Do you think the US Military Would Fire On Other Americans? Here is the answer!

Combat Arms Survey

On 08 April 1995, The RESISTER conducted a telephone interview with LCDR Earnest Guy Cunningham, USN, regarding his Combat Arms Survey given to 300 U.S. Marine Corps combat trained marines at Twenty-Nine Palms California on 10 May 1994.

The survey was given in support of his Naval Postgraduate School master’s thesis; Peacekeeping and U.N. Operational Control: A Study of Their Effect on Unit Cohesion. (Before joining the Navy, LCDR Cunningham was a Special Forces medic. After the usual exchange of bona fides, and waltzing the Name Dropping Dance, sufficient trust was established for a frank discussion.)

For the record, we are convinced of LCDR Cunningham’s sincerity in his claim that the sole purpose of his thesis was to explore what effect Operations Other Than War would have on small unit cohesion. We discussed several constitutional issues with him, as well as the results of his survey. Although there are those who still vilify LCDR Cunningham, we found him to be strongly opposed to many of the non-traditional missions contained in his survey, and a staunch defender of the Constitution.

One of the first questions we asked LCDR Cunningham pertained to the timing of his questionnaire. There had been rumors of a questionnaire of similar content being administered to U.S. Navy SEAL Team Six in the fall of 1993, and the February 1994 issue of MODERN GUN magazine publicized the existence of such a questionnaire.

LCDR Cunningham denied that was his questionnaire and maintained that the first, and only, time his questionnaire was given at Twenty-Nine Palms of 10 May 1994. When asked if he had made test versions, and conducted test runs of his questionnaire to refine his product, he replied that he had not.

When asked if he was aware of any other person, or organization, conducting similar research, he replied that he was aware of no such questionnaire or research. (This raises the question; “Who, or what agency, was surveying special operations personnel to determine if they would participate in firearms confiscation?”)

Our conversation then ranged over the construction and content of the Combat Arms Survey. LCDR Cunningham stated that the Combat Arms Survey was specifically designed to elicit responses indicative to the effect the described non-traditional missions, under either U.S or U.N. control, would have on cohesion of small units engaged in such operations.

With specific regard to the infamous question #46, we agreed that unit cohesion would evaporate. Officers who gave the order would make their widows rich, and the most serious threat to the public would be the ensuing firefight between those refused to confiscate firearms, and the bullet-bait who would.

An important distinction discussed regarding the results of the Combat Arms Survey was the age of the respondents and their acceptance of foreign control of U.S. forces. The younger the respondent (in other words; the lesser the pay grade of the respondent), the more amenable he was to Operations Other Than War and non-traditional missions, including U.N. operational control over U.S. forces. this was true of both officers and enlisted men.

During the interview we commented that an individual marking an opinion space in a questionnaire merely indicated the opinion of that individual, but was not indicative of whether that individual would, or would not, follow illegal or immoral orders, or perform a mission he had strong personal misgivings about, and that, for the most part, despite personal misgivings, soldiers would follow orders regardless of the legality , morality, or constitutionality of those orders.

LCDR Cunningham conceded that such distinctions were outside the scope of the Combat Arms Survey, but that the margin responses to certain questions indicated that the long term result of compliance with questionable orders would eventually result in intra-unit factionalism and destroy unit cohesion.

LCDR Cunningham further related that the most frightening statistic of the Combat Arms Survey was the number of “No Opinion” responses to a number of questions, most significantly to question #46.

Twelve percent of respondents answered “No Opinion” when asked if they would fire on American citizens who refused to surrender their firearms. Including the total who responded that they WOULD fire on Americans (26.34 percent), and given the fact that those with no opinion on moral issues will mindlessly do what they are told, over 38 percent of those ordered to fire Americans refusing to surrender their firearms would do so.

We objected that even those who had a moral aversion to following illegal orders would do so, either out of a sense of duty, or for no more substantial reason than the preservation of their military careers, and that the percentage of those who would fire on Americans, even if they disagreed with the order to do so, was probably significantly higher than 50 percent.

We further objected that the personal opinions of officers who would give the orders relied less on their willingness to issue, or ensure the successful execution of, immoral orders, than their desire to achieve a one or two block on their OER. LCDR Cunningham agreed in principle that “careerism’ had the logical consequence of diluting moral responsibility, but could offer no substantive evidence to the extent of impact of careerism on unit cohesion based solely on his thesis or research.

Although we do not agree with some of LCDR Cunningham’s premises regarding the constitutionality, or desirability, of even benign Operations Other Than War, particularly the bifurcation of the U.S. military into national defense and peacekeeping forces–as a result of our interview, and review of his thesis–we find no justification for anybody questioning his patriotism.

LCDR Cunningham’s thesis was purely a research effort to determine the long term effects of Operations Other Than War and non- traditional missions on both horizontal cohesion (how the unit coalesces, supports itself, and performs as an integrated whole), and vertical cohesion (trust and confidence in the unit’s leadership).

Anybody who doubts this need only talk to the man.

