US Army – the antidote to US civil disorder

This is a valuable and provocative article.  The excerpt given here describes only one of the scenarios discussed in this paper. At the end are links to some of the many articles by DoD staff on this issue, very much worth reading by anyone interested in this subject.

Known Unknowns: Unconventional ‘Strategic Shocks’ in Defense Strategy Development“, Nathan P. Freier, U.S. Army War College’s Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute, 4 November 2008


The author provides the defense policy team a clear warning against excessive adherence to past defense and national security convention. Including the insights of a number of noted scholars on the subjects of “wild cards” and “strategic surprise,” he argues that future disruptive, unconventional shocks are inevitable. Through strategic impact and potential for disruption and violence, such shocks, in spite of their nonmilitary character, will demand the focused attention of defense leadership, as well as the decisive employment of defense capabilities in response. As a consequence, the author makes a solid case for continued commitment by the Department of Defense to prudent strategic hedging against their potential occurrence.

Table of Contents (excerpted sections are in bold)

  1. Summary
  2. Introduction:  the failure of imagination
  3. “Known unknowns”:  predictble but unpredicted strategic shocks
  4. Trapped by convention:  seeing the future we want?
  5. Seeing the whole future:  incorporating shocks in defense strategy
  6. Routinizing imagination:  plausible unconventional shocks
  7. Strategic State Collapse
  8. Violent, Strategic Dislocation Inside the United States
  9. Politics, Economics, Social Action, and Political Violence as Hybrid War
  10. Conclusion:  avoiding the next blue ribbon panel – or worse



The current defense team confronted a game-changing “strategic shock” in its first 8 months in office. The next team would be well-advised to expect the same. Defense-relevant strategic shocks jolt convention to such an extent that they force sudden, unanticipated change in the Department of Defense’s (DoD) perceptions about threat, vulnerability, and strategic response. Their unanticipated onset forces the entire defense enterprise to reorient and restructure institutions, employ capabilities in unexpected ways, and confront challenges that are fundamentally different than those routinely considered in defense calculations.

The likeliest and most dangerous future shocks will be unconventional. They will not emerge from thunderbolt advances in an opponent’s military capabilities. Rather, they will manifest themselves in ways far outside established defense convention. Most will be nonmilitary in origin and character, and not, by definition, defense-specific events conducive to the conventional employment of the DoD enterprise.

They will rise from an analytical no man’s land separating well-considered, stock and trade defense contingencies and pure defense speculation. Their origin is most likely to be in irregular, catastrophic, and hybrid threats of “purpose” (emerging from hostile design) or threats of “context” (emerging in the absence of hostile purpose or design). Of the two, the latter is both the least understood and the most dangerous.

Thoughtful evaluation of defense-relevant strategic shocks and their deliberate integration into DoD strategy and planning is a key check against excessive convention. Further, it underwrites DoD relevance and resilience. Prior anticipation of September 11, 2001 (9/11) or the Iraq insurgency, for example, might have limited the scope and impact of the shock. In both instances, wrenching periods of post-event self-examination did help solve our current or last problem. They may not have been as effective in solving our next one.

DoD is now doing valuable work on strategic shocks. This work must endure and mature through the upcoming political transition. The next defense team should scan the myriad waypoints and end points along dangerous trend lines, as well as the prospect for sudden, discontinuous breaks in trends altogether to identify the next shock or shocks. Doing so is a prudent hedge against an uncertain and dangerous future.

Violent, Strategic Dislocation Inside the United States

As a community, the defense establishment swears to protect and defend the constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. DoD’s role in combating “domestic enemies” has never been thoughtfully examined. Thus, there is perhaps no greater source of strategic shock for DoD than operationalizing that component of the oath of service in a widespread domestic emergency that entails rapid dissolution of public order in all or significant parts of the United States.

While likely not an immediate prospect, this is clearly a “Black Swan” that merits some visibility inside DoD and the Department of Homeland Security. To the extent events like this involve organized violence against local, state, and national authorities and exceed the capacity of the former two to restore public order and protect vulnerable populations, DoD would be required to fill the gap. This is largely uncharted strategic territory.

