Two if by Sea – The New York Naval Militia: Homeland Security’s Nautical Roots
By Steven Christopher Ippolito
Dedicated to the
Patriotic Men and Women of the New York Naval Militia,
-- and --
Commander John Joseph Trombetta, Ph.D. (U. S. Navy, Ret.; New York Naval Militia)
The general line of policy pursued by the State during the past should not be changed. The personnel of the Naval Militia [are] well fitted to defend the immediate coast of the State. If it be desired to perfect the officers and men for deep-sea duty, the general government must provide suitable tools in the way of modern ships. This has been recommended by me in many annual reports.
Captain J. W. Miller, New York Naval Militia
Report to the Adjutant General on the War with Spain - 1898
In order to succeed in conflict, competency, anticipation, and initiative are required to ensure success.
Robert L. Wolf
Major General, New York State Naval Militia (NYNM)
(personal communication, 10 October 2014)
The most a wise statesman can do is imagine his ship of state on an infinite sea, with no port behind and no destination ahead, his sole responsibility being to weather the storms certain to come, and keep the ship on an even keel so long as he has the bridge.
Walter A. McDougall (2010)
The Battle of Lake Champlain, a furious naval clash between British and American sea power, was fought over a three-day period, 11 October 1776 – 13 October 1776, on an otherwise peaceful New York lake. A non-linear test of wills, Champlain was a strategic pivot point in the early days of the American War for Independence (1775-1784). In outcome, Lake Champlain was a tactical defeat for the American militiamen who waged it. However, the verdict of military history is also clear that Champlain was not devoid of military value for the American side; in fact, it was also an authentically transformative moment in the American militia experience.
At Lake Champlain, the United States military Americans successfully demonstrated that a purely land-based militia could be re-conceptualized as an authentic naval militia. Beyond that, Champlain was the “only successful fleet action of [October] 1776 fought by the Americans’ brown-water squadron” (Hagan, 1991, p. 6). The unique dimensions of the battle would seem to require an inquiry into the transformative role of the American militia, then and now. Moreover, echoes of the battle’s non-linear character, and its significance for the concept of militia, can be observed today in the institution of the modern New York State Naval Militia – a highly effective organization in the vanguard of contemporary homeland security (Haunss, 2004). An examination of these realities is, therefore, the immediate purpose in this the first of a series of essays on the New York Naval Militia, its history, and its modern application in securing the American homeland in the post-11 September 2001 (9/11) security environment (Hamre, 2000; Newmann, 2002)
Lake Champlain: Antecedent and Consequent Realities
A year before the Battle of Lake Champlain, 1775, American troops under General Philip Schuyler and Richard Montgomery attempted to seize Canada. However, in this objective, they would not be victorious. After laying an unsuccessful siege to Quebec (Daene, 2011), the Americans were defeated by British defenders and forced into a disorderly retreat to the shelter of Fort Ticonderoga (Fischer, 2004; Hagan, 1991). Emboldened by their success against the American incursion into Canada, the British promptly went on the attack to engage the bulk of the fleeing rebels’ force, not only to destroy them, but also to move farther south, in order to cut off communications between Washington and his troops in upstate New York, and, ultimately, to cap-ture George Washington, himself, and destroy the Continental Army.
Less than two months earlier, Washington and his troops had been severely mauled in a series of defeats suffered at Long Island, Brooklyn Heights, Harlem Heights, and White Plains. Now, depleted and on the run from the Crown’s combined land and sea forces under General William Howe and his brother, Admiral Richard Howe, Washington and the tattered Continentals sought to escape to New Jersey with what remnants of his wounded Army remained battle-worthy. Militarily, the mood was a somber one. In both northern and southern New York, the American military strategy – aside from not working – had resulted in the Yankee rebels reduced to playing fox to the British hounds (Fischer, 2004; Kilmeade & Yeager, 2013, Leckie, 1992; Rose, 2006/2014).
As if the loss of most of New York weren’t bad enough, Washington’s autumn was about to get worse. While the defeat at the Battle of Brooklyn had been a blow, the retreat had gone better than planned. Washington’s next endeavor would not be so fortunate, ending instead in disaster (Kilmeade & Yeager, 2013, p. 15).
Further north, things weren’t much better, either. The time of the year was 1776. The waning month of October were giving way to the approach of winter and a New Year; and as the coming frost of November gathered strength in the changing seasons’ hidden lairs, the forbidding symbolism of wintry cold must have seemed an ill omen for the Americans.
Now, after Washington’s losses and the failure of the Canadian operation, victory for the United States must have seemed a far-away prospect, particularly as the British appeared to be on the verge of cutting the slender thread separating mere survival from catastrophic defeat with the cut of a Highlander’s broadsword. Militarily, nothing was certain. Especially for Washing-ton’s disheartened -- yet freedom-loving troops -- the time of this most bloody of seasons, would come, presently, to gnaw at their patriotism (Fischer, 2004; Leckie, 1992; Kilmeade & Yaeger, 2013; Rose, 2006/2014).
Anyone who has made a night march will recognize the scene. The weary men stumbled forward in mud and rain. Many were so tired that they scarcely seemed to care what happened to them. The American position was a sea of mud, and the guns sank to their hubs. Small cannon were dragged away by great effort. The larger ones were left behind (Fischer, 2004, p. 100).
But if there was doubt, there was also hope. The winter season, always the bane of military operations, would prove to be the secret ally of the embattled militiamen’s American cause. The winter of 1776 would slow the British advance; and it would contribute mightily towards saving the American Revolution. But it would not do so alone. Whether Washington was cognizant of it or not, he had unseen protectors to the north. There, only the militiamen of New York and New England, like guardian angels, stood in the way of a complete British triumph, and the destruction of the American cause (Fischer, 2004). Moreover, a minor Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) was about to be introduced into the American struggle for freedom (Parker, 2007; Roberts, 1956).
The desperate situation on Lake Champlain for American freedom fighters would lead to a unique military emergence -- the transformation of land militia into a maritime warfighting force (Edmunds, 2014; Haunss, 2004). Prompted by the British advance to the south, the Americans had no alternative but to take to the water. In the process, a de facto naval militia was born in upstate New York, in the midst of defeats everywhere, and as fall prepared to yield to winter, Anno Domini, 1776 (Black, 1994, 2004, 2008; Bobbitt, 2009; Cohen, 1996, 2004; Kagan, 1995; Lynn, 1996).
Major General Philip Schuyler commanded the troops at Lake Champlain, just as he did in the attempt to seize Canada for the United States. A New York State native, Schuyler, unfortunately, was not an inspiring leader. Plagued by chronic indecision that vitiated his effectiveness as a leader, the general was also not in good health. Moreover, in October 1776, when morale and cohesion were already diminished amongst Schuyler’s troops, it is not clear that matters would have improved, even if Schuyler had the physical strength to effectively command troops in battle, and his leadership of the militias had been exemplary. To compound matters, there was endless bickering in the ranks, particularly between the unruly New Englanders and the New York contingent of militia, a schism that threatened to render his embattled militia force combat ineffective (Hagan, 1991). Prudentially, however, and in order to forestall the onset of unwanted Clausewitzian friction that threatened the integrity of his force, General Schuyler opted to transfer operational command to his talented subordinate -- General Benedict Arnold (Hagan, 1991).
