A Professional Perspective: The Current Militia Movement, Ver. 2.0



Here are some thoughts and histories from a professional for the truly objective among you. H/T to WRSA

The Current Militia Movement, Ver. 2.0
Bill Roberts

Okay. After the last go round I can see that there are a few points I should have addressed in more detail and a couple of observations that I will address. Let me state at the beginning that the biggest issues I see with the so-called militias are the lack of standardized organization and leadership. In the following writings I will address how these problems were addressed and codified in the early days of our nation.

First. I meant all that stuff about let us all try to have a rational discussion. If the best you can come up with is name calling or threats, or if you see any need for either, I suggest you are wasting your valuable breath. To those of you who followed that brief guidance, in most cases if it was required, I responded. For the ones who started out with the personal attacks, I stopped reading as soon as I realized we could not be civil. Now on to the first of a few observations I want to explore. I am not asking you to agree with anything I have to say. I am simply asking that you check your unbridled frustration and hostility at the door. You can’t possibly think that anyone is going to pay any attention to your ranting and raving except maybe somebody of like attitude. This is not the way of engendering cooperation and change. Please take note that I do not intend my tone to be condescending in general. I will actually let you know when I intend to be such. That said, let us move on.

One comment that I addressed and will mention here again, is that the reason I used the references that I did is because they are historically based on law, not someone’s opinion. Regardless of who’s opinion it maybe, the words of the Constitution of the United States and the various Acts and Codes that have become law trump opinion.

I believe a slightly expanded historic time line may help with the understanding of the points I am trying to make about militias.

The etymology of the word militia is from the Latin miles and –itia. The first meaning soldier and the second suffix referring to the state (governmental entity.) Together they essentially mean military service. Earliest written reference to the militia seems to be in the mid to late 16th century. So we see in the earliest known references the militia was the body of soldiers that composed the military structure. Now on to some more history in the United States.

The First Continental Congress was convened September 5, 1774. Only Georgia was absent. Their business was to address the Coercive Acts (aka the Intolerable Acts by the colonialists.) They were dealing with the Crown’s punishment of Boston for the Tea Party. They petitioned King George III for relief and called for a Second Continental Congress to convene if their petition was unsuccessful. The petition granted no relief.

In April 1775 fighting broke out in Boston between the British units and local militia members loyal to the patriot movement. Notice I said loyal to the patriot movement because there were militias on the Tory side as well, especially in the southern colonies. This date is considered to be the beginning of the Revolutionary war that continued until 1783.

0n May 10, 1775 the Second Continental Congress convened with representatives of all 12 colonies previously in attendance at the First Continental Congress. Three days later the representatives from Georgia arrived. They became the de facto government of what would become the United States though with no legal basis to govern. The delegates urged each colony to form militias and to train. On June 12, 1775 the Continental Navy was established, on June 14, 1775 they created the Continental Army out of the militias surrounding Boston and appointed George Washington as commander. On November 10, 1775 the Continental Marines were established.

It wasn’t until July 4, 1776 that the Declaration of Independence was signed and about the same time the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Unity were drafted but not ratified by all colonies until February 2, 1781. Here is a link to a transcript of the articles for those of you who may be unfamiliar with the document that is considered by most as the “First U.S. Constitution.” I find it interesting that this congress preapproved Canada for admission to the Union. Now that would make for an interesting alternate time line in someone’s Sci-Fi book or movie.


For many reasons, not the least of which was the lack of enforcement powers and money, the Articles of Confederation were a failure. Based upon this, a Constitutional Convention was held beginning in May of 1787. On 17 September 1787 the Constitution was signed. Less than a year later, by 21 June 1798, eleven states had ratified the new Constitution and it became law. North Carolina and Rhode Island ratified it by May 1790.

Now to speak briefly of the Militia Acts. In 1792 two separate acts were passed that are together referred to as the Militia Acts of 1792. The first gave the President the power to unilaterally (without congressional approval) call up the state militias for service in defense of the nation. The second, signed into law six days later on 8 may 1792, provided for the standardized organization of all state militias and effectively conscripted every “free, able-bodied white male citizen” between the ages of 18 and 45 into a local militia company. The Militia Act of 1795 was subsequently passed to keep the authority of the President to call up the militias in force. The Militia Act of 1862 was passed to allow the President to call militias for “Federal (Union)” service against the Confederacy. It also provided that “persons of African descent” could serve in the militias. It was superseded by the Militia Act of 1903 which established the United States National Guard as the Organized Militia in this nation.

Now you can see some of the changes from the First Continental Congress to today. This should give you a better idea of where some of my facts originated. It also demonstrates that the U.S. National Guard has everything to do with the militia as defined and codified by law.

History lesson over. Now to address some other issues from the last go round. And then move on.

