Full Spectrum Operations in the Homeland: A “Vision” of the Future

The U.S. Army’s Operating Concept 2016-2028 was issued in August 2010 with three goals.  First, it aims to portray how future Army forces will conduct operations as part of a joint force to deter conflict, prevail in war, and succeed in a range of contingencies, at home and abroad.  Second, the concept describes the employment of Army forces at the tactical and operational levels of war between 2016 and 2028.  Third, in broad terms the concept describes how Army headquarters, from theater army to division, organize and use their forces.  The concept goes on to describe the major categories of Army operations, identify the capabilities required of Army forces, and guide how force development should be prioritized. The goal of this concept is to establish a common frame of reference for thinking about how the US Army will conduct full spectrum operations in the coming two decades (US Army Training and Doctrine Command, The Army Operating Concept 2016 – 2028, TRADOC Pamphlet 525-3-1, dated 19 August 2010, p. iii.  Hereafter cited as TD Pam 525-3-1.  The Army defines full spectrum operations as the combination of offensive, defensive, and either stability operations overseas or civil support operations on U.S. soil).

A key and understudied aspect of full spectrum operations is how to conduct these operations within American borders.  If we face a period of persistent global conflict as outlined in successive National Security Strategy documents, then Army officers are professionally obligated to consider the conduct of operations on U.S. soil.  Army capstone and operating concepts must provide guidance concerning how the Army will conduct the range of operations required to defend the republic at home.  In this paper, we posit a scenario in which a group of political reactionaries take over a strategically positioned town and have the tacit support of not only local law enforcement but also state government officials, right up to the governor.  Under present law, which initially stemmed from bad feelings about Reconstruction, the military’s domestic role is highly circumscribed.  In the situation we lay out below, even though the governor refuses to seek federal help to quell the uprising (the usual channel for military assistance), the Constitution allows the president broad leeway in times of insurrection.  Citing the precedents of Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War and Dwight D. Eisenhower sending troops to Little Rock in 1957, the president mobilizes the military and the Department of Homeland Security, to regain control of the city.  This scenario requires us to consider how domestic intelligence is gathered and shared, the role of local law enforcement (to the extent that it supports the operation), the scope and limits of the Insurrection Act--for example maintaining a military chain of command but in support of the Attorney General as the Department of Justice is the Lead Federal Agency (LFA) under the conditions of the Act--and the roles of the local, national, and international media.

The Scenario (2016) 

The Great Recession of the early twenty-first century lasts far longer than anyone anticipated.  After a change in control of the White House and Congress in 2012, the governing party cuts off all funding that had been dedicated to boosting the economy or toward relief.  The United States economy has flatlined, much like Japan’s in the 1990s, for the better part of a decade.  By 2016, the economy shows signs of reawakening, but the middle and lower-middle classes have yet to experience much in the way of job growth or pay raises.  Unemployment continues to hover perilously close to double digits, small businesses cannot meet bankers’ terms to borrow money, and taxes on the middle class remain relatively high.  A high-profile and vocal minority has directed the public’s fear and frustration at nonwhites and immigrants.  After almost ten years of race-baiting and immigrant-bashing by right-wing demagogues, nearly one in five Americans reports being vehemently opposed to immigration, legal or illegal, and even U.S.-born nonwhites have become occasional targets for mobs of angry whites.

In May 2016 an extremist militia motivated by the goals of the “tea party” movement takes over the government of Darlington, South Carolina, occupying City Hall, disbanding the city council, and placing the mayor under house arrest.  Activists remove the chief of police and either disarm local police and county sheriff departments or discourage them from interfering.  In truth, this is hardly necessary.  Many law enforcement officials already are sympathetic to the tea party’s agenda, know many of the people involved, and have made clear they will not challenge the takeover.  The militia members are organized and have a relatively well thought-out plan of action.

With Darlington under their control, militia members quickly move beyond the city limits to establish “check points” – in reality, something more like choke points -- on major transportation lines.  Traffic on I-95, the East Coast’s main north-south artery; I-20; and commercial and passenger rail lines are stopped and searched, allegedly for “illegal aliens.”  Citizens who complain are immediately detained.  Activists also collect “tolls” from drivers, ostensibly to maintain public schools and various city and county programs, but evidence suggests the money is actually going toward quickly increasing stores of heavy weapons and ammunition.  They also take over the town web site and use social media sites to get their message out unrestricted. 

When the leaders of the group hold a press conference to announce their goals, they invoke the Declaration of Independence and argue that the current form of the federal government is not deriving its “just powers from the consent of the governed” but is actually “destructive to these ends.”  Therefore, they say, the people can alter or abolish the existing government and replace it with another that, in the words of the Declaration, “shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.”  While mainstream politicians and citizens react with alarm, the “tea party” insurrectionists in South Carolina enjoy a groundswell of support from other tea party groups, militias, racist organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan, anti-immigrant associations such as the Minutemen, and other right-wing groups.  At the press conference the masked militia members’ uniforms sport a unit seal with a man wearing a tricorn hat and carrying a musket over the motto “Today’s Minutemen.”  When a reporter asked the leaders who are the “red coats” the spokesman answered, “I don’t know who the redcoats are…it could be federal troops.” Experts warn that while these groups heretofore have been considered weak and marginal, the rapid coalescence among them poses a genuine national threat.

The mayor of Darlington calls the governor and his congressman.  He cannot act to counter the efforts of the local tea party because he is confined to his home and under guard.  The governor, who ran on a platform that professed sympathy with tea party goals, is reluctant to confront the militia directly.  He refuses to call out the National Guard.  He has the State Police monitor the roadblocks and checkpoints on the interstate and state roads but does not order the authorities to take further action.  In public the governor calls for calm and proposes talks with the local tea party to resolve issues.  Privately, he sends word through aides asking the federal government to act to restore order.  Due to his previous stance and the appearance of being “pro” tea party goals the governor has little political room to maneuver.

The Department of Homeland Security responds to the governor’s request by asking for defense support to civil law enforcement.  After the Department of Justice states that the conditions in Darlington and surrounding areas meet the conditions necessary to invoke the Insurrection Act, the President invokes it.

(From Title 10 US Code the President may use the militia or Armed Forces to:

§ 331 – Suppress an insurrection against a State government at the request of the Legislature or, if not in session, the Governor.

§ 332 – Suppress unlawful obstruction or rebellion against the U.S.

§ 333 – Suppress insurrection or domestic violence if it (1) hinders the execution of the laws to the extent that a part or class of citizens are deprived of Constitutional rights and the State is unable or refuses to protect those rights or (2) obstructs the execution of any Federal law or impedes the course of justice under Federal laws.)

By proclamation he calls on the insurrectionists to disperse peacefully within 15 days.  There is no violation of the Posse Comitatus Act.  The President appoints the Attorney General and the Department of Justice as the lead federal agency to deal with the crisis.  The President calls the South Carolina National Guard to federal service.  The Joint Staff in Washington, D.C., alerts U.S. Northern Command, the headquarters responsible for the defense of North America, to begin crisis action planning.  Northern Command in turn alerts U.S. Army North/Fifth U.S. Army for operations as a Joint Task Force headquarters.  Army units at Fort Bragg, N.C.; Fort Stewart, Ga.; and Marines at Camp Lejuene, N.C. go on alert.  The full range of media, national and international, is on scene.

“Fix Darlington, but don’t destroy it!”

Upon receiving the alert for possible operations in Darlington, the Fifth Army staff begins the military decision making process with mission analysis and intelligence preparation of the battlefield. (Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield is the term applied to the procedures performed by the intelligence staff of all Army unit headquarters in the development of bases of information on the enemy, terrain and weather, critical buildings and facilities in a region and other points.  Army units conduct operations on the basis of this information.  The term is in Army doctrine and could be problematic when conducted in advance of operations on U.S. soil. The general form of the initial intelligence estimate is in figure 1.)  In developing the intelligence estimate military intelligence planners will confront the first constraints on the conduct of full spectrum operations in the United States, as well as constraints on supporting law enforcement.  The analytical steps of the Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield, or IPB, must be modified in preparing for and conducting operations in the homeland.

The steps of the IPB process are: define the operational environment/battlespace, describe environmental effects on operations/describe battlespace effects, evaluate the threat/adversary, and determine threat/adversary courses of action. (PSYOP was changed to Military Information Support Operations, MISO, by Secretary of Defense directive in June 2010.)

While preparing terrain and weather data do not pose a major problem to the G-2, gathering data on the threat and under civil considerations for intelligence and operational purposes is problematic to say the least.

Figure 1: The Intelligence Estimate (FM 2-01.3, p. 7, chapter 1)

Executive Order 12333, United States Intelligence Activities, dated 4 December 1981, relates mostly to intelligence gathering outside the continental United States. However, it also outlines in broad terms permissible information-gathering within the United States and on American citizens and permanent resident aliens, categorized as United States persons. (The executive order included in its definition of “United States persons” unincorporated associations mostly comprising American citizens or permanent resident aliens; or a corporation incorporated in the United States, except for a corporation directed and controlled by a foreign government or governments.  The basic thrust of the rules and regulations concerning intelligence collection and dissemination are focused on protecting American citizens’ Constitutional rights.  These rules and regulations are focused, properly, on support to law enforcement.  They do not contain much guidance concerning the conduct of full spectrum operations such as the situation facing the corps.  While the best practice as described in FM 3-28 is to retain just enough for situational awareness and force protection the situation facing the corps strains the limits of situational awareness and could place the G2 and commanders at some risk once the dust has settled in the aftermath of an operation within the homeland.) The Fifth Army intelligence analysts will have a great deal of difficulty determining tea party members’ legal status.  Because the Defense Department does not collect or store information on American civilians or civilian groups during peacetime, the military will have to rely on local and state law enforcement officials at the start of operations to establish intelligence data-bases and ultimately restore the rule of law in Darlington.