Widespread civil violence inside the United States would force the defense establishment to reorient priorities in extremis to defend basic domestic order and human security. Deliberate employment of weap-ons of mass destruction or other catastrophic capabili-ties, unforeseen economic collapse, loss of function-ing political and legal order, purposeful domestic resis-tance or insurgency, pervasive public health emergen-cies, and catastrophic natural and human disasters are all paths to disruptive domestic shock.

An American government and defense establish-ment lulled into complacency by a long-secure domes-tic order would be forced to rapidly divest some or most external security commitments in order to address rapidly expanding human insecurity at home. Already predisposed to defer to the primacy of civilian authorities in instances of domestic security and divest all but the most extreme demands in areas like civil support and consequence management, DoD might be forced by circumstances to put its broad resources at the disposal of civil authorities to contain and reverse violent threats to domestic tranquility. Under the most extreme circumstances, this might include use of military force against hostile groups inside the United States. Further, DoD would be, by necessity, an essential enabling hub for the continuity of political authority in a multi-state or nationwide civil conflict or disturbance.

A whole host of long-standing defense conventions would be severely tested. Under these conditions and at their most violent extreme, civilian authorities, on advice of the defense establishment, would need to rapidly determine the parameters defining the legitimate use of military force inside the United States. Further still, the whole concept of conflict termination and/or transition to the primacy of civilian security institutions would be uncharted ground. DoD is already challenged by stabilization abroad. Imagine the challenges associated with doing so on a massive scale at home.

Conclusion:  avoiding the next blue ribbon panel – or worse

The aforementioned are admittedly extreme. They are not, however, implausible or fantastical. Avoiding the next “blue ribbon panel,” chartered to investigate future failures of strategic imagination, requires that DoD continue its commitment to identifying and analyzing the most credible unconventional shocks on the strategic horizon. Increased attention to unconventional shocks in defense strategy should neither supplant prudent hedging against conventional surprise nor routine preparation for the likeliest defense-specific traditional, irregular, and catastrophic challenges. It should, however, become increasingly important in routine defense decisionmaking.

Historically, shocks like Pearl Harbor, 9/11, and the Iraq insurgency have generated wrenching periods of self-examination. However, these periods of introspection most often focus on solving the last problem versus deliberately avoiding or contending with the next one. For example, DoD is admittedly better at COIN and CT in light of its post-9/11 experience. It is, however, reasonable to ask how relevant these are corporately to the next defense-relevant strategic shock. Absent continued reconnaissance into the future, there is no good answer to this question.

Thus, prudent net and risk assessment of (1) the myriad waypoints along dangerous trend lines; (2) the sudden or unanticipated arrival at the end of the same trends; and finally, (3) rapid onset of the rarer “Black Swan” are increasingly important to DoD. Under this administration, valuable work has begun in this regard. This work should continue to mature uninterrupted. Preemptive examination of the most plausible “known unknowns” represents a reasoned down payment on strategic preparedness and an essential defense investment in strategic hedging against an uncertain and dangerous future.

It would be wise for the next defense team to recall the experience of its predecessors. On September 11th, 2001, the latter witnessed the disruptive collision of defense convention and strategic reality. The rest, as they say, is history.

More articles on this subject

  1. The Oklahoma City Bombing: Immediate Response Authority and Other Military Assistance to Civil Authority (MACA)“, Commander Jim Winthrop, (Office of The Judge Advocate General), The Army Lawyer, July 1997 — 70 pages
  2. The Department of Defense and Homeland Security“, Major Timothy McAteer (United States Army), School of Advanced Military Studies at the US Army Command and General Staff College, 2002 — 63 pages
  3. Homeland Defense: Another Nail in the Coffin for Posse Comitatus“, Nathan Canestaro, Washington University Journal of Law and Policy, 2003 — 67 pages
  4. Rescuing DoD From Too Much of a Good Thing: The Wrong Kind of Disaster Response“, Maximo A. Moore III, , School of Advanced Military Studies at the US Army Command and General Staff College, 25 May 2006 — 78 pages


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CIA and National Intelligence Center reports looking at the future

28 thoughts on “US Army – the antidote to US civil disorder”

  1. When national policy is run for the benefit of the few, rather than the many, then domestic “emergencies” of the kind mentioned here will inevitably occur. The “natural disaster” of Katrina could have been avoided if the social disaster of New Orleans had ever been addressed beforehand.

