"The Soviets are our adversary. Our enemy is the Navy."
— Curtis LeMay, General, US Air Force
"The Marine Corps is the Navy's police force and as long as I am President that is what it will remain"
— Harry Truman
, US President and perhaps more importantly former Army officer.
In a perfect world, the various branches of a government (local, regional or central) should be able to cooperate and pull their resources together for the greater good.
The world is not perfect.
When it does not, one of the reasons usually is Interservice Rivalry, where at least two branches of the government don't work well together, sometimes openly opposing and working against each other. Usually if the leaders of said branches know each other, they can't let go of their past feelings and it intensifies the rivalry. Often in military fiction (and in real life as well), some amount of Interservice Rivalry will be encouraged by the higher-ups, to promote a competitive spirit but sometimes it can get out of hand.
Sometimes it is used by a dark Chessmaster
leader to maintain control. That way if the army ever rebels against him, he can always call in the navy to fight for him.
Cases of Interservice Rivalry can cause Jurisdiction Friction
and Divided We Fall
. Compare Right Hand Versus Left Hand
. There is also Truth in Television
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Anime & Manga
- In Gunslinger Girl, the members of Sections 1 & 2 have one of these. For some reason Section 1 finds the concept of cyborg little girls used as a death squad somehow weird. Because Section 1 consists of adult male human operatives, who are not happy about being upstaged by half-mechanical little girls.
- Various divisions of the TSAB in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Striker S. In particular, the Ground Forces' commander hates Riot Force 6 (which is a cross-service special forces battalion assigned to a paramilitary Lost Technology control division). The fact that the commander and half of RF 6's staff are former criminals that one member of the team blasted into submission does not help.
- Full Metal Panic!
- Divisions of Mithril. Intelligence and operatives in particular. That was probably the main reason why Sōsuke was reluctant to leave Kaname protected by Wraith (who was from Intelligence).
- In The Second Raid Melissa Mao tells the story of how she escaped from an Arranged Marriage by joining the U.S. Marine Corps, marching into the recruitment office still wearing her wedding dress. The recruiters were reluctant to sign her up until Mao revealed that her father was a Colonel in the Air Force, at which point they welcomed her into the Corps purely to annoy him.
- The Public Security Division and the Kerberos Unit in Jin-Roh.
- The various geographical units of the Amestris military in Fullmetal Alchemist evidence this. Soldiers from the Northern (Briggs), Central, and East forces (the ones shown so far) never lack for snide things to say about every unit aside from theirs.
- In the 2003 anime version, Isvbal flashbacks show some animosity towards the State Alchemists when they arrived, as some among the regular soldiers felt they'd been sent to die for nothing when the Fuhrer could have just called in these guys from the beginning and ended the campaign seven years sooner.
- Ghost in the Shell, especially in Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. Their own government and other branches of service are a far greater threat to Section 9 than any external enemy could ever hope to be.
- All over the place in Mao-chan, where the heads of the three branches of the defense force are all old friends... who are constantly competing, often viciously.
- In Hellsing, most other branches of law enforcement seem to dislike the Hellsing Organization. At one point the SAS clash with Hellsing over jurisdiction over a case involving Incognito, resulting in an entire SAS squadron being captured by the Big Bad.
- Rampant in Ga-Rei and its prequel Ga Rei Zero. In the anime, it's between the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Environment. The Defense Ministry fields normal soldiers equipped with special technology to fight supernaturals, while the Environment Ministry fields operatives recruited from ancient exorcist families. The ''real'' main characters are the Environment guys.
- In Strike Witches, the more normal sort of militaries don't like the eponymous girls (probably something to do with them being underaged aces who fly without their pants on). There is even a conspiracy within the military to disband the 501st.
- Actually, most soldiers and officers are very friendly and supportive towards the Witches because they are The Cavalry. Only very conservative generals are reluctant to rely on Witches. However, a straight forward interservice rivalry exists among different branches armed forces.
- Witch Hunter Robin is in a branch of an organization designed to capture Witches, using magic-resistant tranq guns. Another branch of the same organization breaks in and steals the gun tech. Meanwhile, a third branch is trying to keep the second branch under control, while trying to assassinate the members of the first branch. This is not helped by the fact that all of the branches use the same helmets and equipment.
- Some divisions of the Gotei 13 in Bleach have this, especially the 4th and 11th divisions; the former views the latter as a gang of violent thugs and the latter views the former as weak and useless in battle. When Ichigo and Ganju take Hanataro of the 4th Division hostage, the 11th Division Mooks pursuing them laugh it off.
- This crops up in Yomigaeru Sora Rescue Wings; the local Fire Department insists on using their light helicopter to rescue a stranded cable car, even though they're told that the winds are too high for the chopper, purely so that they don't have to call in the Komatsu Air Rescue Squadron.
- Black Lagoon: Roberta's Blood Trail inflamed a behind-the-scenes rivalry between the NSA and CIA over jurisdictions from South America to the Southeast Pacific. Had Roberta not intervened and become everyones problem, Roanapur probably would've come under pressure from the upstart agency. As it was, the CIA, and their interests in Roanapur, were able to maintain the status quo.
- Between the three army branches (Military Police Brigade, Survey Corps and Garrison) in Attack on Titan. The three view each other with suspicion to the point that the (corrupt) Police Brigade thinks the Survey Corps wants the Rogue Titan aka Eren to seize power from the inner circle from them. It doesn't help that there is a distinction between the highly regarded Police Brigade and The Unfavorite Survey Corps who do most of the fighting.
- In Mobile Suit Gundam, this was the problem with Zeon flat out. Everyone was trying to top everyone else, leading to double crosses, delays in important supplies, rivalries between production lines and, ultimately, the loss of good pilots. Probably a good sign of this is the loss of Ramba Ral and the Black Tri-Stars, kicked off because M'Quve refused to give Ramba the new Doms. Ramba goes on a suicide mission when he realizes he's alone and, when the Black Tri-Stars enter the fray sometime later, Amuro's Newtype abilities are starting to awaken and it allows him to overwhelm the trio, something that wouldn't of happen had Ramba had the Doms earlier.
- In the recent Green Lantern storyline, Secret Origin, it is revealed that Hal Jordan and John Stewart first met on opposite sides of a bar fight - when Jordan was in the Air Force and Stewart was a Marine.
- The Green Lantern Corps in general has had a number of inter-service rivalries, notably with rival interstellar police agencies the L.E.G.I.O.N. and the Darkstars, and more recently (and to varying degrees) with the various other Lantern Corps.
- During a ferocious firefight in The Punisher MAX between Frank Castle (a former Marine Force Recon officer) and Barracuda (who is ex-Army special forces) who had abducted Castle's infant daughter, Castle curses 'Cuda out calling him an "Army puke".
- Nick Fury (a former Army Ranger) is known to make comments pertaining to "Deck monkeys" and "Candy-ass marines".
- During Gung-Ho first appearance in the G.I. Joe comic, Rock'N'Roll was notoriously pissed to have a marine in the team.
- The Shield (an Army Super Soldier) had a series of issues where he teamed up with Magog (a Marine given powers by the predecessors to the New Gods). They spent as much time sniping at each other as punching out the bad guys.
- The Avengers Captain Marvel (U.S. Air Force veteran Carol Danvers) and Captain America (U.S. Army veteran Steve Rogers) have been shown trading jabs about their respective services.
