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Old 08-12-2016, 01:20 PM   #1
Michael Thayne
 
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Default Ability of the US Gov (state and federal) to deal with invasion by teleportation

I'm planning on running a supers campaign in the near-future, going for a "supers in the real world" approach. This has me wondering: just how "super" does a threat have to be to demand a superheroic response?

As a baseline, I'm thinking many scenarios likely involve, functionally, an enemy ground-force "teleporting" into/near a major population center without warning. This could be literal teleportation, but really this is a catch-all for aliens landing craft decloaking/zombies plague/portal to Hell/robot uprising/whatever where the key features are (1) surprise and (2) inability to rely on the Navy or the USAF to intercept them before they reach their target.

What kind of forces could the US Gov bring to bear in that situation? Looking the number of National Guard deployed in response to things like the LA riots and Hurricane Katrina might be a useful guide, but I'm not sure. I know the US Military has plenty of forces stationed in bases throughout the US, but I don't know how quickly they could be mobilized in response to something totally unexpected, and of course there could be significant reluctance to use them for a variety of reasons, such as laws against using the military for law-enforcement purposes, and fear of using artillery and air power near US civilians. The "reluctance" factor will be a much bigger deal if the nature of the threat is unclear.

Thoughts?
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Old 08-12-2016, 02:04 PM   #2
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Default Re: Ability of the US Gov (state and federal) to deal with invasion by teleportation

I suspect you can get planes in the sky very quickly -- certainly in under an hour. Naval response, if applicable, will probably lag a few hours but after the first 12 have a nice presence. Of course, in both cases you won't get full mobilization, but we're still talking some good presence.

I don't know about the army and marines, which are probably the most relevant. Frankly, the other numbers are just a guess, not any particular knowledge, but I suspect that we have planes on standby at most times on ships on duty off all our coasts.

Usually you don't need to mobilize men near as fast as boats or planes.
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Old 08-12-2016, 02:19 PM   #3
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Default Re: Ability of the US Gov (state and federal) to deal with invasion by teleportation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Thayne View Post
I'm planning on running a supers campaign in the near-future, going for a "supers in the real world" approach. This has me wondering: just how "super" does a threat have to be to demand a superheroic response?
Depends what you mean by 'demand'; if you've got supers you're probably going to use them in situations where they'd be useful, whether or not they're actually required. Realistically, you'd probably mobilize a local superhero under similar conditions to when you'd call in SWAT, and a non-local under the same conditions as you'd ask for help from non-local law enforcement.
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Old 08-12-2016, 02:30 PM   #4
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Default Re: Ability of the US Gov (state and federal) to deal with invasion by teleportation

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Originally Posted by Michael Thayne View Post
As a baseline, I'm thinking many scenarios likely involve, functionally, an enemy ground-force "teleporting" into/near a major population center without warning. This could be literal teleportation, but really this is a catch-all for aliens landing craft decloaking/zombies plague/portal to Hell/robot uprising/whatever where the key features are (1) surprise and (2) inability to rely on the Navy or the USAF to intercept them before they reach their target.

What kind of forces could the US Gov bring to bear in that situation? Looking the number of National Guard deployed in response to things like the LA riots and Hurricane Katrina might be a useful guide, but I'm not sure. I know the US Military has plenty of forces stationed in bases throughout the US, but I don't know how quickly they could be mobilized in response to something totally unexpected, and of course there could be significant reluctance to use them for a variety of reasons, such as laws against using the military for law-enforcement purposes, and fear of using artillery and air power near US civilians. The "reluctance" factor will be a much bigger deal if the nature of the threat is unclear.

Thoughts?
Organized ground forces would first come from Army and Marine bases involved in active training and their mobilization would be pretty quick. There are relatively few bases that just "house" forces not on deployment overseas.

I think there would be more armor and heavy weapons used than you might expect. Partly because US forces have gotten very mobile over the years and so have their heavy weapons. Then there's private vehicle ownership in the US and the way that would aid the civilian populations ability to evacuate itself.

Since they wouldn't blend in the way insurgents do the aliens might have to actively take civilians prisoner to get that much of a reluctance to attack hostiles.

