UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


U.S. Marine Corps - Small Wars Manual (1940 Edition)


Section I


Local armed forces				12-1
United States intervention			12-2
Restoration of authority to local government	12-3
Formation of a constabulary			12-4

12-1. Local armed forces.-In most sovereign states, the executive authority is enforced by the national military forces, national forces, and organized reserves under the control of the state. In addition, there may be an organized militia and police forces under the control of political subdivisions of the state. Police forces are normally maintained by municipalities. These armed forces represent the national-defense forces of the state and the armed forces employed to preserve peace and order within its borders.

12-2. United States intervention.-a. When the domestic situation of a foreign country is such that it is necessary for the United States Government to intervene, the national and local armed forces of the country concerned are usually powerless to suppress the domestic disorder or enforce the laws. At the time of intervention, the armed forces of the country will probably have disintegrated due to defeat by insurgent forces or because of desertions. In some cases, the armed forces may be engaged in action against an insurgent force, whose operations have created havoc and destruction throughout the country. Due to the magnitude of the domestic disturbance, the local police authorities are usually ineffective in the suppression of lawlessness, and may even have ceased to function entirely. Upon arrival within the foreign country, the armed forces of the United States Government immediately become responsible for the protection of the life and property of all the inhabitants of the foreign country. In order to discharge this responsibility, it may become necessary for the United States forces to assume the functions of the national armed forces of the foreign country in addition to the duties of the local and municipal police.

b. In assisting any country to restore peace and order, it is not the policy of the United States government to accept permanent responsibility for the preservation of governmental stability by stationing its armed forces indefinitely in the foreign country for that purpose. The United States forces seek to restore domestic tranquility as soon as possible and to return the normal functions of government to the country concerned. To accomplish this, the United States Government will usually insist upon the establishment of an efficient and well-trained armed native force, free from political influence and dictatorial control.

12-3. Restoration of authority to local government.-Having assumed the obligation for the restoration of domestic tranquility within the foreign country concerned, the obligation is fulfilled by the use of United States forces. There is also present the obligation to restore to the foreign country its organic native defensive and law-enforcement powers as soon as tranquility has been secured. The organization of an adequate armed native organization is an effective method to prevent further domestic disturbances after the intervention has ended, and is one of the most important functions of the intervention since the lJnited States armed forces may have superseded or usurped the functions of armed forces of the country concerned at the beginning of the intervention. It is obvious that such armed forces must be restored prior to withdrawal.

12-4. Formation of a constabulary.-a. In the case of smaller countries whose national and international affairs are of limited magnitude and whose finances support only a small budget, the defense functions of the country and the police functions within the country can usually be combined and assigned to one armed force. Such a force is termed a "constabulary." The constabulary is a nonpartisan armed force patterned along the line of the military forces of the United States, with modifications to suit local conditions. The legal authority or approval for the formation of such an armed native organization must emanate from some person or body empowered with such sovereign right.

b. The authority for formation of a constabulary may be a decree of the de jure or de facto Chief Executive of the country in cases where a legislative agency does not exist. In such cases, the authority for any law enactment rests with the Chief Executive alone, who legally has the authority to issue a decree for the establishment of armed forces for his government. Provision is made for the appropriation of the necessary funds from the national budget for maintenance of the constabulary.

c. Authority for the formation of a constabulary may be granted by legislation initiated by the legislative body. In such cases, the existent armed forces of the country concerned are legally disbanded and the new constabulary force lawfully created by modification of the organic law of the country. Provision is made for the appropriation of the necessary funds from the national budget for its maintenance.

d. Authority for the formation of a constabulary may be the result of a treaty between the United States Government and the country concerned, providing for creation of such a constabulary. The treaty normally outlines the powers and limitations of the organization and provides funds for its maintenance. Often a treaty between the two governments will already exist, granting authority to the United States Government to intervene in the domestic affairs of the country concerned whenever the latter is unable to control domestic disorder within its boundaries. In such cases, this treaty is usually the basis or the authority for the creation of new armed forces within the country concerned, either through the executive or legislative agencies of the State, or through the powers of a military government set up within the country concerned by United States forces.

e. Authority for the formation of the constabulary may be the result of a decree of the military commander of United States forces in cases where a military government has been established to supplant the local government. In such cases, the maintenance of the constabulary is provided by means of appropriation of local revenues under control of the military government.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list