- Jay Faerber's Dynamo5 features F.L.A.G. (the Foundation for Law and Government), which is responsible for superhero activity in the United States. Robert Kirkman's Invincible features the G.D.A. (Global Defence Agency) which is responsible for protecting the Earth from superhuman and extra-terrestrial threats, and has at least one superhero team on its payroll. They don't get on too well.
- Kobra attempted a variant by pitting Checkmate, the Suicide Squad, the Force of July, and Project Captain Atom against each other, abducting key personnel and bombing their bases in ways that cast suspicion on the others, so he can fire his microwave cannon unmolested. This was the Janus Directive crossover; part of the fallout was the restructuring of all said agencies under the authority of Sarge Steel to avoid another such incident.
- The Elements of Harmony and the Savior of Worlds has a small example that's played mostly straight but ultimately subverted. When Big Macintosh first meets Shining Armor, he initially doesn't like him, since — having done a tour of duty in the main Equestrian army (tanks corps, specifically) — he views the Royal Guard as "little wimps and nobleponies playing at being soldiers". Thing is, Shining agrees with him, having been a part of the main army before being made Captain of the Guard specifically to whip it back into shape. After this conversation, he and Mac get along fairly well.
- Speaking of Shining Armor, he gets another example, this time played for laughs, in the Pony POV Series. He tells the interviewers that he sees interservice rivalry as being good for morale... literally seconds after offhandedly describing the Day Guard as wimps and saying that the Night Guard is scared of the light. He also completely ignores the fact that he was a Day Guard before being reassigned to lead the new branch dedicated to Cadence.
- Death Note Equestria: There's quite a bit of friction between the Royal Guard and the Canterlot City Guard (police) over the Kira investigation.
- Straw Bolt (Captain of the Canterlot City Guard) also really doesn't like L or her methods.
- Some Interservice Rivalry crops up from time to time in Strike Witches Quest, though the Martian War and shared hatred of brassholes can cause bitter rivals to temporarily ally.
- Specifically invoked by Mercury in Phoenix-fire. The army has an ongoing rivalry with the navy, and the airspace is being set up to be divided between the Knight-Wings (lehtrblaka with riders) and captured and "reformed" dragon riders. All done to ensure that in the case of a coup, no faction could ever fully control more than one theater of battle.
- Bad Future Crusaders: The Royal Guard and the Royal Equestrian Air Force have a strong rivalry, and it seems that no one likes Featherweight and his Changeling spies.
- Implied in From Bajor to the Black. Ensign Tesjha Phohl tells Lieutenant Kanril Eleya that she joined Starfleet "to piss off my thavan"* . Apparently that part of her family has been in the Andorian Imperial Guard for centuries.
- Discussed in Peace Forged in Fire when the cast hear a report that there's been a skirmish between Tal'Shiar ships and the regular Romulan Imperial Fleet.
Honestly I’m more surprised it took this
long. When I was in the Galae
they were the enemy almost as much as the Khe’lloann’mnhehoraeltrans.
or the Lloannen’galae
—> D'Trel t'Rihannsu:
We had a commissar with them on the Ravon
once. The Riov airlocked him
and took his gear, sent fake reports. It must’ve fooled someone, and I don’t think we were seen as important enough to target.
Films — Live-Action
- In Jackie Chan's Project A there is a massive bar brawl between the Hong Kong Marines and the Hong Kong Police.
- In Avatar, there is a slight Interservice Rivalry within the RDA post at Pandora. The scientists of the Avatar Program wish to have a peaceful negotiation with the Omaticaya, but the security force, led by Quaritch, wants to use lethal force against them.
- The original The Absent-Minded Professor. The Army and Air Force generals squabble with the Navy admiral over who should get the rights to Flubber.
- The city police vs. highway patrol in Super Troopers.
- The CIA vs. The FBI in Being There argue over Chance the gardener's true identity thus enhancing his mystique.
- Crimson Tide. "I expect and demand your very best. Anything less?you should have joined the Air Force!" Said by The Captain in a Rousing Speech before boarding the boat.
- Played for Laughs in 1941 with a truly epic all-services fight at the USO ("Ladies and gentlemen, every where I look... soldiers are fighting sailors, sailors are fighting Marines! Directly in front of me, I see... a flying blond floozy! Everywhere I look... everywhere, pure pandemonium... pandemonium!")
- Also comically done in the Chilean movie Fuerzas Especiales (released stateside as Third World Cops), with the main plot being the conflict between the civil police and the investigation forces (with the latter collaborating in trafficking spiked Berliner doughnuts).
- In Real Life, clashes between the Carabineros (the national police) and the PDI (Investigation Police) have even caused deaths from both sides.
- In This Is The Army one of the WWI Army vets is upset that his son volunteered for the Navy. When they went to see the "This Is the Army" Show Within a Show and a bunch of Navy guys showed up the son said, "Now you're gonna see something!" The old man responded: "Who do you think are playing the Navy guys?"
- In Die Hard, the FBI vs local police. (which is pretty much Truth in Television)
- Averted in Transformers, where a special forces team is made up of members from several branches of the military (Lennox and most of the team are Army Special Forces, and Epps is an Air Force Combat Controller) with nary a word of disparagement between branch members. Yeah, one would hope that rivalry can be put aside against giant robot Alien Invasions.
- Done very subtly in Sherlock Holmes; Dr. Watson and Captain Tanner, the operator of the trawler Holmes uses to navigate the Thames, are constantly bickering in the scenes they appear in together. Dr. Watson is, of course, an old army doctor, and it's revealed that Tanner is a retired navy man...
- In Traitor, a high ranking CIA agent is chastised for the practice of "hoarding information" on potential terror threats from the FBI.
- Present in the Get Smart film, where all other agencies ridicule CONTROL, as they believe the organization should be shut down since KAOS was disbanded. They also have paintball tournaments.
- In A Few Good Men the various Marines, but especially Col. Jessup and Lt. Kendrick show fairly brazen disdain for the Navy, with the former going so far as to describe the Navy dress whites as indicative of homosexuality.
Kendrik: "I like you navy boys. Every time we gotta go fight somewhere, you always give us a ride."
- In full display during the astronaut tryouts in The Right Stuff, with Air Force pilots (Grissom, Cooper, Slayton) completing against Navy aviators (Shepard) competing against Marine pilots (Glenn) for spots in the Mercury Seven. Humorously shown during a scene where Glenn and Cooper must produce sperm samples, and each hums their respective service's anthem for, uh, inspiration, trying to drown each other out.
- Gangs of New York: The Municipal Police vs. the Metropolitan Police. (Also true of Real Life, apparently.)
- Apocalypse Now has a few examples, from the Chief's (Navy) dislike for the Army, to Kilgore's (Air-Cav) utter contempt for the Airborne Rangers. It's implied but never stated that this is one of the causes of the clusterfuck that is America's conduct of the Vietnam War.
- The President's Analyst has the stand-in agencies FBR and CEA in uncooperative corners over the title psychiatrist, more so when he drops out and goes missing. When a KGB agent suggests he may have to eliminate some FBR agents pursuing him, his CEA friend voices no problem with it.
- Used for a quick laugh in S.W.A.T.. Jim Street is a former Navy SEAL and Sgt. Hondo Harrelson is a former Marine. During a car ride, Hondo asks Street what he did in the SEALs.
Street: Besides rescue Marines when they got lost?
