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A dirty bomb blowing up in Europe? Or the U.S.?

People sometimes don’t like to talk about that, or about other future calamities, according to John L. Clarke. So he compiled a book about it.

“Our greatest threat is when terrorists acquire weapons of mass destruction,” said Clarke, a professor at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Garmisch, Germany. “If used, the amount of chaos and catastrophe would be unimaginable.”

Clarke has edited a book titled “Armies in Homeland Security: American and European Perspectives.” It looks at how 10 nations and the European Union use their militaries to deal with national emergencies such as Hurricane Katrina and the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

“Most security services think we’re going to rely on the military to deal with the consequences of that catastrophe,” Clarke said.

Paramilitary police such as France’s gendarmerie or Italy’s Carabinieri prepare for such events in those countries.

But paramilitaries in the U.S.?

“I have advocated looking at the concept,” Clarke said. “We have something similar in the Coast Guard, a military that does law enforcement [at sea]. On the ground we have the National Guard, but I don’t advocate turning it into a police force.”

Eleven different authors each contributed a chapter to the 250-page book, which is being sold on Amazon. They explained how militaries respond to civil emergencies in the U.S., United Kingdom, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Austria, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Romania, France and the European Union.

The idea was to get a mix of viewpoints, Clarke said.

The Marshall Center was established in 1993 by the U.S. and German defense departments to help stabilize and democratize nations of the former Soviet bloc. Representatives from the nations attended classes on national security, terrorism and other subjects.

But the center’s mission and audience has expanded.

Clarke, a former Army Green Beret and one the center’s original faculty, said he hoped to use his research to establish a new course called Seminar on Transatlantic Civil Security.

“Part of our new audience are people from ministries other than ministries of defense — interior, national security,” Clarke said. “This is our opportunity to offer something of interest to them, and to use to communicate with colleagues in other countries.

“I hope it prepares our partner nations to be more resilient and more prepared to deal with these kinds of crisis, insofar as it involves the role of the military in civil security.”


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