Author Topic: "The Case for a U.S. Foreign Legion"  (Read 1200 times)

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Offline milnews.ca

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"The Case for a U.S. Foreign Legion"
« on: October 01, 2019, 18:38:37 »
This idea is popping up again via at least one analyst ....
Quote
... A foreign legion could also be part of the solution to bolstering the ranks of the U.S. military when an alarming percentage of young U.S. citizens are unqualified for military service. According to data gathered by the Pentagon in 2017, 71% of Americans ages 17 through 24 are unfit to serve, largely due to criminal history, low educational attainment, and health problems like obesity. In a 2012 TEDx talk, U.S. Army Lieutenant General Mark Hertling even described obesity as a national security threat. Obviously, the United States should tackle these problems, but that will take time. As long as there is a shortage of young people fit to wear the uniform, recruiting fit foreigners will help fill this gap.

Finally, a foreign legion could strengthen the link between citizenship and service in the public eye. During recent debates about the deportation of undocumented immigrants, Americans have learned about the deportations of veterans despite their service, a factor the government is supposed to consider when deciding whether to deport people. Granting citizenship to a new class of people who have served could draw more attention to immigrants’ contributions to the United States, including in uniform.

There is certainly a risk that politicians and commanders will view U.S. legionnaires as expendable. But in an uncertain world, where there is always a risk of conflict, this is a risk worth taking. The alternative for the U.S. government is to continue to place the burden of combat on a small percentage of its citizenry. Bringing in new soldiers can at least spread that burden around ...
A bit more @ link
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Offline tomahawk6

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Re: "The Case for a U.S. Foreign Legion"
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2019, 23:47:33 »
A US Foreign Legion would keep people from going to France. The pay would have to be very good and offer citizenship at the end of the career.

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: "The Case for a U.S. Foreign Legion"
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2019, 01:16:51 »
A US Foreign Legion would keep people from going to France. The pay would have to be very good and offer citizenship at the end of the career.

Why have your own Foreign Legion when you can just pay proxy forces to do the business for you?
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Offline tomahawk6

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Re: "The Case for a U.S. Foreign Legion"
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2019, 09:26:22 »
Proxies have worked like the PRC support of Vietnam and Russian support of Cuba and the US support of the ROK. The ROK deployed a couple of divisions to the RVN during that war. But proxies may not be willing to face down a threat from say the PRC. For places like Africa a smallish USFL a force of 15000 to 20000 might be sufficient.

Offline Humphrey Bogart

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Re: "The Case for a U.S. Foreign Legion"
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2019, 09:41:33 »
Why have your own Foreign Legion when you can just pay proxy forces to do the business for you?

I thought Blackwater, Dyncorp and Triple Canopy were the US Foreign Legion  8)


Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: "The Case for a U.S. Foreign Legion"
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2019, 10:24:34 »
Proxies have worked like the PRC support of Vietnam and Russian support of Cuba and the US support of the ROK. The ROK deployed a couple of divisions to the RVN during that war. But proxies may not be willing to face down a threat from say the PRC. For places like Africa a smallish USFL a force of 15000 to 20000 might be sufficient.

Well, I believe that the PRC use their own proxies, of course to increase levels of deniability.

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Offline Blackadder1916

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Re: "The Case for a U.S. Foreign Legion"
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2019, 12:11:15 »
Probably the last time that the US government "seriously" considered establishing a "foreign legion" was during the early days of the Eisenhower Administration.  The proposal of a "Volunteer Freedom Corps" was " . . . to provide additional combat manpower whereby “Volunteers for Freedom” of many nationalities, who otherwise do not have the opportunity to bear arms in defense of freedom, can share with the youth of the United States and its allies in the world struggle against Soviet Communism. . . ." .  So said a "Statement of Policy by the National Security Council on a Volunteer Freedom Corps" written in May 1953.