Air assets would also be available quickly for counterattacking if that's viable against the alien tech. There has been so little in the way of aerial threats that most of the force is primarily trained for surface attack and precision munitions are now the norm.
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Old 08-12-2016, 03:33 PM   #5
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Default Re: Ability of the US Gov (state and federal) to deal with invasion by teleportation

One terror attack strategy that is sadly becoming increasingly popular is to open up in the middle of a crowd with automatic weapons. This is a similar scenario, in that you suddenly have an attacker in an unexpected location, possibly in the middle of a bunch of civilians.
You can look at the response strategies of local law enforcement to such 'surprise shooter' events to get some ideas. In fact, if an armed force suddenly popped up in say a mall or town square, in the initial confusion the authorities would probably treat it like a terror attack and police and SWAT would be sent in first. It would probably take a while to realize the full scale of the attack and get the military involved.
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Old 08-12-2016, 04:28 PM   #6
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Default Re: Ability of the US Gov (state and federal) to deal with invasion by teleportation

Military response time would not be good because the well-established chain of command would require Presidential authorization in nearly all cases. Getting a call through to the President, then getting their permission to deploy regular troops to a domestic emergency, might be very quick...but I wouldn't bet on it. In a reality where these things are known possibilities, though, that protocol is likely to be revised massively downwards, perhaps allowing local base commanders to respond directly to requests from local governments if they deem it appropriate.

And actual availability varies wildly from metro to metro. The Marines from Camp Pendleton et al would be able to deploy massive force quickly against a threat to San Diego or Los Angeles, the Infantry from Fort Lewis (with air support from McChord and naval support from Everett and Bangor) could deploy quickly throughout Seattle, but San Francisco would be slow (Travis Air Force Base is a logistics hub, 6th Army HQ is more of an administrative and command center), Houston would be very slow (only Coast Guard close to the city itself). Restructuring the military for domestic defense duties against enemies with superior logistics would be a massive change and not much like the real world anymore...)
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Old 08-12-2016, 04:38 PM   #7
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Default Re: Ability of the US Gov (state and federal) to deal with invasion by teleportation

In general response to terrorism and active shooter incidents is probably more representative than response to military threats; any incident that requires a response that exceeds law enforcement assets (which can be quite substantial) is a situation that is going to take months to years to deal with.
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Old 08-12-2016, 04:54 PM   #8
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Default Re: Ability of the US Gov (state and federal) to deal with invasion by teleportation

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Originally Posted by Michael Thayne View Post
As a baseline, I'm thinking many scenarios likely involve, functionally, an enemy ground-force "teleporting" into/near a major population center without warning.
Exactly what could a "super" response to that do anyway?

Relatively few supers are all that effective against mass enemies. Killing single strong foes, yes, lots of them are good at that. Dispersed threats, well, most of them can still only be one place at a time. There's a reason superhero stories are about fights with demigods, and not floods, plagues or fire ants. You probably don't need to mobilize a very large fraction of anybody's national army to be as effective against a ground invasion as your nations supers could ever hope to be. That's not to say they can't provide valuable support - especially if the invaders have some demigod equivalents with them - but they aren't likely to win this fight themselves in a realistic universe. In genre rules can of course be different.
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Old 08-12-2016, 06:03 PM   #9
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Default Re: Ability of the US Gov (state and federal) to deal with invasion by teleportation

How fast would drones, missiles and artillery be able to strike a target? In a portal type situation you have a great big target.
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Old 08-12-2016, 07:11 PM   #10
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Default Re: Ability of the US Gov (state and federal) to deal with invasion by teleportation

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Originally Posted by malloyd View Post
Exactly what could a "super" response to that do anyway?
Relatively few supers are all that effective against mass enemies. Killing single strong foes, yes, lots of them are good at that. Dispersed threats, well, most of them can still only be one place at a time.
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Originally Posted by (E) View Post
How fast would drones, missiles and artillery be able to strike a target? In a portal type situation you have a great big target.
I guess it would be up to the supers to get in and close the portal fast. If supers were dispersed among the civilian population they would be the most likely 'first responders' to such an attack and try to shut the portal down before too many enemies warped in.
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