Today, Benedict Arnold’s martial legacy is one of infamous reputation. His treason and betrayal of the American cause would come later. But at Lake Champlain, General Arnold would demonstrate “exemplary judgment and bravery” (Hagan, 1991, p. 8). Now, with the British moving southward under the command of Captain Charles Douglas -- the officer who helped break the American siege of Quebec, earlier in the year – Arnold began to build a naval fleet, as per “Congress’s instructions to build a squadron ‘sufficient to make us indisputably masters of the lakes Champlain and George” (Hagan, 1991, p. 7). British intelligence reports about Arnold’s shipbuilding program induced the British to deploy their own fleet on Lake Champlain to meet Arnold’s challenge in response (Fischer, 2004).
The “sailors” of General Arnold’s fleet were primarily New York and New England militiamen -- a “’wretched motley crew…few of [whom] ever met with salt water’” (Hagan, 1991, p. 7). But before long, they would get a rather powerful dose of war in the nautical dimension, when the American and British fleets made contact on Lake Champlain, between 11 October 1776 and 13 October 1776. In this three-day period, a naval engagement erupted on the otherwise tranquil waters of upstate New York that would yield significant results – the Battle of Lake Champlain was about to enter military history (Hagan, 1991).
Lake Champlain transformed land-based colonial militiamen into ad hoc sailors, who would not only confront a superior enemy, but would also give a very good account of themselves in battle (Hagan, 1991). Benedict Arnold  – notwithstanding his own inexperience in naval warfare -- was very much in the thick of the action. Throughout the engagement, Arnold could be seen rallying his men, barking orders amidst the gunfire, and even aiming and firing the cannon when necessary. Hagan (1991) has described Arnold’s martial performance, as “robust, fearless, intelligent, ambitious, and imaginative” (p. 7).
The American “fleet,” on Lake Champlain consisted of 15 ships in total: a single “sloop, two schooners, eight gundalows, and four galleys…[that mounted] a total of about ninety cannon” (Hagan, 1991, p. 7). Arrayed against them, under the overall command of the Captain Charles Douglas, were the “seasoned veterans of the British Navy” (Hagan, 1991, p. 7). In operational command of the British fleet was Lieutenant Thomas Pringle, a highly competent officer. Pringle would acquit himself rather well at Lake Champlain. But as naval engagements are generally measured, Champlain was a lopsided clash of David and Goliath proportions. The Royal Navy would claim, rightfully, a hard-fought victory that gave the British subsequent con-trol of “the waterways from Quebec and Montreal to Fort Ticonderoga” (Hagan, 1991, p. 8).
Fifteen American vessels went into action in October 1776. Ten would be destroyed, outright, and 80 men of the American fleet were killed. Toward the battle’s end, General Arnold was left in command of a mere five vessels. Contending with heavy losses, the virtual destruction of makeshift fleet, and his own possible death, Arnold, nevertheless, refused all British demands to surrender. Like another controversial war hero, John Paul Jones, Arnold would not strike his colors (Hagan, 1991). But when an opportunity for survival by escape and evasion had presented itself, Arnold took full advantage of it. For “two nights and a day, he [Arnold] eluded the hounds, abandoning and burning his vessels as he fled” (Hagan, 1991, p. 8). Then, on 13 October 1776, Arnold set his flagship, the Congress, aflame; he also burned “his remaining gunboats and [then] raced through the woods to Fort Ticonderoga, only footfalls ahead of ‘the Savages who waylaid the Road in two Hours after we passed’” (Hagan, 1991, p. 8). General Sir Guy Carleton pursued Arnold and the Americans. Fortunately, Arnold, like most of his men, was fleet of foot, and the surviving troops escaped safely to fort Ticonderoga (Hagan, 1991). The surviving American militiamen, now naval militiamen, escaped the British dragnet. In the process, they had blocked the British momentum to the south, where, it was hoped, the Crown might coordinate its efforts with the British forces under General William Howe, commander of the British Army, and his brother, Admiral Lord Richard Howe in charge of British sea forces. The brothers Howe were both aristocrats from an illustrious family in Nottinghamshire. They were trusted, veteran warfighters, and strategically, their plan to deal with Washington was both bold and well conceived; they would pursue Washington and crush the rebellion with Douglas’ forces coming from the north (Fischer, 2004). But because Arnold’s militiamen had slowed the British advance, that critical linkage would never occur. For a brief, tenuous moment, Washing-ton was safe, Arnold had escaped, and the Battle of Lake Champlain, 11 October – 13 October 1776 – ended in a somewhat oblique English triumph.
England, nevertheless, rejoiced at the victory of John Bull Goliath over the Yankee David. At home, Captain Douglas was acclaimed a hero, “content that ‘things’ had been ‘brought to so glorious a conclusion on Lake Champlain’ in the campaign of 1776. Yet, Lake Champlain was a strategic boon to the Americans as well.
The oncoming weather conditions made it impossible for Lieutenant Pringle to pursue Arnold to Fort Ticonderoga, or, for that matter, George Washington and the Continental Army farther south. Benedict Arnold’s “frenzied construction of a squadron, [prior to the battle, had] forced a similar exertion by the British; the British need to construct their own fleet delayed the Carleton-Pringle advance for at least four weeks” (Hagan, 1991, p. 8). The winter of 1776 was already preparing to blanket New England and northern New York. When, finally, it seemed possible to march south, the British “decided that it was too late to attack Fort Ticonderoga that year and retired to winter quarters in Montreal” (Hagan, 1991, p. 8).
Fortuna  had handed the Americans force a military reprieve. Arnold and his troops survived Lake Champlain. But farther south, in New York, “things could not have gone
any worse for the Continental Army and both sides knew it” (Kilmeade & Yeager, 2013, p. 11). However, in order to grasp the severity of Washington’s situation, it is necessary to examine the events that occurred before Champlain, in late summer of 1776, and even earlier in Boston, 1775.
Washington and Howe in Boston -- 1775.
The British operations in Boston led by William Howe against Washington and his New England militiamen were tactically successful. However, in human terms, one wonders if “success” or “victory” is an appropriate word for the price of 900 British dead that General Howe was forced to pay at Bunker Hill, in order to drive the Americans away. On 17 June 1775, Howe would assault the American position at Bunker Hill, three times, intending to crush the “American peasants,” as he contemptuously regarded them (Fischer, 2004, p. 72). But by the end of the engagement, Bunker Hill would become a virtual British war cemetery. It was only on the third time that the British succeeded, and not before almost all the thick grass on the hill had been virtually turned red with blood (Fischer, 2004). On the last effort to take Bunker Hill, in a gesture of military solidarity with his beleaguered troops, General Howe personally joined the attack. In authentically genteel, aristocratic British fashion, Howe ascended Bunker’s Hill, striding bravely and indifferently amidst the withering American musket fire, urging his men onward. To the Americans at the hill’s summit, he must have seemed a courageously improbable sight, “followed by a servant carrying a wine decanter on a silver tray” (Fischer, 2004, p. 72). Improbable or not, it would later lead to Howe’s reputation as a war leader who was all “’fire and activity, as brave and cool as Julius Caesar’” (Fischer, 2004, p. 73). In General Sir William Howe, one meets a general, indifferent enough to militiamen bullets to the point of sipping wine in a violent battle; perhaps this was the key to his victory that day.
