Small Wars Journal – Full Spectrum Operations in the Homeland: A “Vision” of the Future

The very well respected Small Wars Journal recently published an article by COL Kevin Benson (USA, Ret) and Dr Jennifer Weber (Civil War expert) entitled Full Spectrum Operations in the Homeland: A “Vision” of the Future.

It’s caused quite a stir all over the Internet, even spawning an editorial in the Washington Times, “The Civil War of 2016.”

You need to read both of these pieces. Then, we can discuss. No tinfoil hat stuff, those are the limits. This is serious and I’d like to see the discussion progress beyond the obviously controversial scenario. It’s quite unfortunate that they chose to demonize a right wing political faction to make their point. But, our point is considering the implications and likelihood of such a scenario coming to pass by any means.


20 Responses to “Small Wars Journal – Full Spectrum Operations in the Homeland: A “Vision” of the Future”

  1. BB says:

    This is amazing. One instructor is fired for teaching the US is at war with Islam…so what will happen to these people who write this non-sense about the Tea party? I have seen NO Tea Party activist arrested nation wide, yet thousands upon thousands have been arrested in the OWS movement nationwide. not just for disturbing the peace, but also for rape, murder, vandalism, assault….the list goes on and on. So who would be the most likely to take over a town….obviously not the Tea party….i mean where would they find the time…between work, soccer games with the kids, golf, NASCAR, hunting and fishing seasons, football of course is almost here so that leaves Aug through December completely out, family vacations, Kiwanas Club, Rotary, Masonic Lodge and going to church…there really isnt enough time in the day to plan and orginize.

    • majrod says:

      BB – I wouldn’t say “amazing”, I’d say predictable. It’s acceptable to portray the Tea Party as violent. Sad to say but officers especially after LTC are quite sensative to the politics involved. You drew the same conclusions I did i9n comparison to the joint war college suspension of another officer that stated a factual truth we are fighting Islamic Radicals.

      You can see the same phenomenon with Hasan. Evangelical officers will be disciplined (rightfully so if they use their position and influence with a captive audience) and a muslim one defending suicide bombing slides right on by.

      This PCism is a clear and present danger to the culture of our military.

      • David Spicer says:

        I whole heartedly agree. This political correctness is like a cancer to our culture, slowly allowing mutations to grow until the host is completely eaten up and dies. Our culture, our heritage and any form of national pride we had is vanishing fast. I do not see anything being taught in public schools to instill any of these values in our kids. Instead we want to make sure our kids do not offend anyone by any means. America was once known as the great melting pot. But, our educators have thrown that out in favor of the “salad bowl’. While that looks and sounds good there is no cohesiveness to hold it together. When we put the raw elements in a melting pot, the steal that comes fourth is strong and can build and defend an incredible nation. Anyone who moves or immigrates to another country would not expect that country to adopt that new arrivals ways of life. We should not allow that to happen here. The insanity of coddling those who in their own countries openly state they want to destroy us is mind boggling. Those same people that relieved that officer for stating that about muslims would say that I am anti immigration. But my wife is an immigrant. She has adopted our culture and way of life just as I would have if I moved to her country.
        I am a law enforcement officer, a veteran, a Tea Party / Liberty Group supporter and member, and an Oath Keeper. This concerns me greatly. We have never supported any type of armed violent uprising. This administration and the left are systematically demonizing us to try to make us insignificant. WE WILL SEE. GOD BLESS AMERICA LAND OF THE FREE BECAUSE OF THE BRAVE!!!!

    • SAR says:

      Well said.

      Also appreciate the points Sean made. It’s also noteworthy that the KKK is historically associated with the liberals – not conservative right. Liberals prefer not to talk about that….

  2. Bob says:

    I don’t care who the fictional adversary is. I am categorically uncomfortable with the concept of Civil Support to domestic operations, of whatever they want to call it. I know Posse Comitatus doesn’t necessarily prohibit the mobilization of troops in CONUS, but I still don’t have to like it. Seasoned soldiers (I hope) will be able to distinguish between lawful orders and orders that violate The Oath they swore. It’s the junior troops and career political officers that most concerns me.

    • majrod says:

      During the Bosnia intervention the Army went through a deep and vociferous debate with the gov’t at the time rejecting a nation building mission. The concern was that it would distract from warfighting skills/focus. They had a point.

      Now after a decade of nation building the military was forced into that rols and with a shrinking budget is fighting to remain relevant by showing off those skills. E.G. The Marine establishment of law enforcement battalions does not further its expeditionary role.

