Thomas S. Langston believes “it has never been easy for Americans to decide what to do with the military” at the end of a war. During peacetime, should the military solely focus on preparing for future wars, or should it usefully serve the nation in other ways? Langston cites some examples of the military provid- ing a service to the nation during peace- time. For instance, after the War of 1812, the military “took the lead in opening the West for settlement” by building roads, surveying canals, and farming. After World War I, the military “operated the main barge line on the Mississippi River... operated and extended cable and telegraph lines in Alaska, operated steamship and canal services in Panama, and responded to natural disasters.”
"Uneasy Balance: Civil-Military Relations inPeacetime America since 1783,,"
Naval War College Review: Vol. 57
, Article 25.
Available at: http://digital-commons.usnwc.edu/nwc-review/vol57/iss3/25