    I suppose it’s encouraging that the DoD is thinking along these lines, but really I’d rather a different department of government were thinking about them instead. “Unforseen economic emergencies” should not be the province of Defense, but of Treasury, the Fed, the regulatory agencies, etc.

    One might call this exercize a natural outgrowth of the heightened militarization of our national life in the past few years. Purely local foreign insurgencies become part of a global network of terror. Domestic political protest is treated as a dangerous event requiring protesters to be herded behind chain link fences.

    This post reminds me of nuclear warfare theory — the use of reason for insane ends.

  2. I still remember the stories by my grandfather, grandmother, etc , about Churchill sending the tanks into Glasgow. Now what will be the first US city hit by bombs from F-16s? Good excuse for a betting pool.
    Fabius Maximus replies: I believe Oldskeptic refers to the Easter Rising in 1916.

  3. “Studying” these possibilities, by the DoD, is in a sense an afterthought, since they have already deployed combat brigades in the US (somewhere around DC, I recall) in case of “domestic disorder”. I believe a command center (NORCOM?) that includes the US was only recently created.

    “Terror” is a marvelous invention for the purpose, since by definition it’s stateless, easily flows across borders, sometimes disguises itself as a charity (or animal rights organization), and thus is something we all need protection from, even here at home!

  4. FM note: At 700 words this comment was almost 3x the 250 word max length of the FM site’s Comment Policy — which appears at the end of every post and on the Comment Policy page. I edited it down to a still too-long 400 words.

    In 2000 Mr. Paulson went to the SEC and Congress to request that the leverage limits that bound Goldman Sachs (his company) and the other investment banks be removed. In 2004, following that failed attempt, Mr. Paulson tried again, and this time his request was granted. Every one of the failed firms – Lehman, Bear, Fannie, Freddie and AIG – all had leverage more than double that of the previous limits when they blew up.

    … And when 14:1 wasn’t enough, Mr. Paulson went to Congress and the SEC and asked them to remove the “shackles” so that his “finely tuned risk models” could take on more leverage – that is more debt, which is a necessary condition to grow such a bubble.

    There were plenty of warnings by knowledgeable economists but Mr. Paulson dismissed them:

    May 2007 … August 2007 … October, 2007, on HOPE NOW … March 2008 … July 2008 … September 2008 … September 15th 2008

    …There will be no “unforeseen economic collapse” because it happens in full view, being fully expected and everyone with 2 brain cells to bump together knows exactly who is behind it. Are we to believe Mr. Paulson and the rest of the administration were merely blind-sided fools and did not still possess the wit required to take charge of the most powerful economy in the world?

    Is this not the “loss of functioning political and legal order”? Where was the military when all of this was going down? Oh yes, I remember now. And so does just about everyone else.

    Then with this knowledge the “loss of functioning political and legal order” will be an “unpredicted strategic shock”? Seems to me that anything that is already in motion can hardly be unpredicted.

    Then I suppose that “purposeful domestic resistance” will be another surprise because United States citizens are expected to just go along with all of this continuing to trust their health and wellbeing to the government?

    Does not the Declaration of Independence obligate United States citizens to react to this? Does not the Constitution empower us to do so by reserving these rights? Could this not then be interpreted as “insurgency” even if unarmed?

    Certainly doesn’t seem like “Known unknowns” to me. Seems like someone’s plan, carefully engineered, executed over a period of years and any mystery about where all this is going has now been revealed by Nathan P. Freier.

