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Old 09-10-2008, 04:00 AM
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Default The Longer Version Part 1

Webstral 07-29-2008, 11:51 PM The success of the Huachuca-Tucson cantonment, a.k.a. the Southern Arizona Military Administrative District (SAMAD), was due to the personality of the Fort Huachuca CG as of August 1995. MG Thomason was a classic Military Intelligence man: inquisitive, imaginative, insightful, intellectual, and as unorthodox an officer as a soldier can be and still rise to the rank of major general during peacetime. His resume was a list of command, S-2/G-2, and S-3/G-3 jobs. He had risen as far as he was going to rise; retirement was his next stop after completing his post command.


The start of the Sino-Soviet War changed everything for him. Thomason foresaw that the limited force the Soviets sent into Manchuria might not be sufficient to produce victory over the Chinese in a timely fashion. He recognized the personal pressures that defeat even in a limited war would bring to bear on the Chinese Politburo; and he recognized that the Chinese leadership would sacrifice many of their countrymen’s lives to avoid admitting defeat. A protracted war in China would generate its own logic regarding the use of tactical nuclear weapons. The limited use of tactical nuclear weapons might well blend into an extensive use of tactical nuclear weapons, which might segue into the limited use of strategic nuclear weapons, and so forth. A significant Sino-Russian nuclear exchange very well could take in the United States, given the Soviet view about the zero-sum nature of global power. Thomason decided it might be worth becoming better educated about what a nuclear exchange might mean for his post.


Accordingly, Thomason formed the Brightlight Scenario Detachment using a handful of soldiers and civilians available on-post. The detachment was given the simple-sounding mission of analyzing the short-term effects of a limited US-Soviet nuclear exchange on Fort Huachuca and the surrounds. The detachment was to give its report in three months.


In December, the Brightlight Scenario Detachment (a name which earned the detachment commander no small amount of ribbing) presented to MG Thomason a report which confirmed his worst fears. In the event that Fort Huachuca and the three southeastern Arizona counties were thrown back on their own resources by the likely disruption of the power grid and the transportation system as the result of a limited East-West nuclear exchange, the post would find itself in a highly untenable situation. There were several highlights to the bad news. Available surface water was very limited throughout the three counties. Wells were the primary source of water. The water table had been dropping across most of the three counties for many years. The existing municipal wells would need fuel and/or electricity to bring the water up. A disruption in the production of electricity and the interruption of petroleum production/refinement as well as the transportation network—virtually certain results of any nuclear exchange—would seriously jeopardize the operation of the wells once local stocks of fuels were consumed.


Known food reserves in the area would be adequate for the existing population of approximately 500,000 for less than six weeks, based on current per capita calorie consumption. Reducing the calorie intake would extend the supplies, but not by much.


There was no way of knowing what the refugee situation would be like following a modest nuclear exchange. Previous studies had estimated that up to 75% of the population of desert cities like Tucson and greater Phoenix might take to the roads as best they could. If this were to happen during the summer, the death toll from heat stroke could top a million.


The three counties had some agriculture, but it was nothing like what would be required to feed the local population. Rainfall was inadequate for rain-fed agriculture throughout most of the three counties, and there was no widespread irrigation system. Even if the existing fields were planted and watered with grain crops, the most optimistic projections for the harvest would fall drastically short of the requirement.


The post might be able to survive longer than the general populace by using generators to pump water. Without fuel resupply, the generators would not last in the long term. The post might be able to grow some supplementary crops, but there was no institutional knowledge of how to do so on Fort Huachuca. Also, there was no seed. In fact, seed stocks for grains and vegetables were, for all intents and purposes, non-existent throughout the three counties.


The bad news went on. As an Army post, Fort Huachuca would be called upon to provide security and disaster relief throughout the area. The post was woefully ill-equipped for the job. While 11th Signal Brigade, which co-habited Fort Huachuca with the MI Center and School, possessed adequate personal equipment and small arms, the 111th Military Intelligence Brigade and the other units on-post were almost bereft of the most basic of soldiering gear. Although the 111th nominally was organized along combat brigade lines, as a TRADOC (Training and Doctrine) brigade the 111th was oriented towards military instruction. Each line company in the brigade had a relatively small cadre training a large number of students who would move on to their permanent duty station after completing their coursework at Huachuca. The brigade’s stock of rifles was adequate only to allow one company at a time to conduct marksmanship training. Machine guns were in even shorter supply. A handful of APC were available for training purposes. Military trucks, including HMMWV, were just sufficiently available to enable the brigade (and the post as a whole) to conduct routine operations. Basic gear such as LBE (Load Bearing Equipment) and canteens was issued. Little else was. In the event that 11th Signal Brigade were to be deployed during any run-up to an East-West exchange (a distinct possibility), Fort Huachuca would find itself more poorly armed than the civilian population it would called upon to regulate and support.


In short, the Brightlight Scenario Detachment painted rather a grim picture of the outlook for Fort Huachuca and southeastern Arizona.




Webstral

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