- The Siege uses the trope extensively. For one, FBI Special Agent Hubbard (Washington's character) refuses to share information with CIA agent "Elise Kraft"/Sharon Bridger (Bening's character) without an official directive from his agency. Later, when the CIA kidnaps a suspect (whom the FBI wants for questioning) on U.S. soil, Hubbard's team raids the CIA safehouse where said suspect is kept and actually arrests the agents, including Elise, at gunpoint. Only very reluctantly does Hubbard finally cooperate with Kraft (they do become friends later on, though). The whole movie also gives off a soft CIA Evil, FBI good vibe. And then, during the last third of the movie, there is a severe case of interservice rivalry between the FBI and the Army, after martial law is declared in New York, although it's likely that Hubbard has gone rogue and is acting alone at that point.
- In Conspiracy, much of the tension at the table is provided by the rivalry between the SS, the Party Chancellery, the General Government, the Interior and Justice Ministries and the Office of the Four Year Plan. It's notable that in Real Life, Adolf Hitler specifically invoked this in a social darwinist method. Having all these factions fighting with each other left him to reign supreme above the rest of the system, and it would supposedly result in having the "strongest" prevailing over the others.
- Starship Troopers: "Fleet does the flying, MI (Mobile Infantry) does the dying."
- From the Chevy Chase arms-merchant movie Deal of the Century, this is pretty much the funniest scene in the movie:
General: (watches a faulty drone plane go berserk) This is a great day for the Air Force, Senator!
Senator (about ready to run for his life): Why is that, General?
General: Because the Navy ordered twenty of those disasters!
- In Dale Brown's books, rivalry between the services of the military is just part of the trouble the protagonists get from supposedly-friendly forces. In Executive Intent this occurs between the GRU and the conventional Russian military, to their detriment.
- In 'Hammerheads' all of the anti-drug agencies, along with several others, are merged into the Department of Border Security after the drug lords prove that they can engage and destroy the current American police opposition.
- Elizabeth Moon: In the Familias Regnant book Once a Hero, the story takes place on a mobile shipyard where the chain of command is not enforced. The captain who is supposed to be the commanding officer must deal with constant demands and shouting matches from the admirals who lead the individual departments. The heroine comments on this terrible arrangement, later it becomes a problem when pirates attempt to capture the ship.
- In David Wingrove's Chung Kuo series, more politicized police sometimes show up to suppress the truth about a terrorist attack (e.g. the message left at the scene of an assassination by the rebels, or the fact that a massacre of higher-ups took place at a depraved orgy establishment), causing no small bitterness among the more honest police.
- In the Temeraire series, the Aerial Corps (made up of Dragon Riders) is looked down on by the other branches of the armed forces. Conversely, Laurence initially faces a lot of hostility in the Aerial Corps because he started out in the Navy.
- In The Vor Game by Lois McMaster Bujold, one villain talks about how he regrets the lack of interservice rivalry in the military he's serving in—he feels it gave the top brass more leverage when dealing with mutineers.
Metzov: In the event of a mutiny, you could always persuade the Army to shoot the Navy, or vice versa, when they could no longer discipline themselves. A hidden disadvantage to a combined service like ours... It's now a matter of principle.
Miles: Principle, Sir? What Principle! It's waste disposal! note
- The Cardinal's men vs. the Musketeers in The Three Musketeers.
- Steven Brust's The Phoenix Guards has rival groups of imperial guards as part of its pastiche of The Three Musketeers.
- Temple by Matthew Reilly takes this Up to Eleven, with the US Army, Navy and Air Force literally fighting each other (and the Department of Defense component DARPA, and neo-Nazis, and another terrorist group) over a superweapon capable of causing The End of the World as We Know It.
- In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novel Ghostmaker, some friendly raillery occurred between some Ghosts and a Naval officer about what is the proper way to fight. The Ghosts had the Navy bombard a position too Chaos-tainted for the Ghosts to take on foot. Much more serious inter-regimental rivalries occurred in First & Only (where a raid by the Jantine Patricians on the Ghosts killed three men, and later the full regiment takes on the Ghost's rear guard, exterminating the 50 men and losing three hundred of their own) and Ghostmaker (where a general bombarded a position knowing the Ghosts were there).
- In Blood Pact, Inquisition vs. Comissariat. Or so it appears.
- In William King's Warhammer 40,000 Space Wolf novel Grey Hunters, the Wolf Lord Berek arrived to back up his subordinate in a conflict between the Space Wolves and the Inquisition explicitly because the Space Wolves do not give up what they have won — even prisoners.
- The bad feeling between spacemen and the Special Order Squadrons in Rip Foster in Ride the Gray Planet by Blake Savage (pseudonym of Harold Goodwin).
- Army/Royal Navy rivalry shows up in one of the Sharpe novels, with command friction between Sharpe and a naval officer who only outranks him when on the ship.
- Hinted at between various branches of the New Republic military in one book of the X-Wing Series. There's also a fair amount of jockeying between X-Wing pilots and A-wing pilots. A-wings are very pleased with the speed of their crafts, and bring it up every chance they get. The accepted response is to ask "What killed the Death Stars, again?" The rivalry between a by-the-book bomber wing and the Mildly Military bunch of piloting savants that is Rogue Squadron is a secondary plot thread in the first book.
- Also, between X-Wing pilots and Y-wing ones. Y-wings were by then outdated and rough edged, and the pilots less expertly trained, but made up a good portion of the Republic fighter force. Probably didn't help that Horton Salm the local Y-Wing commander was a strict, mostly by-the-book officer, as compared to Wedge Antilles who took a more laid-back approach to leadership.
- In Allegiance, Mara Jade, the Emperor's Hand - sort of an all-purpose agent - expresses her distaste for the Imperial Security Bureau, usually called the ISB. The ISB was tasked with maintaining "morale and loyalty" among the Imperial Military, and they had a nasty reputation. Mara believes that the ISB is a necessary evil, but she also thinks that there's just too much evil and not enough necessary, and indeed, later in the book two ISB stormtroopers betray her. The regular stormtrooper corps don't like them either.
- Gone into at some length in various Tom Clancy works, in regards to the Soviet Union's various political forces:
- Touched upon briefly in Starship Troopers. Johnny points out that the Navy think of the Mobile Infantry as obsolete, that he feels the same way about them... and admits they're both wrong. Interestingly, the C-in-C, given the rank of "Sky Marshal," is always someone who has ascended to high rank (while starting, in each case, from the very bottom) in both Navy and MI.
- Much of the plot of Annals of the Black Company is driven by this.
- Defied by Jack Crawford in Red Dragon and Silence of the Lambs. Serial killers are his territory, but he's more than happy to cooperate with local police (even pointing out in the former that he could care less if Dolarhyde gets hit by a truck, as long as it gets him off the streets).
- Honor Harrington:
- The reason why Petty Officer Harkness has been passed over for Chief Petty Officer TWENTY times. While he is one of the RMN's best missile techs, he feels bound to point out how wrong it is to join the Marines to any Marine he meets when on liberty. With his fists. After he marries Sergeant Major Iris Babcock, RMMC, He gets better, if for no other reason than that she kicks his ass when he tries. It's revealed in a later book that the majority of the Marines regarded the fact that Harkness choose to fight them as a compliment.
- In the book that reveals this, when Harkness unofficially becomes the mentor of a green crewman who is being bullied, he takes the young man to the people he regards as the toughest, meanest, most capable people on the ship to learn how to defend himself...the onboard Marine contingent.
