Phil Carter has an interesting post about a rumored proposal to create a permanent peacekeeping force within the US military. He ends by asking,

Why doesn’t the Army just do this on its own? Why not realign part of the force structure to build brigade-sized task forces of MPs, Civil Affairs, Engineers, Medical and other specialty units needed for peacekeeping?

The answer lies in the culture of the US military. While we’ve done variants on peacekeeping throughout our history, the post-World War II Army has little use for it, thinking it beneath the dignity of professional warriors. Furthermore, the type of forces Phil mentions, with the possible exception of Engineers, are not viewed as legitimate members of the the profession of arms. So, while those forces are critical for the types of missions that are the modal posture of our armed forces, they are neglected. Also, given budget constraints, any increase in the allotment of Rear Echelon So-and-Sos would come out of the hide of mechanized infantry and heavy armor forces that, while less frequently called upon, require the most lead time in procurement and training.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.