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«AMERICAN PUBLIC UNIVERSITY SYSTEM Charles Town, West Virginia EXPANDING THE MILITARY’S ROLE IN DOMESTIC DISASTERS:.BUT WHAT OF BATTLE READINESS? A ...»

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Running head: MILITARY DISASTER ROLE VS BATTLE READINESS 1

AMERICAN PUBLIC UNIVERSITY SYSTEM

Charles Town, West Virginia

EXPANDING THE MILITARY’S ROLE IN DOMESTIC DISASTERS:

…BUT WHAT OF BATTLE READINESS?

A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the

requirements for the degree of

MASTER OF ARTS

in

EMERGENCY AND DISASTER MANAGEMENT

by Tyrone Anthony James

Department Approval Date:

(date) The author hereby grants the American Public University System the right to display these contents for educational purposes.

The author assumes total responsibility for meeting the requirements set by United States Copyright Law for the inclusion of any materials that are not the author’s creation or in the public’s domain.

MILITARY DISASTER ROLE VS BATTLE READINESS 2

© Copyright 2011 by Tyrone Anthony James All rights reserved.

MILITARY DISASTER ROLE VS BATTLE READINESS 3

Dedication I dedicate this thesis to my mother Violet Vorina James who never had the benefit of a formal education but knew beyond any doubt that education would open doors for her children.

Her belief in the liberating power of education was absolute. She always believed even when I had doubts.

My only regret is that she is not alive today to share in her dream of my success.

MILITARY DISASTER ROLE VS BATTLE READINESS 4

Acknowledgments I wish to thank Dr. James Smith for his support and patience during the process of developing this paper. His demonstrated knowledge and patience and painstaking review of my many drafts, without doubt, contributed significantly to the completion of this thesis.

Although separated by time and distance, his confidence in my ability to complete this degree program was always evident in his insightful and pointed comments; this provided me with the added motivation and confidence to bring it to a successful completion.

MILITARY DISASTER ROLE VS BATTLE READINESS 5

Abstract The debate on the expanded role of the U.S. military in domestic disaster, fuelled by their professional approach in the face of chaos during the Katrina disaster had become quite topical and at times quite divisive. The issue raised was not only topical but critical as it has the potential to change military doctrine, training and culture. In this regard this paper attempted to address the issue and to determine whether the changing role of the military will negatively impact their battle readiness. Data collection was largely through academic journals, periodicals, videos and other sources of public information. After analysis of the data it was determined that the initial call was essentially a political reaction stimulated by the potential political fallout from an event that could have been prevented. The conclusion therefore is that while is a need to strengthen, empower and properly resource civil disaster management capabilities, there is no requirement at this time to extend the role of the military beyond their present role of support to

–  –  –

The military, as the foremost element of most nation states’ power projection is expected to protect the nation from external aggressors and protect its national interest. The United States is no exception and has utilized the services and expertise of the military extensively and in diverse ways over the years. In this regard there is a high expectation by the American people of success when their military is committed. The expectation of victory is so high in the American psyche that military leaders are not only held to account but political leaders are also held fully responsible for achieving victory on behalf of the American people (Cantwell, 2007). This they are expected to achieve, not only through sustained “dominance across the range of military operations and conflict” 1 but also by transforming to effectively address future challenges in all their complexities.

The Cold War, an era dominated by nuclear weapons and air power, saw the U.S.

military being effectively transformed into a formidable technologically advanced fighting force, quite capable of meeting any conceivable Soviet military challenge, whether nuclear or conventional (Sapolsky, 2009). During this epic period the military was confronted with a range of issues, from maintaining a combat-ready fighting force capable of operating on both conventional and nuclear theatres, battle with technocrats over budgetary allocations, balance the The Army’s mission is to fight and win our Nation’s wars by providing prompt, sustained land dominance across the full range of military operations and spectrum of conflict in support of combatant commanders. This is achieved by executing Title 10 and Title 12 US Code directives to include organizing, equipping, and training forces for the conduct of prompt and sustained combat operations on land.

(http://www.army.mil/info/organization/)

MILITARY DISASTER ROLE VS BATTLE READINESS 9

demands of an unstable global political minefield, along with the need to be continually on the cutting edge of new military technology and weaponry while at the same time adapting to changes in its own strategic and political command structures (Trauschweizer, 2008).





The end of the Cold War did not affect the need for continuous adaptation by the military, as they found themselves once again adjusting to new realities; only this time it was a battle for their own survival. Unable to justify the significant cost of Cold War deployments, military command had to redesigned a new strategy in the face of the now defunct anticipated high impact conflict that was projected based on Cold War assessments. This Cold War type mind-set was however no longer relevant to U.S. strategy and from the early 1990s, the United States had committed to the closure of forward bases and the repatriation of U.S. troops that saw around 97 bases closed by 1995, and in excess of 270, 000 army and air force personnel shipped back to the United States (Bailes, n.d). However, this did not reduce the actual employment of military troops in effecting U.S. foreign policy. In fact, it was determined that U.S. post-Cold War military deployments had far exceeded any comparative period during the Cold War (Jentleson & Britton, 1998).