In a February 1953 meeting of the National Security Council it was noted.
Quote
. . . the President noted that the idea of inducing foreigners to play a part in our armed forces was both an old and a very appealing one. It had, however, never elicited much enthusiasm in Army circles, and certainly very little had been done under the provisions of the Lodge Act. If something like the Volunteer Freedom Corps could be created, the President continued, it could accomplish three very important things: First, it would induce desertions from countries behind the Iron Curtain and thus create anxiety and unrest in the USSR. Secondly, it would provide a means of securing very desirable types of citizens at the conclusion of their terms of service with the Corps. Thirdly, it would provide this country with good fighting material at a much cheaper rate. “At least”, the President concluded, “I want this new proposal thoroughly and sympathetically studied.”

President Eisenhower's proposal apparently didn't get much sympathy.
https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1950-55Intel/d148
Quote
148. Editorial Note

The United States Government supported the creation of a Volunteer Freedom Corps, to comprise nationals of Eastern European countries (other than East Germany). Major U.S. allies opposed the proposal, and consequently, it died a slow death. Consideration of the Volunteer Freedom Corps is covered extensively in Foreign Relations, 1952–1954, volume VIII. The Department of State had major reservations about the proposals, some of which were raised by Under Secretary Smith in the 145th meeting of the National Security Council, May 20, 1953. ( Ibid., pages 213– 218)
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Offline Dan M

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Re: "The Case for a U.S. Foreign Legion"
« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2019, 18:38:25 »
.. A foreign legion could also be part of the solution to bolstering the ranks of the U.S. military when an alarming percentage of young U.S. citizens are unqualified for military service. According to data gathered by the Pentagon in 2017, 71% of Americans ages 17 through 24 are unfit to serve, largely due to criminal history, low educational attainment, and health problems like obesity. In a 2012 TEDx talk, U.S. Army Lieutenant General Mark Hertling even described obesity as a national security threat. Obviously, the United States should tackle these problems, but that will take time. As long as there is a shortage of young people fit to wear the uniform, recruiting fit foreigners will help fill this gap.


This idea is popping up again via at least one analyst ....

Wasn't this one of the causes for the demise of the Roman Empire? The use of mercenaries to staff the Legions and guard the borders when Roman citizens would not?

Will this portend the end of America as the last superpower? Or will it make the nation stronger?

Cheers,
Dan.
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Offline Journeyman

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Re: "The Case for a U.S. Foreign Legion"
« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2019, 18:53:12 »
Will this portend the end of America as the last superpower?
Yep, that's  what future historians (or cave-dwelling people telling campfire tales in a post-apocalyptic world) will say foretold the end of US superpower status -- that damn US foreign legion.   :nod:

Offline Humphrey Bogart

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Re: "The Case for a U.S. Foreign Legion"
« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2019, 19:46:53 »
Yep, that's  what future historians (or cave-dwelling people telling campfire tales in a post-apocalyptic world) will say foretold the end of US superpower status -- that damn US foreign legion.   :nod:

There is kind of a movie like that already:



It could also double as Canada Post propaganda.  "If only they kept that damn door to door delivery!"

Offline tomahawk6

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Re: "The Case for a U.S. Foreign Legion"
« Reply #10 on: October 03, 2019, 01:37:01 »
The French model has worked well considering the modern FFL is around 8000 men just a small fraction of the Army. For years the British have raised Gurkha regiments. The Brits have reduced theit Gurkha conscription and the US could take those not taken by the recruiters. A US Gurkha battalion or two would be awesome. ;D

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: "The Case for a U.S. Foreign Legion"
« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2019, 16:48:00 »
Wasn't this one of the causes for the demise of the Roman Empire? The use of mercenaries to staff the Legions and guard the borders when Roman citizens would not?

Will this portend the end of America as the last superpower? Or will it make the nation stronger?

Cheers,
Dan.

No.

As I understand it the Roman Empire failed because of bad leadership at the highest levels followed by a series of successful invasions by vandals etc, pretty much....

And the US, and others, already make use of 'contractors' alot. Blackwater, or whatever they're called now, and their peer organizations are all an integral part of the team!
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon