MORE ON SYSTEM ADMINISTRATOR FORCE
Dr. Barnett gave my post on Leviathan vs. System Administrator Force a nice plug
. It's a wonderful experience to bounce ideas back and forth like this - perhaps poli sci is the route to go for doctoral studies ! It's very much unlike the give and take among historians which often tend toward adversarial debates over causation - when things don't degenerate into " gotcha " charges over standards of professionalism or at worst, undisguised, politically-motivated, personal attacks.
In any case, I've been pondering what System Administrator Force should be and it occurred to me that it might be helpful to consider what it should not become - poorly armed, inadequately supported, overly restricted duplicates of UN peacekeepers. The experience of the Dutch peacekeepers in the Balkans or the impossible position of General Romeo Dallaire's UN command in Rwanda
must never be repeated.
A System Administrator Force could enter a nation on a possible situation continuum ranging from an anarchic failed state ( Somalia, Haiti) , in the aftermath of Leviathan ( Afghanistan, Iraq) to reluctant cooperation with the sovereign government under international pressure ( Cambodia, East Timor, Kosovo) or by invitation. Their role is to wield force in a manner which creates a security zone in which humanitarian, infrastructure and political problems can be addressed - initially by the System Administrator Force if required but increasingly by NGO's, international agencies and the citizens of the state themselves.
System Administrator is a protector, mentor and coordinator but to be effective in these roles System Administrator soldiers and personnel must deploy as an effective military organization and not as lightly-armed potential hostages to the forces of disorder. The warrior aspect, while more muted than with Leviathan, must be in Dr. Barnett's words " robust ". They aren't there to suppress a major national rebellion but they should be able to deal with pockets of bitter-enders, snipers, bandits, thugs and the occasional, large-scale urban riot. The posture generally is that of the MP or the combat engineer rather than the Ranger or airborne trooper - these people arrive in the Gap combat-ready but that's not their primary mission.
Max Boot, who had a slightly different but not unrelated argument in mind in his The Savage Wars of Peace
did a very successful job of providing numerous examples of the U.S. military, the Marines in particular, acting as a System Administrator Force. They fought guerrillas but in " Small Wars " they also did the " Big Chores " of nation-building. They frequently set up modern sanitation, built roads and schools, established police services, provided clean drinking water and even in some cases - notably Cuba, Germany and Japan - forced a revision of the social contract
. Some of these things are more important than they appear - few things can dramatically change a nation's demographic future than a wide-scale shift to potable water or access to rudimentary medical care.
Given the nature of bureaucratic longevity, it is most likely that units of the current military services will be organized into a " System Administrator Force "on an ad hoc basis, attempting to implement the principle behind that concept through greater cooperation with NGO's and other departments of the USG. The learning curve is apt to be steep, as Iraq has demonstrated though the power of that example is going to fuel the will within the officer corps to avoid another " Iraqi occupation " the next time around.