  5. Insurgency defined, from Wikipedia:

    An insurgency is a rebellion against a constituted authority (for example an authority recognised as such by the United Nations) when those taking part in the rebellion are not recognised as belligerents…

    When insurgency is used to describe a movement’s unlawfulness by virtue of not being authorized by or in accordance with the law of the land, its use is neutral. However when it is used by a state or another authority under threat, “insurgency” often also carries an implication that the rebels cause is illegitimate, whereas those rising up will see the authority itself as being illegitimate.

    Of course the powers that be are free to define “insurgency” any way they wish.
    Fabius Maximus note: From The Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms (JP 1-02) —

    insurgency — An organized movement aimed at the through use of subversion and armed conflict.

  6. The right of the people to alter or abolish their government is clearly stated in the Declaration of Independence, and antedates the Constitution. Such action by the people shall, naturally, be considered an insurrection by the Authorities. Where the armed forces come down in such a case would be interesting; I suspect that many currently serving might find their loyalties lying elsewhere than in support of a corrupt and crony-driven government in Washington DC.

  7. Old South Confederate

    “many currently serving might find their loyalties lying elsewhere than in support of a corrupt and crony-driven government in Washington DC.”

    It has happened before. In the Spring of 1861 approximately one-third of the United States Army deserted and went over to the other side to join the Confederate States Army. The largest mass desertion (so far) in the history of the United States Armed Forces.

  8. Given the financial meltdown:
    1) Who is going to pay for this?
    2) What would the United States’ credit rating be in the face of serious domestic unrest?

    During the Dutch Rebellion, one of the greatest problems confronting the Spanish was their inability to pay their soldiers. And Spain was receiving silver shipments from the Americas.
    Fabius Maximus replies: Easy questions to answer.
    (1) We are.
    (2) Not good.

    Re: The reign of Phillip II has many lessons for us. About the danger of hegemony. The consequences of hubris.

  9. If I were President, I’d thank the author and put it on a shelf and let the dust cover it quickly. While the author has something of a valid point (the DOD should plan for ALL contingencies), I can’t imagine a set of circumstances which would result in a “widespread domestic emergency that entails rapid dissolution of public order in all or significant parts of the United States.”

    The risks of this concept are very, very high; failure to execute this concept in a politically acceptable way would cause vastly more pain for the country than anything since the Civil War.

    The comments on this blog are a very small indication of how very dangerous this concept is for the US government to consider.

  10. Pluto it is very easy to imagine. Here is a thought on how this could happen.

    1. The current economic downturn gets worse much worse not just here but world wide. Wide spread unemployment in the large urban areas causes a rise in ethnic tensions. Blacks and Hispanics violence grows as does White and Black and Hispanic due to illegal immigration.

    2. Hispanic drug gangs in the southern US spread deeper into the US bringing even more violence to our urban areas.

    3. Now add in a event like the 1918 flu pandemic or Hurricane Katrina or a major earthquake. Again tensions are ratcheted up another notch.

    Now add these all together in a short time frame and you get something like a room filled with gas fumes or grain dust. All that needs to happen is some idiot to light a match. Think Rodney King or a Beslan School type incident and you could get riots in every major city in the US at the same time and with the ability of radical groups to quickly mobilize you could see a rapid plunge into civil unrest.

  11. Two words: Cloward-Piven
    Fabius Maximus note: From Wikipedia

    The Cloward-Piven strategy refers to a political strategy outlined by Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven, then both sociologists and political activists at the Columbia University School of Social Work, in a 1966 article in The Nation. The two argued that many Americans who were eligible for welfare were not receiving benefits, and that a welfare enrollment drive would create a political crisis that would force U.S. politicians, particularly the Democratic Party, to enact legislation “establishing a guaranteed national income.”

