This Week's Herman Trend Alert

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  The Herman Trend Alert

December 21, 2005

The Changing Role of the World's Military

Traditionally, military organizations have been trained and deployed as war fighters. Whether on the offensive or defensive, attack mode or police action, the mission has been clear. Distinctions between war and relief, between domestic and foreign assignments, have clouded and transformed the role of the world's military organizations. Though trained and prepared for battle, soldiers are now also being trained for search and rescue and relief duties.

Population growth and dispersion has significantly increased the likelihood of natural disasters with extensive damage and human problems that far exceed the capabilities of local resources. Our planet hosts a population of six billion people, living in increasingly larger numbers in seismically, climatically, and environmentally fragile areas. We have seen the impacts of the recent earthquake in Pakistan (20,000 death toll) and the tsunami in the Indian Ocean. It may only be a matter of time before China experiences the consequence of its burgeoning population occupying its flood zones. The damage caused by hurricanes in the southeastern United States has been expensive in many ways. Earthquakes continue to threaten California, as well as the central (increasingly populated) section of the country.

In the years ahead, more human beings will be killed or made homeless by natural disasters than military conflict…and more than ever before in history. How do we combat this enemy that can not be beaten? Only by responding quickly with the help that is needed can we relieve the suffering of our fellow Man. The only way that response can be managed, with the massive resources and logistical support necessary, is by military organizations. When struck by a huge disaster, political leaders can quickly forget their ideological differences in a compassionate desire to help people who are suffering.

A call for help in the future will bring even more coordinated efforts among military organizations from around the world. We will see more cooperation among countries to move people, water, food, medical supplies, heavy equipment, emergency housing, and emergency response specialists wherever they may be needed. Such joint military operations may also build greater understandings across cultures, supporting a more peaceful world.

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