When military units do exercises, somebody has to be the good guy, somebody has to be the bad guy. The bad guys are the opposition force, or OPFOR. A Red Cell functions much the same, acting as a dedicated enemy element for purposes of exercises. Going up from the tactical level to the strategic, you have Red Teams. Basically, people who come up with scenarios for enemy forces.
Unfortunately, sometimes you have ignorant leftist political ignoramuses put in a position to do some of that Red Team work.
I’m not sure there is a strategic facepalm yet.
Sipsey Street Irregulars has a long, very informative piece here, about the scenario some idiots came up with, proving once again that military intelligence is quite often an oxymoron. Here’s the crux of the scenario, from some idiots (Retired Col. Kevin Benson and Associate Professor Jennifer Weber) at the Small Wars Journal:
The Scenario (2016)
The Great Recession of the early twenty-first century lasts far longer than anyone anticipated. After a change in control of the White House and Congress in 2012, the governing party cuts off all funding that had been dedicated to boosting the economy or toward relief. The United States economy has flatlined, much like Japan’s in the 1990s, for the better part of a decade. By 2016, the economy shows signs of reawakening, but the middle and lower-middle classes have yet to experience much in the way of job growth or pay raises. Unemployment continues to hover perilously close to double digits, small businesses cannot meet bankers’ terms to borrow money, and taxes on the middle class remain relatively high. A high-profile and vocal minority has directed the public’s fear and frustration at nonwhites and immigrants. After almost ten years of race-baiting and immigrant-bashing by right-wing demagogues, nearly one in five Americans reports being vehemently opposed to immigration, legal or illegal, and even U.S.-born nonwhites have become occasional targets for mobs of angry whites.
In May 2016 an extremist militia motivated by the goals of the “tea party” movement takes over the government of Darlington, South Carolina, occupying City Hall, disbanding the city council, and placing the mayor under house arrest. Activists remove the chief of police and either disarm local police and county sheriff departments or discourage them from interfering. In truth, this is hardly necessary. Many law enforcement officials already are sympathetic to the tea party’s agenda, know many of the people involved, and have made clear they will not challenge the takeover. The militia members are organized and have a relatively well thought-out plan of action.
With Darlington under their control, militia members quickly move beyond the city limits to establish “check points” – in reality, something more like choke points — on major transportation lines. Traffic on I-95, the East Coast’s main north-south artery; I-20; and commercial and passenger rail lines are stopped and searched, allegedly for “illegal aliens.” Citizens who complain are immediately detained. Activists also collect “tolls” from drivers, ostensibly to maintain public schools and various city and county programs, but evidence suggests the money is actually going toward quickly increasing stores of heavy weapons and ammunition. They also take over the town web site and use social media sites to get their message out unrestricted.
When the leaders of the group hold a press conference to announce their goals, they invoke the Declaration of Independence and argue that the current form of the federal government is not deriving its “just powers from the consent of the governed” but is actually “destructive to these ends.” Therefore, they say, the people can alter or abolish the existing government and replace it with another that, in the words of the Declaration, “shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.” While mainstream politicians and citizens react with alarm, the “tea party” insurrectionists in South Carolina enjoy a groundswell of support from other tea party groups, militias, racist organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan, anti-immigrant associations such as the Minutemen, and other right-wing groups. At the press conference the masked militia members’ uniforms sport a unit seal with a man wearing a tricorn hat and carrying a musket over the motto “Today’s Minutemen.” When a reporter asked the leaders who are the “red coats” the spokesman answered, “I don’t know who the redcoats are…it could be federal troops.” Experts warn that while these groups heretofore have been considered weak and marginal, the rapid coalescence among them poses a genuine national threat.
The mayor of Darlington calls the governor and his congressman. He cannot act to counter the efforts of the local tea party because he is confined to his home and under guard. The governor, who ran on a platform that professed sympathy with tea party goals, is reluctant to confront the militia directly. He refuses to call out the National Guard. He has the State Police monitor the roadblocks and checkpoints on the interstate and state roads but does not order the authorities to take further action. In public the governor calls for calm and proposes talks with the local tea party to resolve issues. Privately, he sends word through aides asking the federal government to act to restore order. Due to his previous stance and the appearance of being “pro” tea party goals the governor has little political room to maneuver.
Yup. That’s what they came up with. Tea Party are terrorists. Anyone quoting the Constitution must be destroyed, because the regime and order must reign, and the Constitution is just a piece of paper. When they quote it, it’s because they’re terrorists.
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government.
Mike at Sipsey Street notes that the comments are almost all in stark contrast to the article. The responses, from the kind of intelligent thinkers who read things like the Small Wars Journal, are by a great majority articulate, eloquent, and offended.