- From the same series, the People's Republic Navy of Haven and StateSec. Early on, StateSec watchdogs would be assigned to PRN ships to keep them in line. later, they were given their own fleet of warships and ground forces. The PRN won the interservice rivalry. "Oops."
- The chairman of the secret police planned to merge the entire Havenite military into a single organization to enforce his control.
- The Solarian League Navy's Frontier Fleet and Battle Fleet cannot get along either.
- On Basilisk Station: Johan Coglin says that the failure of Operation Odysseus will result in the Havenite espionage agencies blaming each other for the disaster.
- This is later referenced in The Short Victorious War, the cabinet secretaries clash over how to solve financial crisis.
- In the French novel series Langelot, there's a rivalry between the two French counterespionage agencies depicted : the fictional secretive shadow agency S.N.I.F (where the titular main protagonist is an agent of) and the Real Life D.S.T. The D.S.T. resents the S.N.I.F.'s secretive nature and wish they would be put in the same front and light as them, while the S.N.I.F. basically considers the D.S.T. as a bunch of pompous and dull idiots.
- In the Aiel War in the backstory of the Wheel of Time series, this is one of the many reasons the "Grand Alliance" has trouble standing up to the Aiel invasion, though eventually they pull things together and arrange a rotation of generals. Well, what do you expect when the Aes Sedai and the Children of the Light are fighting on the same side?
- Common in the Star Trek Novel Verse. In the Klingon Empire, the Klingon Defense Force and Imperial Intelligence hold each other in considerable distaste. In particular, there's a subplot in Star Trek: Klingon Empire involving I.I's displeasure with Captain Klag, and his Honor Before Reason tactics. Also, in the Star Trek: The Lost Era novel The Art of the Impossible, Captain Qaolin of the Defence Force and his Imperial Intelligence liasion really don't like each other - again, because the berserker battle-hungry tendencies of the warriors clash with I.I's "dishonourable" sneakiness and caution. The Klingons aren't the only ones; the Romulan military takes its codes of honour, and the passionate brotherhood between warriors, very seriously. The cool, passionless underhanded tactics of the Tal Shiar intelligence agency therefore offend them, as does their tendency to question a warrior's loyalty. The Tal Shiar, for their part, view the military leadership as inbred, unimaginative fools. Then there's Cardassia, where Interservice Rivalry is endemic, particularly between the Central Command and the Obsidian Order. In the first Terok Nor novel, Skrain Dukat sums up Central Command's angle on the Order:
The Obsidian Order represented everything that was cancerous about Cardassia; they were an institutionalized form of decay that preyed on the military and the people even as they pretended to serve the same ends as Central Command.
- In one novel, we find out that the Central Command has their own intelligence-gathering branch. Naturally, the Obsidian Order sees them as inferior.
- Endemic in the Laundry Series by Charles Stross. Many members of an above-top-secret agency that combats EldritchAbominations consider its archenemy to be ... Human Resources. Political maneuvering among various managers — and the protagonist always has two — feeds the conflict as much or more than brain-eating horrors from other universes.
- A factor in 19 by Roger Hall: the title organization has infiltrated most if not all U.S. intelligence services, doing a better job of counterespionage than the official agencies can, and therefore they want to find it and shut it down, even though they realize it's on their side — if it exists at all, which they're not 100% sure of (it does). Also, at one point someone facetiously suggests that 19 is made up of super-intelligent extraterrestrials, and a CIA type comments that would be a good thing: "even the FBI could catch them if they glowed in the dark."
- In Codex Alera, the castes of the Canim do not play well with each other, with especially their warrior and priestly castes being at each others' throats. In the third book this becomes a major plot point, as a canim coalition army of several castes fails to take a strategically important bridge because the priest leading the army refuses to let the warriors take a major part of it. The warrior caste leader 'helps' the priest to a glorious death in battle with the Alarans and withdraws with minimal casualties to his own caste.
- This shows up a in Donald Hamilton's Matt Helm series. The Intriguers involves an actual shooting war between two different agencies. There is also rivalry between Helm's fictional unnamed agency and the CIA.
- In Jack Campbell's The Lost Fleet series. Usually between the Marines and the Navy, but in Invincible, a naval officer speaks with pride of the Marines to a ground forces general. There are also system defense forces, which are a separate branch that also has a rivalry with the Navy. The only exceptions are "code monkeys" (computer techs) who happily cooperate across services and have their own code of conduct. Everyone else thinks they're weird.
- Several stories in George Mac Donald Fraser's McAuslan series focus on the cordial hatred between individual British regiments. "Friendly" exercises and war-games degenerate into pitched battles.
- Also extends to real inter-service rivalry. When the battalion's football team goes on a Mediterranean tour in a Royal Navy ship, Lieutenant MacNeill has to break up a few fights between McAuslan and the sailors. He says, "be friendly. Fraternise with them. They were on our side in the war, you know."
- Touched on in Enders Game in the conversation between Colonel Graff and Admiral Chamrajnagar, with the admiral loftily explaining that Graff's former students are "entering into the mysteries of the fleet [...] to which you, as a soldier, have never been introduced."
- Percy Jackson and the Olympians has this between the cabins. This is particularly evident in The Last Olympian, where Ares Cabin refuses to fight due to an dispute with Apollo Cabin
- The Short-Timers, a Vietnam War novel by Gustav Hasford which the film Full Metal Jacket was based on, gives us this gem:
says, "Okay, Mother, where'd you souvenir the chow?" Animal Mother
spits. He grins, baring rotten teeth. "I stole it." "You stole it, sir." "Yeah, I stole it...sir." "That's looting. They shoot people for that." "I stole it from the Army... sir." "Outstanding. It is part of your duty as a Marine to harass our sister services. Carry on."
- Star Carrier:
- The first book, Earth Strike, has a few moments of this played for laughs, with USNA Marine Corps and Navy personnel exchanging some good-natured ribbing and Marine General Gorman grumping about having to be bailed out by "damned Navy zorchies."
- More seriously, there's tension between the European and American ships, especially in Singularity after the Europeans get sent after Admiral Koenig to reel him in after he exceeds his orders. He had also left early to get his offensive Operation Crown Arrow underway before it could be scrubbed in favor of yet another defensive op. It very briefly gets violent, but cooler heads prevail, and most of the European captains actually mutiny, sending their admiral home and joining Koenig.
- In the William Tenn 1954 short-short story "Project Hush", the US Army sends a team to establish a small super-secret base on the Moon. As they dig in, they discover to their surprise and horror there's already a similar camouflaged base not far away. Are they Russians, Chinese, Martians? Worse — it's the US Navy!
- The Space Legion and the Regular Army in the Phule's Company novels do not get on. The Army sees the Legion as a bunch of criminals and weirdos who would never have made it in a proper military unit, and the Legion, well, sees the Army as the sort of people who think that.
- Terms Of Enlistment by Marko Kloos has one between the Marines and the Territorial Army (the one fights wars on other planets, the other handles North America). There's a scene where some Marines visiting Andrew Grayson's base and get into a Bar Brawl with the TA grunts in the mess hall. Afterwards the base CO reams them out because they should've been able to take that many Marines.
- Army vs. Navy in NCAA college football — or anything else:
- The US Navy's official song "Anchors Aweigh" is about the Navy beating the army in the Army vs Navy football game.
