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Spanish American War - Military Departments

A clear distinction should be drawn between a territorial military department composed solely of infantry, cavalry, and field artillery and one composed solely of coast artillery troops, in that the former is an administrative unit applicable normally to peace conditions only; and is abandoned in war, whereas the latter is a coast defense administrative unit that would continue to exist in war the same as in peace. At the outbreak of war the infantry, cavalry, and field artillery are withdrawn from their peace stations and mobilized into the brigades, divisions, and corps of the field army for duty in connection with the land operations of the field army. On the other hand, the Coast Artillery at the outbreak of war with any maritime power will simply continue the functions practiced during peace without any change of locality.

The coast defenders are permanently located along the coast and can not be taken from the coast fortifications until all danger of naval attack on coast cities and shipping has disappeared as a result of a decisive victory of the fleet over that of the enemy. All administrative functions pertaining to the territorial department must therefore continue in full force for coast artillery during war. It is, in fact, precisely at such a time that coast artillery equipment and personnel must be maintained at their highest efficiency since the coast line immediately becomes the threatened line of attack. This requires careful inspection by general officers who know how to examine in person minutely into the details of installation and drill and who are able to pass upon the condition of all coast-defense material in a practical way and upon the standard of the drill of the personnel. Only through such inspections by such trained general officers will it be possible to insure an efficient defense by the Coast Artillery. It goes without saying, indeed, that general officers who have spent their professional life with infantry, cavalry, or field artillery can not properly make such inspections as are here indicated, either during peace or war.

In Cold War and later usage, the term Military Department means one of the departments within the Department of Defense created by the National Security Act of 1947, as amended, also called MILDEP (i.e. Department of the Air Force; Department of the Army; Department of the Navy). The State Military Departments typically include Army National Guard, the Air National Guard, an Emergency Management Agency, and an all-volunteer State Guard.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 01:36:17 ZULU