Strategic View of Where the Army is: Homeland Defense and Issues of Civil-Military Relations   [open pdf - 474KB]

There is a proper understanding within the U.S. Army that the military must minimize its involvement in domestic affairs. Yet, the armed forces have been called on more and more to provide direct aid and support in domestic crises that range from Hurricane Andrew to the terrorist bombing of the Oklahoma City Federal Building. Quick, efficient, and effective responses in these and other cases have generated calls for the armed forces to take the lead in confronting the complex issues of contemporary homeland defense because the military knows how to plan for and conduct crises operations, and the federal armed forces are not hamstrung by "artificial" legal constraints, boundaries, or jurisdictions. Because of contradictions among the missions that the Army is now expected to perform and because of the mismatch of resources provided to perform those diverse missions, the Army is in a quandary. The bottom line is that the Army is torn between "fighting the big wars" and preparing for and executing "operations other than war." The hesitancy of the U.S. Army to accept wholeheartedly the missions it is currently being given is thus cause for concern regarding its professionalism. Professionalism, in general, is in decline within western democracies. Professionalism is a result of at least two factors. First, it depends on the effectiveness with which the institution performs its functions. And, second, it depends on the relationship of the profession to society it serves. Therefore the Army must do everything possible to do its job right and well. It is necessary to define clearly and consistently the Army's institutional purpose and the jurisdiction of its professional work. This chapter will proceed to place these problems into the strategic context of military professionalism -- a topic little studied in the military now and even less understood outside the profession. We will analyze two issues within the profession now impeding healthy institutional adaptation to the new era -- the officer corps' intellectual muddle over the purpose of the Army, and their ethical muddle over the role of self-sacrifice in the profession's ethos. We believe these two unresolved contradictions have contributed in very significant ways to the Army's inability thus far to deal effectively with vexing issues such as domestic defense at home and force protection abroad.

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Papers from the Conference on Homeland Protection, October 2000, p.229-259
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