One of the sharpest is this one, by “Obvious Moniker” that criticizes the failed methodology of the scenario. He starts off by pointing out that not only is it as offensive to Constitutionalist Tea Party folks as it seems, it also fails from the start as a utility to develop strategies.
by Obvious Moniker| August 5, 2012 – 11:48am
I’ll admit to being one of the many offended by the choice of parameters; however, for the sake of discussion, I’ll try to minimize repeating what previous commenters have said.
First, it has been claimed that any group could be substituted for the Tea Party types in the scenario. While this claim is undoubtably true on its face, from the detail in the scenario given and the current political climate, I cannot help but wonder if said claim has not been made disengenuously. Several other commenters have wondered how many axes are being ground with the setup used, and I must echo that feeling.
Having been stationed at a 3-star level staff command for 5 years, there’s a reason why our J5/J7 guys had all the local powers in each scenario represented by Pineland, Treeland, et.al. That methodology avoids accusations that the setup may be politically tainted or skewed along ideological lines that would otherwise be unnecessarily detract from the training and potentially make sharing said scenario with our allies unwise.
One untrained in military planning might get the impression from the universal application of said naming obfuscation by such a wide variety of planners whose scenarios truly did not depend on taking place in a location that such a principle was something those planners were taught in their training. In that light, I hope you can understand my skepticism of your claim to being unbiased, as it seems so woefully poor form as to stretch credibility with such denials. (ST: Much more to this comment, worth reading through them at the link.)
For those who don’t follow the Moniker’s jive, he’s saying you train for scenarios, not for specific enemies. You can’t share your playbook if you have one place you’re planning on fighting; and you can’t reapply the scenario when it’s too specific. If you get it in your head that you’re going to fight X and you end up fighting Y, then you’ve set yourself up for failure.
by Antylyzyk| August 6, 2012 – 7:44am
This is a chilling article—it has shocked me to the core.
The Army has been perfecting its counter-insurgency for decades in foreign lands. Terrorism has now become the function of the Department of Homeland Security—only Europeans had this type of machinery, we have always relied on being a people numerous and armed. Our police forces have become para-military forces in a perpetual War on Drugs. Recently, General Ralph E Eberhart expressed the view “that Posse Comitatus will constantly be under review as we mature this command, as we do our exercises, as we interact with FEMA, F.B.I., and those lead federal agencies out there”. Now Col Benson and Ms Weber posture the “Tea Party”, a movement that has never advocated violence, as the culprits in a future insurrection? Connecting the dots leads to a coordinated intelligence, police, and military system directed at controlling American citizens.
It is little wonder our Founding Fathers feared a standing Army. If this is the line of thinking that is emanating from Leavenworth and our generals, then the inevitable result will be the dissolution of the Republic and the establishment of a military dictatorship.
by RobJohnson| August 7, 2012 – 1:57am
Interesting choice of descriptors by the authors of this article. The Tea Party has proven to be one of the most peaceful and civilized of any political party in the country, proclaiming only a desire to unify the country around the Constitution and the rule of law. Why did they authors choose an actual, existing party to use in their “Wargames” article? Have they been to a Tea Party meeting? Where most of the members are middle class, middle aged working people? Did they really wish to spit in the face of tens of millions, perhaps hundreds of millions, of their fellow citizens? Their neighbors, friends, countrymen? Are they that full of hatred, ready to slap the face of fellow Americans they disagree politically with? Is this how Goebbels and Saddams and Stalins are created? What breath taking arrogance on the part of the authors. Have they been sitting too long behind their desks? If the “Tea Party”, made up of their fellow citizens, deserve to be mass murdered by American troops, what does that say about the authors state of mind? Are they so naive of history? Are they so ignorant and arrogant they think such an event will be a fun little bloody cake walk? Do they look forward to hearing about the hundreds, perhaps thousands killed in the streets, in front of their own homes? Why the Tea Party? Why not about a Marxist stealth coup by a Manchurian candidate president and the military coup to retake the republic? They are so sure of their own rightness? What if the US Army crushes the revolt in the little town but then finds out that it faces not one town but 150,000 across the country? What will they do when they, like the Redcoats marching for Lexington, find themselves surrounded on all sides, their supplies cut off, water cut off, electricity cut off, sabotage every where, even by their own troops and officers, who refuse to fire on their own people, even as many Chinese soldiers did during Tianamen Square? The average rural, heavily wooded county in America has tens of thousands of hunters of all ages. Hunters. Men with scoped rifles, camo gear, who know how to disappear into the forests and hunt things down. Imagine that multiplied across the entire United States. An irregular guerrilla force of millions of snipers. Millions. Blood would run in rivers. Is this what these Armchair Army officers want? Is this how they spend tax payer money? To sit at their computers and type out hate screeds against peaceful citizens? Despicable. Sickening. Twisted.