      We should also be concerned with the military reaching into law enforcement matters. Someone may believe that Army can actually be “surgical” tools within our borders. Being a cop is a full time job. Expecting soldiers to be also doesn’t bode well for maintaining fighting skills or being very good policemen.

      • JohnnyB says:

        “Being a cop is a full time job.”

        Agreed, because I am one. My concern for activation of military units like the ANG is one of understanding the nuance of law. These soldiers are not trained in local and state laws, search and seizure, criminal investigations, or gang intelligence (admitted, there are exceptions). Therfore, simply dropping the ANG into an American urban setting and expecting them to take up a ‘crime fighting’ mission – even a supplementary one – is problematic at best. In order for these personnel to be positievly engaged and effective, they must be integrated as small units with domestic, actual LE personnel so they may be overwatched and directed closely.

  3. @FarmTeamInfidel says:

    Lt General Boykin (former founding member of Delta Force) may have been one first to to be booted due to PCness.. He me with Romney earlier this week which has many on the left angered..
    Jerry Boykin: Romney’s new Muslim-bashing pal
    Romney meets with Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, who has said Islam “should not be protected under the First Amendment”

    Boykin is best known for earning a public rebuke from President Bush himself in 2003 for his vitriolic anti-Islamic rhetoric. Boykin, in uniform at the time, gave a speech portraying the war against Islamist militants as a Christian struggle against Satan, and suggested that Muslims worship an ”idol” and not ”a real God.” Some Republican lawmakers spoke out against him, as well as the president, who said, Boykin’s opinions “didn’t reflect” his or the government’s views. A year later, a Department of Defense investigation determined that Boykin had violated three internal rules while delivering his controversial anti-Islamic speeches.

  4. @FarmTeamInfidel says:

    Just a week or so ago it was brought to light the establishment of Marine Corps Law Enforcement Battalions and how the Navy and Marine Corps aren’t cover by Posse Comitatus.

    On “Law Enforcement Battalions”

  5. Sean says:

    OK I have a huge problem with premise of this article. in the beginning it states “There is no violation of the Posse Comitatus Act.” What really??!? how is that possible. The Posse Comitatus act was passed in 1878 after reconstruction in in order to prevent the side spread use of military forces against US citizens. If anyone knows anything about the FBI’s Hostage Rescue team the whole reason they needed them is because tier one units cant operate on US soil. FarmTeamInfidel correctly points out that the Navy and marine Corps are not bound to Posse Comitatus by law, however there are several DOD directives that prevent this. Also if you are not going to send in the army how do you justify sending in the marines. I could see the use of some small specialized task units however sending in whole divisions seems like a bridge too far. I am not a lawyer however i dont see how you get around it.
    Also one other thing I would point out is that i think that most major federal Law enforcement agencies (FBI, Secret Service ect.) would be far better equipped to handle any major domestic situation. They already have field officers in the area have a feel fr the players and most importantly be much better at gathering information then any military unit. They do this every day the the year, why do we think that a large army unit is going to do it better then they are? Again i could see where specialize military units could add hardware like drones or other services that law enforcement just doesn’t have. but i think it would be a mistake to say they are going to take over wholesale.
    Finally the entire front end of this article is nothing but a political hack job mixed with buffoonery. I mean connecting the Tea Party with the KKK??? oh and then lets throw some Southern redneck racist stereotypes in just for good measure. I mean it pretty much invalidates the entire scenario. That’s not to say that extreme situations can’t occur however whats to say an extreme situation couldn’t occur in California once the state goes bankrupt? There are enough holes in this article you can drive a MAC truck through them. I simply cant take it seriously.

  6. Joanne says:

    On the topic of the US govt dealing with insurrection, Tom Kratman’s “A State of Disobedience” is an interesting read. Long story short, the govt overextends itself and Texas calls them on it; mobilization ensues. I don’t necessarily agree with all the viewpoints it presents, and it, too, presents some highly unlikely situations, but in general I think it’s a more realistic scenario than the ridiculous one presented in the Col’s article that initiated this discussion.

  7. Kevin says:

    The SWJ article is leftist bootlicking POS. As the original article’s comments point out, minor details like the whole issue of how you get large units to carry out blatantly illegal orders to fire on civilians is ignored. I suppose Bensen and Weber would propose assigning OWS members to be the Zampolits in their new US Army?