Using all intelligence disciplines from human intelligence to signals intelligence, the Fifth Army G2 and his staff section will collect as much information as they need to accomplish the mission.  Once the rule of law is restored the Fifth Army G2 must ensure that it destroys information gathered during the operation within 90 days unless the law or the Secretary of Defense requires the Fifth Army to keep it for use in legal cases (Field Manual 3-28, Civil Support Operations, pp. 7-13.  The FM cites Department of Defense Directive, DODD, 5200.27).  Because of the legal constraints on the military’s involvement in domestic affairs and the sympathies of local law enforcement, developing the initial intelligence, a continuing estimate, and potential adversary courses of action (what the insurrectionists holding Darlington and surrounding areas might do in response to Army operations) will be difficult. (The closest guidance on handling information collected in the course of civil disturbance operations is in Department of Defense Directive 5200.27 and Department of Defense Directive 5240.1R.  These directives state: “Operations Related to Civil Disturbance. The Attorney General is the chief civilian officer in charge of coordinating all federal government activities relating to civil disturbances. Upon specific prior authorization of the Secretary of Defense or his designee, information may be acquired that is essential to meet operational requirements flowing from the mission as to DOD to assist civil authorities in dealing with civil disturbances. Such authorization will only be granted when there is a distinct threat of a civil disturbance exceeding the law enforcement capabilities of State and local authorities.”)

Fifth Army terrain analysts continue using open sources ranging from Google maps to Map-quest.  Federal legal restrictions on assembling databases remain in effect and even incidental imagery, aerial photos gathered in the conduct of previously conducted training missions, cannot be used.  Surveillance of the tea party roadblocks and checkpoints around Darlington proceeds carefully.  Developing legal data-bases is one effort, but support for local law enforcement is hindered because of problems in determining how to share this information and with whom.   

Despite these problems, receiving support from local law enforcement is critical to restoring the rule of law in Darlington.  City police officers, county sheriff deputies and state troopers can contribute valuable local knowledge of personalities, customs and terrain beyond what can be found in data-bases and observation.  Liaison officers and non-commissioned officers, with appropriate communications equipment must be exchanged.  Given the suspicion that local police are sympathetic to the tea party members’ goals special consideration to operational security must be incorporated into planning.  Informally communicating to the insurrectionists the determination of federal forces to restore local government can materially improve the likelihood of success.  However, informants sympathetic to the tea party could easily compromise the element of surprise.  The fact that a federal court must authorize wire taps in every instance also complicate the monitoring of communications into and out of Darlington.  Operations in Darlington specifically and in the homeland generally must also take into account the possibility of increased violence and the range of responses to violence. 

All federal military forces involved in civil support must follow the standing rules for the use of force (SRUF) specified by the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff.  Much like the rules of force issued to the 7th Infantry Division during operations in Los Angeles in 1992 the underlying principle involves a continuum of force, a graduated level of response determined by civilians' behavior.  Fifth Army must assume that every incident of gunfire will be investigated. (Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff Instruction, CJCSI, 3121.01B, Standing Rules of Engagement/Standing Rules for the Use of Force for US Forces.  There are many similarities between rules for the use of force and rules of engagement, the right of self-defense for example.  The fundamental difference is rules of engagement are by nature permissive measures intended to allow the maximum use of destructive combat power appropriate for the mission.  Rules for the use of force are restrictive measures intended to allow only the minimum force necessary to accomplish the mission.) All units involved must also realize that operations will be conducted under the close scrutiny of the media.

Operating under media scrutiny is not a new phenomenon for the U.S. military.  What is new and newsworthy about this operation is that it is taking place in the continental United States.  Commanders and staffs must think about the effect of this attention and be alert when considering how to use the media.  The media will broadcast the President’s proclamation and cover military preparations for operations in Darlington.  Their reports will be as available to tea party leaders in Darlington as they are to a family watching the evening news in San Francisco.  Coupled with a gradual build-up of federal forces in the local area, all covered by the media, the effect of this pressure will compound over time and quite possibly cause doubt about the correctness of the events in Darlington in the minds of its’ citizens and the insurrectionists who control the town.  The Joint Task Force commander, staff and subordinate units must operate as transparently as possible, while still giving due consideration to operational security.   Commanders must manage these issues even as they increase pressure on the insurrectionists. 

The design of this plan to restore the rule of law to Darlington will include information/influence operations designed to present a picture of the federal response and the inevitable defeat of the insurrection.  The concept of the joint plan includes a phased deployment of selected forces into the area beginning with reconnaissance and military intelligence units.  Once the Fifth Army commander determines he has a complete picture of activity within the town and especially of the insurrectionists’ patterns of behavior, deployment of combat, combat support and combat service support forces will begin from Forts Bragg and Stewart, and Camp Lejuene.  Commanders will need to consider how the insurrectionists will respond.  Soldiers and Marines involved in this operation, and especially their families will be subject to electronic mail, Facebook messages, Twitters, and all manner of information and source of pressure.  Given that Soldiers and Marines stationed at Forts Bragg and Stewart as well as Camp Lejuene live relatively nearby and that many come from this region, chances are they will know someone who lives in or near Darlington.  Countering Al Qaeda web-based propaganda is one thing, countering domestic information bombardments is another effort entirely.

The design and execution of operations to restore the rule of law in Darlington will be complicated.  The Fifth Army will retain a military chain of command for regular Army and Marine Corps units along with the federalized South Carolina National Guard, but will be in support of the Department of Justice as the Lead Federal Agency, LFA.  The Attorney General may designate a Senior Civilian Representative of the Attorney General (SCRAG) to coordinate the efforts of all Federal agencies.  The SCRAG has the authority to assign missions to federal military forces.  The Attorney General may also appoint a Senior Federal Law Enforcement Officer (SFLEO) to coordinate all Federal law enforcement activities.    

The pace of the operation needs to be deliberate and controlled.  Combat units will conduct overt Show of Force operations to remind the insurrectionists they are now facing professional military forces, with all the training and equipment that implies.  Army and Marine units will remove road blocks and check points both overtly and covertly with minimum essential force to ratchet up pressure continually on insurrectionist leadership.  Representatives of state and local government as well as federalized South Carolina National Guard units will care for residents choosing to flee Darlington.  A focus on the humanitarian aspect of the effort will be politically more palatable for the state and local officials.  Federal forces continue to tighten the noose as troops seize and secure power and water stations, radio and TV stations, and hospitals.  The final phase of the operation, restoring order and returning properly elected officials to their offices, will be the most sensitive.

Movements must be planned and executed more carefully than the operations that established the conditions for handover.  At this point military operations will be on the downturn but the need for more politically aware military advice will not.  War, and the use of federal military force on U.S. soil, remains an extension of policy by other means.  Given the invocation of the Insurrection Act, the federal government must defeat the insurrection, preferably with minimum force.  Insurrectionists and their sympathizers must have no doubt that an uprising against the Constitution will be defeated.  Dealing with the leaders of the insurrection can be left to the proper authorities, but drawing from America history, military advice would suggest an amnesty for individual members of the militia and prosecution for leaders of the movement who broke the law.  This fictional scenario leads not to conclusions but points to ponder when considering 21st century full spectrum operations in the continental United States.  

The Insurrection Act does not need to be changed for the 21st century.  Because it is broadly written, the law allows the flexibility needed to address a range of threats to the Republic. 

What we must consider in the design of homeland defense or security exercises is translating the Act into action.  The Army Operating Concept describes Homeland Defense as the protection of “U.S. sovereignty, territory, domestic population, and critical defense infrastructure against external threats and aggression, or other threats as directed by the president” (TD Pam 525-3-1, p. 27.  Emphasis added.) Neither the operating concept nor recently published Army doctrine, FM 3-28 Civil Support Operations, goes into detail when considering the range of “other threats.”  While invoking the Insurrection Act must be a last resort, once it is put into play Americans will expect the military to execute without pause and as professionally as if it were acting overseas.  The Army cannot disappoint the American people, especially in such a moment.  While real problems and real difficulties of such operations may not be perceived until the point of execution preparation will afford the Army the ability to not be too badly wrong at the outset. 

Being not too badly wrong at the outset requires focused military education on the nuances of operations in the homeland.  Army doctrine defines full spectrum operations as a mix of offense, defense and either stability or civil support operations.  Curriculum development is a true zero sum game; when a subject is added another must be removed.  Given the array of threats and adversaries; from “commando-style” raids such as Mumbai, the changing face of militias in the United States, rising unrest in Mexico, and the tendency to the extreme in American politics the subject of how American armed forces will conduct security and defense operations within the continental U.S. must be addressed in the curricula of our Staff and War Colleges. (The Kansas City Star, 12 September 2010, “The New Militia.”  The front page story concerns the changing tactics of militia movements and how militias now focus on community service and away from violence against the government.  Law enforcement agencies feel this is camouflage for true intentions.  The story covered armed paramilitary militias in Missouri and Kansas.)

