There's been a lot of chatter over the last week as certain press types, and a lot of social media types, have questioned a military exercise in the Carolinas. It appears as though the U.S. Army has plans to train for guerilla warfare over such a wide area of rural parts Back East that the brass has begun notifying local sheriffs and other local law enforcement.
If you hear gunshots at this spot, they say, it's just blanks. It helps to tell the local populace, too, so they don't overwhelm 911 operations.
The point of the exercise is to practice should the military need to fight a guerilla battle among Americans. An Army release to locals said the war games are designed to represent an "environment of political instability characterized by armed conflict, forcing soldiers to analyze and solve problems to meet the challenges of this 'real world' training."
To translate into English, our soldiers need to be prepared to counter guerillas, and not confuse them with folks getting gas at the convenience store.
As you can imagine, this is the cause of some conspiracy theories: The military is practicing to fight us! They're coming after us!
No, the military is just practicing.
The United States military has two priority missions: First, to fight. Second, to practice how to fight.
The brass at the Pentagon has to be ready for all contingencies. Somebody better have a plan at the ready should the United Kingdom decide to take back Massachusetts. We doubt the Principality of Liechtenstein has much of an air force--it doesn't have an airport--but there needs to be a plan in case they show up on our beaches.
This is called military readiness.
To do otherwise is to ignore a possibility. And that's not the military's job.