  12. Ah…I see that the Red Team concept has reached the SSTR folks at Carlisle. This is a good thing. “Black swans” are much less black when you have conceived of their potential existence. However, I wouldn’t worry too much about the Rubicon being crossed just yet. The author assumes at Title 10 (active duty) DSCA response. The countries expertise in Stability Operations (foreign or domestic) is the reserve component.

    “DoD is already challenged by stabilization abroad. Imagine the challenges associated with doing so on a massive scale at home.”

    Been there, done that. 16,500 National Guard soldiers, airmen, and associated equipment were concentrated into Louisiana for Gustav with-in 96 hours while the typically responding hurricane state forces were fixed in Texas and along the east coast. This was done not by the DOD, but by state to state coordination.

  13. John Rutherford

    The 800 lb gorilla in the room… current and evolving policies towards (or against) the rights of self defense and arms possession among the general population. These are “known unknowns” too, but the degeneration of those rights in Great Britain and the security problems that result hint at what may happen here. Past attitudes towards preparation for security threats may be reflected here: Wikipedia on the Civilian Marksmanship Program.

  14. “many currently serving might find their loyalties lying elsewhere than in support of a corrupt and crony-driven government in Washington DC.”

    “It has happened before. In the Spring of 1861 approximately one-third of the United States Army deserted and went over to the other side to join the Confederate States Army. The largest mass desertion (so far) in the history of the United States Armed Forces.”

    Actually one third of the officer corps went over to the south. Only 4 enlisted men did. None of them were NCOS.

  15. There is already a mechanism in place to accomplish the employment of the US Armed Forces in a situation of ‘civil disorder’. It was exercised in the riots that occurred after the assassination of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. It was exercised in the May Day Riots in DC in 1971. [Note: I was part of that mechanism as a member of the 82d Airborne Division’s 3 Brigade.]

    For over ten years I exercised State Area Commands in the use of said mechanism. That mechanism, is referred to as Military Assistance to Civil Authorities (MACA).

    Why THIS business is being discussed implies that they want some OTHER mechanism. And the whyfore of that would be more interesting than this paper.

    [What they are telling you can be important. What they are not telling you can be vital. — CBPelto]
    Fabius Maximus replies: Yes, there has been a slow weakening of the Posse Comitatus Act (1878) — see the articles I’ve added at the end of the post for more information. But IMO there is not exactly a “mechanism.” Military Assistance to Civil Authorities (MACA) — see Wikipedia — is a concept, not any sort of legal authority. Internal use of the military, beyond the National Guard, has just evolved.

    This is in keeping with the view of the larger concept of the Constitution itself as a “living document” — AKA a dying document. For more on this see Forecast: Death of the American Constitution, 4 July 2006.

  16. I suggest you all bone up on what’s happening in Mexico as it disintegrates in slow motion.
    Social chaos there means social chaos HERE due to our suicidal open borders policy.

    * What happens when millions of illegals are suddenly unemployed AND denied welfare bennies by cash strapped gov’ments already drowning in debt?
    * How will power hungry ethno-centric nativist groups like La Raza seek to exploit and leverage this to their advantage?(“Arise,compadres,arise!”)
    * When blacks realize that they’re about to be pushed aside,violently if necessary?(they’re already being ethnically cleansed from L.A.)
    * What happens when Mexico’s drug war spills over(it has already,of course,but not yet enough to force media to report it to any great degree)?
    * What happens when severed heads start getting thrown on the dance floors of trendy L.A. dance clubs?
    * When kidnapping for profit becomes semi-common(for the first time in our history,kidnap insurance policies are now being sold here)?
    * When cops, police chiefs,judges and prosecutors AND their families are routinely gunned down on the streets?

    Americans have no real experience with such societies,don’t understand them and will loudly demand that “something be done”.After all,this is America,such things just don’t happen here,right?

    The upside(perhaps the only one)will be the likely de-legitimization of our current ruling po-mo/multi-cult/p.c. “Establishment”,much as the disasters of WW1&2 de-legitimized Europe’s traditional aristocracy and Vietnam de-legitimized(with great help from the far left)New Deal liberalism.(neither LBJ or Nixon ever understood,beyond their personal disgraces,the vast harm their policies and failures did to the nation and society)

    But what kind of “Establishment” will replace it?There’s something for you bright kids to ponder and debate. Mexico is a much closer and more immediate danger than the M.E., imho.
    Fabius Maximus replies: Agreed!