The British took the hill at the last attempt; Howe, himself, was not so much as scratched, in his ascent to the summit, “but Bunker Hill had a profound effect on him,” one that would remain with him when he clashed with Washington the following year in New York (Fischer, 2004, p. 72), especially given the loss of 900 British regulars, dead or wounded. General Henry Lee, who later wrote a book about the American Revolution, opined that “’the sad and impressive experience of this murderous day sunk deep into the mind of Sir William Howe; and it…[influenced] all his subsequent operations with decisive control’” (Fischer, 2004, p. 72). Howe was promoted to the rank of Commander-in-Chief of all British forces in North America, for his victory at Bunker Hill. But in the aftermath of Bunker Hill, he would be ever after cautious before engaging George Washington too carelessly in the future. When the British left New England, not long after the events at Bunker Hill, to mount operations in New York, Howe would remember what he had seen in Boston, the losses he had suffered, and the lethal potentiality of American militiamen.
At the same time, Washington, flush with the confidence of having driven out the British from Boston – an optimism that was not precisely justifiable, according to the actual facts -- followed Howe to New York (Fischer, 2004). Somewhat over-optimistically, “many Americans thought that the war was over, and the hero of the hour was General Washington” (Fischer, 2004, p. 9). Though partially true, the Americans success Washington thought had been achieved in Boston would not be replicated in Tory New York (Kilmeade & Yeager, 2013). Indeed, at the end of August 1776, this unfortunate military reality had come in upon the Americans. Washington’s circumstances in New York devolved dramatically from what they had been in Boston: The Commander-in-Chief was trapped in Brooklyn Heights, after 300 of his men were killed fighting the British and German Hessian mercenaries; another 700 had been captured, and an additional 1,000 had been captured. Washington, as he did so often in the Revolution, sought victory by not losing, and, frequently, by escaping, simply to survive. This time, however, escape to Manhattan would not prove Washington’s salvation either (Fischer, 2004; Leckie, 1992; Kilmeade & Yeager, 2013).
The fighting had taken Washington across the East River, but now he was essentially trapped in Brooklyn Heights, surrounded by the British and with no way to escape. If his troops pursued a retreat by land, they would walk directly into the British camps…If they took to the water to escape to Patriot-held Manhattan, they would be sitting ducks as the British fired cannonballs into the rowboats….Just like that, the Revolution was all but over…Washington had been entrusted with the hopes, dreams, lives, and futures of every American Patriot – and he was standing on the brink of failure (Kilmeade & Yeager, 2013, p. 11).
However, the military situation for the Americans could have been infinitely more disastrous in the immediate future had Arnold and his militiamen not slowed the British juggernaut, as it rolled through New York. Absent Lake Champlain, and the role of the militia-on-the-sea, Washington could also have found himself squeezed from the north by Douglas and Pringle, and from the south by Howe’s forces, now in hot pursuit of the Continentals. Yet, just as the waters of New York would save Arnold in October and the American cause from Douglas and Pringle, the water would again save America in the south from the brothers Howe (Fischer, 2004). It would also prove the means by which the American dreams of liberty would be allowed to es-cape destruction (Fischer, 2004).
“As night fell on the evening of 29 August, “Washington was near despair, but he was also a man of faith” (Kilmeade & Yeager, 2013, p. 12). Clearly, the answer to his immediate tactical problem lay in the sea; “escape by water was the only chance” (Kilmeade & Yeager, 2013, p. 12). As he would do later in New Jersey, “Washington oversaw the efforts to ferry his army…safely across the water under the cover of darkness” (Kilmeade & Yeager, 2013, p. 12).
Colonel Benjamin Tallmadge, a young dragoon officer from Connecticut attached to Washington’s staff, witnessed Washington’s masterful coordination of the American retreat by sea (Fischer, 2004; Killmeade & Yeager, 2013; Rose, 2006/2014). Tallmadge would say of it later: “’It was one of the most anxious, busy nights that I ever recollect’” (Fischer, 2004, p. 100). After more fighting and maneuvering-by-subterfuge, the Americans slipped away reach New Jersey. Temporarily, the Continentals managed to put some breathing space between themselves and the British, thanks to the frigid Delaware River. All the while, however, the relentless General Sir William Howe and Admiral Richard Howe pursued Washington and his ravaged Army with singular purpose (Fischer, 2004). But thanks to the courage and military skill of Benedict Arnold and the militia – the British, rather temporarily, were no longer an immediate threat (Fischer, 2004; Haunss, 2004). “The [critical] delay [for Washington], with all that it involved, was obtained by the Lake Champlain battle of 1776’” (Hagan, 1991, p. 9). As a result, Washington’s weary force would live to fight again at the Battle of Trenton where they mounted a successful surprise attack on the Hessians in New Jersey, on Christmas 1776 (Fischer, 2004; Hagan, 1991). The Commander-in-Chief’s stunning winter victory in New Jersey – accomplished in winter, when 18th century armies rarely fought -- reinvigorated not only Washington’s Army, but also the American cause, itself (Hagan, 1991).
Fortuna, indeed, had smiled on the American patriotic struggle; and in the immediate short term, it would prove to be a solid streak of running good luck, in three important respects. First, General John Burgoyne surrendered the following year at Saratoga to the Americans; secondly, the French, now quite convinced that the Americans could take on the might of the British Empire and win, decided to enter the war in an alliance with the Americans in 1778. A third reason, not immediately obvious, then or now, was the transformation of the militia into a seagoing force that would take to the decks of warships to fight not only on land but on the sea, as well. At Lake Champlain the Americans inadvertently created a new tactical disposition – a de facto naval militia  ((Haunss, 2004).
Lake Champlain: Birth of the Naval Militia Concept.
The archetypal root of the modern day naval militia of New York and other states can be understood through the modern science of Complexity Theory (Edmunds, 2014; Louth, 2011; Lowney, 2011). The transformation of a land-based militia into a nautical fighting force under Benedict Arnold fairly well describes the phenomenon of military emergence (Edmunds, 2014). Because emergence is always the result of an attempt to resolve a pressing problem (Lonergan, 1958/1974), and because it was by necessity that militiamen became ad-hoc shipwrights in October 1776, in order to take their fighting skills to the waters of Lake Champlain, the naval militia, conceptually, came into being as an emergent military reality (Edmunds, 2014). Not only was this new tactical disposition of naval militia responsible for handing the British a pyrrhic victory at Lake Champlain, it also contributed mightily to saving the American Revolution. Lake Champlain would prompt Alfred Thayer Mahan  (Biographies in Naval History, n.d.) to write many years later: “’The little American [naval militia] on Champlain was wiped out; but never had any force, big or small lived to better purpose or died more gloriously, for it had saved the Lake for that year’” (Hagan, 1991, p. 8).
The present paper assumes that civilian readers have a cursory understanding of the concept of militia, though any discussion of the naval militia and nautical dimension of homeland security may be conceptually new in the post-9/11 world. Initially, the present paper was fairly large, close to 100 pages; but for simplicity, it has been cut down into a series of articles, dealing with various aspects of the topic. The overall purpose of these essays, therefore, is threefold: First: to discuss the history and mission statement of the New York State Naval Militia as a model for all subsequent naval militia organizations in the future; and as a successful attempt to realize in practice what Hamre (2000) referred to as a unified theory of homeland security and defense in the 21st century. Newmann (2002) intended something similar when he des-cribed homeland security as a subset of national security, where subset implies a critical linkage between concepts that were originally separate and discrete. Newmann’s view explains the com-bined federal-state orientation of the Naval Militia, but also three-tiered structure of the State Defense Forces, the Federal Reserve forces, the National Guard, and the various Militias (Dwyer, 2012; Hamre, 2000; Newmann, 2002; Haunss, 2004; CDR J.J. Trombetta, NYNM, personal communication, January 26, 2014).
Secondly, it is to discuss the general concept of militia in military history, in order to relate the militia concept to the history and modus operandi of the modern New York State Naval Militia (NYNM). Thirdly, and primarily as a consequence of the new security environment in the post-9/11world, it seemed necessary to explore the nautical dimension of militia, as a critical component of modern security environment, in order to grasp the Revolutionary War roots of homeland security. George Washington’s use of the militia in the War for Independence Revolution, and the Commander-in-Chief’s contribution to the naval war of that conflict, represents facts not generally known or appreciated by Americans (Nelson, 2008).
In the post-9/11 environment, the concept of a naval militia requires a new look (Haunss, 2004). Its contribution to the maritime dimension of homeland security is unmistakable, particularly in the rather unique kind of safety the naval militia offers the citizens of New York State and the Executive Department: seacurity (van de Voort, O’Brien, Rahman, & Valeri, 2006). This curious neologism, seacurity, an amalgamation of the variables, sea and security, implies protection and security by means of the sea (van de Voort, et al., 2006). When practiced by the modern day Naval Militia, it is a powerful way to secure the blessings of liberty for posterity, and to secure the common defense for all Americans in all times, but especially in the post-9/11 world strategic environment, where the nautical dimension of homeland security is a vital sub-system (Balunis & Hemphill, 2011; Bellavita, 2008; National Commission on Terrorist Attacks, 2004). One can describe the present paper, therefore, as an example of military apologetics  (Merriam-Webster, n.d.). It seeks to emphasize the importance of the maritime dimension of strategy and security, and, especially, for the concept of the Naval Militia in its struggle with contemporary terrorism.
Homeland Security and the Militia -- To Secure the Common Defense
The 9/11 al-Qaeda attacks upon the American homeland revealed the stark and dangerously idiosyncratic nature of post-Cold War Islamist terrorism (Kilcullen, 2004). In the words of a career Special Force officer and author, Brigadier General Russell D. Howard, (U.S. Army, RET.), 9/11 represented a “new terrorism” (Howard, 2006, p. 4). America had not seen terrorism of this type or magnitude before: “In the past, ‘terrorists wanted a lot of people watching, not a lot of people dead’” (Howard, 2006, p. 7). Al-Qaeda’s incursion into the American homeland demonstrated that the new terrorism of al-Qaeda and similar non-state actors was not simply a transnational criminal conspiracy, but, rather, an emergent reality emanating from a globalized world. In 9/11, asymmetric, hybrid warfighting descended upon a mostly civilian population of non-combatants, fueled by the aspirations of so-called virtual states (Bobbitt, 2009; Hoffman, 2010; Howard, 2006; Kilcullen, 2004; National Commission on Terrorist Attacks, 2004).
“Today’s terrorists are not particularly concerned about converts, and rather than wanting a seat at the table,” according to General Howard, “‘they want to destroy the table and everyone sitting at it’” (Howard, 2006, p. 7). Al-Qaeda’s attack would force a new interpretation of the strategic environment (National Com-mission, 2004). If there was any doubt that the Cold War was now over, and strategic doctrines like containment would no longer suffice, the al-Qaeda attack would quickly disabuse policy makers of that fallacy. A new concept of security was born almost immediately, post-9/11, homeland security (Hamre, 2000; Hoffman, 2010; Howard, 2006; National Commission on Terrorist Attacks, 2004; Newmann, 2002).
As a variable of strategic and security thinking, homeland was probably always implicitly understood, but until 9/11, it was explicitly absent in American strategic theory, except in terms of law enforcement and espionage. Prior to 9/11, dramatic examples of attacks upon the homeland were no more than historical relics: the destruction of the White House by British troops in 1814 (War of 1812), was one; the other, the Japanese attack upon Pearl Harbor in 1941 (Gaddis, 2002, p. 50). In reflection, John Gaddis (2002), one of the deans of American grand strategic thinking, opined: “Such attacks are fortunately rare in American history” (p. 50). True or not, it was hardly a comforting thought to those suffering the anomic whirlwind of the al-Qaeda invasion. What was important about 9/11was its significance as a critical focusing event (Birkland, 2009a, 2009b), and the manner in which it helped “prepare the way for a new consideration of grand strategy” (Gaddis, 2002, p. 50).
President George W. Bush articulated the developing strategic understanding of the Global War on Terror (GWT) in his first National Security Strategy (The White House, 2002). Post-9/11, the Bush Administration concluded that the major powers of the International System were no longer the only source of danger in the modern world (Stolberg, 2006, 2012). Now, non-state actors like al-Qaeda, the so-called virtual states, could also claim that dubious honor. In response to the collapse of the Soviet Union and international communism, the International Order had undergone a multi-layered strategic-political transformation; and in this new environment, highly suspect terrorist elements had undergone a kind of political metastasis (Bobbitt, 2009; Kilcullen, 2004).
A new kind of state formation had emerged in keeping with the principles of Complexity (Bobbitt, 2002, 2009; Edmunds, 2014). The criminogenic, terroristic, virtual state, organized according to the principles of globalization, and predicated on new technologies, particularly advancements in communication (Kilcullen, 2004). Now, instant forms of communication were available, allowing for the transmission of information, virtually immediately, through the use of fax machines, cell phones, and most importantly, the Internet. Such technologies were of great advantages to average citizens. But they were also capable of becoming weaponized when utilized by modern terrorists, transnational organized criminals, and other non-state actors, the dwellers within the so-called virtual states. In the process, these non-state actors were now capable of inflicting the type of damage and the degree of fear once reserved for the most dangerous players in the International System (Bobbitt, 2009; Kilcullen, 2004; Stolberg, 2012).
Additionally, the post-Cold War impact of globalization and the collapse of the Soviet Union allowed for the unipolar moment of the United States as the sole superpower (McDougall, 2010). Historian, Francis Fukuyama, even referred to this radical change as the end of history (Philips, 2008). But below the surface of world events, a new terrorism, predicated on networked cell structures, and more nihilistically destructive than the terrorism of the Cold War era, was in the offing (Howard, 2006). The new terror networks did not distinguish between civilians or soldiers, a point made clear in President George W. Bush’s National Security Strategy (NSS) of 2002:
[S]hadowy networks of individuals can bring great chaos and suffering to our shores for less than it costs to purchase a single tank. Terrorists are organized to penetrate open societies and to turn the power of modern technologies against us (The White House, 2002, p. 1).
The Cold War strategic thinking of containment -- the doctrinal thinking that guided President Harry Truman, George Kennan, and Paul Nitze in their battles against international communism – was already passé by the time the Soviet Union fell. In the battles that loomed ahead in America’s struggles with Islamist fundamentalism, containment – indeed, virtually all prior American grand strategic visions -- would prove insufficient (Gaddis, 2002). Unfortunately, some strategists would not easily part with the past (Martel, 2012). After 9/11, it was unclear what America should do in the light of the new international developments that had occurred, seemingly overnight. Some even wondered if America was still capable of Grand Strategic theorizing (McDougall, 2010).
Post-1945, the Cold War strategic design did not countenance the emergence of terror-centric systems like al-Qaeda (Gaddis, 2002). The earlier national security thinking only “assumed the existence of identifiable regimes…from identifiable territories. But in the current situation, thinkers like John Gaddis asked: ‘How, though, do you contain a shadow?’” (Gaddis, 2002, p. 51). Almost immediately, the new apostles of unmitigated terrorism proved that even shadows could kill with destructive malevolence, through a hybrid union of transnational organized crime and irregular warfare (Hoffman, 2010). The failure of the West to anticipate this development was an indictment of the United States’ strategic deficit, a breakdown that clearly held profound implications. But it was a deficit that perhaps could have been prevented (National Commission, 2004).