- And with perhaps slightly less intensity whenever Army or Navy plays Air Force; the Air Force simply hasn't been around as long, so the rivalry hasn't truly had a chance to really fester, you know? Even though the Air Force Academy has won the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy more often than either of its opponents, The Army-Navy Game is still the one taken the most seriously. So seriously, in fact, that despite the fact that neither Army nor Navy have been truly relevant to the college football championship scene in years, their game is still considered one of the premier rivalry games in the nation.
- Lower on the rungs of College Sports in Division III, the United States Coast Guard Academy faces the Merchant Marine Academy every year for the Secretaries Cup (formerly known as the "Secretary's Cup", when the two academies were both part of the Department of Transportation. Now that the Coast Guard is under the Department of Homeland Security, the name has been pluralized.)
- Across the pond, teams from the British Army and Royal Navy play a rugby match against each other every year. There are also interservice sports events in other sports as well, such as cricket and association football.
- It happens between countries too (having sports teams face off is so much easier than war!), as America's West Point and Canada's Royal Military College have hockey games when their regular season schedules allow them to.
- Paranoia has its 8 service groups: Armed Forces, Central Processing Unit (the bureaucracy), HPD&MC (housing and "mind control" - propaganda), Internal Security (who does policing work too), Production, Logistics and Commissary (food vats, outfitting), Power Services (Power is power!), R&D (Research and Development) and Technical Services. They all work for the smooth running of Alpha Complex. They compete. And in the new version Friend Computer introduced capitalism and outsourcing to service firms, making the competition officially sanctioned! Isn't that wonderful?
- What's with those Pot Holes? Are you implying that Friend Computer is not perfect? You Commie mutant traitor!
- Speaking of Commies, the Commie-run Alpha State has 8 similar groups, all of which have their own official espionage arms attached (parodying the Real Life situation in the USSR, see that section).
- Warhammer 40,000
- The various chapters of Space Marines in occasionally develop rivalries.
- The Space Wolves and Dark Angels have an ancestral grudge, going back to a duel fought between their respective founders ten thousand years earlier. This is nowadays mostly calm, and more likely to surface as a series of ritualized non-lethal duels, as anything else.
- The latest Codex mentions one between the Raven Guard and White Scars that was patched up (somewhat) after members of two chapters found themselves going after the same bad guy.
- The Space Wolves in particular have a major grudge against the Administratum due to the policy of the Administratum to replace the entire of Armaggeddon's workforce to weed out any Chaotic corruption after the First War of Armaggeddon against Angron's World Eaters and associated daemonic hordes. They did this by forcing the entire planet's population into concentration camps to be sterilised and then worked to death via slave labour. Logan Grimnar, leader of the Space Wolves, did not like that, and told the Inquisitor as much, to his face. He could get away with his outspokenness because he had fifteen thousand royally pissed-off and unflinchingly loyal Super Soldiers at his back, ready to stomp the Inquisitor into the ground. This leads to about as much friction with the Inquisition as you'd expect.
- The Imperial Guard and the Imperial Navy have the typical army/navy rivalry. This one is actually deliberate: After the Horus Heresy, the Imperial Army - as it was known at the time - was split into the Guard and the Navy in order to insure that no man commanded both fleets and armies.
- The Guard and the Space Marines have tense relationships at best. The Guard maintains that they are the ones who do all the real work, only for the Astartes to swoop in at the last second, deliver the death blow and take all the glory. To hear the Marines tell it; the unenhanced Guard are weak, lazy and get in the way. Depending on the chapter, an Astartes will treat a Guardsman with anything from disinterest to outright contempt.
- Also, the Commissariat and the rank-and-file Guard are not exactly friends either. Whoops, sorry sir indeed
- Regular human forces can be roughly thought of, in increasing order of prestige as: Planetary Defence<Imperial Guard<Storm Troopers. Naturally every echelon hates the echelons above and below them.
- It's not limited to the Imperials, either. The Word Bearers and Alpha Legion Chaos Space Marines are on less than speaking terms. Exchanging bolter fire is more likely. The Legions devoted to each Chaos god also have appropriate rivalries with those who serve the god who their god particularly hates. For example, Khornate World Eaters and Slaaneshi Emperor's Children do not like each other very much. Same goes for Tzeentch's Thousand Sons and Nurgle's Death Guard. Only rarely will they co-operate in any capacity, and will fall back on killing each other once their alliance falls apart. Only Abaddon the Despoiler has much success with that.
- It's not even limited to inter-service rivalry. Intra-service rivalries are also common, with Guard regiments from one world going to war with Guard regiments from other worlds for a variety of reasons. The typical Ork Waaagh lasts about as long as the Warboss is able to keep the various tribes in it fighting somebody other than each other.
- Nor is it limited to intra-service rivalry — regiments from the same world and even companies within the same regiment can have poisonous rivalries. On some feral worlds, the competition over who gets to enlist in the Guard in the first place results in as many casualties as a small war, and Commissars of feral regiments routinely equate the enemy with their unit's hereditary enemies back home.
- And all of this doesn't even begin to go into the tumultuous relationships everyone else has with the Inquisition.
- This is outright stated to be one of the Scarlet Empress's rules of government: divide and rule. The Realm has three different types of Secret Police and eleven families of heirs.
- Taken Up to Eleven by the Celestial Bureaucracy. The Bureau of Heaven wants everybody answerable to them and keeps poaching promising gods or important purviews, the Bureau of Humanity catches flak for the general heavenly contempt for mankind and is the most heavily reassigned (the boundary between a human and universal abstract is considered flexible), the Bureau of Seasons hates the interference of the others who distrust it for its importance and its military power (which it is openly willing to use to force contentious matters of policy) and looks down on it being largely staffed by Elementals, the Bureau of Nature has the largest number of gods who need new assignments (since large sections of Creation and its lifeforms were recently destroyed) and is openly contemptuous of Yu-Shan's corruption (with them in turn sneering at its naivete and inefficiency), and everybody distrusts the Bureau of Destiny (being, as it is, responsible for developing the course of the future, having a lot of sensitive information, and including Exalted in its staff) while being forced to acknowledge how necessary its proper functions are for their continued survival.
- In GURPS Reign Of Steel, the WASP agency and FBI of the Washington Protectorate have this trope going on. In the Machine Zones, some of the human resistance groups have been divided by internal rivalries, as well.
- In GURPS Transhuman Space, there's mention of a hard-fought battle in which the US Air Force gained supremacy in space. The battle was fought in the Pentagon and the enemy was the US Navy.
- Among the many company divisions of SLA Industries, this trope is almost standard operating procedure.
- Mobile Frame Zero: Funny story. There are two groups known as "Marines" - the Terran Marines, who are frontline combatants, and the Transit Marines, who fight to defend the transit gates and in very few other situations. The Terran Marines really resent that the Transit Marines, who spend most of their time outside of combat, get to call themselves "Marines".
- This is a large part of what gets in the way of operational unity during the Second Star League's attempt to bring down Clan Smoke Jaguar in BattleTech. Made up of various House army units who had until then been spending bitter centuries fighting each other, they are then compelled to fight alongside age-old enemies in the name of overcoming much more brutal recent ones. As they are all under the aegis of the reconstituted Star League Defense Force, they are technically held under one government. This gets out of hand when hardline Steiner loyalists argue about command roles with traditionally Davion supporters, Liao units distrust members of the St. Ives regiments who seceded from Liao rule, any Marik force argues with itself, and the Draconis Combine logistics arm favors Combine units above all others when they should be supplying gear and consumables to everyone.
