classified “FIVE.” Whether NORTHCOM/ARNORTH, a state militia, or neighboring first responders, A “Fort Apache Mobile” needs to be initiated. The Atlanta Fire Chief is point on.

    The Velcro was missing during Katrina. Where does it come from, how do you build it? Is this thread about Snowmobiles?
    Fabius Maximus replies: We are on two different tracks here. Korb and I discuss organizational framework. Rhodes’ article discusses operational dynamics of those organizations.

    The latter is important, making the best of what we have. The the first is paramount because it determines the boudaries of what it possible.

  4. Duncan Kinder

    An example of community self-help is Hopeful City, a church based organization based in Wheeling, WV.

    Hopeful City is an organization of faith-based communities dedicated to equipping people with the tools to fight for positive, systemic change in the Wheeling metropolitan area.

    Notice that, although Hopeful City is politically involved, it is based on churches. I find church-based solutions to be interesting because they are organized institutions that stand, to some extent, outside the nationstate framework and hence are probably to some extent buffered from its travails.

    Note that Hopeful City’s focus is economic development. Hence, as things now stand, it would mesh better with John Robb’s resilient community thesis than with the crisis response thesis that you seem to be advocating.

    Nevertheless, I believe that your militia thesis and Robb’s resilient community thesis should be integrated.

    My big point, however, is that churches and other such organizations are going to have to fill the void left by governments. Otherwise, organizations resembling Hezbollah and Hamas eventually will.

    Fabuis Maximus replies: These are all signs of a vibrant democracy. I doubt more meta-analysis is needed.

  5. Korb plans on the basis of actual US policy. Read Thomas Barnett’s books. Read the DoD literature on COIN, an expression of the vision of Barnett and his peers. Barnett just thinks and writes better than the others, but collectively they have changed the course of US foreign policy.

    No, Korb (and Barnett) are planning on the basis of what has been US policy. Given the post just previous, and the $5 trillion estimated cost of the war, it is likely that this past is prologue to an entirely different future.

    Fabius Maximus replies: Chet, the accuracy of your forecasts has long made me suspect that DNI was a front for the Psychic Hotline. But the rest of us usually write formal plans on the basis of the past (everything before NOW), not what we believe we happen in the future — those guesses being so unreliable.

  6. Ah Fabius, I make no prediction about the future, other than to suggest that for at least the reason I cited, it may be different than the past.

    You have made the specific forecast, that tomorrow will indeed be yesterday, that the mistakes of 2003 will be the mistakes of 2013 and 2023 and on and on in a cosmic edition of Groundhog Day.

    Self-correcting mechanisms, though, analogous to those that you invoke in your post on Patriarchy, operate in the realm of national security matters, despite what appears today to be lock-step agreement by the major parties. How these will play out will be clear only to historians. That they will is clear today.

    Fabius Maximus replies: Bookies, NYSE floor brokers, all sorts of professionals who live by predicting the future know that the best bet to make about tomorrow is that it will be like today. Everything changes eventually, but everything does not change today.

    So it goes with US foreign policy. This neo-colonial madness will pass away someday. But IMO probably not in the next four years if McCain wins. Nor has Obama said much to suggest he greatly differs from McCain about these things — but who can tell from Obama’s brief history? Also, campaign speeches have historically been unreliable indicators of a President’s policies.

  7. Well, at least you’re making progress — now we’re just down to the next four years. If you stick to predicting the next 24 hours, your odds will go up considerably! Free advice – make good use of it.

    The question, though, is whether we should devote the time and resources to creating something like what Korb and you suggest. For this to make sense, we would have to believe that the future into the next generation would look like the past. This is a brave prediction that I do not have the courage to make. Even those pumping for encores of Iraq haven’t, for example, explained how they’re going to pay for them. Barnett seems to suggest we should enforce connectivity because it’s our civic duty and in the long run, a larger Core will be good for us. Frankly, I think his position makes the most sense of all, but it may be a hard sell if we sink into recession.

    An alternative would be to bring the reserve forces back to the United States and place restrictions on when they can be deployed overseas. This would cost nothing and would not require creating yet another government program.

    Fabius Maximus replies: These quasi-civilian forces are far less expensive than even Reserves/NG. Perhaps we can downsize the active duty forces, keep the Reserves/NG focused as military forces, and shift much disaster relief to civilians. The military can provide heavy equipment and transport, while “militia” provide the people. Making our natinal security forces more diverse imo has benefits.

    I find disturbing the increasing role of the military, described in “The Pentagon Takes Over.” Shifting some responsibility for disaster relief and anti-terrorism back to local communities seems to me like a good thing.

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