  8. Ryan says:

    It is clear that the authors have very little understanding of the capabilities of the FBI and other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The moment the protest activities became criminal they would be subject to federal and state laws which would authorize the full spectrum of investigative tools.There are over 1000 SWAT agents plus HRT in the FBI. These agents train, operate with, and share many TTPs with DOD special operations units. It would take a lot more than a couple towns in SC to require the conventional Army to operate in CONUS. There are many more pressing issues for the Army to address in the coming years than preparing for operations targeting US citizens inside the US.

  9. majrod says:

    I went back and reread the stories. I was horrified how the writers created a tea party-KKK-Anti-immigration coalition that took over an American city and then proceeded to build a case bringing the US Army to bear. The villification of the Tea Party is scary.

    I’m brining it to the attention of my elected representatives and MOAA. I recommend everyone else do the same.

    The last time we ignored radical presentations we got MAJ Hasan at Ft. Hood.

  10. Desert Lizard says:

    The term “domestic terrorism” is a serious accusation and the following point needs to be remembered before using it: America’s founders did not hold government as their highest allegiance; they initiated war against the government! When they declared their independence, they told us what their highest allegiance was to: “the Creator”, “Nature’s God”, and “the Supreme Judge of the World”.

    So any politicians that see God-revering, freedom-loving, small-government Americans as the enemy are not on the same course that America’s founders set. It is the God-revering, freedom-loving people that are on the defense, and those people that continually seek to usurp power from the individual that are the threat.

  11. Sgt Photo says:

    The idea presented in the article is off base and far from ideal. I understand it’s just someone’s idea and thought it would be a sound idea to collaborate with another author to produce something that would compel people to converse about how Politics/Military work.

    The thing that throws me off is the same thing that many of the readers have already brought up, pegging a group of people (tea party) as terrorists and matching them up with KKK and other hate groups.

    The more I read about how they were game planning made me even more upset. I’ve had several conversations with close friends/co workers about would happen if DOD service members were called in to handle a public situation such as presented in the story. In my opinion, you’d be hard pressed to have soldiers waving guns at their own citizens.

    You would have an internal war on your hands.

    Government has got out of control. Ideals have dwindled. Morals have been replaced with soft impressions.

    We need to get back to being a country standing tall and flying our flag on the beliefs that our founding fathers built this nation on. People need to grasp what it is to be an AMERICAN, not grasp or conform to what it means to be some other countrymen from a far off socialist nation.
    If you don’t like, tough luck, there’s plenty of room back in the country you immigrated from.

    • SSD says:

      To be blunt, if ever a situation arises again over one region attempting secession, I doubt we’ll see any balking by members of the military to preserve the union.

  12. Desi Erasmus says:

    “To be blunt, if ever a situation arises again over one region attempting secession, I doubt we’ll see any balking by members of the military to preserve the union.”

    Before we spin more “visions of the future” some familiarity with the past might be worth cultivating:

    Also, one of the authors of this “future vision” has her own ‘vision of the past’ that underlies her prognostications:

    From a generally positive review of the book:

    “As much as I like this book, I’m not completely gobsmacked, for several reasons. First, it seems like sometime around 2005 editors and copyeditors stopped doing their jobs (or in the case of copyeditors, were likely laid off). In older books, it’s quite a shock to see, say, a typo as small as space before a comma. In more recent books, I increasingly feel like I’m reading rough drafts (which, if you know anything about the challenges facing the book industry, is in fact the case). With Weber’s book, it seems like the author got tired toward the end and no editor put their foot down and insisted that quality be maintained, so the last couple of chapters feel slovenly: there is a lot of repetition, the author’s animosity toward the Copperheads starts leaking out, etc.”

    “Second, a key part of the argument is that Copperheads were a significant presence in the North, but, as the beginning of the book makes clear, the kind of remaining documentary records we have makes it impossible to make quantitative assessments. Over the course of the book, Weber loses her caution on this point.”

    So, the perception of this former journalist’s authorial habits being less than crisp and well organized is not limited to the current piece in Small War Journal. At the moment, the remaindered copies are fairly cheap if one cannot read it for free at the local library.

    From another generally positive review: “Finally, Weber does a magnificant [sic] job of detailing the slow rise of anger and politicization of the military. A fact that most historians agree was crucial to Lincoln’s victory in the election of 1864.”

    History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does tend to rhyme a lot. Perhaps this latest piece in SWJ can be seen as another stanza added to the author’s earlier effort?