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I appreciate the welcome comments and the feedback. Thanks!

freedom: I think you misunderstand what I’m saying. The plan isn’t to secure 320M people. It’s to secure strategic locations, and the rest can fend for themselves. This is conjecture, based on my knowledge and experience, but I would expect the first locations to be secured would be Atlanta, San Diego, Seattle, probably Baltimore (maybe Boston), and Chicago. Other high priority cities would be Denver, maybe Omaha, and San Antonio (maybe Dallas or Houston instead). I didn’t just pull these cities out of thin air. These are strategic locations with a dense standing military population. They also happen to closely correspond with the headquarters of FEMA’s regional offices.(http://www.fema.gov/regional-operations) So the nation has already been sectorized, and any occupied city would be as well. It wouldn’t be a matter of guarding or overwatching every citizen; it would be corraling the compliant and confining the noncompliant.

Once those centers are secured, then the government forces could push outwards and start to reestablish control of the “outlands”. Yes, it could take years, depending on the nature of the disaster and populace reaction to it, but this wouldn’t take anywhere near 10M troops, and I assume your estimate of a 1M troop attrition rate in the first year is hyperbole. Our current active duty military strength is only ~1.4M troops, and many of those are in support roles, not combat roles. During the Revolutionary War, only ~3% of the colonists actively fought in the war. Even in the Civil War, only ~10% fought (counting both the Union and Confeferate Forces and excluding slaves from the total population). Even taking into account our relatively low percentage of active military members (not counting Reserve components or National Guard), we managed to fight two major land wars (Afghanistan and Iraq) and still send troops to Katrina in “support”.

Also keep in mind I’m talking about a legitimate disaster response, not a coup. The military members’ response would be completely different in those two situations. a Naval officer conducted a survey at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center 29 Palms, CA. Some of the questions were, in effect, “Would you be willing to obey the orders of UN officials if you were assigned to their unit” and “Would you be willing to use lethal force against US citizens who refused to comply with a weapon confiscation plan enacted by the the US Government.” Different people react differently to the numbers (personally, I was disheartened by the responses), but a deeper analysis basically showed that an overwhelming majority of the senior enlisted personnel answered in a manner supporting the Constitution, and it was the junior enlisted who skewed the overall statistics away from Constitutional thinking. That tells me you’re right, during a coup, many military units would crumble due to refusal to obey unlawful orders, or even open insurrection. However, looking at the Katrina response, if the troops believe they are responding to a legitimate disaster, few would hesitate to take drastic and extreme measures to ensure their own safety and the accomplishment of their mission. Martial law was never officially declared in that response (the Governer of LA did declare a “police state”, which could be interpreted as being synonymous), but due to subversive and criminal elements in the area, the troops followed orders to disarm all citizens, including lawful ones, to ensure a safe environment. Very few questioned this order. I heard a rumor that one National Guard unit was dissolved because the soldiers refused to participate in weapons confiscation, but I haven’t been able to verify any reliable information.

Another factoid to keep in mind is a government response on US soil would not be restricted to military troops. Don’t forget Obama saying, “We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives we’ve set. We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.” DHS would be heavily involved and ultimately in charge of any response in the states. I’m not one to think the powers that be wake up in the morning and plot our subjugation, but even I have to scratch my head at the ammo orders made by DHS in the last couple of years. You don’t use hollow point ammunition for training, and the Geneva Convention prohibits their use in wartime, so…..?

As far as gradual versus sudden, again, I’m not convinced our government is scheming to undermine our freedom (though I’m not unconvinced, either), but a combination of the two approaches would be the most effective. Gradually and slowly erode the very concept of liberty versus security, and once the population has reached a tipping point, hit with a sudden and shocking event to coalesce them into a common cause and demonstrate the need for change. You don’t want it to be too gradual, or people will begin to see through it. If you make it too sudden, you face culture shock and resistance. You have to make the people think it was their idea.