I wanted to get a discussion going as I think this could potentially have a really negative effect on the topic.
At least at Umich there has been a lot of discussion over the T arg that “military presence” excludes combat troops. This would obviously extremely complicate a chunk of Iraq/Afghanistan affirmatives. IMO, the topic was largely crafted to discuss just those two areas- that is where the most up to date and broad research is being conducted in the world right now- they are the hot topic if you will.
So in my mind, in a debate where it came down to the negative having a more precise or field contextual definition vs the aff argument that such an interpretation would exclude a really big part of what people thought they were getting when voting for this topic, the aff is in pretty good shape.
I will leave it at that for now and let people discuss amongst themselves a little, but I am interested to hear what people think.
UPDATE- Per request, below the fold are some of the cards in question
Presence requires regular, non-combat activities – forces engaged in combat or one-time noncombat missions aren’t part of U.S. presence
Thomason, 2 – Project Leader, Institute for Defense Analysis (James, “Transforming US Overseas Military Presence: Evidence and Options for DoD,” July, http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.122.1144&rep=rep1&type=pdf
WHAT IS OVERSEAS MILITARY PRESENCE?
Our working definition of US overseas military presence is that it consists of all the US military assets in overseas areas that are engaged in relatively routine, regular, non-combat activities or functions.
By this definition, forces that are located overseas may or may not be engaging in presence activities. If they are engaging in combat (such as Operation Enduring Freedom), or are involved in a one-time non-combat action (such as an unscheduled carrier battle group deployment from the United States aimed at calming or stabilizing an emerging crisis situation), then they are not engaging in presence activities. Thus, an asset that is located (or present) overseas may or may not be “engaged in presence activities,” may or may not be “doing presence.”
We have thus far defined presence activities chiefly in “negative” terms—what they are not. In more positive terms, what exactly are presence activities, i.e., what do presence activities actually entail doing?
Overseas military presence activities are generally viewed as a subset of the overall class of activities that the US government uses in its efforts to promote important military/security objectives [Dismukes, 1994]. A variety of recurrent, overseas military activities are normally placed under the “umbrella” concept of military presence. These include but are not limited to US military efforts overseas to train foreign militaries; to improve inter-operability of US and friendly forces; to peacefully and visibly demonstrate US commitment and/or ability to defend US interests; to gain intelligence and familiarity with a locale; to conduct peacekeeping activities; and to position relevant, capable US military assets such that they are likely to be available sooner rather than later in case an evolving security operation or contingency should call for them.
Presence only applies to military forces before combat
Greer, 91 – Lieutenant Colonel, US Army (Charles, “The Future of Forward Presence”, http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA234227&Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf)
To establish a conceptual framework for this paper, I developed the following definition of forward presence within the context of national defense: the visible employment of US military personnel and/or military material as a deterrent outside of the continental United States (OCONUS) at any point along the operational continuum short of involving major US conventional forces in combat.
My simplistic definition could be subject to endless scholarly debate. It includes small unit combat operations of limited scope and duration and peacetime contingency operations such as Desert Shield in Saudi Arabia, but it excludes the subsequent combat operation designated Desert Storm. It includes our military activities in Alaska and Hawaii. It excludes any diplomatic, economic, social or psychological activities that do not have a military component.
The term “employment” in the definition could be criticized as denoting action or movement which could exclude what some may term passive measures such as storage of material or unmanned (i.e., automated) sites or systems. However, there is always some activity associated with these so-called passive measures (e.g., maintenance, data collection, etc), and the term employment also encompasses emplacement.
The more controversial aspect of my definition lies in the terms “deterrent” and “visible.” Deterrence is “the prevention from action by fear of the consequences. Deterrence is a state of mind brought about by the existence of a credible threat of unacceptable counteraction.” Once major conventional forces are engaged in protracted combat operations, it is clear that deterrence, by definition, has failed.
Visibility is inextricably linked to deterrence. Visible to whom? To those we wish to deter. This is reminiscent of the old philosophical question, “If a tree falls deep in the forest and there is no one there to hear it, does it make a sound?” In the case of forward presence, the answer is “no.”
Target audience is the key to the concept of visibility. A target audience may be the world at large, the senior leadership of a specific country or movement, the control cell of a terrorist organization or countless other possibilities. Therefore, forward presence, by definition, also includes covert activities using military personnel and/or material, as long as the activity is visible to the targeted audience and deters that group or individual from taking an undesired action. An invisible presence is both contradictory and serves no useful deterrent purpose, which goes to the heart of the issue. Deterrence is the ultimate purpose of forward presence.
Presence is distinct from crisis response and combat missions – it is the deployment of military forces explicitly linked to deterrence or reassurance
Dismukes, 94 – representative of the Center for Naval Analyses to the London staff of the Commander in Chief, U.S. Naval Forces Europe. (Bradford, “National Security Strategy and Forward Presence: Implications
for Acquisition and Use of Forces,” March, http://cna.org/sites/default/files/research/2793019200.pdf)
Beyond the direct defense of the United States, U.S. conventional forces fulfill three strategic functions: overseas presence, immediate crisis response, and sustained, large-scale combat. The definitions of the three provide the framework for decision on forces. Basically, forces needed for other tasks—for example, peace-keeping and peace enforcement—are lesser cases of these three. (The Bush Administration grouped the latter two together under the label “Crisis Response.” The Bottom-Up Review does not address crisis response except by implication as part of phase 1, before large-scale combat in a “major regional contingency.” Mr. Aspin tends to put the label presence on all forward forces whether they are forces for presence (as will be specified) or whether they are engaged in the tasks of crisis response.)
A basic problem with overseas presence is that the term describes both a military posture (military means) and a military mission (military means and political objectives). In the case of presence as a mission, the objective is influence on behalf of a variety of U.S. political goals. This ambiguity is made worse by the fact that the term has been in use since at least the 1960s, but it has never been defined in the JCS dictionary of military terms. As a strategic task of the armed forces, overseas presence is here defined as the routine operation of forces forward (the means) to influence what foreign governments,113 both adversary and friend, think and do (the ends) without combat.114
Overseas presence does not constitute a strategy, though it or a similar term may in time become the shorthand name for the national strategy. The national strategy is one of engagement of U.S. power in the key regions to promote their stability and democratic development. As described in the body of this paper, a national strategy would integrate the components of U.S. power to achieve stability in the short term and build cooperative relations in the long term. The latter would address the dangers inherent in the international system, outlined in table 1, on page 23.
An important distinguishing characteristic of overseas presence115— the absence of combat—places it on a continuum of increasing violence with the other strategic tasks, crisis response and sustained combat. Each form of the application of power aims to influence political behavior. Presence is nonviolent (though it is their potential for violence that makes forward forces influential); crisis response involves the threat, or the actual practice, of limited violence; sustained combat seeks to change an adversary’s behavior through large- scale violence aimed at destroying his armed forces in the field, denying him the means to control or continue to support his operations, and so on. Thinking about the three strategic functions as points or bands on a continuum fits the real world; yet the three define the need for distinct kinds of capabilities.