- In a more general sense, the setting breaks down its armies by their role in combat, with different divisions for Dropship and Jumpship transportation and combat units. This is further split down based on the nature of combat units: Battlemech, ground armor, Aerospace wings, and infantry both battle-armored and otherwise. The most notable traditional rivalries and squabbling in most armed forces in the setting so far shown have included: Drop Ship crews and Jumpship crews, Dropship crews and Aerospace pilots, Mechwarriors and Aerospace pilots, Mechwarriors and Dropship crews, Mechwarriors and tank crews, Mechwarriors and infantry units, and Mechwarriors and other Mechwarriors.
- In Valkyria Chronicles, the Army sees the Militia as a bunch of untrained field hands suitable only as cannon fodder, and the Militia sees the Army as a bunch of incompetent aristocrats whose social status is the result of overt nepotism.
- For Final Fantasy VII, while it seemed as if the divisions were pretty spiffy with each other in the original game, Crisis Core showed that Shinra corps seemed to be in a constant state of war. The mook Midgar security soldiers didn’t like the more attention hogging SOLDIERs, the mooks ignore Turk instructions in lieu of getting more rewards for themselves, the SOLDIERs treating the smaller foot soldiers as nothing better than Cannon Fodder … the dynamics of which contributed highly to Zack’s death in the end, as the soldiers rushed forth to execute Zack before the Turks arrived at the scene.
- The SPARTANS-IIs and the ODSTs in Halo. Before the Spartans came into the picture, the Orbital Drop Shock Troopers were the elites of the United Nations Space Command Defence Forces, so when the Spartans took over as the elite, the ODSTs weren't happy about it. What was more insulting to them was that, when John-117 killed two ODST troopers in a gym in his earlier ages, he wasn't punished for it (even though the ODST troopers started the whole thing and John had only responded to their aggression). Ever since then, the ODSTs haven't seen the Spartans as anything more than "freaks", "cyborgs" and as "non-humans", due to the Spartans' special powers and superiority over the "normal" human beings. It ain't getting better considering the Spartans seems to have more respect from the other marines than them, even if the Spartans are actually a part of the navy. The Spartans themselves, however, don't really care about the rivalry at all. They just want to get the job done.
- Funnily enough, with the creation of the SPARTAN-IV Program, many ODSTs have gone on to become Spartans themselves, including Sarah Palmer.
- The Covenant's forces had an rivalry between the Sangheili, or the Elites, and the Jiralhanae, or the Brutes. The Elites had been the dominant species of the Covenant's military since it was created. The Brutes had only been in the Covenant for some decades, but had already proved themselves as the most loyal followers of the Prophets, and so believed that they would be better bodyguards and military leaders for the Prophets than the Elites. The Elites see the Brutes as nothing more then uncivilized, megalomaniacal savages, which insults them greatly. The Prophet of Truth, the leader of the Covenant, was aware of this rivalry and so used it to spark a civil war between them, with hopes that the Brutes would replace the Elites as the leading faction of the Covenant; the reasons being that he considered the Elite's extreme reliance on their code of honor hindered their loyalty, while the Brutes almost never questioned orders as long as it involved killing something. The other species' loyalty was splintered: the Drones and Jackals generally stayed with the Brutes, while most Hunters and some Grunts allied with the Elites. This manipulation caused the Elites to ally themselves with the Humans, and with their help, killed Truth and finished the Covenant off as a superpower.
- Halo: Glasslands alludes to a slight rivalry between the SPARTAN-IIs and SPARTAN-IIIs.
- In RuneScape, the Imperial Guard view the Knights of Falador as a rival military force in the Kingdom of Asgarnia.
- In Call of Juarez: The Cartel, the three main characters are members of the LAPD, the FBI and the DEA, which means that occasionally they have conflicting goals and objectives from their superiors and/or informants (particularly the latter two, as the DEA agent is incredibly corrupt while the FBI agent is working for corrupt superiors).
- In Xenonauts the head scientist snipes at the engineers in his Xenopedia articles.
- In the non-Federation storylines of Escape Velocity Nova, the Rebellion's head of Intelligence Frandall (a code-name. Real name unknown) was head of Federation Intelligence and saw where things were leading when the Bureau was set up, and is implied to have helped arrange the Rebellion (which aims to oust the Bureau and restore proper democratic governance to the Federation) mainly because he knew the Bureau would win the interservice rivalry (and indeed all references to Federation Intelligence are in past tense), so going rebel was his best chance of getting back his influence. In the Federation storyline, Frandall is the real head of the Bureau and helped arrange the Rebellion to draw out oppositional elements.
- XCOM: Enemy Unknown has a rivalry between Dr. Vahlen and the Scientists, and Dr. Shen and the Engineers. They don't openly snipe at each other, but they often strongly disagree on things like what action the player should take and what projects should be developed. Taken further in Enemy Within, where they're still going at it: they keep trying to entice the player towards a certain use of Meld, with Vahlen championing Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke, and Shen championing good ol' Cybernetic implants. Hilariously lampshades by your Number Two, who asks them if they agreed on anything, and they both answer the name.
- Grand Theft Auto V: A sizable chunk of the games plot centers on an interservice war between the FIB (FBI-Expy) and IAA (CIA-Expy) over who should receive more government funding now that the War On Terror is winding down, with both sides going to rather depraved extremes to make themselves look better.
- EYE Divine Cybermancy's Secreta Secretorum, a rogue government agency that intends to overthrow the current government, has its special operations division (E.Y.E), divided into two separate houses - the Culter Dei and the Jians, whom share a bitter hatred of each other. The current ruler of E.Y.E, Rimanah, intends to destroy the Jians before taking on the government, whereas your Mentor wants to cooperate with the Jians. Depending on your actions in the game, you can support him and directly attack the Jian temple, side with your Mentor to overthrow Rimanah, or Take a Third Option by betraying E.Y.E and siding with the Federation.
- This is common in The Damn Few, where Rhino (Army), Gunny (Marine Corps), Ice Goose (Air Force), and Sealy (Navy) are constantly ribbing each other about their respective services. The episode "LOL" shows what happens when a non-veteran makes the mistake of trying to join in.
- In The Gamers Alliance, the Alentian Defense Force and the Anti Mage Police often butt heads in the Magicracy of Alent. A much more serious rivalry takes place between the Graves Hall military academy and the Magestar mage school in the Kingdom of Aison when the latter feels that the former isn't up to par teaching magic to students and will hamper Aison's defense as a result, so the Masters of the Magestar decide to send a fire elemental to raze the rival mage school at Graves Hall to ensure future funding for themselves from the government.
Andras: You've seen the transfers. They leech funding from us, and for what? They have no idea how magic works. All they want is more spells, for their own use. Most of them enter the private sector now, you know? They are a disgrace to the tradition of the Magestar.
Amon: They have been a thorn in our side for some time. Their teachings are simply incompatible with ours, and they are too stubborn to see the error of their ways. They simply seek to be our rival.
- Exotroopers and Jumptroopers in Exo Squad.
- In Recess, the Army/Navy rivalry appears in the form of the rivalry between Gus Griswold's Army general father and Corn Chip Girl's Navy admiral father. Which handily set up the Star-Crossed Lovers (or at least Star Crossed Friendship) plot.
- There was something of a Running Gag in the second season of G.I. Joe involving the rivalry between Leatherneck (a Marine) and Wetsuit (a Navy SEAL).
- Mixed with Sibling Rivalry in The Mask episode "Martian Mask" where FBI, led by Kelleway's brother attempt to catch the Mask. Unlike the cops who think the Mask is a criminal, the FBI thinks the mask is an alien.
- The regular Decepticons forces and the Insecticon Hive of Transformers Prime do not get along well at all despite both groups having sworn absolute fealty to Megatron.
- The London Metropolitan police and City of London police in the Jack the Ripper case. Rather than share information, each faction tried to obstruct the other—this is sometimes argued to have been a major reason why the killer was never caught.
- Was used and is used in class conflict. By turning the liberals, trade unions, old school, and conservatives against each other; the government can maintain power.
- This is used by big business to undermine labor unions. They blame overseas corporations for wage cuts and then demand the union allowing the firing of a specific group (new workers, old workers, lowest paid, highest paid) or the factory will be closed for budget reasons.
- Caution should be used when it comes to conspiracy theories. While some are true, many are spread to discredit the opposition factions.
- Consider the terrorist and revolutionary groups that break apart and often attack each other rather than the original enemy. The IRA is an excellent example.
- After the government has fallen, the revolutionary factions tend to either continue fighting with each other or one group clearly emerges on top and starts The Purge.
- The French Revolution soon led to the Reign of Terror.
- The Red October soon led to the Russian Civil War between moderates, socialists, anarchists and everyone who didn't want to get stomped in process. Western powers encouraged this and armed counter-revolutionary forces. Even after the Red won, different political factions in their movement and commanders from different armies immediately locked horns for dominance and importance of their contribution.
- And then Josef Stalin quietly grabbed the real power, his followers and the First Horse Cavalry Army raising in his wake. And he encouraged further interservice rivalry — so that his most dangerous underlings kept each other in check. The whole Soviet system: the Communist Party, the KGB, and the military (including military intelligence) were all at odds with each other. The military had the big guns, the KGB knew where all the bodies were buried (sometimes literally), and the Party determined ideological purity in the military and KGB and thus could institute a purge if either got too uppity. If any one of the three seemed to gain too much of an upper hand, the other two could, and did, cooperate to cut it down.
- Continuing in the Cold War — with the KGB (nominally civilian intelligence) and GRU (military intelligence) opposing each other.
- Deliberately invoked by Hitler, who kept the military, SS, and Gestapo at each others' throats so none of them would be in a strong enough position to overthrow him and seize control of Germany.
- He also believed in a Social Darwinist approach to bureaucracy, figuring that competition would encourage better quality developments. All it did was lead to inefficiency.
- In the early days of Nazi Germany, there existed a rivalry between the SS and the SA. The SA had been very active previously, serving as the Nazi Party's paramilitary wing/street thugs, while the SS started out as Hitler's elite personal bodyguard unit. Both groups were vying for power and influence, as well as Hitler's favor, in the newly formed Third Reich. Hitler was actually somewhat afraid of the SA due to the organization's number and strength, and it certainly did not help when the SA leadership demanded for the SA to replace the regular army. This conflict came to a bloody end on June 30, 1934, when the SS falsely accused the SA of plotting to overthrow Hitler and proceeded to eliminate the SA leadership (and other potentially problematic persons for the Nazi regime) in the Night of Long Knives. The SA became pretty much powerless and irrelevant after that while the SS increased in prominence and authority.
- Of course, all this went so well the whole scheme backfired spectacularly - none of the German units ever got what they needed: The Navy never finished their carrier(s) because Goering was jealous. In revenge, they spiked Luftwaffe supplies and had them directed to U-Boat manufacture. Goering forced the Army to stop its advance on the BEF so that he could try to destroy the British with aircraft (the fact that the RAF might have something to say never occurred to him), and in revenge the Army never trusted the Air Force again, denying it fuel and resources for Barbarossa. Everyone despised the SS (the feeling was mutual), which meant that, in 1945, Army commanders would sacrifice SS units to save regulars, and Army men got first dibs on evacuation transport.
- The Royal Air Force took control of British naval aircraft after WWI, and the Fleet Air Arm did not return to the Navy until the mid-1930s. This is frequently cited as a reason why the Fleet Air Arm's WW2 homegrown aircraft were mostly junk.
- Considering the multiple law enforcement agencies and the occasional shift of control (control of the drug unit is shifted from department X to department Y), this is certainly a reality in the United States , , , , , , 
- The FBI and the CIA.
- Before that, the FBI vs. the OSS and their MI6 allies.
- The FBI and any State, County, or City police force. Street cops generally don't have a very good opinion of the FBI. This is largely due to the traditional role of the FBI as investigators of police corruption.
- Tragically, this is one of the reasons the 9/11 attacks were not intercepted. The CIA knew that known terrorists were on US soil (to train to fly), and accidentally told the FBI. When the FBI NY station head tried to do something about this, he was told, essentially, that he should never have been told and to delete the e-mail. Destruction ensued.
- In recent years, the CIA and FBI rivalry has has the NSA enter their rivalry to create a triangle where nobody likes each other or feels inclined to share information, thus making an already bad situation worse.
- An international version: The US military and UK military in WWII. Sometimes it was lighthearted ("You Yanks are overpaid, oversexed and over here." "Yeah, well you Limeys are underpaid, undersexed... and under Eisenhower!"), sometimes it was more disruptive (for example, the near-endless arguments of who should be in overall command: Ike or Monty).
- The argument was over who would command the ground forces, since considering the US provided most of the troops and equipment there was never any doubt Eisenhower would have supreme command. The argument was also not strictly across national lines: Eisenhower's British deputy Air Chief Marshal Tedder strongly urged firing Monty more than once.
- The U.S. introduced the five-star rank because of this (a U.S. four-star general would be outranked by a British Field Marshal.)
- This led to an additional six-star rank being created for George Washington, because no American can outrank him. Ever. (No, really, it's the law.)
- US Admiral Ernest King was practically the embodiment of this trope at times. A notorious Anglophobe, he had a deep dislike of anything British and in particular the Royal Navy, something which would prove disastrous to US merchant shipping during 1942. As German U-boats wreaked havoc on the US East Coast, the US Navy - led by King - began an utterly useless strategy of trying to hunt the submarines on the open sea. The Royal Navy (which had considerably more experience of dealing with U-boats) repeatedly pointed out the futility of this strategy and urged the Americans to adopt a much more effective convoy system along the East Coast. King, unfortunately, allowed his personal feelings to override his judgment, and unwilling to take advice from the British he despised, rigidly stuck to his guns even as the US began to suffer catastrophic losses in merchant shipping (General Marshall even warned that the US faced a severe fuel shortage unless things changed). The situation was only resolved when Roosevelt intervened personally.
- More WW2: RAF Bomber Command vs, at various points, Fighter Command, Coastal Command, and the US 8th Air Force. The rivalry with Coastal Command has frequently been judged as having seriously set back the war effort by starving Coastal of aircraft.
- One of the problems being that Fighter Command got all the glory in 1940 at the expense of the other services to glamourize "The Few" (during the Battle of Britain, Bomber Command actually incurred heavier losses than Fighter Command).
