In Transhuman Space Fifth Wave (THS:FW p.61) we are told that since 2095, numerous radical factions have been active in America. Many are the more aggressive advocates of the “People’s Power” pro-cyberdemocratic reform movement. Others champion related or different causes. The American establishment has been forced to fight a low-level counterinsurgency campaign in several of the country’s zones.
The Posse Comitatus Act greatly restricts the use of the military for internal security operations within US borders. Whilst legally the President can deploy the US Army on American soil, politically such an action would be highly undesirable. Consequently counterinsurgency (COIN) operations on US soil are actually handled by a variety of state and federal organisations or private contractors.
Much of this burden has fallen on the shoulders of the FBI, combat operations being conducted by FBI SWAT and sometimes HRT. The manpower and combat power of FBI SWAT has consequently been increased considerably. FBI SWAT are also now known as FedSWAT and “ESWAT”, the latter originating from certain FBI SWAT units being designated “Enhanced FBI SWAT”. These are supplemented by the ERT, SRT or SWAT units of various state agencies or from organizations such as the Department of Justice or Department of Homeland Security.
The National Guard is also used for domestic COIN operations, being either under state or federal control.
The National Guard of 2100 has undergone a number of changes. Its responsibility as a reserve for overseas deployment has been rendered obsolete by US army stockpiles of cybershells and infomorph shadows. The National Guard does administer the ARTs – Army (or Airforce) Reserve Technicians – a pool of specialists that can be used to support regular forces. By 2100 a proportion of ART members are AIs.
For several decades now the majority of the National Guard have been structured for domestic deployment, being equipped and trained for disaster response and civil disorder duties. The insurgency has resulted in a number of units being restructured for low intensity conflict (LIC) operations in the USA.
Whereas a significant proportion of the US Army is now cybershells, the National Guard retains a much greater proportion of human or parahuman personnel and has consequently been nicknamed “the Meat Guard”.
Most of humans and parahumans are attracted to the guard by the various medical and educational benefits National Guard service includes. Many guardsmen are from the lower strata of American society, attempting to improve their lot.
Currently service in the National Guard is where one is most likely to see active combat, and this is appealing to some recruits and career soldiers. The limited availability of staff and command positions in the regular army results in a number of army officers opting for service in the National Guard. Regrettably, some of the less capable or politically unpopular army officers are dealt with by transferring them into the Guard too.
Infomorphs also serve in the National Guard and may find themselves operating a wide variety of cybershells from earthmovers to riot-breakers.
State Defence Forces (aka “State Guard”) are very similar in structure to the National Guard but are under state control.
Only a third of US states have a State Defence Force and the strength and quality varies considerably.
The intended role of the State Defence Forces means that many units are configured as medical, civil affairs or military police. The insurgency has resulted in a greater investment in the infantry and MP units and the retasking of some other units for an LIC role.
The involvement of State Guard units varies with the state and the incumbent power. For example, in California, the insurgency is active in many Hispanic neighbourhoods and the State Governor is reluctant to risk antagonising the majority voter block. The California State Guard has therefore not been committed.
Interestingly, in some states, National Guard and State Guard are employed to assist in the security of some corporations. When the economic welfare of the state is closely linked to the health of one or two corporations so it is often seen as prudent to commit some state assets to insure this. This arrangement also allows for a degree of oversight of corporation activity in the state.
A number of other state organizations are active combatants. The Texas Rangers have become increasingly militarized in both equipment and operations. The Arizona Rangers, New Mexico Rangers and New Mexico Mounted Patrol are following a similar direction.
Various private contractors are also employed against the insurgency, particularly where state forces are insufficient. Some of these contractors are undoubtedly “fronts” to allow Special Forces and other US Army assets to be used in the conflict. Other contractors are suspected of owing their true loyalty to certain corporations rather than the US Government.