JFA Davidson



The following survey was given to U.S. Marines at the 29 Palms Marine Corps base in California:
DD Form 3206 (Rev 2/96)


Part A (Confidential when filled in)

This questionnaire is to gather data concerning the attitudes of combat trained personnel with regard to non-traditional missions. All responses are confidential and official. Write your answers directly on the form. In Part II, place an “X” in the space provided for your response.


Part 1. Demographics.

1. Branch of Service: Army ( ) USAF ( ) Navy ( ) Marines ( ) ANG ( ) NG ( ) USCG ( ) Other: ( )

2. Pay Grade: (E-6, O-4, etc) ( )

3. MOS, AFSC or Specialty Code and Description: ( )

4. Highest level of education: Less than 12 ( ) 13 ( ) 14 ( ) 15 ( ) (16) ( ) More than 16 ( )

5. How many months did you serve in Operation Desert Storm/Desert Shield?( )

6. How many months did you serve in Somalia? ( )

7. Where did you spend most of your childhood?

City: ( ); County: ( ) State: ( )

Part II. Attitude:

Do you feel that U.S. combat troops should be used within the U.S. and bordering countries for any of the following missions?

(Strongly Disagree) (Disagree) (Agree) (Strongly Agree) (No Opinion)

8. Drug enforcement

9. Disaster relief (e.g. hurricanes, floods, fires, earthquakes)

10. Security at national events (e.g. Olympic Games, Super Bowl)

11. Environmental disaster clean-up including toxic and nuclear

12. Substitute teachers and school workers in public schools

13. Community assistance programs (e.g. landscaping, environmental clean-up,road repair, animal control)

14. Federal and State prison guards and auxiliary police

15. National emergency police force/international security force

16. Advisors to SWAT units, the FBI, or the BATF

17. Border Patrol (e.g. prevention of entry of illegal aliens into U.S. territory)

18. Drug enforcement and interdiction

19. Disaster relief in bordering countries (e.g. hurricanes, floods, fires, earthquakes, etc.)

20. Environmental disaster clean-up in bordering countries including toxic and nuclear.

21. Peace keeping and local law enforcement and internal security forces

22. National building (reconstruct civil governments, develop public school system, develop or improve public transportation system, etc.)

23. Humanitarian relief (e.g. food and medical supplies, temporary housing and clothing and domestic care).

Do you feel that U.S. combat troops should be used in other countries, under command of non-U.S. officers appointed by the U.N. for any of the following missions?

24. Drug enforcement.

25. Disaster relief (e.g. hurricanes, floods, fires, earthquakes)

26. Environmental disaster clean-up including toxic and nuclear.

27. Peace keeping including local law enforcement and internal security forces

28. National building (reconstruct civil government, develop public school system, develop or improve public transportation system, etc.

29. Humanitarian relief (e.g. food and medical supplies, temporary housing and clothing and domestic care)

30. Police action (e.g. Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm but serving under non-U.S. officers)

31. The U.S. runs a field training exercise. U.N. combat troops should be allowed to serve in U.S. combat units during these exercises under U.S. command and control.

32. The U.N. runs a field training exercise. U.S. combat troops under U.S. command and control should serve in U.N. combat units during these exercises

33. The U.N. runs a field training exercise. U. S. combat troops should serve under U.N. command and control.

34. U.S. combat troops should participate in U.N.missions as long as the U.S. has full command and control.

35. U.S. combat troops should participate in U.N. missions under U.N. command and control.

36. U.S. combat troops should be commanded by U.N. officers and non- commissioned officers at battalion, wing and company levels while performing U.N. missions.

37. It would make no difference to me to have U.N. soldiers as members of my team.

38. It would make no difference to me to take orders from a U.N. company or squadron commander.

39. I feel the President of the U.S. has the authority to pass his responsibilities as Commander-in-Chief to the U.N. Secretary General.

40. I feel there is no conflict between my oath of office and serving as a U.N. soldier.

41. I feel my unit’s combat effectiveness would not be affected by performing huminatarian and peace keeping missions for the U.N.

42. I feel a designated unit of U.S. combat soldiers should be permanently assigned to the command and control of the U.N.

43. I would be willing to volunteer for assignment to a U.S. combat unit under a U.N. commander.

44. I would like U.N. member countries, including the U.S., to give the U.N. all the soldiers necessary to maintain world peace.

45. I would swear to the following code:

“I am a United Nations fighting person. I serve in the forces which maintain world peace and every nation’s way of life. I swear and affirm to support and defend the Charter of the United Nations and I am prepared to give my life in its defense.”

46. The U.S. government declares a ban on the possession, sale, transportation, and transfer of all non-approved firearms. A 30-day amnesty period is established for these firearms to be turned over to the local authorities. At the end of this period, a number of irregular citizen groups and defiant individuals refuse to turn over their firearms to authority.

Consider the following statement:

“I would fire upon U.S. citizens who refuse or resist confiscation of firearms banned by the United States government.”

End of Survey

Well? What do you think? …Please comment!


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