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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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Erlandson, (2009) and Pontius (2008) expressed considerable concern over the lack of available and competent officers in the United States Army Reserve. The Active Army, the United States Army Reserve (USAR) and the United States National Guard (USNG) comprise the three main components of the Army, with the Army Reserve providing most of the critical Service Support Units including Military Police and Engineers to the frontline troops. Logistics, available spare parts, training equipment and morale are all essential factors and are critical to readiness (Spencer, 2000). Essentially, the United States Army Reserve provide the critical support functions that maintain and sustain the United States Army in a prolong conflict (Erlandson, 2009). Pontius (2008) predicted that with current shortages and future shortages projections, officers may have to take on additional responsibilities or worse, some critical positions and roles may have to be left vacant. The Army projected an officer shortage of nearly 3,000 in FY2007, with the most acute shortfalls within the experienced cohorts of captains and majors with 11 to 17 years of experience. It further projected an increased shortage of more than 3,700 officers for FY2008 and estimates that annual shortages in excess of 3,000 officers will persist through FY2013 (Henning, 2006). The Reserve is extremely critical to the sustainability of U.S. fighting efforts as it provides operational capabilities and strategic depth support to the DoD across the full spectrum of conflict (DoD 1200.17, 2008). These shortfalls are expected to challenge the Army over the long term especially since the Army continues to transform to meet the global challenges associated with the War on Terror (Hennings, 2006).

In a disaster response situation the National Guard which is generally the most visible

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constitute a second tier of national response. More and more, however, National Guard personnel are being called to the frontlines in Iraq and Afghanistan. Forces are now stretched so thin on the ground that it is now affecting the fatigue level of persons on the ground as “turnround time,” do not allow for the appropriate rotations of rest and retraining (Murtha and Obey, 2006). Eaglan (2010) identified two elements of a strong military – the quality of its servicemen and the availability of modern technologically advanced equipment.

Cost of peace operations. The cost of peace operations has seen a dramatic increase from about 200 million in 1990 to more than 3.6 billion in 1998. While proportionally, the cost is quite small relative to the overall DoD budget, the output do create some problems for troop readiness as the money is taken from the operation and maintenance account. This account meets the cost of training and fuel and supplies for troops overseas among other things. Between 194 and 1998, this account had to meet about 80 percent of the annual cost of peace operations (CBO Paper, 1999). This peace expenditure has caused the DoD to postpone and cancel personnel development and equipment maintenance programs and to rescind funds from weapons modernizations and other accounts (Serafino, 2002). Despite all of this, DoD continues to bankroll peace operations while the warrior soldiers lose their fighting edge and contends with core military skill fade and face significant training and equipment challenges.

Other issues. Generally, military forces by their doctrine and training are not suited to carrying out peacekeeping operations because their training is designed to create and develop within them the instincts and skills to survive in life and death combat situations; conversely the skills and instincts required for law enforcement and peacekeeping are quite different than what is required for combat and are thus inculcated through the required type of training which is

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successful military action presumes the employment of “overwhelming” force to achieve decisive victory over an enemy; a concept which underpins U.S. military doctrine and training.

This concept is however in variance with what is required for most peacekeeping tasks which require restraint; not an “overwhelming” or “decisive” use of force (Serafino, 2002).

The United States employ several strategies to achieve its strategic interest and within this continuum, peacekeeping and peace enforcement are seen by many strategists as an effective tool in the furtherance of U.S. national interests and also in dealing with the dynamics of the international security environment. This must be part of a wider strategy and should not come at the cost of other operations. In light of a now greatly reduced military these operations should be undertaken selectively as such the opportunity cost of peace operations must be weighed and balanced within the overall benefits to be attained within the grand scheme of national security (Alvis, 1999).

Preliminary Examination Disaster response within the United States has an established and structured system which if properly utilized can significantly reduce the impact of natural and manmade events on the natural and built environment. Within its frame work is the National Incident Management System (NIMS) which is a template to enable multi-jurisdictional and multi-sectorial cooperation to prepare, prevent, respond, recover from and mitigate the effects of all hazards regardless of cause, size, location, or complexity. This is achieved through the command and control structures within the Incident Command System (ICS) which integrates operational systems in a common organizational structure and facilitates multi-sector and multi-jurisdictional disaster

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The Stafford Act is also a critical element in the national response mechanism as it allows for federal support of Section 404 support to States and communities. Through this support States and communities are required to develop Section 409 mitigation plans, which essentially allows for a vulnerability analysis to determine the level of risk to natural and manmade hazards.

Despite this the cost of disaster continues to rise as states and communities are impacted more and more by disasters to which they seem to have no capacity to mitigate. From all appearances the civil structures are not working. After significant financial and other investment into creating a national structure to save lives and reduce disaster’s impact, disaster response practitioners do not understand the system and are unable to properly and effectively leverage the extensive institutional and financial support available to assist them in building resilience within their states and communities.