Sixteen months before 9/11, Under Secretary of Defense, John Hamre, clearly anticipated the dangers from individuals like Osama bin Laden. In a lecture, before the Army War College in 2000, Hamre had not only mentioned Osama bin Laden by name, as a rather dangerous adversary to be watched and taken with the utmost seriousness, he also advocated a new and unified theory of homeland defense (Hamre, 2000). William W. Newmann (2002) echoed these views hypothesizing that homeland security was, in fact, a subset of national security. Hamre (2000), Newmann (2002) and others would come to accept the new thinking that called for a homeland-based security paradigm; but what emerged did not necessarily enjoy a consensus of opinion, nor were these the only prophetic voices crying out in the strategic wilderness of the post-Cold War world. Others, too, had sounded the security alarm bell (Bellavita, 2008; Brattenberg, 2012; Hagan, 1991; Hoffman, 2010; Kemp, 2012; Millet & Maslowski, 1984/1994; National Commission on Terrorist Attacks, 2004).
Two official commissions of the 1990s, the Gilmore Commission and the Bremer Com-mission had also recognized the necessity of defending the homeland as a specific construct of the security environment (Bullock, Haddow, & Coppola, 2013). The Gilmore Commission, as early as 1999, addressed the issue of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The Bremer Commission (The National Commission on Terrorism) also considered “the issue of the international terrorist threat” (Bullock et al., 2013, p. 32). Finally, a third body, The Hart-Rudman Commission (The United States Commission on National Security/21st Century), a 14-member panel convened in 1998 by President Bill Clinton and House Speaker, Newt Gingrich, made “strategic recommendations on how the U.S. government could ensure the nation’s security in the coming years” (Bullock et al., 2013, p. 32).
The Hart-Rudman Commission’s report, Road Map for National Security: Imperative for Change, in January 2000, “recommended the creation of a new independent National Homeland Security Agency (NHSA) with responsibility for planning, coordinating, and integrating various U.S. government activities involved in homeland security” (Bullock et al., 2013, p. 32). The concept was rejected at the time by the American leadership. But in the aftermath of 9/11, “many of its findings would later be integrated into the justification and legislation behind the creation of the DHS” (Bullock et al., 2013, p. 32). Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), one of “the original proponents of a homeland security department (Bullock et al., 2013, p. 11), advocated for such a bureaucracy, in order “to organize domestically against terrorism” (Bullock et al., 2013, p.12). The matter had both proponents and opponents, at all levels of government.
George W. Bush, initially skeptical of a large bureaucratic undertaking, did eventually come to believe “the government should ‘be reorganized to meet the new threats of the 21st century” (Bullock et al., 2013, p. 12). As a matter of historical accuracy, the Homeland Security Act (2002), indeed, the homeland security concept was primarily the concept of Senator Lieberman, though it would eventually bear the imprimatur of President George W. Bush, with whom the concept of homeland security is most often associated with today. Senator Lieberman, nevertheless, whole-heartedly embraced the security efforts of the administration, subsumed under the rubric of a new paradigm, homeland security (Bullock et al., 2013; The White House, 2002).
However, an initial criticism of the new organizational approach to terror and hybrid war was that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was “a hodge-podge without a clear mission or clear authority” (Bullock et al., 2013, p. 13). Homeland Security would eventually absorb 22 federal agencies, and at least 100 sub-agencies. Yet, there was already in existence, a previous “entity that already had a mission somewhat aligned with the emerging notion of homeland security: the National Guard” (Bullock et al., 2013, p. 13). (emphasis added). The National Guard, like the Reserve forces, including the various militias, is part of the State Defense Forces -- about which more will be said later. In the interim, the White House’s problem was that it was uncertain “how to extract the Guard from DoD” (Bullock et al., 2013, p. 13) (emphasis added). That particular matter, however, would have to wait.
In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, America’s people, in Lincolnesque fashion, had first to bind up the nation’s wounds. Citizens from near and far came to help America in her woundedness. But amongst the very first were members of a distinguished, time-honored, though little known organization outside of military circles -- the New York Naval Militia (NYNM), the direct descendant of the militia entity born at Lake Champlain, October 1776 (Haunss, 2004). Major-General Robert L. Wolf, Commanding Officer of the New York Naval Militia, later explained that on 11 September 2001, there was no alternative way to get to Ground Zero, except by the water (Major General R. L. Wolf, personal communication, 10 October 2014). Thus, as they have done since the very beginning, the New York Naval Militia deployed their vessels and went to aid the stricken city of New York, and the United States of America. They would remain at Ground Zero for many months thereafter, long after most of those who volunteered and rendered real help to the city, had left the scene. But this should come as no surprise. Naval Militia personnel are warfighters by training; and warriors do not leave the battlespace until matters are in an adequate state of resolution.
The Naval Militia Mission Statement.
According to its Mission Statement the New York Naval Militia is part of the State Military Forces, and specifically “trained, organized, and equipped for Maritime Domain Operations in the waters of New York State” (New York Naval Militia Mission, n.d., p. 1). The specific “elements” of its mission are (New York Naval Militia Mission, n.d., p. 1):
1. Provide individuals and or detachments for service with National Guard, and or other federal, state and or local municipal agencies as directed.
2. Develop in coordination with DMNA: naval doctrine, tactics, and equipment employed in the support of aid to Civilian Authority under the New York state Department of Military and Naval Affairs, under the Adjutant General and the Executive Department, and under the direct authority of the Governor of New York State:
3. Perform such duties as The Adjutant General may direct (New York Naval Militia Mission, n.d., p. 1).
The “values” of the New York Naval Militia are reminiscent of the self-understanding of the 18th century Revolutionary American militiamen and Continental warfighters under George Washington:
We are competent in our rate, military occupation specialty and /or our civilian occupation.
We have the minuteman mind set, physically fit to respond, sea bag packed for contingencies and personal affairs sorted out for immediate deployment. We are ethically minded and keep our moral compass calibrated. In sum we are volunteers, competent and ethically committed Minutemen/Minutewomen proudly serving in the Military Forces of the State of New York (New York Naval Militia Mission, n.d., p. 1) (emphasis added).
The Maritime Dimension of New York State Security.
According to Major General Robert Wolf, the Commander of the Naval Militia, the New York is overwhelmingly “a maritime state” (Major-General R.L. Wolf, personal communication, 10 October 2014). The State possesses “9,000 miles of shoreline…[and] shares a 330 mile international water border with Canada” (The New York Naval Militia Military Emergency Boat Service, n.d., p. 1). In order to enhance the homeland security mission of the naval militia:
[M]aritime vulnerability assessment and maritime patrol. Due to its inherent stability, it is particularly suited to offshore vessel boarding missions. With an enclosed and heated cabin, it is suitable for year-round operations. The boat is capable of operating on most waters in or contiguous to New York State, with the exception of the smaller rivers (McKnight, 2009, p. 7).
Other vessels in use with NYNM, all constructed in accordance with NYNM speci-fications, are the PB300 Class, PB280 Class, and PB220. Major-General Wolf has emphasized that the specific Areas of Operations (theaters of operation) within the State of New York necessitate the use of these vessels, in order to allow the NYNM to regularly stand-up missions throughout the State.