    Over a decade ago Martin van Creveld warning that Mexico was perhaps the greatest geopolitical threat to America. Prescient, as always. The FM site has reported closely this emerging danger:

    1. Is Mexico unraveling?, 28 April 2008 — summary of Stratfor’s warnings about Mexico.
    2. “High Stakes South of the Border”, 13 May 2008
    3. Stratfor: the Mexican cartels stike at Phoenix, AZ, 6 July 2008
    4. “Drug cartels ‘threaten’ Mexican democracy”, 24 July 2008
    5. Stratfor reports on Mexico, news ignored by our mainstream media, 19 August 2008
    6. Nonsense from StrategyPage: Iraq is safer than Mexico, 17 December 2008

    Other articles about this:
    1. “Mexico: On the Road to a Failed State?“, George Friedman, Stratfor, 13 May 2008
    2. “Mexico: Examining Cartel War Violence Through a Protective Intelligence Lens“, Stratfor, 14 May 2008
    3. “Crime and Punishment in Mexico: The big picture beyond drug cartel violence“, posted at Grits for Breakfast, 18 May 2008

  17. Ok, let me get this straight. The military wants to envision a response to widespread dissolution of civilian authority, and sees a military response by DoD as appropriate.

    Disregarding the thought that this report may simply be a way to keep the money coming into pet projects the military wants to justify, have these geniuses likewise considered how the general public is likely to respond to THEIR response?

    Sending in the National Guard during crises of any sort is accepted by the general public as being appropriate under certain circumstances. Sending in combat troops I don’t believe will be seen in the same light.

  18. ….IMO there is not exactly a “mechanism.” Military Assistance to Civil Authorities (MACA) — see Wikipedia — is a concept, not any sort of legal authority. — Fabuis Maximus

    The Posse Comitatus Act, passed in 1878, generally prohibits Federal military personnel (except the United States Coast Guard) and units of the United States National Guard under Federal authority from acting in a law enforcement capacity within the United States, except where expressly authorized by the Constitution or Congress. –Wikipedia Article

    The point you fail to appreciate is that there IS a mechanism for MACA. That mechanism requires the state authorities to specifically request the federal government to send military forces to assist their agencies in the conduct of operations to maintain order or support disaster recovery: think Katrina. [Note: It’s not just about law enforcement.]

    During the 1971 May Day Riots in DC, there was a police officer with our unit as it performed it’s part of MACA. The police officer was the supervising civilian authority. That gave the appropriate ‘cover’ of civil authority exercising itself to the operation. We could not do anything without their say, short of self-defense and the legal use of deadly force, e.g., we saw someone about to throw a firebomb into a building we believed was occupied by people, such as an residence. However, few of us had ammunition at the time.

    P.S. More to follow….
    Fabius Maximus replies: What is the legal mechanism to which you refer, allowing States to rquest military assistance? Without a legal basis domestic uses of the military (e.g., Waco) are just more examples of extra-legal action by the Federal government.

    There are two exceptions to the Act given in the Wikpedia entry:
    1. Troops used under the order of the President of the United States pursuant to the Insurrection Act, as was the case during the 1992 Los Angeles Riots.
    2. Under 18 U.S.C. § 831, the Attorney General may request that the Secretary of Defense provide emergency assistance if civilian law enforcement is inadequate to address certain types of threats involving the release of nuclear materials, such as potential use of a nuclear or radiological weapon.

  19. Mexico is a much closer and more immediate danger than the M.E., imho.

    Actually, the transnational nature of disorder flowing over from Mexico suggests that it would not be purely “domestic” in its scope.

    Provocateurs ( for want of a better term ) could use Mexican locations as safe havens and contacts between domestic and Mexican unrest would be so linked that the United States would be forced to extend its crackdown to Mexico.