The Army must address the how to of intelligence/information gathering and sharing, liaison with local law enforcement and conduct of Information Operations in focused exercises, such as UNIFIED QUEST, given a wider range of invited participants.  The real question of how to educate the Army on full spectrum operations under homeland security and defense conditions must be a part of an overall review of professional military education for the 21st century.  We cannot discount the agility of an external threat, the evolution of Al Qaeda for example, and its ability to take advantage of a “Darlington event” within U.S. borders.  How would we respond to this type of action?  What if border violence from Mexico crosses into the United States?  The pressure for action will be enormous and the expectation of professional, disciplined military action will be equally so given the faith the American people have in their armed forces.  The simple fact is that while the Department of Justice is the Lead Federal Agency in these operations the public face of the operation will be uniformed American Soldiers.  On a TV camera a civilian is a civilian but here is no mistaking the mottled battle dress of a Soldier with the U.S. flag on his or her right sleeve. 

The table of organization and equipment of Fifth U.S. Army/Army North must be scrutinized.  The range of liaison parties that must be exchanged in the conduct of operations on American soil is extensive.  Coordination with federal, state and local civil law enforcement and security agencies is a vital element in concluding homeland operations successfully.  The liaison parties cannot be ad hoc or last minute additions to the headquarters.  At a minimum such parties must routinely exercise with the headquarters. 

In 1933 then Colonel George Marshall criticized the education that the Army Command and General Staff College provided as inadequate to “the chaotic state of affairs in the first few months of a campaign with a major power” (From a 1933 letter from COL GC Marshall to MG Stewart Heintzelman, cited in a report on the US Army Command and General Staff College conducted in 1982 by MG Guy Meloy.  The report is held in the Special Collections section of the Combined Arms Research Library, Fort Leavenworth, KS.) We must continue on the path of ensuring the avoidance of the “chaotic state of affairs” in the opening moments of future campaigns, defending the nation from within and without.  As Dr. Sebastian L. v. Gorka wrote in Joint Forces Quarterly (p. 33), “[N]o concepts are immune to critique and reappraisal when it comes to securing the homeland.”

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Chilling

“When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.” The Declaration of Independence

For decades, there have been those who have not only coveted political power, but have gained that power and have, through a variety of cunning devises, used not only the legislative, but the executive and judicial bodies of our government to accomplish a system of the centralization of power that now affects every area in the lives of the People of this country. This pernicious system of centralization is stamped with the indelible character of a growing aggravated oppression.

Laws have been crafted in such a way that many give a special pecuniary interest to particular agendas, a variety of political beneficiaries and has done so with such ingenious political and legislative devices that, at times, makes it difficult to expose the actual character of the laws being passed and the effect those laws have upon this country and its People. Every pretext is utilized, every socio-political slight-of-hand is employed to confer upon the federal government unwarranted powers that far exceed the clearly defined limitations found within the Constitution. To this end, this government sets out every type of molestation upon this People, implemented restraints and placement of hindrances before them thereby preventing them from enjoying the very fruit of their labors and to live their lives as they deem proper.

A sectionalism has evolved, one that pits the power of the federal state against the People and it has, through various means of coercion, promoted all the beneficiaries of a ruling class upon those who enter the federal regime and are employed by its vast resources, all of which are plundered from the People. This Congress has, for years, resorted to numerous unwarrantable acts, legislations, statutes, regulations, taxes and schemes for the purpose of exercising powers not granted to them either by the People nor by the Constitution from which it receives its delegated, and thus subservient authority. They have usurped powers and authorities that do not belong to them nor are such powers and authorities based upon Constitutional principles, but emanate from the perversion of those very principles upon which this country was built. Through devious and subversive means, those within the federal government has changed both the character of government and the execution of government, reducing, as it were, the Constitution into a mere formality and upon the crumbling ruins of our Republic, they have gradually erected a highly centralized power that now borders on a consolidated despotism without any limitations to its powers and without the real checks or balances upon those powers.

This federal government has assumed powers not inherent to it, in fact the federal government actually possesses no inherent powers for all are delegated to it by the People and the Several States respectively. It was the People, through the agency of their respective States that created the federal government and at that creation they conferred upon the federal government its powers in a purely delegated manner and therefore limited form. All power within the federal government is based upon that act of delegation and each power delegated to it is based upon prescribed limitations enumerated within the voluntary Constitutional charter. Prior to the writing and subsequent ratification of the Constitution, each State was Free and Independent, each possessed full Sovereignty as provided by the People residing in those States from whom all Sovereignty rests. The character of that Sovereignty did not change by the ratification of the Constitution as each State entered into a compact with each other for the creation of the general federal government. The creation of that general government provided for very specific objectives that were intended to benefit each of the Several States, yet those specific objectives were framed within a narrow and strictly limited scope of powers.

Jefferson once said: “the Several States composing the united States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to the general government, but by a compact under the style and title of the Constitution of the united States, they Constituted a general government for special purposes, delegated to that government certain definite powers, Reserving each State to itself the residuary mass of Right to their own Self-Government, and when-so-ever the general government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are Un-authoritative, Void, and of No Force.”

It should therefore, be understood that the federal government is nothing more than an agency created by the States through the People Assembled in Convention; with that understanding it must also be recognized that the federal government can exert no power or exercise no authority beyond the prescribed limitations of power delegated to it by the Compact of the Constitution. The Constitutional Compact therefore, was not an agreement between the federal government and the States, but between the Several States themselves as they created the federal government as a beneficial agency to act upon the Will of the People within the Several States. Thus, the federal government can lay no claim to any power or authority that was not expressly granted to it by the People through the Several States Individually or Assembled; it can only assume such power and authority through virulent usurpation.

Has it not become evident that this Congress, as well as others before it, have both passed and attempted to pass legislative acts on numerous issues that, on the face, purport to be beneficial for the American People, yet such legislations usually result in the expansion of government, the regulation of all aspects of our society and the confiscation of the choice fruit of our labors. Such gross violations of the Constitution are the most deliberate and palpable, as such they assume some of the most dangerous assaults against the People’s future well being. The Congress even uses those powers that are properly and specifically delegated to it for entirely different purposes, perverting the legitimate powers for illegitimate goals.

The consequences of these violations have, over the decades, served to establish some of the most pernicious principles found within our government, creating a foundation that is now accepted as the norm, providing the greatest latitude of operation and application as government continues to consolidate its powers. Instead of applying the Constitution to government, the government has applied its perverted principles to the Constitution as it has consolidated the Several States and the representative government, by degrees of legalistic invasion, into a nationalized sovereignty.

This government has, through a myriad of contrivances, established an excessive exercise of its general legislative control over the interests and even the pursuits of the People of this country. In ignorance, the government has assumed that it has both the wisdom and ability to undertake the regulation of the lives, labors and properties of the American People. The once Free and Independent States are treated as though they are dependencies, mere colonies of the central government and the People, once the source of all Sovereignty are now subjugated to the all-powerful rule of the consolidated government. The Several States, as the People themselves, are no longer subject to their own interests, but to the interests of others, namely the government and its attempt to create a total dependent state, dependent solely upon the plentitude of the government benefits doled out at its own pleasure.

Indeed, pensions, subsidies, benefits have all been enlarged to such a extent that no other conclusion can be reached but that this government has established its pernicious principles with the purpose of the bestowal of gratuities on the political ruling class and those politically connected. Additionally, in order to achieve this type of usurpation, it has used methods of virtual enslavement, enticing great numbers of the People to become dependent upon the government dole, providing the political parties with a readily available voting block, providing a degree of legitimacy to its actions. Beyond this, the central government has created such a state of dependency that even the States themselves have become addicted to the government’s redistributive system of the Peoples monies.

By all appearances, Congress is evinced of its own power, determined to use its distributive powers to in all manner of new and creative ways to channel the resources of the People into favored avenues, ultimately to the benefit of the government, not the People. Essentially, the central government has sought to absorb all the powers of the Several States, becoming the premiere depository of all sovereignty and power in the Land. It has, in this grand grasp at power, assumed jurisdiction and guardianship over even the most mundane matters in this country, disregarding the fact that many, if not all those matters were either entirely the purview of the Individual or of the Several States in which the Individuals held their Citizenship.

This government has, through systematic manipulation of law, laid claim and assumed the right to exercise such claim, as well as control, over the ability to appropriate public monies in any manner it deems necessary. Like public monies, this government has also assumed complete authority for the appropriation of property, controlling public properties and regulating those, which are private. It has, on numerous occasions, asserted judicial supremacy, not only over the once Free and Independent States, but the Citizens of those States who are, by any estimation, the essential source of all legitimate Sovereignty in this country and by whom all government derives its power to govern by the consent of those State Citizens.

