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 News As History - March 21, 2018
The War Between the Red and the Blue States? Mike Robel 

The reelection of the Bush Administration has somewhat inevitably led to vows by some to leave the country, speculation of states seceding from the Union, and speculation about another Civil War. A continuing civil war has been the subject of several wargames and books1. We decided to examine the force balance of the Red versus Blue States in a second Civil War.

We used the locations of the Combat Divisions and Brigades found in the “Where are the Division’s” together with the below assumptions, in comparing the two sides:

  • Only Combat brigades (Armor, Infantry, Special Forces, Field and Air Defense Artillery, and Aviation) stationed in the Continental United States were counted for this comparison.

  • Current deployments, USAF and USN units were not considered.

  • Regardless of location, Active Duty Brigades remain loyal to their oaths and in the service of the United States.

  • National Guard Brigades are loyal to the Electoral College vote.

The Red States muster 90 Combat Brigades compared to 33 for Blue. Red has 52 active Brigades compared to 6 for Blue and 38 National Guard Brigades to to 27.

Type BrigadeRedBlue
Armor/Mechanized 27 10
Infantry 16 14
Motorized 0 2
FA 18 3
ADA 7 0
AV 16 9
SF 7 0
Figure 1 Brigade Break Down by Branch

USN and USAF units would likely remain loyal to the Union, although in our assumptions we would allow the Air National Guard Units would go with their states.

Using Electoral College votes, Blue, unlike the Confederacy, does not have a unified block, instead they occupy three non-contiguous regions: The West Coast, the North East, and a third block in the North Central US2. Examination of a county map shows Blue is perhaps even more fragmented than the Electoral College Map shows3.

An interesting observation is that the many of the Union and Confederate States now “flip” sides4:

In this case, the Red States have good interior lines, the bulk of military units, and a good amount of resources.

In the Civil War, the South suffered from having less manpower and little industry, but did have good interior lines.

Supply of military units is much different than in the Civil War and it is likely that facilities, depots, and equipment concentration sites would remain under the control of Active Army making it difficult to equip the Blue State units.

Blue States would likely try to link their enclaves in the North Central and North East, while the Red States would seek to prevent that junction. The West Coast would probably be isolated and, in spite of its rich natural resources and ports, probably would be blockaded by the US Navy and left to whither on the vine.

However, in spite of the rhetoric flying about, the prospect of a Civil War in the United States approaches zero.

1In 1995, Command Magazine published Mason-Dixon: The 2nd Civil War and Harry Turteldove has published a long series of novels on the subject, both promulgated on the establishment of the Confederate States of America. However, another interesting map is shown at

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