The post-Cold War environment, contrary to popular opinion, had offered significant challenges to U.S. security and strategic interest. Politically, many in the upper echelons of power at that time felt the urgency to provide tangible evidence of victory through battle trophies, which facilitated the construction of a skewed post-Cold War threat environment without credible competition. Due to this perception of reduced threat and the topical issue of the national debt, the U.S. military suffered significant reduction to achieve what was termed

–  –  –

The reality was that the unintended consequence of the collapse of the Soviet Union saw the creation of a more unstable bipolar security environment, necessitating greater deployments by the U.S. military (Sarcione, 2000). This increased demand on U.S military forces over the last two decades was credited by Reimer et al (2010) as one of the reasons for the up-tempo deployment and an almost continuous use of both Active Component (AC) and Reserve Component (RC) forces in order to meet the Army’s operational demands.

The nature of U.S. military operations has seen a marked shift over the last decade with U.S. forces being heavily involved in what was termed Military Operations Other Than War (MOOTW) which included peace keeping operations, humanitarian assistance, non-combatants evacuation operations and other non-combative type missions such as disaster response; this situation was expected to continue indefinitely (Sarcione, 2000).

These high tempo and highly charged operations coupled with falling troop levels had stretched the forces so dangerously thin that there were doubts as to whether they would have been able to quickly respond to more crisis (Baldor, 2007). The added issue of critical shortages in junior and mid-grade officers in the Army Reserve when greater operational demands were being placed on them had also complicated an already worrying situation (Erlandson, 2009).

Such was the situation in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina struck Louisiana, exacting a significant toll on the people of Louisiana, and exposing the limitations of the local, state and federal response system. The response mechanism not only failed in being activated but found itself unable to cope with the extent of the devastation. Unprecedented action was called for in a state of crisis and the U.S. military was called in as a last ditch effort to respond to the cries of

–  –  –

domestic disasters, which fueled a national debate that raised the question of the military’s readiness and capacity to achieve its core purpose. The matter presently remains unresolved.

This paper will seek to discuss the broader implications of this call by the president and attempt to determine whether an expanded role of the military in ancillary operations such as domestic disasters can affect their ability to effectively and conclusively achieve their core responsibility of fighting and winning the nations wars.

–  –  –

The Enabling Environment The debate surrounding the expansion of the U.S. military’s role in emergency management implicitly spoke to the question of an appropriate size U.S military, relative to the perceived threat environment; this, to all intents and purposes, cannot be isolated from that troubling question of the military’s primary role of fighting and winning the nation’s wars.

Unlike Cold War threats which were essentially associated with some state power, and were to a large extent an overt demonstration of hardware and might, and the brandishing of shields and spears through political rhetoric and stagecraft, post-Cold War security assessment has been a gloomy characterization of uncertainty, asymmetric warfare and non-state threats which has facilitated a "worst-case scenario" contingency planning (O’Connor, 2010. Para.3). The fall of the Berlin Wall not only eliminated the best enemy of the U.S and the justification of their military strategy, but also removed two of the three reasons for which nations traditionally go to war (economic and ideology) leaving only one - “fear” (O’Connor, 2010). Essentially, bipolarity had an ordering effect on international relations: Within the structure of hostilities, stability existed as both superpowers had exerted significant influence over their satellites, managing the

–  –  –

The peace dividends which many proponents had hoped to achieve after the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the U.S. declaration of victory, did not necessarily materialize, instead, according to Huntington (2003), global strategic dynamics of post-Cold War relationships were realigned along three critical planes vis-à-vis “the global power structure; the bases for the alignment and antagonism of states; and the prevailing type of war in the world” (p.7), creating what Huntington (1999; para. 3) described as a “uni-multipolar” geopolitical and strategic environment, which has placed significant strain on U.S. roles and perception in global affairs.

Within this new geopolitical and strategic construct, the U.S, as the single superpower, found itself inundated with challenges to its hegemon by regional powers (Iran, Venezuela, and Brazil) and non-state actors (Al Qaida).

Conversely, the U.S also found it necessary as the indispensable nation to project a global persona as the benign hegemon, with the self-assumed responsibility as the world’s police to consciously through its foreign policy, advance universal values, and enforce peace on a global scale (Huntington, 1999). Naturally, as the self-declared victors of the Cold War, American officials saw the victory as a verification of the universality and soundness of American principles, practices, and institutions (Huntington, 1999). In the euphoria of the moment some heralded it as a new world order and the end of history while others claimed the “triumph of democracy over totalitarianism” (Johnson, 1999; p.1).

Post-Cold War euphoria soon dissipated, as the U.S. found itself as the only superpower in a multi-polar world, but without the unrestricted freedom to assert its hegemony and resolve crucial international concerns except in cooperation with other states that were less powerful in all respects except for their position on the influence indicator as major regional power brokers.

–  –  –

pursuit of their strategic interest took advantage of the early post-Cold War years to unilaterally impose its will on other countries, manufacturing a backlash of resentment, forcing the U.S. to assert its hegemon through the coercive power of economic sanctions and military intervention.

In describing U.S attitude and actions during that period, Huntington (1999) noted that:

In the past few years the United States has, among other things, attempted or been perceived as attempting more or less unilaterally to do the following: pressure other countries to adopt American values and practices regarding human rights and democracy;

prevent other countries from acquiring military capabilities that could counter American conventional superiority; enforce American law extraterritorially in other societies; grade countries according to their adherence to American standards on human rights, drugs, terrorism, nuclear proliferation, missile proliferation, and now religious freedom; apply sanctions against countries that do not meet American standards on these issues; promote American corporate interests under the slogans of free trade and open markets; shape World Bank and International Monetary Fund policies to serve those same corporate interests; intervene in local conflicts in which it has relatively little direct interest;



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