The practice of Patronage has been intentionally established in this government, from the Legislative Branch to the Executive Branch, in order to achieve its complete consolidation of power over this country and its People. Political and financial influences, undue and unjust, permeate the functions of this government. The Several States have been reduced to ancillary elements of the “Supreme Federal”, now nothing more than petty corporations, parts of the whole, and colonies dependent upon the central government for their existence and continued viability. The Several States have been effectively shorn of all hints of Sovereignty as the Sovereignty of the People has been effectively neutralized and their voices silenced.

Saturated thoroughly with the corrupting influences of political patronage and the power that results from such patronage, the government, comfortable in its cozy relationships lends its ear to its patrons while it maintains itself on the backs and payroll checks of the People. This Congress has been fully instructed in the arts of strengthening its hold on power, guarding its prerogatives and extending its reach into every possible aspect of our society.

The continued remonstrations of the People fall upon the stopped ears of our elected officials, all but ignored and answered only with the vainest of promises for reform; with no room for redress, no hope to find a common arbiter between those who seek to rule and the People. With all reasonable hope fading for redress, the People must turn to their States as a means of Interposition to stand in the gap between the People and this illegitimate government. There must come a time when the assertion of the Sovereign Rights of the People are once again expressed through the Several States to pressure this government to abandon its corrupt system of partiality, favoritism, monopolies and protectionism, unjust in its operations as it assumes powers, strengthening its authorities, that were never delegated to it by either the People or their States when they ratified the Constitutional Compact in assembled conventions.

Our forefathers rose up in their might for far less than this People now suffer under, yet, we continue to submit to this thralldom. The American People have become spoon-fed with the idea that our situation is normal, lawful and completely acceptable under the principles of the Constitution and yet, there are few legislative acts passed by this government that conform to those principles.

The governments of the Several States recline in complacency, no longer advocating the Rights of the People or their prerogatives under the Federative Compact agreed upon between the Free, Independent and Sovereign States. Is it not the Right of the People, through the agency of their individual State governments, to lay complaints, to demand redress remonstrating all infractions against them? Is it not the responsibility and the duty of the State governments to refuse any and all obedience to any legislative measure taken by the federal government that is manifestly a violation of the Constitutional Compact? Shall those within this federal government violate the Constitution with impunity?

As it appears, the vast majority of those who call themselves public servants, they must think themselves above the actual Law of the Land, giving lip-service to it while transcending the limitations as prescribed and authorized. The government no longer recognizes the Rights enumerated and completely ignore the fact that there are Rights Reserved to both the States and the People that are not enumerated. How could it be otherwise with the Sovereignty of the People, are they not the Sovereigns, is it not within the character of that Sovereignty that they must consent to the manner in which they allow themselves to be governed?

This government has a long line of measures intent on the annihilation of all hints of Sovereignty, whether it is the Sovereignty of the Individual or the Sovereignty imparted to the Several States by the People. The centralized government has wiped away the Independent nature of the States, consolidating all power in Washington D.C.; something that was never intended by the Framers of the Constitution, nor was there any design that could be construed to support such consolidation and concentration of power in the federal government by the Constitution. The powers being asserted by the federal government, controlling numerous internal measures within the States, in many cases, amount to little more than a form of legalized pillage as their Reserved Powers are trampled under the heel of a federal government that no longer shows interest in anything but its own interests.

So, what shall be done to redeem ourselves, to restore that which has been taken by both deceptive methods and by force of arbitrary laws that have resulted in a state of peonage for the People and a huge productive Vassal State for the complete benefit of the federal government? The question is of the gravest sort, the answer most solemn for if we are simply continue in our present state, waiting for this government to reform itself and return to some sense of justice then our wait will obviously be in vain and any hope can no longer be indulged. The sensibilities of the People have long ago been numbed, their estimation of their Rights lowered and they have been gradually taught to find comfort in their chains as though they were actually free.

The People, for most part, have resigned themselves to their condition and allow the voluntary relinquishment of the prospects of actual freedom to a class of politically advantaged, pecuniary benefits are secured to those who are politically connected by various laws and policies that favor them over the vast majority of the People and indeed over the general welfare of the Country itself. The political and corporate classes have joined forces to enrich themselves under the operation of laws, which are always crafted in the name of the public good.

The crisis has arrived and yet few recognize its arrival; the public is assured that there is nothing to worry about; the government has matters well in hand. It will soon be evident that it is useless to delude ourselves any longer; the time has indeed come when we must either take a very decisive course of actions or we must completely abandon all hope of remedy; there is no middle course. We will either surrender the Rights purchased by the Blood of our Fathers, or we will commit ourselves to the coming struggle that we might once again, as our Forefathers, provide our posterity the Heritage of Liberty.

There must no longer be any restraint in our expression of intent nor in the depth of our conviction that we will take any measure necessary to secure our Liberty and will never consent to be reduced to a state of total dependency or dictated to by un-Constitutional powers usurped and then mandated upon the People by this government. Has not our own experiences taught us the most lamentable truth, that this government is in open and total disregard of the limitations placed upon it by the Constitution and that our Liberty cannot be dependent upon such a government? Without Liberty there is absolutely no need to preserve this current union of States and if the complete Restoration of Constitutional Order cannot be achieved then the peaceful dissolution of the Compact reached between the States is preferable to the looming violent convulsion of revolution as this degenerate state of affairs continue to evolve.

If We the People are given no other alternative but to continue to submit to the injustices and coercive powers of this government, relinquishing to it the last remnants of our Liberty, then what shall we do but seek the only remedy left to us, that being the Revolutionary Right to defend ourselves and our Liberty. If such a point is reached then there can be no recreancy in our resolve, no hesitancy in applying the very hallowed principles provided us by the examples provided to us by our Forefathers.

“We are reduced to the alternative of choosing an unconditional submission to the tyranny of irritated ministers, or resistance by force. -- The latter is our choice. -- We have counted the cost of this contest, and find nothing so dreadful as voluntary slavery. -- Honor, justice, and humanity, forbid us tamely to surrender that freedom which we received from our gallant ancestors, and which our innocent posterity have a right to receive from us. We cannot endure the infamy and guilt of resigning succeeding generations to that wretchedness which inevitably awaits them, if we basely entail hereditary bondage upon them…we will, in defiance of every hazard, with un-abating firmness and perseverance, employ for the preservation of our liberties; being with one mind resolved to die freemen rather than to live slaves.”

If therefore, the Several States do not possess the Right of Interposition to arrest the progressive pace of un-Constitutional advance, then all our claims to our Sovereignty, and indeed all claims of Liberty are in vain. If the Several States, through the Sovereignty of the People, are not allowed the fulfillment of the promise of a republican form of government, complete with every character associated with a federated union composed of Free and Independent States, then the People must be determined under all the obligations and duties to their own Liberty and that of their posterity, to resist all efforts of subjugation.

“Each State acceded as a State, and is an integral party, its co-States forming as to itself the other party, that they alone being parties to the Compact, are Solely Authorized to Judge in the last resort of the powers exercised under it; Congress being not a party, but merely the creature of the Compact, that it becomes a Sovereign State, to submit to undelegated, and, consequently, unlimited power in no man or body of men on earth; that in cases of abuse of the delegated powers, the members of the General Government, being chosen by the People, a change by the People would be the Constitutional remedy; but where powers are assumed which have not been delegated, a nullification of the Act is the rightful remedy; that every State has a natural Right, in cases not within the Compact, to nullify, of their own authority, all assumption of power by others within their limits, and that without this Right they would be under the dominion absolute and unlimited, of whomsoever might exercise the Right of Judgment for them; and that in the case of Acts being passed by Congress, so palpably against the Constitution as to amount to an undisguised declaration, that the Compact is not meant to be the measure of the powers of the General Government, but that it will proceed to exercise over the States all powers whatsoever, by seizing the Rights of the States, and consolidating them in the hands of the General Government, with a power assumed of binding the States, not merely in cases made federal, but in all cases whatsoever, by laws made, not with their consent, but by others against their consent, it would be the duty of the States to declare the Acts void and of no force, and that each should take measures of its own for providing that neither such Acts nor any other of the General Government, not plainly and intentionally authorized by the Constitution, shall be exercised within their respective territories.”

Benson and Weber deserve credit for their clever way of elevating the discussion. Had they chosen liberal groups as being the insurrectionists, the public response would have been incoherent screaming and a flood of racial slurs. By casting the Tea Party as the bad guys they have generated thoughtful and prescient comments.

Well, there's still quite a bit of national outrage and people who take this as a turning point after which they will no longer trust the government.

What if there IS a Tea Party insurgency and history classes a century later cite this article as one of the sparks that ignited the second civil war? O.o

I know, I'm inflating this way out of context, but it is something to think about.

You're probably already aware that this article made national news (I haven't read all the comments so I don't know if it's been mentioned yet), but it did! I was reading The Examiner and came across this:

http://www.examiner.com/article/army-colonel-ignites-firestorm-with-arti...

Can't believe it! I joined SWC just last month and now I feel like I'm part of something national. :)

I have a lot of heartburn with the article also, but based on the comments below I thought my beloved Army may have lost its mind and acted against the Constitution we have all swore to protect. I was relieved that when I actually read over the Pam referenced it only briefly addressed homeland defense (against external threats) and providing support to civil authorities (major natural disasters, fire fighting, etc.), which is nothing new and missions that the American people generally expect us to do in exchange for their hard earned tax dollars. Shame on us if we weren't protecting the homeland from external threats.

