Small Wars Journal

The Civil War of 2016

Wed, 08/08/2012 - 7:11am

The Civil War of 2016 - Washington Times editorial. At issue is an article in the respected Small Wars Journal titled “Full Spectrum Operations in the Homeland: A ‘Vision’ of the Future.”

The article is a choppy patchwork of doctrinal jargon and liberal nightmare. The authors make a quasi-legal case for military action and then apply the Army’s Operating Concept 2016-2028 to the situation. They write bloodlessly that “once it is put into play, Americans will expect the military to execute without pause and as professionally as if it were acting overseas.” They claim that “the Army cannot disappoint the American people, especially in such a moment,” not pausing to consider that using such efficient, deadly force against U.S. citizens would create a monumental political backlash and severely erode government legitimacy.



Mon, 08/13/2012 - 4:48pm

Sorry, but there is something dark about using the Tea Party as the bad guys in this scenario. Are these the same kill-crazy rebels who, about a million strong, demonstrated in DC, without violence or destruction of property, and then cleaned up after themselves?

Were I a cynic, I might see see this paper as lighting the first match to boil the frog. Can't wait for the sequel where officers' loyalty is challengedd by the Commander-in-Chief's seizing complete power after creating a false flag crisis and exercising his plethora of executive orders.


Mon, 08/13/2012 - 11:31am

In reply to by Dave_Escobar

'how or should we practice/teach DSCA?'

1) Don't
2) National Guard
3) Pineland Scenario
4) Other countries (Mexico, ad infinitum)




Mon, 08/13/2012 - 7:57am

Missing the Point:
This scenario based article becomes rhetorically problematic right out of the gate. The problem is not directly because of the caustic and offensive typecasting of the tea party, but it is indirectly due to the immediate shock and grab (or general rage) value of the scenario almost totally distracting the reader from the "actual" point of the essay. I think the authors are trying to make a clarion call to rethink our doctrine in DSCA (Defense in Support of Civil Authority) and update our education system accordingly to best prepare. The essay hints at this throughout, but most cogently pleas, "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." As a CGSC student about to graduate this Wednesday, I can attest that we do indeed cover offense, defense, stability, and DSCA. While DSCA does predictably get short shrift attention in contrast to offense/defense, us young uppity majors do spend significant time discussing matters of jurisdiction and lead agencies within the Insurrection Act. Certainly CGSC focuses more on natural disaster scenarios, rather than outright insurrection, yet this seems a more effective (& less offensive) approach to similar ends.

While propping up a fringe tea party group as the enemy in a DSCA scenario "is a technique" to grab the reader's attention, as seen in most of the commentary this scenario framing is out of touch with our generally conservative military audience. I sympathize with much of the outrage thus far, but I do ask folks to read past the glaringly partisan rhetorical framework and think about how or should we practice/teach DSCA? I do think CGSC does a good to fair job reviewing DSCA. My classmates and I fully understand "[t]he simple fact... 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." Rest easy SWJ; CGSC and the current generation of officers want nothing more than to be prepared to protect the United States in any mission set. To the authors, I plead... Keep the question/thesis, just please change the scenario.

As one of the "civilians" who might find a Stryker on his street corner
is this insanity comes to pass I just point out the following. First the
Army publications themselves support this idea. Read the following lately?

FM 3-39.40 Internment and Resettlement Operations

Secondly, folks increasingly see military "training" in their own
neighborhoods and a government that just brought us the National
Defense Authorization Act.

I agree to write this stuff is insane and these folks should be
handing in their resignation papers. I have relatives who have
proudly served, this is not acceptable at all.

Ted Rush

Sat, 08/11/2012 - 6:49pm

The premise is vile, out of touch, and ignorant, The author is massively misinformed. I cannot express the derision I have without embarrassing myself or also being unprofessional. This article has no place on a professional journal like SWJ. I find this despicable.

The underlying premise is treasonous and counter to the constitution. If I were the commander of the authors I'd ask they resign their commissions.

Dave, you bring a magnificent site to warfighters, but you should have just thrown this one out with the rotten veggies. I do appreciate your response.

Kevin Bjornson

Sat, 08/11/2012 - 5:08pm

I'm glad the WT article was posted.
Certainly the original article was fantasy, based on a
psychological projection of what leftists think their
opponents are like, without bothering to investigate
what their opponents are really saying.