In this apparent system failure, one entity remains coordinated, organized and has the structure to respond effectively to the call of the President – the military. In 2005, the military stood out as a beacon of structure and organization within the chaos called “Katrina.” Despite this, restrictions through the Posse Comitatus Act, essentially forbids the intentional and direct use of the military in domestic operations, but several instruments which carry the force of law allows the president to call on the military for assistance.

To overcome this restriction the Congress was urged by the President to consider an amendment to this Act thus allowing him the freedom to call on the extensive resources of the military in specific situations. This resulted in H.R. 5122, the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007 (NDAA) which amended the Insurrection Act and give the President the discretionary power to employ the armed forces, in defence of constitutional

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demonstrated that given the right circumstances critical changes can be made to the existing structure should the situation demands it.

However as it presently stands the tempo of present day military deployment has placed significant strain on its ability to perform its primary roles. High turnover rates, low level of enlistment all contribute to a military that cannot provide the manpower to fight the nation’s wars. The Reserve Components are now being called upon more and more to fill gaps. The increased use of the Reserve Components contribute to faster turn-around time in the field which does not allow enough time for troops to rest and retrain.

To compound the situation, the military is increasingly called upon to take on missions other than war in support of civil authorities. While these missions are essential to achieving America’s strategic objective they require a complete different type of skill set. The debate on this is however undetermined as some believe that it assist in developing and preparing a soldier, however, the approach in a civil environment are in direct contrast to the doctrine which the military command espouses for its soldiers in the frontline.

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Introduction This study which is to determine whether the expanding role of the military would affect their battle readiness, adopted a qualitative approach using secondary sources, such as Journals, newspapers, books and reviews of considered experts within the area of research. This approach was of necessity adopted because the researcher was physically removed from the population of study – being in a country where there was a paucity of research information on the emergency management system of the United States. This severely affected the direction of the research and

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The use of qualitative data in research is however academically accepted as it provides a detailed picture as to why people act in certain ways, and their feelings about these actions. It also is quite a useful approach when a researcher has contending issue of cost and also largely eliminates the issues of ethics relating to research surrounding human subjects.

Bounding the study Setting. This study will be conducted from Barbados, an island in the Caribbean Sea,

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unavoidable situation discourages the application of surveys and interviews which would become cost prohibitive.

Actors. The population of interest for this study is Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the U.S. Armed Forces, The Reserves under Federal remit and any other military entity under federal command.

Events. Using pragmatic research methodology the focus of this study were the dynamics surrounding the expanding role of the U.S. military and implication (if any) of this expansion on its primary role. This will necessitate a review of the Katrina response and any other event that may assist in bringing clarity to the study.

Processes. Particular attention was paid to the present stress the military is under with deployments in two hostile theatres, the demand of these commitments on manpower availability for present day domestic duties and how this can impact on future additional duties. The implications for the Posse Comitatus Act and civil military relations within the U.S. and the

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Ethical considerations The limiting factors of location and distance which surrounded this study did not easily support the use of the normal tools such as questionnaires. As such no ethical issues directly relating to respondents were anticipated. However, care was taken to ensure that all documents collected were from creditable sources; special care was also taken to ensure that authors are cited correctly and were given all appropriate credit and recognition for their work.

Data Collection Procedures The data collection process which officially began in June 2011 ran until July 2011 was conducted in Barbados. The period was largely determined by the constraints of paper submission by APUS to meet paper submission deadlines. Due to the fact that this researcher did not have direct access to libraries and other data sources in the United States, data collection proved to be extremely challenging as the availability of core research material on the topic area was not readily available and accessible. Additionally, having to conduct research at a Masters’ level, while balancing other commitments of a personal and professional nature, appeared at times to be an unnecessarily monumental task and was extremely demotivating. Over the period attempts were made to access books and other materials not available in Barbados but that was extremely tedious and expensive.

Consequently, data collection was largely through academic journals, periodicals, videos and other sources of public information on the World Wide Web (WWW) and to a limited extent from books and other materials from libraries and bookstores.

Data Analysis Procedures Data analysis procedures were an on-going process throughout the collection phase. This

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collection of additional data. Data analysis was also guided by the research objectives and the interpretation of the data. Attempts were made to sort the data according to the topics, as a necessity the researcher had to read through all documents to develop a general appreciation of what was collected and their usefulness towards the research. This was also necessary because the researcher were not familiar with a number of the issues within the United States. Data were then coded according to topic and placed in categories representing a particular issue.

Verification In ensuring internal validity, the following steps were employed;

1. All sources of documents were verified before use

2. Information in documents were matched with other independent sources

3. All attempts were made to acquire documents and research reports from accredited and recognized academic of professional institution

4. Information that suggested a negative or contradictory view were given equal

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5. Peer audit/debrief – A member of the academic community in St. Vincent was utilized to a limited extent to review and audit the paper. Although there was on-going communication to ensure that my interpretation of events was within the meaning and message the data intended to convey, this again was somewhat expensive and time consuming given that the peer evaluator was located on a separate island to the researcher and his knowledge of the U.S

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