The authors' views are the authors views, views I don't see reflected anywhere in any official documents.

We're O.K., the sky isn't falling, and an election is coming up. If you don't like the way things are now, get out and vote. The Army isn't going to get in your way, the soldiers will be there next to you casting their ballets based upon their individual views.

I NO LONGER TRUST THIS GOVERNMENT and thanks to fools like Benson and Weber for it.

As a retired Marine, conservative, TEA Party member, and Oathkeeper, I am appalled at this essay, which is nothing more than race-baiting and projection from two likely progressives. I've worked with the Army for YEARS and thought they were screwed up but now that I've read this trash, my thoughts are confirmed.

Evidently things like the Posse Commitatus Act, the Tenth Amendment, and the US Constitution mean nothing to Benson and Weber, or this regime in DC for that matter.

The RIGHT to revolt against an oppressive and tyrannical regime is enshrined in our founding documents and it appears that "Colonel" Benson has forgotten his Oath to support and defend the Constitution, that is, if he ever knew it.

What a hideous essay and it is something I might have read in the 80's coming out of the Soviet Union.

This article has made my blog and the link has been sent out to others so that WE THE PEOPLE can be made aware of what "our government" is spending OUR tax dollars on.

Smart insurgents will tailor their tactics to invite an overwhelming response from the Army. Artillery, attack helicopters, air strikes...and a 21st Century Lt Calley will say "We had to destroy Darlington in order to save it." Although the mainstream media will ignore the collateral damage, photos of horribly burned and mutilated American women and children will soon be circulating on the Internet, and by ordinary mail. When that happens, ladies and gentlemen, you will have more trouble than you ever dreamed of. Remember the WWII Resistance movements? Don't say a massacre of civilians won't happen - it happens in every war in every nation. This is a very bad idea...but does give we poor tax slaves an insight into the minds of our political lords.

A solid plan for unrivaled Success! However, if the rebels are to be suppressed sufficiently, I have it on good word that to their powder and rifle stores at Lexington and Concord you must go. Rest assured! Vigorous measures at present would soon put an end to this paltry rebellion. The deluded subjects are made to believe that they are invincible. When this glorious Fifth Army is ordered to act against them, they will soon be convinced that they are very insignificant indeed when opposed to regular troops. Once these rebels have been dealt a smart blow, they will fall to their knees and submit. Once disarmament is complete, effective resistance to the Crown will cease and policies of reestablishing order will proceed. God save his excellency King George.

@Kev and Jenny: here's some news you - and NorthCom - can use. There's going to be 1,2,3...many Darlingtons. And the doggies probably shouldn't count on a lot of cooperation from A)U.S. Marines, B) National Guard, C)County Sheriffs. Once the dollar goes, and takes the Ponziconomy with it (cf.: IranWar), the days of our current Zionist-Socialist treason regime are numbered. I suspect the DC gang will quickly be reduced to recruiting Red Guards from the FEMA camps.

This article is based almost entirely on false premises. The idea that the tea party would do what is described in the way and for the reasons described is laughable. If the American people act on behalf of their own constitutionally protected freedom then they are within their right. For the military to act in opposition to any effort to protect, defend or restore the veracity and force of the constitution would be, by definition, treason.

In addition, the idea that The Klu Klus Klan and other racist and Democratic party developed organizations would side with the tea party, or that the tea party would even associate with them, indicates either a complete lack of understanding of who and what the tea party is, or is purposeful disinformation disseminated in an effort to further deflect the left's own goal to the right. Progressives, Marxists, fascists, and other government centered and racist organizations and ideologies are all LEFT. This is America, not Europe. Left and right mean something different here. Left is govt, right is freedom. The more you have of one, the less you will have of the other.

This is OUR country. It is OUR constitution. The govt, including the military, works for US. Aside from the LIMITED powers given the federal government in article one section eight of the constitution, We The People, and the States, have and are the authority. The authors of this article are fomenting an environment of discord and distrust between the people and our military. That needs to stop right now, because WE are the military. I don't think it's going to work the way they think it will.

The Occupy Movement groups have come much closer to the type of 'insurrection' described in this article than any Tea Party group. I find it odd that the authors chose to make the Tea Party the 'adversary' to the federal government in their hypothetical scenario.

I must join the many other commenters who have taken exception to this article's depiction of the Tea Party as a sort of neo-Klan, a band of lilly-white racists who can barely wait to wrap their ax handles around the heads of people of color. I myself--and, yes, I post under my real name--am a Hispanic Tea Partier, one of many in my area (Jacksonville, Florida). I have _never_ been made to feel unwelcome at any Tea Party event, nor have I ever heard the use of racist/xenophobic invective or seen any literature of that ilk at any Tea Party meeting or demonstration (except in signs wielded by outside _agents provocateurs_ trying to discredit the organization: they are quickly surrounded by Tea Partiers holding signs saying, "not with us). Do many Tea Partiers object to the near non-enforcement of U. S. immigration laws? Yes--I do!--but we simply ask that the federal government enforce those laws (as it is Constitutionally obligated to do), and seek electoral, not insurrectional, solutions to the problem on non-enforcement.

As other have already noted, Tea Party demonstrations are models of civil, orderly behavior. Not only do we not indulge in violence--though on some occasions counter-demonstrators have physically attacked Tea Partiers--we usually leave the public areas we use cleaner than before we arrived. Compare and contrast with left-wing groups' violence, vandalism, and utter disregard for the public order when they demonstrate: think OWS!

In using the Tea Party as the fictional bad guys of their scenario, the authors of this article have truly--and unjustifiably--derogated a model group of citizen-activists, using their Constitutionally protected right of free assembly, by innuendo. Isn't there a Commandment against bearing false witness against your neighbor?

Either our defense is trying to flush out some idiots or our national defense is so utterly lost and confused there is no "hope". Any take-over would involve the erradication of the Presidency the libtards in the chain of command and of course the joint chiefs of staff and the libtards on the supreme court. Any course other than that would be a suicide mission. This must be some kind of ploy to flush out idiots who think for a second they can assend with a coup that takes over a city. Even Barrack (or whatever this clown's name is) is attempting his take-over through the polls. The only way anyone can takeover is by foreign colusion or through the command of the army. This (like i'm saying) is either stupidity on such level of epic proportions or a plot to flush out a few idiots. I Love our military and wish only the best for them. If the high levels of command are not involved in a covert operation to catch some idiots(in other words, if this is a scenario that they believe in), then the command is full of race-baiting embeciles, too stupid to be wearing the nation's colors and certainly too stupid to be flag officers in our nation's militaries. Suspecting the Tea party of wanting to destroy the nation and not spying on the musloids and the wallstreeters is tantamount to TREASON.
The WALLSTREETERS and the MUSLOIDS are the groups committing crimes and even committing MURDER. I don't and won't believe that this is anything but a covert operation. If it isn't then this nation needs to be overthrown.(and of course that should come at the polls not at the end of a gun), Tea Partiers love this nation and love the constitution. God Bless the United States of America!

Interesting if slanted piece. As a one time infantry soldier, and current serving old school southern peace/law officer I think the authors do themselves and the government a dis service by using the tea party and constitutionalist anti immigration types as the dissidents in the peace.Given the current schism in politics in this nation where the government is persecuting law officers for doing their job along the southern border.Where voter intimidation investigations of organizations like the New Black Panther Party by career DOJ employees are interfered with by political appointees,and other such activity is common place but ignored by the DOJ this article smells of a liberal bias. It also feeds the paranoia about the current administration and the fears of the use of the military to do everything from confiscation of constitutionally protected weapons, to enforcement of politically unpopular laws and executive orders.The only way the authors could have made it worse was to have included what the people down south refer to as "Blue Helmets" or UN troops.
The chances of this scenario happening are minuscule compared to the dangers of another serious terrorist attack in the homeland by Muslim extremists, narco terrorists, or even Black Block types from the OWS protests causing at say a political party's convention.

An interesting piece. I too, find it curious that the terms “militia” and “Tea Party” are attached to the descriptive, “extremist”.

The author(s) do a good job in describing the concerns that an occupying force would have when moving into an area that by description seems to be simmering just short of a Low Intensity Conflict. I do think that they’ve made some assumptions (that several of the other folks have alluded to) concerning the coherence of local, state and central government forces.

Specifically, the authors mention the sympathies of the local police/sheriff’s department forces. That’s an open question for certain and might even be carried to the extreme of schisms within the forces. Assuming that the State Police are “onboard” is a potentially serious error. Even greater is the quick “call to Federal Service” of the State Guard as a method of increasing manpower and the force structure. What percentage of the Guard’s members will report to assist in the suppression of an act/movement that they potentially agree with and may actively support?

Given the serious degree of economic stress that the nation must be under in this scenario, it’s likely that the current level of regard that the average citizen has for the ability of the Federal Government to “solve” our problems will have deteriorated even further and that the relationships between many state governments/governors and the federal government are probably at new lows as well. Is it conceivable that he South Carolina Governor not only refuses to place the SC Guard under Federal authority, but places them under State authority and seeks aid from other regional Governor’s with similar inclinations?

