Monday, July 19, 2010

Mobilization for National Needs-Conventional War or Domestic Catastrophes!

I will be commenting on this blog from time to time on mobilization issues. Interestingly many would think this is not something that needs doing. Domestically the problem is that NO Governor ever plans for utilization of resources beyond current operations. If they do it is to do what some have done and state on the record that it is the job of the federal government to bail them out whatever the catastrophe. If STATE government is overwhelmed it is a federal responsibility, a Constitutional responsibility to reconstitute a republican form of government in the states.

Utilizing an ICAF document see however a brief history of MOB below:

Mobilization Architecture from 1946 to 1993

The United States government understood the success of its mobilization planning and industrial production during World War II. American killed in combat losses were one tenth those of Germany’s and about one ninth those of Japan. The major reason for the Arsenal of Democracy Strategy was to use United States industrial might to defeat its enemies at the lowest possible human cost.

Soon after the war ended the United government created a mobilization authority: The National Security Resources Board which drafted a mobilization plan in 1946. So critical was the capability to plan to and execute mobilization, the Director of this organization was the fourth member of the National Security Council when it was first legislated in 1947 (which also included the President and Secretaries of Defense and State). That position was changed to the Vice President several years later.
Nobody in either the Congress or the Executive Department in 1947 knew more about industrial mobilization than President Harry S Truman, and he was directly engaged in drafting the National Defense Act of 1947. Because of the sole possession of the atomic bomb (among many reasons), the United States rapidly demobilized its people, and sold machine tools and factories. By September 1947, the four armed services were tiny fractions of their World War II strength. The Army Air Forces contained 2.4 million people in mid 1945, and 303,000 in September 1947 and the other services fell comparably. Even the explosion of a Soviet atomic bomb in August 1949 did not spur the President to spend more money on defense and build up the Armed Forces. Then North Korea invaded South Korea.

The Korean War was seen by most defense planners as a Soviet gambit to engage American forces in an unimportant region while the Soviet Union advanced on a truly critical part of the world: Western Europe. Truman turned now to mobilize for a war with the Soviet Union and after operations in Korea stalled in late 1950, created the Office of Defense Mobilization and called on the Congress to pass the Defense Production Act of 1950 which gave the President and the federal government in general enormous powers to manipulate the civilian economy with or without a declaration of a national emergency.

Truman was serious indeed about mobilization planning, and advanced the Director of the Office of Defense Mobilization to membership in the National Security Council and also granted the Director Cabinet rank. Defense production soared and most of it did not go to Korea but rather to Europe to build up forces for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Manpower increased greatly too. The 1948 Selective Service Act had been all but dormant until the beginning of the Korean War, now people were drafted in great numbers and more than half of those drafted in Truman’s remaining years as President were assigned to Europe and not Korea.

Truman left office in January 1953 and was replaced by Dwight D. Eisenhower. He did not see the necessity of industrial mobilization planning, believing future wars would be “atomic.” He would rely on nuclear weapons to deter all enemies, and if deterrence failed, to win wars so rapidly, mobilization would not be needed. He downgraded the Director of the Office of Defense Mobilization from Cabinet rank, and did not reappoint him to the National Security Council (Eisenhower did add the Secretary of the Treasury, however). During his administrations he created an office of Civil Defense and merged it with the mobilization agency creating an Office of Civil Defense and Mobilization. For eight years mobilization was not a priority of the government, and it did not become one during the John F. Kennedy/Lyndon B. Johnson/Richard M. Nixon administrations. By this point the Congress had passed and the President had promulgated through Executive Orders 470 provisions of federal law that delegated extraordinary authority to the President in time of national emergency, and not all of the provisions (for example, the Defense Production Act’s priorities and allocations provisions) required a formal declaration of national emergency to be operative. The National Emergencies Act was passed by the Congress to put limits on Presidential authority.

The next President, Jimmy Carter, in 1979, promulgated Executive Order 12148 making the Office of Civil Defense and Mobilization the nucleus of his newly established Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) which dealt with all manner of emergencies—tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, forest fires, etc-- including war. There were no major wars during the Carter and Ronald Reagan Administrations, and the first test of FEMA’s Mobilization organization was during Operations DESERT STORM/DESERT SHIELD.

Before and during the Gulf War there was an organization in government titled the Emergency Planning/Mobilization Preparedness Policy Coordinating Committee, chaired by the FEMA Director. It coordinated Gulf War mobilization actions. It no longer exists and has not existed since 1993. During that war there were 135 Defense Priority and Allocation System actions taken, coordinated by FEMA’s mobilization officers. these are There have been Defense Priority and Allocation System actions taken in wars) since then, of course, for example 53 such actions in ALLIED FORCE, but that operation lasted fewer than three months and the force engaged were a fraction of those of DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM. There have also been such actions taken in peacetime, because the Defense Production Act does not require a war or a declaration of emergency to be effected. The point we wish to make here is the notion all wars would be short has not been realized. Now we are engaged in a war for a period of time much longer than officials expected and the premise that all wars in this post Cold War era would be short has been proved invalid. The need for an office in the government, perhaps in FEMA perhaps elsewhere, to plan and coordinate for materiel and material would seem to be apparent.

There are two extant Executive Orders affecting mobilization we should be familiar with. President Reagan in November 1988 issued Executive Order 12656 which assigned emergency preparedness responsibilities for any national emergency situation. FEMA, according to this Executive Order is the advisor to the National Security Council on dealing with emergencies and coordinates implementation of policies and plans for efficient mobilization of resources. But since the Bill Clinton Administration, there is no division of FEMA, nor any component of DHS, no any other civil Executive Branch organization responsible for dealing with mobilizing for armed conflict or large scale catastrophic events. If you think that responsibility is embedded somewhere in the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, P.L. 100-707 which amend in part, supplemented in part,and revoked in part the Disaster Relief Act of 1973, P.L. 93-288 you are wrong. That is, there is nobody presently in FEMA assigned the responsibility to advise the Director or the National Security Council on wartime mobilization. Oddly a Reagan era National Security Decision Directive-#47 is still partially in effect. Clinton signed Executive Order 12919 in June 1994 titled National Defense Industrial Resources Preparedness. The Defense Production Act authorities that periodically expire were extended by statute for five years at the end of September 2009. There is however no specific mobilization Executive Order in effect. My suggestion would be to update and incorporate NSDD-47 into an Executive Order.