    While we can well imagine that much of the American public would support a domestic crackdown, the Mexican public’s response would be a different matter. Indeed, much of Latin America would rally to the provocateurs’ cause.

    Meanwhile, there would be no guarantee the rest of the world – including particularly the MidEast – would remain quiet….

  20. Most Americans are too squeamish to admit the validity or legitimacy of ever hitting the reset button on the Constitution. Most, but not all.

    These sentences just jump out of the screen at me:

    DoD’s role in combating “domestic enemies” has never been thoughtfully examined.

    Who in DoD has the political immunity to thoughtfully examine such a taboo subject? Our nonpartisan military has a cherished tradition of faithfully serving the whole Republic, under whatever political leadership We The People choose to saddle them. They have no authority or desire to identify, designate and engage domestic enemies. As individual citizens, the three percent of us fit to serve as Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen can see who the domestic enemies of their missions, their leaders, and their claim upon the public treasury are as well as anybody. As military professionals, they cannot treat domestic enemies as such until set loose upon them by higher authority. As individual citizens, they may harbor doubts about the illegitimate, unpatriotic nature of duly designated domestic enemies, perhaps even secretly sympathize with them. As military professionals, they will carry out lawful orders or leave the profession. The Regulars don’t have the stomach for recognizing that they even have domestic enemies, because that would force them to do something about it. American irregular, nonstate actor, Hybrid Warriors could very well be the duly designated domestic enemies.

    Deliberate employment of weapons of mass destruction or other catastrophic capabilities, unforeseen economic collapse, loss of functioning political and legal order, purposeful domestic resistance or insurgency, pervasive public health emergencies, and catastrophic natural and human disasters are all paths to disruptive domestic shock.

    The aftermath of a nuclear 9/11 would likely include all of the above. Politically incorrect as my opinion may be, I think the politicians who have the power to prevent mass casualty events and fail to exercise due diligence because they’re owned by the House of Saud or beholden to the Nation of Islam or ate up with multiculturalism should suffer for their failures with their lives, or at the very least fear that probable outcome, and act accordingly. Let the fates of Mussolini and Ceausescu encourager les autres. It has been too long since the elites have feared the wrath of The People.

    Under the most extreme circumstances, this might include use of military force against hostile groups inside the United States.

    I hope that their sight picture will be as blurry as mine. Brother has fought brother before. There are counties an hour’s drive north of me that haven’t recovered from the last time after 144 years. War is Hell, and Civil War is worse than Hell, and few Americans are capable of clear-eyed, unemotional, objective reasoning about it. How we got that way was a massive psychological operation.

  21. Just finished reading {this paper} while puttering around in the kitchen on this day of rest.

    An interesting read. Mostly accurate vis-a-vis the ‘unimaginative’ stupidity of bureaucrats in the military and other parts of the federal government. My team in the mid-80s to early 90s did exactly what he is bewailing: thought up interesting conventional and unconventional scenarios to drive planning exercise for the State Area Commands (STARCs) in the western third of the US.

    * Drove a fascinating one in Oregon based on an 8.3 earthquake. A year later they had a 7.0.
    * In early 1990 we were developing one for Idaho when it all came true….Hussein invaded Kuwait in August 1990.

    There are some dark undertones in the monograph that I don’t care for.

    Additionally, FEMA should already be doing this and in close contact with DoD for their participation. Whether or not the people in the Puzzle Palace are working with them is another matter.

    I’d like to see a list of the possible scenarios the author would consider ‘possible’ and therefore worthy of developing OPLANs on how to respond. [Note: Oregon’s STARC was highly impressive, last time I saw them. They were prepared for just about every scenario we could dream up; Mount Hood about to go ballistic, a possible dam failure on the Columbia, a ruptured nuclear reactor west of Portland….they had an OPLAN for everything.]

