Two years ago, Charles J. Dunlap thought about what could lead to a military coup in the United States in the 21st Century.
His paper on the subject, "The Origins of the American Military Coup of 2012," was co-winner of the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Strategy Essay Contest. It also won the attention of Hollywood.
Dunlap, a U.S. Air Force officer serving in the grade of colonel, is now technical adviser on "The Enemy Within."
Working with the filmmakers in an off-duty capacity, Dunlap stresses that his opinions are his alone and do not reflect those of the Department of Defense or any of its components.
"I think what the concern is, is that we have been downsizing the military," Dunlap says. "At the same time, there are a lot of threats out there. In addition to the threats, the regular orthodox military threats, a lot of people want to use the military for all kinds of other things. I think that a lot of people in the military are concerned that we are spreading ourselves too thin at the very time there's less to spread."
The military, Dunlap believes, is much more political today than it has historically been. "I think the one thing in government that has worked fairly well has been the military," he says. "When you look at a political problem like Haiti or Somalia, people look to the military, maybe not as an armed force, but as a way of solving the problem. Domestically, there are constant calls to use the military in the cities. When you apply the dwindling resources against these growing missions, there is a lot of concern that the military won't be able to fight an authentic military opponent if it comes up."
Dunlap says he doesn't want to mislead anyone. "There are no conspirators that I know of in the military." But, he adds, "Plato says that only the dead have seen the end of war. I think, unfortunately, the human condition is such that there will continue to be conflict. I hope people don't interpret this movie as a question for a bigger military budget because it really isn't that. But what I think it is really (about) is that people have to think real hard about what they want the military to do and the kind of stresses it can put on the military when they ask them to do too many things."