November 9th, 2007 10:12 PM
What is a standing army?
Since the founders were totally against a standing army, do we have one or not?
Is it any organized army like we have now, federal soldiers on military patrol in American streets like the British before the revolution, or something else?
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November 9th, 2007 10:15 PM
According to Wikipedia:
A standing army is an army composed of full time professional soldiers who 'stand over', in other words, who do not disband during times of peace. They differ from army reserves who are activated only during such times as war or natural disasters. Standing armies tend to be better equipped, better trained, and better prepared for emergencies, defensive deterrence and particularly wars. 
The army of ancient Rome is considered to have been a standing army during some of Roman history, but especially the empire .
The first 'modern' standing army in Europe were the Janissaries of the Ottoman Empire, formed in the fourteenth century AD. In western Europe the first standing army was established by Charles VII of France in the fifteenth century.  The establishment of a standing army by King James II in 1685 in Britain and later the control of the British Army over the British Colonies in America was controversial, leading to distrust of peacetime armies too much under the power of the head of state, versus civilian control of the military, resulting tyranny.
In his influential work The Wealth of Nations (published 1776), economist Adam Smith comments that standing armies are a sign of modernizing society as modern warfare requires increased skill and discipline of regularly trained standing armies. Since the eighteenth century standing armies have been an integral part of the defense of the majority of more economically developed countries.
In Great Britain, and the British Colonies in America, there was a sentiment of distrust of a standing army not in civilian control. In Great Britain, this led to the British Bill of Rights which reserves authority over a standing army to the Parliament, not the King, and in the United States, led to the U.S. Constitution (Article 1, Section 8) which reserves similar authority to Congress not the President. 
November 12th, 2007 11:00 AM
Yes. The United States has a standing army.
"We're paratroopers. We're supposed to be surrounded!" Dick Winters
November 13th, 2007 08:47 AM
Technically it is NOT....the military has to have a new appropriations bill passed at least every two years to re-authorize/pay for its existance. So IN THEORY it could be disbanded at that time....technically
Originally Posted by rodc13
November 13th, 2007 08:50 AM
If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, and walks like a duck, it ain't a horse.
November 13th, 2007 09:02 AM
A "standing army" is one chartered and trained by the state. So, in effect, yes we do. The one possible exception to this is that our military is controlled by a "civilian" president and not a military dictatorship.
Last edited by ronwill; November 13th, 2007 at 04:32 PM.
November 13th, 2007 12:35 PM
yes, we do have one. maybe not technically but practically
November 13th, 2007 04:38 PM
The military stays in the barracks
We do have a standing Army, but the civilian control of it is what makes it work so well. I was reminded of an article I read a few months ago regarding this concept: (emphasis mine)
Quite a coup that U.S. military ‘stays in the barracks’
By David Mazzarella, Stars and Stripes ombudsman
Pacific edition, Thursday, June 7, 2007
Recently I attended, as a guest, the annual congress of the International Press Institute (IPI) in Istanbul, Turkey. The IPI is a worldwide network of editors and publishers dedicated to the cause of press freedom. Naturally, there was quite a bit of discussion about democracy — which countries practice it and which do not — because you can’t have freedom of the press without it.
Many of those that do not practice it, or have not at times in the past, or practice it only intermittently, are characterized by military institutions that have been known to “come out of the barracks.” That is, they initiate coups, and take over the government. It struck me that one of the things we take for granted in our own great country is the establishment, since the founding of the republic, of a proper role for the military. It serves civilian authority, not the other way around.
The discussion in Turkey was especially timely. In many respects, it is a full democracy, with free elections and a generally free press. But every so often, when it deems the civilian government is not doing a good job, the army steps in. It conducted four coups between 1960 and 2000, each time giving the government back to civilians after a period of time.
Turkey, a NATO member and host to U.S. bases, is a predominantly Muslim country, but it has been a secular one since the 1920s. No Islamic religious involvement in government, no mandatory veils for women, and so on. But the current, openly elected government is run by politicians from a former Islamist party, and the secularists fear that down the road those in power will start enacting Islamist rules and laws. The military is strongly secularist.
The talk at IPI was about what happens if the Islamic-influenced party, which has strongly pledged support for secular institutions, nevertheless goes too far down the path of religiosity. Will the army decide to cut it short?
Douglas Frantz, managing editor of the Los Angeles Times, hosted a panel discussion at IPI. He said that when he took over as Istanbul correspondent some years ago, this is how Turkish democracy was described to him: “Imagine a busload of people on a highway: The passengers are the citizenry, the driver symbolizes the politicians, and the guardrails are the military. If the bus swerves too far in either direction, the guardrails stop it.”
Interestingly, several panel members, including a Turkish academic and a newspaper editor, said civil society in Turkey wasn’t all that strong. The implication was that it needed shoring up at times. Ertugrul Ozkok, editor of the leading newspaper, Hurryet, said his first reaction upon hearing about the last coup, which followed unrest that led to deaths, was “relief.”
A participant from Thailand got a rise out of the audience when he said that his country, too, had “an overactive” military. It held a coup last September, supplanting a democratically elected government beset by allegations of corruption. Like the Turkish military, the officers in Thailand historically have voluntarily allowed the country to revert to democratic elections after coups. Other regimes have been less willing to give up power.
Across the water from Turkey, Greece was ruled by a military junta from 1967 to 1974, its end coming only after student riots and Turkey’s invasion of the contested island of Cyprus. Myanmar (formerly Burma) has been ruled militarily for nearly two decades. Pakistan had a military coup in 1999 and its president, Pervez Musharraf, still holds the title of general. Another U.S. ally, South Korea, has had military coups, the last one 25 years ago. In all, 59 countries had a history of military coups in the 20th century. There are 19 such countries in Latin America, where many dictatorships came to an end in the 1980s.
In the United States, the military is governed by civilians, starting with the president, who is also commander in chief of the armed forces. The secretary of defense is civilian. So secure are we in the appropriate positioning of the military within society that we countenance the appointment of a military officer, Air Force Gen. Michael V. Hayden, as director of the Central Intelligence Agency. We have shown no hesitation to elect former military icons to the presidency — from Washington to Grant to Eisenhower. But what the first of those gentlemen and the Founding Fathers established as the role of the military in America has stuck. There have been no “Dr. Strangelove” scenarios. The military stays in the barracks.
Got a question or suggestion for the ombudsman on what appears, or should appear, in Stars and Stripes? Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone 202-761-0945 in the States.
© 2007 Stars and Stripes. All Rights Reserved.
"Naked and Starving as They are We Cannot Enough Admire the Incomparable Patience and Fidelity of the Soldiery" – George Washington, Valley Forge, 1777.
November 13th, 2007 06:10 PM
As far as I can tell, it's a matter of who interpets the Constitution of The United States and the Amendments.
Les Baer 45
N.R.A. Patron Life Member
November 13th, 2007 07:09 PM
one could argue we have never been in "Peace time" as well....
November 14th, 2007 11:48 AM
Anyone remember the movie, "Seven Days in May"? A great cold-war tale, and relates well to this discussion, concerning civilian control of the military and under what circumstances a military coup could occur.
"We're paratroopers. We're supposed to be surrounded!" Dick Winters
November 14th, 2007 02:07 PM
Well what about posse comitatus?
What about the executive orders usurping congress?
What about FEMA?
What about America being in a state of Emergency since when?
Isn't the department of homeland security a federal agency?
So can a State army as well as a Federal army be considered standing?
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