by MAJ_John_Pitcairn| August 5, 2012 – 6:04pm
A solid plan for unrivaled Success! However, if the rebels are to be suppressed sufficiently, I have it on good word that to their powder and rifle stores at Lexington and Concord you must go. Rest assured! Vigorous measures at present would soon put an end to this paltry rebellion. The deluded subjects are made to believe that they are invincible. When this glorious Fifth Army is ordered to act against them, they will soon be convinced that they are very insignificant indeed when opposed to regular troops. Once these rebels have been dealt a smart blow, they will fall to their knees and submit. Once disarmament is complete, effective resistance to the Crown will cease and policies of reestablishing order will proceed. God save his excellency King George.
by nfzgrld| August 5, 2012 – 5:17pm
This article is based almost entirely on false premises. The idea that the tea party would do what is described in the way and for the reasons described is laughable. If the American people act on behalf of their own constitutionally protected freedom then they are within their right. For the military to act in opposition to any effort to protect, defend or restore the veracity and force of the constitution would be, by definition, treason.
In addition, the idea that The Klu Klus Klan and other racist and Democratic party developed organizations would side with the tea party, or that the tea party would even associate with them, indicates either a complete lack of understanding of who and what the tea party is, or is purposeful disinformation disseminated in an effort to further deflect the left’s own goal to the right. Progressives, Marxists, fascists, and other government centered and racist organizations and ideologies are all LEFT. This is America, not Europe. Left and right mean something different here. Left is govt, right is freedom. The more you have of one, the less you will have of the other.
This is OUR country. It is OUR constitution. The govt, including the military, works for US. Aside from the LIMITED powers given the federal government in article one section eight of the constitution, We The People, and the States, have and are the authority. The authors of this article are fomenting an environment of discord and distrust between the people and our military. That needs to stop right now, because WE are the military. I don’t think it’s going to work the way they think it will.
by Carlos Perera| August 5, 2012 – 2:11pm
I must join the many other commenters who have taken exception to this article’s depiction of the Tea Party as a sort of neo-Klan, a band of lilly-white racists who can barely wait to wrap their ax handles around the heads of people of color. I myself–and, yes, I post under my real name–am a Hispanic Tea Partier, one of many in my area (Jacksonville, Florida). I have _never_ been made to feel unwelcome at any Tea Party event, nor have I ever heard the use of racist/xenophobic invective or seen any literature of that ilk at any Tea Party meeting or demonstration (except in signs wielded by outside _agents provocateurs_ trying to discredit the organization: they are quickly surrounded by Tea Partiers holding signs saying, “not with us). Do many Tea Partiers object to the near non-enforcement of U. S. immigration laws? Yes–I do!–but we simply ask that the federal government enforce those laws (as it is Constitutionally obligated to do), and seek electoral, not insurrectional, solutions to the problem on non-enforcement.
As other have already noted, Tea Party demonstrations are models of civil, orderly behavior. Not only do we not indulge in violence–though on some occasions counter-demonstrators have physically attacked Tea Partiers–we usually leave the public areas we use cleaner than before we arrived. Compare and contrast with left-wing groups’ violence, vandalism, and utter disregard for the public order when they demonstrate: think OWS!
In using the Tea Party as the fictional bad guys of their scenario, the authors of this article have truly–and unjustifiably–derogated a model group of citizen-activists, using their Constitutionally protected right of free assembly, by innuendo. Isn’t there a Commandment against bearing false witness against your neighbor?
I’d add some more commentary, but these folks have pretty much nailed it.
It’s worth it to revisit the history of the infamous 29 Palms Survey of 1994.
Firing on U.S. Citizens?
While all of the questions in this survey should have stimulated concern, the survey’s final question has generated an enormous amount of attention:
The U.S. government declares a ban on the possession, sale, transportation, and transfer of all non-sporting firearms. A thirty (30) day amnesty period is permitted for these firearms to be turned over to the local authorities. At the end of this period, a number of citizen groups refuse to turn over their firearms. Consider the following statement: I would fire upon U.S. citizens who refuse or resist confiscation of firearms banned by the U.S. government.
The survey results: 42.3 percent strongly disagreed with this statement; 19.3 percent disagreed; 18.6 percent agreed; 7.6 percent strongly agreed; and 12.0 percent had no opinion. In one of the footnotes appearing in his thesis, Cunningham quotes comments placed by some of the Marines next to their answers to this question: “What about the damn Second Amendment? … I feel this is a first in communism! … Read the book None Dare Call It Conspiracy by Gary Allen.” “I would not even consider it. The reason we have guns is so that the people can overthrow the gov’t when or if the people think the gov’t is too powerful.” “Freedom to bear arms is our Second Amendment. If you take our Amendments away then you can take this job and stick it where the sun don’t shine! … It is a right to own firearms for defense (2nd Amendment); I would fight for that right!”
Based on the disagreement expressed by 61 percent of the Marines, Cunningham concluded that “a complete unit breakdown would occur in a unit tasked to execute this mission.”