Brazilian Navy troops enter the Complexo da Mare

Governments use militaries in six different domestic scenarios.

Armed Forces at Home

January 2015, Zahl 06.01

“Major changes since the Cold War ended have altered in important ways how we look at armed forces. Professional armies, now the majority throughout NATO, are expensive, and the threat environment for many countries has improved significantly over those two decades. As a consequence, taxpayers may look askance at defense spending, wondering why it is still necessary to pay so much for a capability that no longer seems necessary. In times of austerity, defense expenditures may make tempting targets for politicians anxious to cut budgets.

What can armies, navies and air forces do, what should they do and what must they do in a domestic context? With the tremendous pressures on governments to save money, these questions are likely to become even more trenchant in the near future.

Armies are convenient targets — and relatively easy to cut. In most European countries, defense expenditures are discretionary, unlike entitlement programs. Their constituencies, though often powerful, particularly in the defense industry, are small, and military forces, particularly contemporary professionalized forces, lack popular support. Absent a sense of external threat, militaries are often unappreciated...”

Excerpt from John L. Clarke, “Armed Forces at Home,” per Concordiam: Journal of European Security Defense Issues  6, No. 1, 2015: 10-17.

This article reflects the views of the author and are not necessarily the official policy of the United States, Germany, or any other governments.