The whole idea of the Tea Party is to realign government
toward defense of natural rights instead of violating rights.
Just as the whole idea of the free market, was to replace
the feudal system. True Tea Partiers have about as much
interest in taking over predatory government as early capitalists
had in storming the castles.

True, in a democracy, in order to downsize government,
you need to win elections. Rather, this article fantasizes
about a natural government revolution to take over unnatural government.

But if "successful", the revolution would be self-defeating;
as the problem is not who is in charge, but the system of
organized initiation of force.

The solution is to starve predatory government of funding,
and the same applies to Islamism.

To destroy the US military, would deprive the US of it's only
good government institution and important means of defense
against forced Islamization.

The Provisional Gov't in Russia after Feb. 1917 was paranoid about a potential coup from the right, and made extensive preparations to combat one. The coup in October came from the far left.


Sun, 08/12/2012 - 7:57am

In reply to by peterkuck

I can't believe the volume of people here who think that two academics writing about a hypothetical scenario for what is essentially a military blog, albeit a respected one, somehow represents official Army policy. :-/


Fri, 08/10/2012 - 10:37pm

The authors of this article have lit a match in the powder bunker. They have just changed the precieved threat level to the citizens of our county. Do you remember Waco? Are you setting up or demonizing a legitimate politcal group (TEA party). Do you recognize the lack of trust generated by "fast & furious?". You damn well better put out that damn match and leave the unthinkable, unthinkable.


I, too, resent the use of patriots' good name and intentions reflected as an enemy of the government; but can you imagine the PC howling and demonstrations if the real enemies or a liberal organization had been used. Perhaps, if the Constitution were really supported and upheld by government or military officials as originally intended, stupid stories and defensive comments would not have to be published.


Fri, 08/10/2012 - 1:03pm

Anyone 'surprised' that the Army would endorse something like this has been out of touch with 'the Army' for a while. Not poking your eye here, but this is the same 'army' that condoned the pride parade last month. Things like this are not isolated incidents, they are indicators of rot.


I read the article sitting in the smallest room of my house. It is said that the "job is not over until the paperwork is done." After reading the article in hardcopy I then had the requisite "paperwork" to finish my "business" - and highly recommend others do same. I also suggest the Phds (meaning piled higher and deeper - never more appropro) do the same with their diplomas. Semper Fi and De Oppresso Liber


Sun, 08/12/2012 - 7:59am

In reply to by robbieseal

"The Army" didn't endorse this...what gives you the idea that they did?


Wed, 08/08/2012 - 11:45pm

WOW!!! I am amazed. When we have Occupiers, Black Panthers, White Supremists, Muslim extremists etc, calling for open insurrection and violence against us, who does Leavenworth decide to write about as a danger to our country? People who believe in fiscal responsibility and enforcing the Constitution. I was deployed when the Tea Party emerged, so have had to research to figure out if they are worth any effort. I had thought that I should wait until after I retire from the Army before I become politically active so as not to worry about crossing any lines. Reading this has made me decide that I will join the Tea Party within the next few days. I'm sorry that that will make me an enemy of the state. I am disappointed that the Army would endorse this leftist vituperation.

The editorial writers at the Times got it right in their second sentence when they called the article a "farcical vision." But the question is why two purportedly serious people would come up with such a silly scenario. In science, I've read, if you want a big grant, you have to submit proposals about what is fashionable. I figure this is similar. Mr. Benson and Ms. Weber are ambitious for something or other and they know SWJ is read inside the beltway. So they come up with an inside the beltwayer's perfect bogeyman, a tea party white supremacist anti immigrant militia that is committing mass kidnapping and going down to the local Big 5 and buying "heavy weapons."

Now that Mr. Benson and Ms. Weber have established their bone-fides I figure they can expect great things in the near future. In their last paragraph the Times writers showed that they are aware of the politics of saying the wrong thing. I am surprised they didn't comment on the politics of saying the right thing.

(Note to Mr. B. and Ms. W.: "detained" as used in your article is kidnapping and there are lots of civil laws about that.)

Dave Maxwell

Wed, 08/08/2012 - 8:16am

Have to love this quote (for all of us crazy colonels to whom no one has to listen):

"As retired ArmyBrig. Gen. Russell D. Howard, a former professor at West Point, observed earlier in his career, “I am a colonel, colonels write a lot of crazy stuff, but no one listens to colonels, so I don’t see the problem.”

But of course the context in which he was speaking (as a Chinese Foreign Area Officer) was regarding the two PLA colonels who wrote the book _Unrestricted Warfare_ in 1999.