Are We Approaching A Domestic Conflict?

A Union that can only be maintained by swords and bayonets, and in which strife and civil war are to take the place of brotherly love and kindness, has no charm for me.”   Robert E. Lee, 23 January 1861

Robert E. Lee, still a Union Army officer in January of 1861, penned these words in a letter to his son just three months before resigning his commission and joining in the defense of the State of Virginia.

Over the course of five Aprils that followed, the nation threw itself into a catastrophic war that in many ways still affects us today. Some 620,000 soldiers died, and that’s not counting the civilians who lost their lives and livelihoods as collateral damage during the war.  Past the statues, flags, heritage, and myths that surround the Confederacy, the United States — which appear to be quite disunited — struggle with the proper role of the federal government, appropriate limits on federal power, and fundamental civil rights issues some 226 years after the Bill of Rights was ratified by the Congress. It’s been over 150 years since the War of Northern Aggression and we remain as entrenched in our beliefs as ever.

Some argue that we’re now reaching another 1860 moment in American history. Op-eds in national media outlets lend credence to the idea, even as they fan the flames of racial and ideological division, emanating from centuries-old national wounds and exploited to the risk of increased violence.  Identity politics pushes us closer to a collection of competing tribal groups, which is often a characteristic of domestic conflicts.

A few weeks ago I was shooting the breeze with a group of veterans about whether or not a civil war would start in 2018 or beyond, and what it might look like.  And that’s how this blog was born.  Welcome to the very first post as we put our thoughts into words and chronicle the development and likelihood of a domestic conflict in the United States.

I’ll quickly give you my take:  we’re already in a “domestic conflict,” albeit a low grade one on the grand scale of things. It’s difficult for me to see the widening ideological gap, the increasing inequality, and the sporadic political violence and not arrive at or near the conclusion that we’re already here.  What we’re seeing is called a low intensity conflict.

FM 100-20, Military Operations in Low Intensity Conflict (1990, which I believe is no longer valid), provides us an official definition of the term:

Low intensity conflict is a political-military confrontation between… groups below conventional war and above the routine, peaceful competition… It frequently involves protracted struggles of competing principles and ideologies. Low intensity conflict ranges from subversion to the use of armed force. It is waged by a combination of means, employing political, economic, informational, and military instruments. Low intensity conflicts are often localized, generally in the Third World, but contain regional and global security implications.

In other words, low intensity conflict is marked by politicized tribes and social bases who wage irregular, small-scale wars.

What I’m specifically looking for in this conflict is a development of organized political violence; graduating from sporadic, opportunistic attacks into coordinated insurgent action.  I don’t know how soon we’ll see that, or if we even will.  For me, that’s the Rubicon that differentiates politically-related violence and a small war.

And it just so happens that the men who write for this blog are not just scholars of war, but also veterans of Iraq, Afghanistan, and other “small wars” — places where we, for right or wrong, grew intimately familiar with insurgent warfare in low intensity conflicts.

Composed of former intelligence and special operations soldiers, our goal is not to be overtly political, but to describe what’s happening in this country and to peel back the hype and misinformation/disinformation out there.  So I hope that you’ll join us as we examine, analyze, and explain this burgeoning conflict that we see unfolding in the United States.

Always Out Front,
Samuel Culper

If you’re concerned about where we’re headed as a country, whether on the near-end of the spectrum or the far end of the spectrum (social, political and economic instability; domestic conflict; or collapse of empire), and want to stay informed on what the headlines don’t cover, then I invite you to try us out. If you’re not happy within the first two weeks, I’ll refund your monthly or annual subscription cost – no questions asked. You can get access to our intelligence reporting and training area here.



photo via Montecruz Foto

Samuel Culper is a former military intelligence NCO and contract Intelligence analyst. He spent three years in Iraq and Afghanistan and is now the intelligence and warfare researcher at Forward Observer.


  1. Yes… I feel it too. Having been born right after WWII to parents who both participated in the war effort, and growing up through the 50s and 60s, joined the USMC during Vietnam… well, I’ve seen things. And I’ve watched things, the news, the undercurrents, and like many people today I have never seen the country this divided since the 60s. I’m reading “The Fourth Turning” right now, and see that we are (according to the authors) in an age of crisis. How that will play out has yet to be determined, but if I were offering advice, I would say get your spiritual house in order, stock up on things that will become scarce quickly in a conflict, keep your powder dry, prepare for the worst, and pray for the best.

  2. Civil War has always been in the George Soros Strategic Plan for taking down this country. Rioting, burning, looting in major cities across the nation evolves into Martial Law. In the blink of an eye, gone is the Constitution, Civil Right, Courts, Congress and FEMA runs the country with military as their enforcer. Of course, they would need a Soros Democrat President to do their dirty work. When long shot Donald Trump was elected, that threw a monkey wrench into their plan. We must stand behind the President and assure he is not removed from office. If the President falls, the country is likely to fall with him.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Name *