This fleet of patrol boats was built specifically for the New York Naval Militia. The all-aluminum, high-speed boats operate in waters throughout the state, including the Atlantic Ocean; Lakes Champlain, Ontario, and Erie; the Hudson and Mohawk Rivers, and throughout the state’s canal system. The boats are crewed by Naval Militia men and women; many of who also serve their country in the reserve forces of the United States Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps (The New York Naval Militia Military Emergency Service, n.d., p. 1).
The Triple Commands and Areas of Operation
In order to complete its mission of defending the State of New York, the Naval Militia has created three specific geographic area commands: Northern Command (NORTHCOM), Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), and finally within the western tier of the State (WESTCOM). These area commands have given rise to the specific areas of operation within New York State.
The most densely populated region is the Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), under the command of Colonel Christopher B. Rust, who served previously in the United States Marine Corps. It encompasses New York City, Long Island, and the lower areas of the Hudson Valley.
The Northern Command consists of the Hudson Valley area up to the Canadian Border; 19 specific counties are included in this area; Captain Timothy G. Zakriski is the Commanding Officer of NORTHCOM; and he is a dual veteran of two services, having served previously in both the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Navy. NORTHCOM also works regularly with homeland security and various law enforcement agencies. Many important waterways are found in this area of operations, and there are numerous infrastructure assets that are of major concern in the post-9/11 environment; hence, this is a rather active sector for the naval militia’s defensive efforts.
WESTCOM, under the command of Captain Lance R. Mauro, comprises the waterways and infrastructure in the so-called western tier of New York State, including the central portion of the state. The metropolitan areas of Buffalo, Syracuse, Binghamton, Rochester, and Lakes Ontario and Erie all fall within the purview of WESTCOM. By far, this is the largest area of operations in the state. Captain Mauro is a distinguished United States Navy veteran with a long period of service to the United States.
Personnel and Education.
The men and women of the NYNM are drawn from the service branches that emphasize the nautical dimension of war and security: The U.S. Navy, the United States Marine Corps, and the United States Coast Guard. Like most forward-looking organizations, the NYNM invests in staff development through education, specifically, the Recruitment Incentive and Retention Program (RIRP).
Effective 1 January 1997, any active member of the New York National Guard or Naval Militia, in good standing, is eligible to apply to receive tuition assistance, up to the cost of the State University of New York's (SUNY) maximum in-state undergraduate tuition, at any college, university, or community-technical college in the State of New York rec-ognized and approved by the New York State Board of Regents or State University of New York (New York Naval Militia Education Benefits, n.d., p. 1).
The Naval Militia within the State Defense Forces of New York State
The NYNM, like the National Guard, is a vital component of the State Defense Forces and an essential entity in the State’s war making and defensive-security operations (Dwyer, 2012). “The 9/11 attacks…demonstrated the need for rapid, cost-effective, efficient, and highly-skilled response to municipal, state, or national emergences, as well as…improved homeland defense” (Haunss, 2004, p. 13). The NYNM clearly responded to this need, post-9/11, and in a manner that exemplified bravery and patriotism. In the process, it contributed its own unique perspective to the defense of the nation.
Today, the New York Naval Militia is federally recognized  , and according to Haunss (2004) it has given “unbroken service to the country and state” (p. 14) (emphasis added). Its history demonstrates a connection between the concept of militia, homeland security, and activities that took place in the Revolutionary War. These activities link the naval militia in no small measure to America’s first military Commander-in-Chief, George Washington, a prime catalyst for the unification of private citizen-soldier and naval warfighting. Most Americans are unfamiliar with Washington’s powerful interest in naval operations in the Revolutionary War (Leckie, 1992; Nelson, 2008). This paper, especially in the subsequent sections, will attempt to explain – inter alia – some of this interesting history, and its relationship to the NYNM.
Legally, the NYNM is “the Naval Component of the New York State military forces” (Haunss, 2004, p. 14). In the aftermath of 9/11, the NYNM was integrated into the emergency response/homeland security system, as per the National Incident Management System (NIMS). As noted earlier, it was in the immediate moments after the al-Qaeda attacks upon the homeland, the Naval Militia promptly mobilized, in order to respond to the crisis (CDR J.J. Trombetta, personal communication, January 26, 2014). Amongst the Naval Militia personnel who responded, personally, to 9/11 were high-ranking officers, including the current Commanding Officer of NYNM, Major-General Robert Wolf, and two former Marine officers: Major Bill Lochridge, and Major Jack McGonagle (Haunss, 2004, p. 1).
Rear Admiral Robert Rosen, the former Commander of the NYNM, later stated in an interview that approximately 800 men and women, out of a total complement of approximately 4,500 in the NYNM, worked full time in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 (Haunss, 2004). These members “responded within minutes of the attacks, often serving 12-hour tours during the days that followed” (Haunss, 2004, p. 17). The NYNM also engaged in a wide variety of other emergency response functions during the 9/11 aftermath, including construction work (NYNM Seabees), security patrols at Ground Zero with the New York City Police Department, the New York State Police, the Port Authority Police, and National Guard personnel, and insuring that supplies and assistance went to medical personnel and chaplains, in order to assist in the ongoing relief efforts at the New York City Operations Center, and engaged in other vital activities (Haunss, 2004, p. 17).
CDR John Joseph Trombetta, USN (Ret.), a former Public Affairs Officer /1655 with many years of prior U. S. Navy service, and currently assigned to WESTCOM, has written that the NYNM, as a component of the State Defense Forces, has come to the aid of stricken New Yorkers on many occasions in the past. But as trained war fighters the personnel of the NYNM has also never hesitated to fight America’s wars when called upon to do so. The backgrounds of the NYNM personnel are varied, but unified through their familiarity with warfighting in the nautical dimension, the U.S.M.C., the U.S. Navy, and the U.S. Coast Guard. Thus, the NYNM members represent a rich personnel background of experience, talent, and abilities. CDR Trombetta, for example, in civilian life, is a distinguished academic and college professor (he earned a Ph.D. in Communications from SUNY Buffalo, in 1981), and he is a current member of the NYNM leadership circle:
The personnel of the NY Naval Militia have the training and experience they obtain in the Navy brought to respond to State emergences. This was the case when I received orders to be activated in 2012 for Hurricane Sandy by the Governor of New York, [in order] to serve on the Operational Center Staff at Camp Smith (near West Point). In my case, I retired from the U.S. Navy in July 2012 and was activated for Hurricane Sandy by the NYNM. Those of us [former officers in other branches] serving with the NYNM make up a unique group called the five-percenters called that because we make up five-percent of the NYNM (CDR J. J. Trombetta, NYNM, personal communication, January 26, 2014).
Commander Trombetta’s experience, however, is not unique in Naval Militia history. Throughout the history of New York State, officers, like RADM Robert Rosen, Major General Robert Wolf, Commander Trombetta, and many others, epitomize the highly motivated, patriotic veterans who serve their country through long, and sometimes dangerous periods of service. They represent disciples of a martial tradition that came into being in October 1776 at Lake Champlain; this same militia tradition would be in evidence during the Spanish-American War, and on down through the years until the present hour (Miller, 1898). Part II of this paper will discuss these matters and experience at greater length, particularly in the early days of the Naval Militia as the Spanish-American War erupted, a conflict that necessitated a good deal of home-land defense work (though it was not referred to as such in the late 19th century), and warfighting experience for the New Yorkers who served the NYNM with honor and distinction, then and now (Haunss, 2004; Miller, 1898).