Lastly, what is the response of the military deployed into a tinder box in their own country? Many of the enlisted personnel, non-commissioned officers and commissioned officers would doubtlessly have serious misgivings about carry out these operations. Is there a significant defection or FTR movement? Does the leadership of the military begin to fragment? Or probably worse, does the front line leadership maintain effective control over their formations, move as directed but act in a slow moving and generally neutral manner, refusing to initiate open confrontation and dragging their feet in the manner of someone who is doing something they don’t want to do, disagree with and question it’s propriety. We could well see an internal conflict arise from within the local, state and national forces/agencies as the disagreement builds and comes to a potentially violent head over a course of action.

Personally, I believe that unless the march to a central government of pervasive power and penetration into our lives is halted, we will see the political structure of what we know as the United States change as individual or groups of states seek a degree of autonomy.

I'll admit to being one of the many offended by the choice of parameters; however, for the sake of discussion, I'll try to minimize repeating what previous commenters have said.

First, it has been claimed that any group could be substituted for the Tea Party types in the scenario.  While this claim is undoubtably true on its face, from the detail in the scenario given and the current political climate, I cannot help but wonder if said claim has not been made disengenuously.  Several other commenters have wondered how many axes are being ground with the setup used, and I must echo that feeling. 

  Having been stationed at a 3-star level staff command for 5 years, there's a reason why our J5/J7 guys had all the local powers in each scenario represented by Pineland, Treeland, et.al.   That methodology avoids accusations that the setup may be politically tainted or skewed along ideological lines that would otherwise be unnecessarily detract from the training and potentially make sharing said scenario with our allies unwise. 

One untrained in military planning might get the impression from the universal application of said naming obfuscation by such a wide variety of planners whose scenarios truly did not depend on taking place in a location that such a principle was something those planners were taught in their training.  In that light, I hope you can understand my skepticism of your claim to being unbiased, as it seems so woefully poor form as to stretch credibility with such denials.

Second, I find it interesting that the scenario chooses to focus so hard on the legal and command structuring to justify the operation with nary a mention of the implications and ramifications of the situation as a whole.  Granted, one needs to keep a defined scope in preparing scenarios; however it is dangerous to ignore extremely relevant items that would have real-world implications were the scenario to be a live event, such as the fact that, as written, 5th Army was just ordered to fire upon American citizens and done so in such a fashion that the CiC can hide behind the convenient line that he only ordered them to "fix" the problem, not level the place. 

Logic like that is why Posse Comitatus exists in the first place, as the military is not a police force.  Cliche as it is, when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail... And in the end, only the foolishly ignorant would be surprised that sending combat troops to "fix" a problem ended in bloodshed.

Honestly, I do hope that this scenario has been sanitized for public consumption because if no further thought was given to the ramification that 5th Army has been ordered to effectively give the opening volley to what will turn into another Civil War, then this whole deal underscores the dangerous myopia infecting our senior leadership (both civilian and .mil) that will ensure bloodshed is inevitable.

There was a jarring lack of concern for the Constitutional rights of our citizens amongst the field grade and flag officers that I spoke with during my time as part of JTF-KATRINA.  As someone who takes their oath extremely seriously, it was disconcerting and disheartening to see those above me blithely ignoring the fact that their viewpoints were in direct conflict with the oaths they swore.  In the few cases I made mention of such concerns, such thoughts were dismissed out of hand, sometimes in a most hostile manner.

Finally, were I to be in command of 5th Army in a situation such as this, I would be in quite a pickle.  Being a Tea Party person, thus having a fair amount of context as to how the organization works, I would be inclined to discount much of the "intel" claiming that these folks were anti-immigrant, etc.  While the decentralized nature of the party does make it difficult to make generalities across regions, I have yet to run into a single anti-immigrant or openly racist person.   My immediate efforts would be to determine the true leanings of the group, are they actually tea party types or using the tea party flag to cover their actions (false flag) ?  If they are actual tea party types, then I would be concerned with what gave them the impetus to actually engage in these actions, given the scenario's starting point is wholly unlike the stated goals of the group or the actions of their membership in part or in whole.  I would be very cautious that the information I'd been given was tainted and did not reflect reality on the ground.

With their identity determined and their casus belli identified, only then could I begin to determine a proper course of action... If the insurgent operation turned out to be a false flag or over-reaction, then I would have to plan accordingly.  This would require careful coordination with the PAO, given the powder keg quality of the situation.  As a false flag, you'd need to find out who is really running it but realize that their goal is to make the group whose flag they're running with look as bad as possible... Which would mean you shouldn't expect negotiations to work, if you got them to the table at all... And honestly, I'd expect widespread bloodshed to further the true groups goal.  Press nightmare and chaotic results.

  If it was an overreaction, then one could presume properly implemented negotiations would work.  Assuming intel on the leadership did not indicate psychotic tendancies, the best way forward would likely be a very small contingent.  Show up in person with an escort armed enough to show respect but not weakness and "take me to your leader."  Dangerous, but you have to lead by example.  Hiding behind intermediaries would do more harm to the negotiative process than good and a show of good faith would go a long way to calming their fears or should the locals choose their actions poorly to the show of good faith, it would absolutely sink their case to the public at large.

  On the other hand, if it turned out they were actual tea party and had a valid casus belli... Well, at that point, my Chief of Staff and I would be having a heart-to-heart over exactly what Honor and our Oaths demand of us.  Take that as you will.

I always thought the US Army was the good guys, at least until I read this article. And if the authors are so darned clever as to how they can put down the American people, then why weren't they clever enough to to win a war in Afghanistan? Or clever enough to create a lasting government in Iraq? Maybe it's because they're very clever but, when confronted with determined people who wish to be left alone, then will always lose.

In the event something like this were to actually happen then the takeover of one town would hardly be an isolated event. The discontent that spawns one overt insurrection would likely be felt pervasively all over the country. So the takeover of one town would likely be the tip of the iceberg of a 1000 other efforts that would crystallize with an American Spring in the event of a military crackdown.

If you all are looking for domestic enemies to crush I would suggest looking at your masters in DC instead. They are far more of a threat to the Constitution than civic activists. Despite the facade of show-elections between false choices, the politicians in DC, in collusion with Wall Street, are the ones hacking (like breaking software) the Constitution. It has been gutted, diluted, ignored, and eviscerated in so many ways and yet nobody has been able to bring justice to the perpetrators? Please go get them first and put them out of our misery. I think you'll find this to be a much more interesting problem to study than figuring out how to deal with Tea Party roadblocks.

Interesting to note that Black Bloc has stated that Occupy Wall Street has accomplished all it can with peaceful protests and has sworn "Blood will flow" at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, there are black flash mobs robbing stores and attacking white people. Yet they chose white males and the Tea Party. Since the beginning of the Tea Party protests 12/16/07 there has not been a single arrest, not one in almost 5 years and thousands of events. I am including Glenn Becks 912 in with the Tea Party Patriots.

I also think the authors will have a rude awakening when this day does come. I propose that Black Bloc attacks and when the military response begins things escalate and we find out just exactly how many "Oath Keepers" and militia members are in our military and police forces. I truly believe that WHEN the people decide our government is too corrupt for us to continue to consent to be governed as the Declaration of Independence states it is our DUTY to remove them from office.

Our Military swear an oath to uphold and defend the CONSTITUTION against all threats foreign and DOMESTIC. As does congress and the president. I hear the former actually honors their oath. Many of the veterans running for office recently have admitted they see more attacks on the Constitution coming out of Washington DC than from foreign governments.

Things may get interesting but I PRAY our Constitution and the people prevail and many corrupt government officials rot in jail where they belong.

This scenario has played out on so many scales in the new patriot community that it is legitimate to discuss how to counter Constitutionalist taking over entire municipalities and State government agencies. However in this article the authors have limited the scenario in scope, probably to allow for a choke point of debate. I, on the other hand have war gamed this very scenario but on many other levels not discussed by the authors. They have limited it to local militia/tea party members taking over a sympathetic municipality so the opposing force in this case would have limited access to real fire power which would be needed to confront any real long term intent of governmental change. But for discussion sake, what if they (Constitutional TEA partyer's) were well financed and had access to outside military support of their efforts? How would your Federal forces (NORTHCOM) deal with foreign Countries who had mutual aid agreements with this insurrection and even the possibility of mercenary assets willing to come to their aid if confronted by Federal forces? What about the issue of having true Oath keepers within the ranks of the Armed Forces and they refuse to take hostile action against their countrymen? What about other Patriots (veteran’s) who have taken their oath of allegiance to the Constitution serious and were willing to come to the aid of those in this scenario city? The militia/patriot world is changing once again. It is focusing on civil defense and even interacting with local government agencies. There are multiple efforts at creating a National network of coalitions within the patriot community, so should another WAKO occur the Feds would have to worry about more than just a small containment perimeter. I would just ask that those scholars who chose this topic for war gaming do not belittle the Patriot by condemning them to small thinking.

As usual so called "anti-racists", are singling out White people, for physical attack and genocide in our own countries.

ASIA FOR THE ASIANS, AFRICA FOR THE AFRICANS, WHITE COUNTRIES FOR EVERYBODY!

Everybody says there is this RACE problem. Everybody says this RACE problem will be solved when the third world pours into EVERY white country and ONLY into white countries.