    [Chance favors the prepared mind. — Louis Pasteur, father of modern microbiology]

  22. P.S. I’ll see if I can track down the authority and documentation for MACA. It’s been over a decade since I dealt with it. I retired in ’97.

  23. RE: The Mexican Collapse Scenario

    Something that Freier and his chums at the institute should sink their collective mental teeth into.

    I’ll point out that we a number of military installations in close proximity to our southern border. Indeed, the concentration of ground and air assets, not to forget naval, is rather impressive, compared to the distribution across the rest of the nation. And I have to wonder about the historical significance: does it relate to the Zimmerman Telegram of World War I.

    Also, as for that La Raza business, I do believe that that particular scenario would fall in the purview of The Insurrection Act.

    [Good defenses make for good neighbors.]

  24. TO: Michael Payne
    RE: It’s Probably Not….

    “I regret not serving.” — Michael Payne

    ….too late. I understand they’ve raised the enlistment age-limit to somewhere around 45.


    I’d go back into ‘harness’ in a heartbeat. I’d even take a bust down from LTC to SSG, if they’d give me a squad of infantry and an IFV. Or, in light of this thread, allow me to implement a team of ‘imaginative’ officers and NCOs who could drive exercises to prepare US for the ‘unconventional’.

    I’m thinking that maybe the boys and girls in the Puzzle Palace should read some Niven and Pournelle. Specifically, Footfall, for the use of the ‘imaginative’ people, and Lucifer’s Hammer, for understanding of the ‘unconventional’.

    [Every man thinks meanly of himself for never having been a soldier, or a sailor with hard duty at sea. — Samuel Johnson]

  25. RE: Technical Issues

    Sorry I have not been able to properly reply to your query about MACA. We are OBE [Overcome By Events]. Yesterday, two laptops went down. One from a long-term problem with a spillage of tea into it’s compartment from three years ago…it finally ‘died’….and its replacement from a spillage of soup into the FireWire ports, as I was climbing the stairs—dinner tray in one hand and the laptop under the other arm—to enjoy the evening repast. [Note-To-‘Self’: Try not to shift loads when the metal case on the computer starts to slip. Just stop and put it down…..]

    Today has been spent researching what to procure to replace the regular work machine…..and cleaning up the mess on the back stairs of this old house…..{heavy sigh}….P.S. The shooting green flames from the firewire ports was rather ‘impressive’ to the distaff who witnessed the event.

  26. RE: Too late to serve…

    The maximum age of enlistment is now 41 years, 364 days, if NPS. So, no, the max. service age is not 45; if it was, I’d be in the army now.

    A couple of years ago, a group called”Let Them Serve” lobbied Congress, the DOD, and the services to raise the maximum age of enlistment to 42 from 39 years of age, which was done. However, the group failed to force the NGB (National Guard Bureau) to honor the letter of the law, Title 32 of the US Code, which grants our government the ability to draft able-bodied men up to age 45 for service in the militia (i.e. the Guard). NGB policy stipulated that only men up to age 42 may serve volunarily, but that the gov’t reserved the right to draft men over that age. Logical, huh? Well, that’s our government at work….

    I tell my buddy, who also blew it by not serving at a younger age, that the only way an old dude like me (47) will get in is if something really big happens, and for the sake of our nation and our young people, let’s hope that does not happen. Still, the incoming administration could do worse things than to allow more middle-aged men into the NG and use it for the domestic mission of securing our borders. I agree with the above post, Van Creveld is again right that a failing state of Mexico is much more dangerous to U.S. interests than anything in the Middle East. My relatives in Arizona tell me narco gang violence now regularly laps into S. AZ and as far north as Phoenix on occasion.
    Fabius Maximus replies: Given our generous compensation for disabled veterans, I suspect these older soldiers will (as a group) be the most expensive to every serve in any army, anytime, anywhere. The rates of disability will be incredible, expensive beyond the worst dreams of DoD accountants. Fortunately for American’s peace of mind, DoD is run on a fantasy bookkeeping system — so we need not worry about this until the unpleasant bills come due.

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