The preceding material is Part I of a paper that will be followed by a number of addi-tional parts. This part has described the de facto origins of the Naval Militia concept beginning 10 October 1776, at the Battle of Lake Champlain, as a result of the military insight of a great soldier, Benedict Arnold, who subsequently descended into the ranks of infamy and treason (Lonergan, 1958/1978). Arnold’s leadership of the seaborne militia at Champlain was so effective, Rear Admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan would be moved to write: “’The little American [naval militia] on Champlain was wiped out; but never had any force, big or small lived to better purpose or died more gloriously, for it had saved the Lake for that year’” (Hagan, 1991, p. 8).
Thus, Benedict Arnold, his marred reputation, notwithstanding, is the father of the naval militia concept in North America. Spurred on by necessity, Arnold was the catalyst for an authentic military transformation. At Lake Champlain, Arnold re-conceptualized the land-based militia into an ad-hoc maritime fighting force, to wit: a naval militia. No one called it a naval militia at the time, so far as is known. But the development of a de jure naval militia would finally be realized in June 1891, shortly before the outbreak of the Spanish-American War (1898).
The purpose of this paper’s first section is threefold: First, to discuss the history and mission statement of the New York State Naval Militia as a model for all subsequent naval militia organizations in the future; and as a successful attempt to realize in practice what Hamre (2000) referred to as a unified theory of homeland security-defense in the 21st century, and what New-mann (2002) intended when he described homeland security as a subset of national security with-in the three-tiered structure of the State Defense Forces, the federal reserve forces; the National Guard, and the militia (Dwyer, 2012; Hamre, 2000; Newmann, 2002; Haunss, 2004; CDR J.J. Trombetta, NYNM, personal communication, January 26, 2014).
The present essay has hypothesized that a concept called seacurity, a fusion of sea and security, is a primary offering from the Naval Militia to the State of New York. Post-9/11, the Naval Militia, one of the so-called State Defense Forces, proved itself to be a highly effective instrument in providing on-site security for Ground Zero in New York City. Major General Robert L. Wolf was rather convincing in his argument that in a maritime state like New York, the naval militia is not only highly effective, but indispensable. The evidence adduced in war, natural cataclysms, and in the implementation of the security needs of the State clearly supported the General’s contention.
Legally, the NYNM, as “the Naval Component of the New York State military forces” (Haunss, 2004, p. 14), has been integrated into the emergency response/homeland security system, as per the National Incident Management System (NIMS). In the immediate moments after the al-Qaeda attacks upon the homeland, the Naval Militia was mobilized, in order to respond to the crisis (CDR J.J. Trombetta, personal communication, January 26, 2014). Amongst the Naval Militia personnel who responded, personally, to 9/11 were high-ranking officers, including three former Marines, Major-General Robert Wolf, the current Commander of the Naval Militia, Maj-or Bill Lochridge, and Major Jack McGonagle (Haunss, 2004, p. 1).
Rear Admiral (RADM) Robert Rosen, the former Commander of the NYNM, has stated that approximately 800 men and women, out of a total complement of approximately 4,500 who serve in the NYNM, worked full time in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 (Haunss, 2004).
These members “responded within minutes of the attacks, often serving 12-hour tours during the days that followed” (Haunss, 2004, p. 17). The NYNM engaged in a wide variety of other emergency response functions in the aftermath of 9/11, including construction work (NYNM Sea-bees), security patrols at Ground Zero with the New York City Police Department, the New York State Police, the Port Authority Police, and National Guard personnel, and insuring that supplies and assistance went to medical personnel and chaplains, in order to assist assisted in the ongoing relief efforts at the New York City Operations Center, and engaged in other vital activities (Haunss, 2004, p. 17).
In short, the Naval Militia, in the past and in the present remains a critical component of the security apparatus serving the citizens of both State and Country. In its mission statement, and its actual record of performance, the NYNM has come to realize in practice what Hamre (2000) called the unified theory of homeland defense, uniting both state and federal functions, and what Newmann (2002) intended, when he called homeland security a subset of national security. Naval Militia personnel – like warfighters in all branches of service -- all know there is no longer a distinction between the forward areas of combat and the homeland itself, so far as terrorism is concerned. Terrorism has turned the entire American polity into a potential flash point. But it is in the response to these potential threats on land or on set that defines, perhaps, the deeper meaning of seacurity, as a concept, and the utility of the Naval Militia as a workable concept.
In the environment, post-9/11, the battlespace against terrorism and America’s enemies is everywhere (Major General R.L. Wolf, personal communication, 10 October 2014). Nowadays, any organization accepting the unified theory of defense, with its many facets, similarly must be a multi-faceted organization engaging in many activities that are ultimately one, rather large system of responsibilities. Homeland security, today, according to Bellavita (2008), is hardly a single reality; and the naval militia that must respond to dangers to the homeland can expect to meet the many non-linear, complex challenges that define the modern security environment, at virtually any moment, including terrorism, all-hazard activities, catastrophe and response, jurisdictional hazards, meta-hazards, national security matters, and government efforts to curtail civil liberties (Bellavita, 2008).
In their personal military histories as Marines, Sailors, and Coast Guardsmen, and now as members of the State Defense Forces, the men and women who comprise the NYNM, live out, on a daily basis, the heroic tradition of Lake Champlain, 1776. Mindful of this legacy, Major General, Robert Wolf, and the men and women of the NYNM that he has had the privilege to command, routinely address the complex challenges of modern homeland defense, at different times, and in different ways. But, always and everywhere, the common variable is the sea – and the brown-water, riverine concept that functions as the unifying thread, the dimension through which the NYNM operates.
The raison d’être of the Naval Militia, thus, is security by means of the water (e.g., seacurity). It has been so in generations past; and there is no reason to believe that they shall not be so many generations hence. Thus, the Naval Militia personnel are not simply warfighters; they are exemplars of good citizenship, rendering high-value service not only to the Naval Militia, but also to the State of New York, and the United States of America and all her people.
. Professional military theorists and warfighters generally understand the concept of “revolution in military affairs,” (RMA) or “the military-technical revolution,” simply in terms of technological advancement, particularly the new computer-based technologies. “Unquestionably, military technology has never stood still” (Cohen, 1996, p. 38). The “smart-bombs” used in the 1991 Gulf War, or President Ronald Reagan’s concept of STARWARS, the hypothetical anti-ballistic missile shield concept, and the more accurate forms of warfare, Iraq (2003), and the current bombing campaign against the so-called Islamic State, ISIS, are examples of the military-technical revolution. Underlying all manifestations of a technology-based RMA is the desire to eliminate, as much as possible, the Clausewitzian “fog of war.” Former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral William Owens, wrote of a “’systems of systems’—a world in which…[many forms of technology] will provide information to any military user who needs it” (Cohen, 1996, p. 40). Thus, it is clear that “the admiral’s version of the military revolution focuses almost entirely on technology rather than the less tangible aspects of warfare” (Cohen, 1996, p. 40) (emphasis added). However, according to Cohen (1996; 2004), to limit the RMA to the technological dimension, and to fail to consider the other important dimensions of warfighting is inappropriate. “The transformation of warfare in the nineteenth century offers a particularly useful analogy for contemporary strategists” (Cohen, 1996, p. 41). An example would be the 1793 Napoleonic levee en masse. Cohen (1996) cited an observation by Clausewitz: “’in 1793 a force appeared that beggared all imagination. Suddenly war again became the business of the people – a people of thirty millions, all whom considered themselves citizens…the resources and efforts now available for use surpassed all conventional limits…and consequently the opponents of France faced the utmost peril’” (Cohen, 1996, p. 41). Clausewitz, thus, is describing an RMA not in the technological dimension, but in the organizational dimension. Thus, the Cohenesque test for the validity of the RMA must answer four questions: 1) Will it (the hypothetical RMA) change the appearance of combat? 2) Will it change the structure of armies? 3) Will it lead to the rise of new military elites? 4) Will it alter countries’ [strategic] power position? In considering the change made by Benedict Arnold, when he deployed the militia on ships to wage naval combat, I believe this change fulfills Cohen’s criteria and that the advent of the naval militia represents an authentic RMA in the organizational dimension. Philip Bobbitt used the concept of RMA in a manner synonymous with Michael Roberts’ concept of the 1560-1600 “military revolution.” (Bobbitt, 2002, p. 69). However, for Bobbitt, a constitutional and strategic scholar of immense depth, the notion of the State cannot be separated from the profound changes in warfare (revolutions) in tactics, sizes of armies, battlefield strategies, and, finally, sheer destructive capability (e.g., Thirty Years War); these discrete dimensions describe varying aspects of warfighting, not simply technological advances. In fact, Bobbitt (2002) wrote: “More than one revolution has occurred because more than one constitutional order of the state has arisen” (p. 73). (See also pp. 69-74, for a more thorough exposition). Thus, there is a natural synergy or emergent quality between the notion of the State, in various permutations, and the notion of RMA or military revolution. See also Bobbitt, P. (2002). The shield of Achilles: War, peace, and the course of history. New York, NY: Anchor Books –Random House, Inc.