The Netherlands and Belgium are just as crowded as Japan or Taiwan, but nobody says Japan or Taiwan will solve this RACE problem by bringing in millions of third worlders and quote assimilating unquote with them.

Everybody says the final solution to this RACE problem is for EVERY white country and ONLY white countries to “assimilate,” i.e., intermarry, with all those non-whites.

What if I said there was this RACE problem and this RACE problem would be solved only if hundreds of millions of non-blacks were brought into EVERY black country and ONLY into black countries?

How long would it take anyone to realize I’m not talking about a RACE problem. I am talking about the final solution to the BLACK problem?

And how long would it take any sane black man to notice this and what kind of psycho black man wouldn’t object to this?

But if I tell that obvious truth about the ongoing program of genocide against my race, the white race, Liberals and respectable conservatives agree that I am a naziwhowantstokillsixmillionjews.

They say they are anti-racist. What they are is anti-white.

Anti-racist is a code word for anti-white.

Congratulations to COL (Ret) Benson. You have just hit the national political scene via Free Republic. The headlines will read: "US ARMY PLANNING TO QUELL TEA PARTY INSURRECTIONS." This article should be a thoughtful discussion on the process of suppressing potential insurrections and Military/Defense Support to Civil Authorities. However, your scenario using the TEA Party, combined with your credentials as a Seminar Leader at Ft Leavenworth, has a high potential of causing a major political firestorm on the national level. Your scenario could easily give the President, the SECDEF, the CJCS, the SECARMY, and the CoS a political black eye. You have given credibility to the conspiracy theorists who believe the President is preparing to implement martial law to stay in power, and have undermined the faith which so many of the TEA Party members place in the United States Military to support and defend the Constitution. For an author who discusses the importance of information operations your article, you have demonstrated your utter incompetence in this area.

This socialist/progressive retired Col. and his sidekick sure missed the boat on this analysis. They miss reality to the point of being creepy/otherwordly.

How about this 1000 times more likely scenario:

In November 2012 the communist progressives fail to reelect Obama by a very small margin. Major riots break out in 15 major cities nationwide with disenfranchised-feeling blacks, Islamists, and Latinos expanding their destructive protests into the suburbs. The governors of three of the most liberal states refuse to take action to quell the disturbances.

These clueless writers fail to understand who tends to be violent and who tends to be peaceful. They are either disconnected from reality or are driven by an ideology that ignores reality.

As a retired Marine and as a retired cop, I find the authors' fictional scenario quite disturbing and not well thought out.

What the heck happened to the Posse Comitatus Act?

Your scenario is clearly a law enforcement action. One that can and would be handled by state and local police -- and the state's National Guard if need be.

Roll federal tanks and APCs down main street, and you would have more than your fictional, evil Tea Party to contend with. You'd have everyone from high-school kids to retired folks running around shooting up your tanks and troops, while screaming: "Wolverines!"

The fear of exactly that sort of retaliatory action would make a realistic scenario (which this is not) seriously look at shutting down patriot and tea party groups across the nation in order to forestall sympathetic actions. If something like this scenario would ever happen, we would get martial law for fear of tea party flash mobs. Pre-emptive martial law in an election year to prevent tea party violence, this is something that would not end well.

Its no secret that the govt. is completely out of control on every level and do not represent the people anymore and have not in a long time. Its no secret that both of these recent shootings official story STINKS. Nothing new though. Govt. have been doing this stuff for decades. They love to drug up patsy.

Wheither its vietnam, ruby ridge, waco, 9/11 and everything in between, The American people are in serious danger because of the govt. They are trying everything to set off martial law. They spit on the Constitution and they surely don't give a damn about the Declaration of Independence. In the end the Patriots will regain this country.

Why don't the authors just come out and say thier enemies are the White race? They are only parroting the goals of those who want White Genocide, want our people to have no future, no homleands of our own. I hope they sleep well at night, having sold out thier own people, for thier retirement, and tenure.

Privileging any race is the best way to ensure the maximum in race wars and racial conflict. We whites do all right when things are not stacked against us and when we mind our own knitting. A fair, even deal, unfortunately, is not what we have. That doesn't make it a white genocide, a phrase that is grotesque and actually works to white peoples' disadvantage.

The liaison parties cannot be ad hoc or last minute additions to the headquarters. At a minimum such parties must routinely exercise with the headquarters.
first page of google

Are you kidding me? the tea party, a movement dedicated to the US constitution and smaller responsible government, a movement who has zero arrests in their rallies (unlike the occupy movement), this is what the military is preparing for?

The question is not if the US military can defeat any foe, of course it can, the question is whether it should. The US military if an arm of the people and not those in power. The US military is made up of its citizens, paid for by its citizens, if an armed resistance to a over reaching government ever arises the military will have to think carefully upon its actions and not blindly follow those in power.

With laws such as the patriot act, national defense authorization act, NSPD 51, et. al., our federal government is showing that power does corrupt.

When I was sucked up into the Phoenix Program in Vietnam, I concluded the US Army was screwed up. Reading this article, mentioning the "tea party" makes me conclude those were the sane days.

Just a few updates for COL (R) Benson on recent doctrine changes. Civil Support is now "Defense Support for Civil Authorities." Apparently there is some training available, although who knows whether they consider unlikely scenarios that local police, the FBI, ATF, etc could not handle with the National Guard's help. The link won't work but I got it off of google.

http://www.dsca.army.mil/

Also, full spectrum operations has been replaced by "decisive action" in the latest 3-0.

Finally, it seems likely that law enforcement and the NG could easily thwart small fringe groups from either the left or right by donating many of these excess MRAPs to state police. Modify them with extending ladders and you don't need to endanger firemen putting a ladder up to a whacko's booby-trapped apartment. Pile a bunch of police inside and poke a hole in a building to gain entry against holed up thugs. Use the same vehicles in floods to rescue folks from roof-tops. Don't forget their capability to withstand radiation in the event of a dirty bomb.

Local insurrection has little likelihood of spreading to a major movement with any real power. The south will not rise again and South Carolina would easily elect Tea Party types rather than need to overthrow local governments. Seems unlikely that police and ATF types would side with rogue Tea Partiers and Sovereign Citizens who would like to cut or eliminate many taxes that pay those Fed and local civilian authorities.

I work as an intelligence analyst in the intelligence staff section of the 115th Fires Brigade of the Wyoming Army National Guard. Last month, a wildfire broke out at Guernsey, WY and my unit (which by chance was conducting its annual training at Camp Guernsey) was called to provide supplementary assistance to civilian authoritites managing the incident. For my part, and the part of my section, we realized that we had never trained for or even discussed the role of intelligence support to our commander in such an event. Knowing that the S2 intelligence staff section is usually looked at to provide information on the enemy, terrain and weather, and civil considerations in either offensive/defensive operations or stability ops/civil support, we used our knowledge of the METT-TC factors to tailor our products to our commander's needs. After AT concluded, I set out to develop an SOP for my section and templates for products we would build if ever called again to support civil authorities in response primarily to natural incidents we face in WY every year such as fires or floods. Threat really isn't a concern here, but I'd be interested for the Army to provide better guidance on this in the form of new and up-to-date doctrine.

Drs. Benson and Weber,
Thank you for finally laying out a scenario that pushes planners to see outside the normal bounds of what we are used to. This challenges the paradigms off all servicemembers- and you can see that in the responses throughout this page.

A note of caution to those who have taken offense to the Tea Party- disenfranchised white males is a reality. The more comments we post on here taking offense to the scenario show the public what shade our professional military truly has. The Black Panthers and Nation of Islam have been marginalized and will never gain traction because of their idiocy. The Tea Party and potential fundamentalist groups who follow it will have the resources to make things caustic.

How can a movement dedicated to the US constitution be a problem, if you think so then we need to rethink our current governments actions.

Radical groups not aligned with the Tea Party will also have the resources to make things caustic, and have already done so. I'm from Oakland. The Occupy folks did more damage to that town in one week than "The Tea Party and the potential fundamentalist groups who follow it," did since its inception.

Long time reader, but I had to create an account to comment on this one.

Almost all insurgencies win, so the guiding strategy would have to be very low key and prevent any spread. I would think *unarmed* soldiers, especially state national guard, would actually do more good than any armed response in the scenario presented. Casualties of unarmed soldiers would enhance the likelihood of government success, while casualties of unarmed civilians would likely inflame the problem and start a downward spiral. If Blair Mountain took place with today's information infrastructure, it would likely result the loss of legitimacy of the government and an insurmountable level of electoral, non-violent and/or violent resistance.

The Russian suppression of Grozny might be an interesting model. The US military is perfectly capable of destroying a city and killing tens of thousands of inhabitants, but if Grozny occurred on US soil, it would cause complete financial collapse due to the absolute unprecedented nature of the event, and the reaction of world markets to it. Subsequent US elections, if allowed, would most likely completely restructure the Federal government and redefine its scope and power down - if elections were delayed, again, collapse. This is not 1861, the world could not weather this level of instability in the US.

Ironically Grozny occurred during the collapse and dismemberment of the Soviet federal state, following a failed attempt to deal with a couple of hundred thousand poorly armed, uneducated Afghan tribesmen. It is hard to avoid the parallel between 911 and the subsequent economic dislocation, the US's failing 10 year attempt to subjugate those same tribesmen, and the massive collapse of the economy in 2008. I can see why policy wonks might game out a US break up scenario.

