(Today’s post was written by Quinton Lucie)When Johnny comes marching home again Hurrah! Hurrah! We’ll give him a hearty welcome then Hurrah! Hurrah! The men will cheer and the boys will shout The ladies they will all turn out And we’ll all feel gay When Johnny comes marching home.
By late 2008 it was clear the large scale commitment of U.S. troops to Iraq was coming to an end. With that choice all but made, the U.S. military was coming home to resume its (mostly) garrison posture after finishing its commitments to Afghanistan.
While it is likely U.S. forces will sign a bi-lateral agreement with the Karzai government this year, allowing for an extended U.S. presence, it will be a small one, focused on counter-terror and training. With the exception of those forces engaged in combating the remnants of Al-Qaeda and their budding progeny, training our partners, and providing an expeditionary presence around the globe, the rest will be home (since I wrote this 4 weeks ago, Syria has joined the fray, but long term it is unlikely to see a significant contribution from conventional U.S. forces, if any).
The U.S. military is the nation’s single largest investment in capabilities and these returning capabilities will need to be reintegrated into the Homeland Security Enterprise.The old church bell will peal with joy Hurrah! Hurrah! To welcome home our darling boy, Hurrah! Hurrah! The village lads and lassies say With roses they will strew the way, And we’ll all feel gay When Johnny comes marching home.
There is the stuff, all the stuff paid for in the rush to build our capabilities for the Long War against Al-Qaeda, the counter-attack into Afghanistan and the foray into Iraq. For example MRAPs, a nearly $35 billion investment by Congress by 2010, will be left behind by the thousands or find their way into the inventories of local police forces.
There are the people, those soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen, many of whom from the first decade of these wars have already returned home, graduated from college or begun their second careers. They will bring their strengths and skills from their service by the thousands and innovation learned from hard learned experiences.
A few, however, will also take that experience and use it for personal gain.
But those cases will be dwarfed by the positive. When it comes to our returning veterans and service members we need to harness the ideas and capabilities of the next MacGyver not waste the talents of the next Cool Hand Luke.
There will be the return of domestic capabilities to NORTHCOM and local military installations. With these new capabilities will NORTHCOM subsume SOUTHCOM in a new Americas combatant command? Will domestic military forces forge closer ties to Federal and state law enforcement? How much will they integrate into local firefighting efforts and the protection of local critical infrastructure? How much of this capability will be integrated into Federal emergency management efforts?
No matter the answer to these questions, this reorientation of the U.S. military will have a disruptive effect on the Homeland Security Enterprise.
But will the disruption be positive, leading to innovation and new efficiencies or will it be a detriment, like the “old” definition of disruptive? This might depend upon the most important legacy of the return of the military from these wars on the Homeland Security Enterprise, the ideas.Get ready for the Jubilee, Hurrah! Hurrah! We’ll give the hero three times three, Hurrah! Hurrah! The laurel wreath is ready now To place upon his loyal brow And we’ll all feel gay When Johnny comes marching home.
In 2004, one of my friends deployed with a reserve Marine infantry battalion based out of Chicago. By 2005, those reservists had returned home and some began to implement new ideas, techniques and strategies they saw work overseas.
Unfortunately the effects have yet to be adequately measured. Certainly there are advantages, and like any ideas, disadvantages, but the Enterprise needs to find them now rather than let slow experience over the coming decades give us an answer. It needs to move faster like its medical partners.
The Enterprise also needs to define its role for the military. Will the military be leaders, members, partners or all of the above? When funds and support are perceived to shift to the military for emergency management activities will they be seen as a remora (one of nature’s force multipliers) or a leech? Will their invigorated relations with state and local officials be seen as a useful supplement to existing responsibilities or as an intrusion?
The military also needs to define its role within the Enterprise in the coming decades. Will Defense Support to Civil Authorities (DSCA) really become a primary mission or just a way to find more dollars to support national security missions only vaguely related to DSCA? What current training requirements get dropped for new requirements that emerge from new responsibilities? How will the Title 10 forces work with the National Guard, especially when it comes to emergency management? How will responsibility for protecting the emerging cyber commons be distributed among the military, civilian and private sector? Will the broader military industrial complex follow, for instance allowing drone vendors to squeeze out much more efficient (read: cheaper, faster and in many cases as capable) services similar to those provided by the Civil Air Patrol?
A great example of the possibilities, but also the pitfalls, can be found in the recently released Army Doctrinal Reference Publication 3-28 Defense Support of Civil Authorities. At 110 pages, it represents a significant effort (at least in comparison to its civilian counterparts) on the part of the Army. It is a fairly thorough overview of the Army’s expectations for DSCA. But it also has the mistakes that can be attributed to the motivated, but not yet initiated, that range occasionally from bad to worse.
For instance the bad – mistaking “Federal accelerated assistance” as a separate authority for disaster response (it’s not, it’s just another way of delivering Federal disaster assistance under a Major Disaster or Emergency Declaration) – and the worse, alleging the National Emergencies Act is an authority to “institute martial law” (don’t worry it’s not). Or this well-meaning, motivating, but somewhat farcical, Air Force recruiting commercial from a few years ago.
It is crucial the Homeland Security Enterprise welcome these new sources of capabilities and possibilities. Recognition and acceptance must come from all levels of the Enterprise: the Federal bureaucrat looking to integrate military capabilities into national efforts, to the police officer who handles a traffic stop with a veteran still struggling to reintegrate, to local officials looking for new ways to add resilience to their communities. It must be a holistic reception.Let love and friendship on that day, Hurrah, hurrah! Their choicest pleasures then display, Hurrah, hurrah! And let each one perform some part, To fill with joy the warrior’s heart, And we’ll all feel gay When Johnny comes marching home