Professors on 9/11

Sep 042006
Authors: LYNDSEY STRUTHERS The Rocky Mountain Collegian

Andrew Groeger

Professor of Military Sciences

LS: How has Sept. 11 and the aftermath of the last five years changed your field?

AG: Many soldiers in the past joined the military because of the benefits associated with it such as the G.I. Bill, and because it was a steady paying and secure job. I think that now, many more soldiers are enlisting in the Army because they feel a calling to defend America, most knowing that they will eventually be deployed. Although we as an Army have always trained for war, I think before 9/11 there was a strong training focus on preparation for capstone training exercises such as the National Training Center (NTC) in California. Now the training focus is squarely on preparation for deployment and combat.

LS: How do you see your field evolving over the next five to 10 years, and will these changes be a result of Sept. 11?

AG: Before the war on terrorism, the Army was equipped and trained to fight the Cold War. Between the end of World War II and the fall of the Berlin Wall, the U.S. Army trained almost exclusively to fight a high intensity war in Europe. The global war on terrorism, however, has forced the Army to train on a broader scale. We have a new enemy who fights differently, so our units must now be adaptable enough to operate anywhere from low- to high-intensity conflicts, to counter-insurgency operations, to humanitarian missions. The Army must also be able to deploy combat power faster and farther than ever before.

LS: Do you think an event like Sept. 11 will happen again?

AG: I believe that as long as we maintain the offensive against terrorists and our society as a whole does not become complacent, we can minimize the chances of a catastrophic attack such as Sept. 11 from occurring again.

LS: In a world where globalization is growing, do you believe terrorist attacks will continue or eventually end?

AG: I don’t think we can ever expect them to end, but I believe we can minimize their frequency and scale by continuing to do what we have been doing: killing and capturing terrorist leaders, cutting off funds and eliminating safe havens for terrorists.

Staff writer Lyndsey Struthers can be reached at

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