To develop a scenario such as this means we are living in a world where rationality and common sense are evaporating. The world is upside down. If these strategists had used Occupy protestors, or perhaps the flash mobs that invade businesses and randomly attack people, or especially Al-Qaeda terrorists, I would understand the need to ask "what if" questions and develop a plan of action. Every government needs to be prepared for challenges. However, to use average Americans, who wave flags and love the Constitution as evil protagonists, literally dumbfounds me.
Read this and weep for our country.
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.
Operating under media scrutiny is not a new phenomenon for the U.S. military. What is new and newsworthy about this operation is that it is taking place in the continental United States. Commanders and staffs must think about the effect of this attention and be alert when considering how to use the media. The media will broadcast the President’s proclamation and cover military preparations for operations in Darlington. Their reports will be as available to tea party leaders in Darlington as they are to a family watching the evening news in San Francisco. Coupled with a gradual build-up of federal forces in the local area, all covered by the media, the effect of this pressure will compound over time and quite possibly cause doubt about the correctness of the events in Darlington in the minds of its’ citizens and the insurrectionists who control the town. The Joint Task Force commander, staff and subordinate units must operate as transparently as possible, while still giving due consideration to operational security. Commanders must manage these issues even as they increase pressure on the insurrectionists.
The design of this plan to restore the rule of law to Darlington will include information/influence operations designed to present a picture of the federal response and the inevitable defeat of the insurrection. The concept of the joint plan includes a phased deployment of selected forces into the area beginning with reconnaissance and military intelligence units. Once the Fifth Army commander determines he has a complete picture of activity within the town and especially of the insurrectionists’ patterns of behavior, deployment of combat, combat support and combat service support forces will begin from Forts Bragg and Stewart, and Camp Lejuene. Commanders will need to consider how the insurrectionists will respond. Soldiers and Marines involved in this operation, and especially their families will be subject to electronic mail, Facebook messages, Twitters, and all manner of information and source of pressure. Given that Soldiers and Marines stationed at Forts Bragg and Stewart as well as Camp Lejuene live relatively nearby and that many come from this region, chances are they will know someone who lives in or near Darlington. Countering Al Qaeda web-based propaganda is one thing, countering domestic information bombardments is another effort entirely.
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