Regardless of the power the US government thinks it has, it really does exist only by the consent of the governed. The fact that huge, almost 100% majorities of the population, regardless of political view, ethnic group, or class accept the basic rule of law, work within the Constitutional structure, pay their taxes, and generally don't get too worked up about anything is all that keeps the wheels on. Based on Afghanistan (USSR and US), Iraq, Syria, Libya, Greece, and soon Spain, I am certain the US could not deal with it militarily if the population decides to change the rules.

In the scenario described, the last thing I'd be worried about would be LNOs, maps, or intel sharing.

"These are our lessons of the past decade of war, and we will apply those lessons against our own populace. That is what we have learned. We have learned tactics. What we have not learned, apparently, is strategic understanding, context or empathy."

Thanks. This statement does an outstanding job of, "framing the problem."

Re: Robert C. Jones comment:
Thank you for very thoughtful post. By any measure of actual "Defensive" needs the US military and it's supporting tail is vastly oversized. Obviously the military is not sized for defense, instead it is sized to enforce the hubris of the political elite. As you say, an oversized standing army, particularly a professional all volunteer force, is potentially very dangerous to the liberty of the populace at large, this is not a new idea. Combine this with what is almost certainly a catastrophic economic situation and a population divided along racial and ethnic lines and we have a very grave situation facing us. If, as seems increasingly likely, President Obama is defeated in November, that defeat will be viewed by the black population as a racially inspired rejection, this will almost certainly result in widespread rioting and attacks on any non black citizens unfortunate enough to be within reach. A strong argument can be made that the US political process has failed, and that failure is reflected in the coming economic collapse. This will invite intervention by the Army. It is often said that the US is following the path of "Europe", it is not, the path we are on is that of Argentina and Brazil. There are many potential Perons in the US military and have no doubt that the professional Army will follow the orders of it's leaders. What the article shows is that the bureaucratic machinery of military/bureaucratic rule is already in place and that the army is preparing for the day when a military coup is necessary.
Indeed, this should scare the crap out of us.

Great reply.

What this are really highlights is just how lost the Army is today.

But make no mistake about it, If the government of the United States does come to act in such a manner as to lose the faith and support of the American people (or even just small, significant segments), the government will come to be perceived as "Illegitimate" by such populaces, there will likely be violent insurgency, and the government will task the US Army to "enforce the rule of law and re-establish stability."

These are our lessons of the past decade of war, and we will apply those lessons against our own populace. That is what we have learned. We have learned tactics. What we have not learned, apparently, is strategic understanding, context or empathy.

Overly large standing armies in peacetime rarely benefit the populaces of the nations where they exist. Each nation must calculate its true need for such capacity and carefully guard against the creation of unnecessary missions or fantasy threats to validate the sustainment of excess capacity.

Excess military capacity shifts the balance of power from the Congress to the Executive. Such a shift of power leads to hasty decisions regarding the application of force. This may start off as inappropriate application abroad to prop up a foreign policy that is out of synch with an evolving world. But it will inevitably end up with an inappropriate application at home to "control" a rebellious populace.

This article should scare the crap out of Americans everywhere, because it is thinking such as this that will accelerate the arrival of the very vignette the authors describe to make their points.

Governments, it would seem -- whether at home or abroad -- in order to transform their states and societies as the times demand (to "modernize" these), often and frequently have to act in such a way as to cause the loss of faith and support of those population groups who will be marginalized and/or disenfranchised by this modernization process.

These governments, having made this "modernization" decision are:

a. Often and commonly perceived of as "illegitimate" by these marginalized and/or disenfranchised population groups and

b. Often and commonly called upon to to handle whatever kind of revolt, rebellion, separation activity, etc., that, thereby, ensues.

Question: Does the requirement to transform/modernize the world's states and societies -- to include our own -- such that these might be made, for example, to better provide for the globalization and/or the global economy; does this not require that responsible governments, likewise, transform/modernize/build up their military, police and intelligence forces -- and those of other transitioning states and societies also -- this so as to be able to adequately deal with those revolts, rebellions, separation activities, etc., which, as history tells us, are often part and parcel to the modernization/state and societal transformation process?

Stated another and possibly more concise way: Would a government be derelict in the performance of its duties if it did not:

a. Modernize its state and society as the times required and

b. Modernize its own military, police, intelligence forces -- and those of other modernizing nations as well -- so as to adequately deal with those difficulties (disenfranchized/marginalized populations who will revolt, rebel, etc.) that are inherent to this process?

A fine line is being walked right there.

Show me a brutal dictator who oppressed\killed their own people and I'll show you a regime that was simply trying to institute a societal transformative process.

How heavy a hand does a state have to use on its own people before is crosses the line from perceived to be illegitimate to illegitimate? If the people are in revolt against the political process, at what point is the solution not a change in the military\police\intelligence forces but instead a political change?

Thank you to all who took the time to read and comment on our essay. We were hoping to start a conversation and it seems we succeeded. We trust that this effort is in keeping with the spirit of this journal: to push the boundaries of knowledge through discourse.

Several readers objected to our using the Tea Party in our fictional scenario. We see your point. Understand, though, that you could insert any number of organizations into our scenario in lieu of the Tea Party. The scenario and the response thereto, rather than the specific actors, are the focus of our piece.

Our objective was to highlight what we believe is an understudied area of potential operations. Given that US Army doctrine sees full-spectrum operations as a mix of offense, defense, and either stability [overseas] or support [in the continental US and territories] operations, how our Army conducts full spectrum operations at home is an important topic. In recent times we've all seen the Army and Marines committed to Los Angeles, Miami, and New Orleans all under various conditions of defense support to civil authority. There were some lessons-learned articles and studies written after those operations, but after more than ten years of war none remain in the current curricula of our staff and war colleges. Through discussion on this site, facilitated by Small Wars Journal, we hope this subject will be studied.

Thanks again to all who took time to read and comment.

Kevin Benson and Jennifer Weber

HERR BENSON: <<"Thank you to all who took the time to read and comment on our essay. We were hoping to start a conversation and it seems we succeeded.">>

If you really believe that, you're dumber than even your article makes you out to be. Frankly, I don't think you do.

What you did, was leave a LOT of people believing, with cause, that the Army is strategizing ways to use armed force to kill and crush them, and fellow members of their democratic political movement. In blunt terms, to turn South Carolina into Afghanistan, or Aleppo.

Your rhetoric is certainly appropriate to the rulers of such places, and your scenario was delivered as the violent threat toward your fellow Americans that it was meant to be.

There are no words to adequately describe how offensive that is. Or to describe the colossal dereliction of responsibility, judgment, and the fundamental pact between America and its military that this article represents. Not to mention a dereliction of duty, since you used your position at Leavenworth as part of your bona fides. Despite disclaimers, that effectively links your article to them, and your continued employment there to this article.

You have crossed several red lines, and done so with malice aforethought.

If this is the level of professionalism that AECOM Tech displays, they need to be relieved of their contract post-haste. If you continue to teach at Leavenworth, it would be sufficient justification for the commander's removal from his post.

Frankly, it also leaves this reader with massive questions about the editorial judgement at Small Wars Journal. I strongly suspect that I am not alone.

Kevin,
If you haven't noticed, virtually nobody read past the first three paragraphs and the only thing they want to talk about is your collosally bad decision to preface your analysis with the Democratic Party propoganda. Therefore, you failed utterly in your stated objective.

Next time try setting up the analysis with something less polarizing, like disaster relief. That's if you get to keep your job, which you should not.

Less concerned with your use of the "Tea Party" than with verbiage such as

" A high-profile and vocal minority has directed the public’s fear and frustration at nonwhites and immigrants.  After almost ten years of race-baiting and immigrant-bashing by right-wing demagogues, nearly one in five Americans reports being vehemently opposed to immigration, legal or illegal, and even U.S.-born nonwhites have become occasional targets for mobs of angry whites."

If your goal was to pick a group with which local authorities would be sympathetic, the Tea Party makes lots more sense than the Panthers.

Language such as the above quote makes some of us wonder about other axes being ground...

A couple of additional comments:

1. I believe you're using an old version of Sec. 333 of title 10. The current version can be found here.

2. With regard to use of the Tea Party, yes you could have used any number of organizations or, better yet, you could have made up a fictitious organization.

From the first paragraph of the article above:

"The goal of this concept is to establish a common frame of reference for thinking about how the US Army will conduct full spectrum operations in the coming two decades."

Herein, I have suggested -- at my comment below -- that this common frame of reference should be:

a. The political, economic and social changes that are required to provide for the expanding global economy. And

b. The need to have adequate military, police and intelligence forces (both inside the United States and overseas) ready to deal with the resistance to these such changes that the global economy requires.

This, I believe, is what the 21st Century "war among the people" is really all about (people fighting to achieve the changes needed to accommodate the global economy, and people fighting because they oppose these such changes).

Now the question: Is the "Tea Party" rebellion scenerio offered by the author consistent with the "common frame of reference" criteria noted above?

I think that it may be, in it seems to be an example of people fighting to achieve the changes needed to better accommodate the global economy.

I will look at this again more closely in the near future.