I am not “one of them.” I am not trying to drive a wedge between anyone and any group. Many of the “militias” do that all by themselves and don’t need my help. The more “militias” demonstrate their anger and rage on the internet, the more they demonstrate their contempt for the government and the more they photograph themselves running around in camouflage carrying “assault rifles,” the worse it will become between them and the “average” citizen. By the way, I put those terms in quotes because I believe they are misnomers and used incorrectly in most discussions. I will say it again and again, organize your communities, your neighborhood, whatever. Stay off the radar. Look for conservative political leaders.

You may feel free to call yourself anything you want. Trust me on this one, many organizations from the NSA down to the Southern Poverty Law Center, know who comprises the “militias.” If you want to be a “militia”, so be it. Don’t let the mere fact that the meaning of that term was defined by actual etymology and in this country by law and you don’t fit that meaning as set forth dissuade you. You may feel free to fall back on the dictionary definition I provided in my last writing. The first three conform to the Constitution, the Militia Act and U.S. Code. I bring your attention to the fourth and fifth examples provided as that is where a good number of you seem to be. Emphasis added.

[mi-lishuh] noun

1. a body of citizens enrolled for military service, and called out periodically for drill but serving full time only in emergencies.

2. a body of citizen soldiers as distinguished from professional soldiers.

3. all able-bodied males considered by law eligible for military service.

4. a body of citizens organized in a paramilitary group and typically regarding themselves as defenders of individual rights against the PRESUMED interference of the federal government.

5. a military force that engages in rebel or terrorist activities, typically in opposition to a regular army.

Also, please don’t let a little thing like the rule of law be an issue. Each of us has free will. That is the way God made us. So if you want to ignore laws and/or break laws, have at it. I for one used to have a terrible time with speed limits. Never as high as what I wanted. Actually lost my license as a teenager just before I enlisted. Anyway we have a term for people who break the law, we call them criminals. I saw a lot of them during my time on the bench. All ages, races, and creeds and they all had an excuse. Yes, I know, this last paragraph has been condescending. Get over it. Couldn’t help myself.

For those who informed me of the way the SHTF scenario would happen, let me just say: Maybe. See I believe the SHTF scenario will begin when the government gets tired of the disorganized “militias” and begins to consider them a threat. When I say them I mean the collective them as in “militias” that are not. That hasn’t happened. When it does, and I doubt the government and military will collapse prior to that event, then the ubiquitous “THEY” are going to come for “THEM.” And unlike Ruby Ridge and Waco, where there was this long standoff and negotiation before the government started murdering folks, they will probably deem the disorganized militias as domestic terrorists and use deadly force first.

This also negates the idea that these “militias” will be facing a beleaguered military force. That would be nice as they would at least have a chance. Well, maybe. Consider however, the hostilities of the 1860s here in the United States. Yeah, I know, the Confederacy had incredible victories, they were great. I get it. They lost. One of the reasons was lack of materiel. A war of attrition. Can’t fight much without bullets and other resources. And for the record, there were families divided on that one. Brothers killing brothers. Do you think the average Infantry soldier will not engage people bearing arms that have been declare terrorists?

Going back further to the Revolutionary War, I keep hearing about how great the militias were. Not saying they didn’t fight hard, just saying they weren’t the lynch pin to victory. There are a few commonly agreed upon reasons why the British lost.

First, Howe was unable to capture Washington at New York and as a result Washington went on to keep his army together and eventually defeat the British but it wasn’t all him. By the way, the British kicked the militia as well as the Continental Army in the rear at New York.

Another reason was thanks to Parliament itself. It was divided on the colonial issue and support for the war was tenuous. The British economy was in trouble and the war was a huge drain. Good place to note that the majority of British citizens and MOP were in favor of giving the colonialists equal rights.

Then we had the Franco-American alliance. When the French joined in, suddenly other British colonies were at risk. Had the British on multiple fronts so to speak.

In the southern colonies the British overestimated the Loyalist. They had planned on recruiting Loyalist armies in the south and it just didn’t happen.

And the last one, of many, that I will mention, though maybe the most critical, was the lack of ability for the British to resupply itself in a timely matter. Happened to the British during the Revolutionary War just as it happened to the Confederacy during the Unpleasantness and has happened in countless other examples around the world and throughout history. Resupply matters. As a rhetorical question, how much do you have on hand in say classes I through IX? How long can you sustain yourself without more resources? Do these groups think they will simply take what they need from the locals? I, for one, do not care who they are, who they claim to be, what agency or organization they are with, if they wear a badge or not, if I think they are a threat to me or my family or intend to take what is mine by the virtue of my labor, they are in for one great big FXXXKING surprise. To paraphrase some Hollywood movie: “You may get me in a bum’s rush but I am going to take some of you with me.” I am pretty much a “Don’t Tread on Me” type. Anyone who starts commandeering supplies from the populace will only hasten their own defeat.

