United States Department of Defense US Military Branches Research Paper

Pages: 14 (5012 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: Military

United States Department of Defense / Military Branches

United States Department of Defense Military Branches

Issue / Policy Area of Interest

Over the last several years, the role of the U.S. military has been changing, as the overall nature of the threats to the nation has evolved. This is part of a larger historical trend that has caused the various branches of the military, to adapt to the different challenges that are taking place. A good example of this can be seen by looking at the history of the United States Marine Corps. Where, it would originally begin in 1775, after it was modeled from the Royal Marines of Great Britain. Their original objective was to serve on the various naval vessels, with the goals of: providing added security to the ship and they were to be a quick reaction force. This was in response to many fierce hand to hand combat situations that would take place, when different ships were in close proximity to one another. As the enemy would attempt to: board and seize various vessels, in an effort to commandeer them. At the same time, the Marines would serve as a strike force, used to attack the beach and infrastructure (in close proximity to the coast line). However, as time by the overall nature of warfare would begin to quickly change. This meant that Marines would take on a different role, as they would begin serving as a combat force to augment the other branches of the military. At which point, the phrase "first to fight" would become a motto that would embrace the Marine Corps. Then, after the downfall of the Soviet Union the role of the Marines would change once more. As they would begin to engage in various rapid strike and counter terrorism operations. (Benson, 2005, pp. 5 -- 17) This is significant, because it shows how the overall nature of the military has been continually changing over the decades. Part of the reason for this, is because of the evolving nature of the threats that are facing the nation. Where, all of the different branches of the military have begun to play a unique role, in addressing these underlying challenges.

When you examine how these changes are occurring, it is clear that the military will have interconnected relationship with the different branches. Where, each branch will support the long-term goals of the Department of Defense. While ensuring that they are capable of successfully fulfilling, various responsibilities in achieving these objectives. Evidence of this can be found by looking at the role that each of the different branches will play in supporting and defending the nation. Prior to the September 11th terrorist attacks, they would work together to help achieve the general long-term objectives, yet there was intense rivalries among the different branches and areas of influence. This would create an atmosphere of competition and a reluctance to fully cooperate with other services in various operations. Over the course of time, these divisions would affect not only the military, but the government agencies that they worked with. As there was a sense of hesitation among bureaucrats about working with military officials, because of fears surrounding areas of influence and responsibility. Then in 2003, Under Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz would begin implementing Department of Defense Directive 5000.1; Instruction 5000.2; CJCSI 3170.01C and CJCSI 3170.01. This would streamline the way the military and government agencies would interact, in a number of different areas. Where, they would go from intense rivalries to forced cooperation in: sharing information and responsibilities. This is significant, because it shows how a dramatic shift would occur in the branches of the military and the way they interact with civilian agencies. As they would begin to have unprecedented levels of cooperation, in how they perform their different functions. The big challenge going forward is: to reduce these rivalries that have developed over the years and to encourage all levels of the military (along with civil services employees) to work together in achieving the same long-term objectives. (Garrett, 2007, pp. 1 -- 14) (Garrett, 2007, pp. 15-29)

Stakeholders / Clientele Groups

The U.S. military is organized under the Department of Defense (DOD). There is an interconnected relationship between: military and civilian personnel in the DOD (along with other government agencies). Where, a civilian will be in charge of running and administering the armed forces. This responsibility is one that rests with the Secretary of Defense, as this position is in charge of setting military policy and procedures. At the same time, there are relationships that exist between: the military and various civilian contractors (that it uses as part of achieving its mission objectives). What happens is the military will often contract / subcontract different projects out to the private sector. This includes everything ranging from mess hall services to having private security contractors, working in conjunction with American troops. In this aspect, the changing role of the military means, that more of the traditional responsibilities are being outsourced. As they are relying on civilians to provide services that were traditional jobs in the armed forces. This is important, because it shows how the military is utilizing civilians and government agencies as private stakeholders, who are playing an important role in helping them achieve their objectives.

At which point, the military has begun to specialize in how they will utilize various personnel. As there is an emphasis on having members of the armed forces, focus on specific aspects of achieving the mission objective such as: special operations, cyber warfare, intelligence and analysis. In this case, the military is specializing their roles, while taking the general responsibilities and outsourcing them to private contractors. When you put these different elements together, they highlight how the evolving mission has meant that all of the different stakeholders have become more focused. This is causing the relationship between military and civilian personnel to become more interconnected. (Garamonne, 2001)

Current and Historical Gaps in DOD Strategy

DOD strategy is at a cross roads, where some former military officials (that are working in various civilian agencies and private contractors) have a belief about military doctrine based upon the past. Where, they would follow the traditional model of having a certain amount of troops in theater of operations (to ensure adequate support). The problem is that this approach often requires: a large army that needs to have continuous amounts of support, to ensure successful combat operations. During the Cold War, this was an ideal strategy for engaging the Soviet Union. However, after hostilities ended between the two sides, the U.S. military would be caught in trying to adjust to changes that were taking place. As they wanted to refocus on: preparing for new challenges in the future (in an era of declining budgets). At which point, there would be an emphasis on having more special operation forces and small unit tactics involved in accomplishing their mission. As the common thinking was; that future battles will involve low intensity combat, meaning that the use of large ground forces was no longer necessary. (Kord, 2007)

After the September 11th terrorist attacks, the military began to focus on small unit tactics and counter terrorism operations. This would cause a shift in U.S. military doctrine, as it was often believed that the use of smaller forces augmented with various private security contractors, could successfully achieve these different objectives. Part of the reason for this, was because of the push from former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Where, he believed that the military could successfully achieve its different objectives, if they utilized smaller numbers of ground forces (that would overwhelm the enemy based upon air superiority). (Kord, 2007) During the initial invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, this strategy would serve as model for quickly defeating the enemy. As it would play a vital role, in helping to support capitulation. This is significant, because this new doctrine would help to redefine the way the military would conduct warfare. Where, they would rely on private security contractors, to support and protect supply lines. While the military, would focus on engaging the enemy in their hideouts. (Jones, 2008, pp. 7 -- 24)

The problem with using this strategy is that it does not account for maintaining the peace. Where, the military would not have enough personnel on the ground, to secure a theater of operation. This is troubling, because it would allow terrorists and criminals to establish safe havens in areas that were thought to be secured. At which point, they would begin to attack various military units and supply lines. Over the course of time, this would cause many people to view what was happening with the war in a negative light. As they thought that all hostilities were over, yet the total number of deaths is continuing to climb. This would cause divisions in the DOD, as one group of strategists believed that in order for the U.S. To successfully fight wars, meant having hundreds of thousands of troops on… [END OF PREVIEW]

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