Military Operations Post 9/11 Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

The 9/11 terror attacks is an act of terrorism that has had significant impacts on modern law enforcement and military operations. Etter (2015) contends that the 9/11 attack was a very traumatic event for the entire United States of America. This is primarily because the attack resulted in loss of lives and destruction of properties. 9/11 has been regarded as a terror attack that changed the face of global terrorism by highlighting the extent terrorists are willing to go to achieve their goals. In the initial response to the attack, law enforcement officers and other emergency or first responders lost their lives while others suffered severe injuries. Given the devastating and widespread impacts of the attack, numerous changes have been made in the operations, tactics, and mission of law enforcement agencies and military personnel in the United States. This paper examines the changes in operations for military personnel post 9/11 terror attacks. The discussion incorporates all levels of military operations i.e. operation, strategic, tactical, and operational.

Military Operations Pre and Post 9/11

Prior to the 9/11 terror attack, the military was minimally involved in the war on terrorism, which was primarily handled by law enforcement agencies and personnel. According to Thrall & Goepner (2017), the U.S. government considered domestic terrorism as an issue for law enforcement and global terrorism as a distant threat prior to the 9/11 attacks. During the period, the U.S. foreign policy focused minimally on the issue of terrorism, particularly international terrorism that was basically viewed as a distant threat. Even in cases where American foreign policy focused on combatting terrorism, the efforts were quite limited.

The view of domestic terrorism as an issue for law enforcement and consideration of global terrorism as a distant security issue implied that the military was hardly involved in the fight against terror. Military operations against terrorist groups and organizations were rare and limited. In addition, there was no counterterrorism strategy that provided the premise for the extreme involvement of the military in the fight against terrorism. The involvement of military personnel in terrorism pre 9/11 was limited to combat operations.

However, military involvement in the war on terrorism changed following the events during and after the 9/11 attacks. The attack forced the Bush Administration to radically revamp the nation’s approach to terrorism (Thrall & Goepner, 2017). In the aftermath of the attack, terrorism took center stage in U.S. national security policy, which changed the involvement of law enforcement and the military in the fight against terrorism. The limited-response approach that characterized the fight against terrorism prior to the 9/11 approach was changed in favor of a more aggressive and expansive strategy. As part of the new strategy, the Bush Administration established a 4-D strategy that focused on preventing terror attacks against the nation. This 4-D approach was established as part of homeland security strategies and actions. In this regard, the mission of the new strategy was to defeat terrorist organizations with an international reach, deny them operational environment, disrupt and/or limit factors that contribute to rise of terrorism, and defend the American homeland (Thrall & Goepner, 2017). This 4-D strategy became the premise for enhancing the involvement of the military in the fight against terrorism.

Changes in Operations for Military Personnel Post 9/11

Direct military intervention has been the most important component of the global fight against terrorism since the 9/11 terror attacks. Following this attack, the Bush Administration and other multinational partners made the decision to confront terrorism with direct military force. Direct military force was adopted as a suitable measure for combatting terrorism in comparison to the conventional law enforcement framework, which did not help prevent the 9/11 attack. Since then, military force has significantly influenced the fight against terror and its subsequent outcomes. Military intervention is defined as the intentional act of a country or a group of countries to introduce military force into the course of an ongoing controversy (Thrall & Goepner, 2017). In this regard, military intervention in the fight against terrorism is divided into two categories i.e. direct military and indirect military intervention. Direct military intervention entails sending troops to an enemy’s territory to occupy, fight or defend the territory through land, air or sea operations. On the contrary, indirect military intervention entails providing different types of support to promote the use of military force by a third party i.e. an ally or partner. Some of these kinds of support include military equipment, financial support, intelligence, training, and advising.

Given the adoption of military intervention in the fight against terrorism, there have been changes in operations for military personnel post 9/11 attacks. These changes have occurred at all levels i.e. strategic, tactical, operation, and operational levels as follows…

Strategic Changes in Operations for Military Personnel Post 9/11 Attacks

Zoli & Armstrong (2010) state that one of the strategic changes in operations for military personnel in the aftermath of 9/11 terror attacks is the adoption of a new strategic orientation. Since the 9/11 attacks, military theorists and personnel have shifted to a new strategic orientation, which is based on the belief that the military must not only achieve its victories, but also establish…

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…attacks have also resulted in tactical changes. One of the tactical changes for military personnel is the adoption of new era of war-fighting techniques (Scarborough, 2011). Prior to the 9/11 attacks, tactics employed by military personnel involved the use of heavy armor and big bombers. Since the attacks, tactical approaches adopted by military personnel entail intelligence collection, commando strikes, and manhunt. While heavy armor and big bombers are still utilized, the new techniques are considered more effective in realization of the desired military goals and objectives. These new techniques and tactical approaches have been adopted due to changes in the combat environment. Unlike pre 9/11 attacks, adversaries no longer wear uniforms, adhere to the rules of war or march in certain formations. Terrorists are currently using suicide bombs, beheadings and ambushes, and roadside explosive to carry out attacks. Consequently, military personnel have been forced to adopt new tactical approaches and fighting techniques/equipment to fight terrorists.

As part of adopting new era fighting techniques, military personnel are currently deployed a lot unlike pre 9/11 period. In essence, the U.S. military has become a more expeditionary force, which is a reflection of tactical changes for military personnel post 9/11. The increased deployment of military personnel has been characterized by setting up bases in insurgent territories to carry out strikes and protect civilians. This is based on the notion that counterinsurgents are effective when they operate among the people and within insurgent territories rather than being stationed elsewhere. Kaplan (2011) states that top generals are increasingly involved in combat operations within insurgent territories and earn extra accolades for acting as ground commanders in the fight against terror.

The other tactical change for military personnel post 9/11 is how troops move on the battlefield. This is primarily because current military operations are fought in a more flexible and imaginary manner in comparison to the pre 9/11 terror attacks (Kaplan, 2011). Military personnel are increasingly involved in special operations and continue to capitalize on improved intelligence gathering to carry out their operations. Therefore, current tactics by military personnel have evolved and incorporate use of high-tech sensors and communication networks.

In conclusion, the 9/11 terror attacks have had significant impacts on the history of the United States in relation to security. These attacks have contributed to numerous changes for military personnel in the fight against terrorism. The changes for military personnel post 9/11 have occurred at the operational, tactical, and strategic levels. 9/11 attacks have primarily contributed to the increased involvement of military personnel in combat operations and wars that seek to prevent and thwart domestic and international…

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