Why do I keep harping all over the place about history and fact? Partly because of the old adage: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” George Santayana, 1863 – 1952. Partly because learning and understanding the past leads to fresh solutions to the problems of today.

Another good one that I kept getting hit with surrounds “The Oath.” For those of you who may not know what oath we are talking about I provide it here for you. As an enlisted soldier I took the first one, as an officer the second.

I, (state your full name) do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.

I, (state your full name) having been appointed an officer in the Army of the United States, as indi­cated above in the grade of (fill in the blank) do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obli­gation freely, without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God.”

Some differences between the two. Interestingly, as with the Second Amendment to the U. S. Constitution, and other documents, people want to pick what they choose to believe it says. Before those flood gates open, I firmly believe that the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right.

In the case of the first oath the usual choice is the part about I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.. That last part, I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God, seems to be a hindrance to their point of view. Just screws up their whole “militia” argument that they are really defending this great nation. All the parts of the oath weigh equally in my opinion but of course some may disagree.

In the second oath the part about obeying the orders of the President of the United States and those appointed over me is not required as officers have only the chain of command to follow. Enlisted soldiers are also subject to orders from other enlisted soldiers of higher rank. The only difference here is the difference between a lawful order and a direct order but that is outside the requirements of this discussion.

I took my oaths very seriously, though as an officer, on a few occasions, I said “NO! Don’t like it? Relieve me.” But that is another story to be had with friends over beer. Maybe one day. By the way, the POTUS has a different oath. That oath of office states:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.

That “to the best of my ability” has always bothered me but that is the way it is. I guess some are more able than others.

There were many more diatribes but as I said, many got tuned out after a few words or a line or two. In fact, someone queried why I didn’t answer all the great, insightful questions that were posed. I told him to give me a list and I’d look into it but it might just be that our definitions of “great, insightful questions” differ. Also, I firmly understand that it matters not what I say, many of you will never change your mind or even consider my points regardless of how they are presented.

Now to the real issue at hand. Should communities have some sort of armed organization to deal with situations that the current system cannot. My personal answer is yes. There are many potential events that might require an armed response. As an example: several years ago we had tornados that devastated some of the local communities. In my own area we were fortunate, only four homes destroyed and three dead. The problem was that the American Red Cross and FEMA were not even looking at us. The county sheriff came out and called for removal of the bodies after the little investigation and that was it. As a community we pulled together, found lodging for the two survivors, and started the task of cleaning up the mess. For some reason people from outside our community thought that it was okay to come in the dead of night and collect up what they wanted. Fortunately we were prepared with armed citizens on the properties and there was no looting. This is but one example in many I can think of.

It is not that I advise you not to organize and arm, quite the contrary. Just don’t flaunt and flash it all over the internet and announce you are a “militia” intent on saving your community from the government. That one you will lose. Come up with a more innocuous name for your organization. Maybe West End Community Observation Group or something that doesn’t draw immediate attention.

I will grant you all that this nation is wrought with problems from rampant welfare to special rights for every miniscule minority. I do not agree with the current foreign policy especially as it regards the various muslim nations. I have spent time with muslims and my answer to dealing with them is not in the least PC. As a point of departure, I have read the Koran in a 1930’s translation. To say it was enlightening is an understatement. I also suggest you read the Hadith. Another nail in the coffin of muslim irrationality. Anyone who claims islam is a religion of peace is either lying or just not informed. In all this please don’t forget the Bible. God’s word brings strength. If you haven’t read it, and I mean cover to cover, get started. I don’t disagree that the issues of taxation, uncontrolled alien intrusion from many countries and top of the list, Barack Hussein Obama and the executive order, have me more than a little pissed off. I am simply not ready to throw in the towel and quit trying to change things through peaceful methods.

Even the colonialists petitioned King George III in writing for relief. Have any of you? That’s right, I forgot, no national organization.

I guess until/if I am invited to submit something else this ends the lesson. I’d really like to move on in the future to a discussion of operational considerations for both insurgency and counter insurgency. Might be somewhat enlightening. Considering I wrote the first complete draft of the COIN manual for the Infantry School at Ft. Benning back in 1994, I know a little bit about it. Maybe we could discuss unit organization, the necessity and benefits tactically and operationally of subordination to legitimate authority, IPB, RACO, logistics or something else entirely. Anything but the illegitimacy of the “militia” movement as it is currently structured.

Until then be safe.


William David “Bill” Roberts II


One thought on “A Professional Perspective: The Current Militia Movement, Ver. 2.0

  1. Pingback: A and The… Militia | The Sun Also Rises

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