. As a private citizen, Arnold did have familiarity with boats for commercial purposes, though Lake Champlain would be his first experience of naval combat.
. Fortuna (the changing state of affairs that characterizes the International System) was a term used by Machiavelli in his work, The Prince and Selected Discourses (1532). Contemporary people sometimes speak of Lady Luck; Machiavelli, too, drew the term from the classical idea of a female deity who could impose a changing state of fortune or tragedy. See Machiavelli, N. (1532/1966). The prince and selected discourses (D. Donno, Trans. & Ed.), New York, NY: Bantam Books, Inc. (Original work published 1532). See, also, Marian Ghita’s essay, The Concept of “Fortuna” in Machiavelli’s The Prince. Retrieved from http://www.istorie.ugal.ro/an/anale2/204%20GHITA.pdf
. The official birth date of the New York Naval Militia is 23 June 1891, when it was actually mustered into service as the First Battalion, Naval Reserve Artillery (New York Naval Militia History, 2014, p. 1). However, at Lake Champlain, a de facto naval militia concept was born. It was immediately tested in combat and found to be a workable concept. In 1892, a year after its de jure creation, the Naval Reserve Artillery provided powerful assistance – as it would in the aftermath of 9/11 -- during the now forgotten cholera epidemic where many infected New Yorkers were quarantined on Fire Island, New York. I am indebted to NY Naval Militia officer, Art McCormick, a member of the NYNM leadership circle, and a former United States Marine who served in Force Recon, for providing these facts to me in the course of researching this article.
. Rear Admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan (27 September 1840-1 December 1914), author of Influence of Seapower upon History (1890), was a prominent 19th century naval progressive, and geostrategic theorist of immense influence. Mahan was a proponent of big-fleet, decisive battle naval action; his significance as a naval theorist is highly significant, historically and strategically, even today.
. Apologetics is traditionally understood as a logical understanding of the history, philosophy, and exegesis of religious doctrine and theology. However, in more recent years, it has been adapted as a multi-disciplinary approach, defined by Merriam Webster as “a systematic argumentative discourse in defense (as of a position).”
. John Hamre was a former Under Secretary of Defense in the Clinton Administration.
. The author is much indebted to Major-General Robert L. Wolf, the current Commander of the New York Naval Militia, for his explanation of the Mission Statement of the Naval Militia in a recent interview. General Wolf entered the United States Marine Corps after college, and he served for 23 years of service in the USMC. During that period, the General earned his Master’s Degree, and after his Marine experience, he affiliated with the Naval Militia. He eventually succeeded Admiral Robert Rosen as Commander of the NYNM. However, the General is also a distinguished educator; he is also the Associate Director of Graduate Admissions for SUNY Maritime College, in Bronx County, NY. SUNY Maritime trains its students for careers in the Merchant Marine and the U.S. Coast Guard, amongst other service branches, and General Wolf is also the International Liaison for the college’s foreign students. At the moment, he is currently completing the requirements for his doctorate in education. At the time of this writing (October 2014), the General is planning to “rotate-out” of command at NYNM in early December 2014. As one of the “five-per centers” at NYNM, General Wolf’s distinguished service characterizes him as a “triple volunteer.” He volunteered to serve his country; he also specifically volunteered for service in the Marine Corps, where his specific billet was the OIC, Special Missions, SOTG, II MEF. This was a jump and dive billet. Major General's Wolf was to train U.S. Navy SEAL and Force Recon detachments to work together so that they would form Maritime Special Purpose Teams for deploying Marine Expeditionary Units (Special Operations Capable). Later, Major General wolf was the Operations Officer for 26 MEU (SOC); later he volunteered to serve the State of New York in the NYNM. General Wolf’s patriotism is exemplary and fairly typical of the type of men and women who seek service in the NYNM, even after long military service to America.
. Commander Don McKnight, a former naval officer, is the C.O. of the New York State Military Boat Service. I am indebted to him for his insights into the Naval Militia, and the specific functioning of the NYS Military Boat Service (MBS).
. Rear Admiral Robert Rosen, former Commander of the New York Naval Militia, deserves full credit for integrating the state and federal functions of the NYNM. This is a rather unique accomplishment in linking the effectiveness of the State Defense Forces to form a rather powerful synergy with the federal dimension of the American military and homeland security.
. The National Incident Management System (NIMS) is a product of the George W. Bush administration. Proposed by President Bush on 28 February 2003, the NIMS is “a system mandated by Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD) 5 (Management of Domestic Incidents) that provides a consistent nationwide approach for governments, the private sector, and nongovernmental organizations to work effectively and efficiently together to prepare for, respond to, and recover from domestic incidents, regardless of cause, size, or complexity” (Bullock et al., 2013, p. 22).
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Written by Steven Christopher Ippolito, Ph.D. If you have questions or comments on this article,
please contact Steven Ippolito at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the author:
Dr. Steven Christopher Ippolito, Ph.D., who spent most of his life in Manhattan and the Bronx, New York (Go Yankees!) is a retired law enforcement officer for the State of New York with nearly twenty years
experience. A full-time professor of Criminal Justice and Homeland Security at Monroe College, New York City, Steve has two Masters Degrees, one from New York University; the other, from Norwich University,
VT., in the very first Military History class of 2007. In August 2017, he earned his Ph.D. from Northcentral University, from the School of Business Administration and Technology, with a specialization
in Homeland Security, under Committee Chair, Kimberly Anthony, Ph.D, and Committee member, Meena Clowes, Ph.D. His dissertation was based on mixed-methodological research into the phenomenon of
convergence, the intersection of crime, terrorism, war, and other forms of conflict (the crime-terror nexus; crime-terror pipeline), as both a homeland security and educational problem. All his
professional research is dedicated to God, Country, and Family, including the wider family of students and academic colleagues. To all of these, and to all first responders, police, fire-fighters,
military personnel, emergency medical personnel, homeland security and emergency management operatives, Steve sends best wishes. May God bless America, now and forever!
* Views expressed by contributors are their own and do not necessarily represent those of MilitaryHistoryOnline.com.