- Done deliberately by Stalin to Field Marshalls Kon(i)ev and Zhukov for the push on Berlin (Rokossovksy, despite his comparable if not greater abilities, being relegated to flank-defence along the German coast because he was both Ukrainian and 'ideologically unorthodox'). He deliberately erased the boundaries between their army groups for the operation, meaning that both were free to send units into and across each other's forces. This resulted in more friendly-fire incidents than anyone cares to remember, not least because of the use of artillery and airpower.
- That said, at least a few of those 'incidents' were actually on purpose (albeit largely as payback for previous friendly-fire incidents)!
- Historical examples of American interbranch rivalry are numerous:
- "The Soviets are our adversary. Our enemy is the Navy," said by Curtis LeMay, General in the United States Air Force during the Cold War.
- The newly formed USAF made an effort shortly after WW2 to take control of Navy aircraft, but failed. The Navy has neither forgotten nor forgiven. The Army has yet to forgive the Air Force for becoming autonomous in 1947 either.
- The Marine Corps jealously holds on to its air wings for the same reason, having never forgotten their Navy air cover abandoning them during the initial landings on Guadalcanal.
- The antagonism between the Army (under MacArthur) and the Navy (under Nimitz) grew to endemic proportions during the Pacific campaign. Both had directly competing ideas of how to defeat Japan; fortunately (for the U.S., not so much for the Japanese), the U.S. was powerful enough to execute both of their ideas at the same time.
- The Iranian Hostage Crisis. The Army, Navy, and Air Force each wanted to take the lead on getting the hostages out of Iran, so that none of them could hog all the glory. So they came up with a compromise plan. The result? Catastrophic failure. Afterward, the U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) was created out of the special operations branches of all three services. The Marine Corps followed suit... eventually.
- Congress actually passed a law, the 1986 Goldwater-Nichols Act, that among other things removed the individual service chiefs from the chain of command and made them solely an advisory body to the President (the Joint Chiefs of Staff), and reorganized the military's entire chain of command through joint Unified Combatant Commands without regards to branches of service. This was in response to cock-ups like the hostage rescue mission and other service rivalry problems in Vietnam. As a result, while interservice rivalry is still a big thing in the US military (see below), it rarely interferes in the actual business of defending US interests.
- Interbranch rivalry is deeply ingrained in the culture of the United States military:
- Various branches of the military love to look down their noses at each other, and will frequently brawl should multiple branches arrive at the same bar. The Army and Marine Corps see Air Force personnel as lazy and incompetent. Air Force personnel see the Army as disposable cannon fodder and the Marine Corps as meat-headed thugs. The Marine Corps, Army and Air Force will almost always make gay sailor jokes whenever the Navy is brought up. The Navy for its part thinks they do all the real work.
- Military personnel love to make mocking nicknames and acronyms for the various branches.
- My Ass Rides In Navy Equipment, Sir.
- My Ass Really Is Navy Equipment for a more vitriolic version.
- Muscles Are Required, Intelligence Not Essential.
- Uncle Sam's Misguided Children, though this one has been proudly adopted by Marines themselves.
- U Suckers Miss Christmas.
- Ain't Ready for Marines Yet.
- Never Again Volunteer Yourself, though sailors made this one up about themselves.
- The Air Force is often called the Chair Force, since any fighting you do while sitting down doesn't count unless you're in a tank or other land vehicle, apparently. And also because a relatively larger portion of the Air Force is dedicated to logistics rather than directly fighting, though this is quite applicable to the Navy as well. It's also teased that the Air Force is for wussies as they have less strict fitness requirements and a perception that Air Force bases are more luxurious than their Army counterparts, many USAF Personnel point out that while this may sometimes be true it just means that Air Force enlistees are simply smarter for choosing this route anyway. Also note that the "Chairforce" nickname has been used within the Air Force itself... to refer to pilots of UAVs.
- The grudges are taught young, as evidenced by the rivalry between military-oriented youth programs. If a Navy Sea Cadet runs into a Civil Air Patrol cadet, the excrement will hit the fan. Slightly less vitriolic is the relationship between the Army Cadet Corps and the Civil Air Patrol, the fights of which seems to take the form of the Army Cadets saying "ha ha, we get to use guns," and the CAP cadets saying "ha ha, we get to fly airplanes." As for the Young Marines, they are roundly laughed at for wearing orange nametapes and ribbons on battledress.
- Within the Navy, the different branches have various low opinions of the others:
- Submariners are called Bubbleheads and have the reputation of being extremely nerdy, since the majority of them are trained in nuclear power. The thought of over a hundred mennote trapped in a long, rounded steel tube underwater also takes the gay sailor jokes Up to Eleven.
- Surface sailors in general do not have any specific negative association, but Surface Warfare Officers in particular are often viewed as overbearing Jerkasses with Chronic Backstabbing Disorder. Surface ships are often referred to by submariners simply as "targets" (the unspoken implication being that the sailors of those ships are mostly good for Cannon Fodder). "Brown-Shoes" (Navy aviators and their support staff) do, however, refer to surface officers and crew as being in the "transport" or "cargo" business, seeing their only role as getting the all-important planes where they're going.
- The other branches think Aviators are all obsessed with Top Gun and have extremely high opinions of themselves, and are lazy (being the only branch with mandatory 8 hours of rest per day, while on flight duty). Of course they would say that everyone else is just jealous.
- Don't forget the rivalry between the Squids (Navy) and Puddle Pirates (Coast Guard) The Navy loves to put down the Coast Guard, calling them them things like "toy Navy" or "shallow Navy" to which any Coastie worth his salt will respond with a joke along the lines of, "Why do Navy kids look so good? They have Coastie dads" implying that Coasties tend to sleep with Navy wives while their husbands are out to sea.
- Oddly enough, the Marines and Coast Guard tend to get along reasonably well, in large part due to a mutual dislike of the Navy.
- Strangely enough, the Navy SeaBees have a little-known rivalry with the Marines dating back to World War II. When the SeaBees were founded, they were mostly drawn from civilians with prior experience in construction, which skewed their ranks to a much higher average age than other draftees, to say nothing of the fact that, as older men with vital skills, the initial SeaBees were mostly volunteers as they'd have been far back in the drafting order. When they first conducted operations with the Marines, the Marines told them that they'd take care of them, to which the SeaBees replied no, they would take care of them. The humor in the idea of a group of sailors being Papa Wolves to the USMC should be obvious.
- The Navy even has rivalries between types of ratings (e.g., technicians vs. engineers), or even between differrent ratings in the same field (e.g., Electronic Technicians (Communication systems) vs. Fire Controlmen (Weapon systems)).
- From the Marines' Hymn:
If the Army and the Navy
Ever look on Heaven’s scenes;
They will find the streets are guarded
By United States Marines.
"We don't care what the Russians are doing. We only care about what the Navy is doing."
- This worked out well enough, as the result was the F-16. Ironically, the Navy then went on to adopt an enlarged version of the losing design in the Air Force's lightweight fighter competition as their own F/A-18. In part because the Navy prefers twin-engine designs but also because no way in hell were they going to use the Air Force's choice.
- It should be noted that much of this bickering between branches is much like a group of siblings. Sure they give each other a hard time (or in the case of Seals and Marines, get into brawls), but they would be the first to jump to any service members defense if an outside party interfered.
- On the other hand, there are cases when rivalries went downright vicious. No less than Presidents Truman and Eisenhower, both former Army officers, tried to disband the Marines. The Marines responded by going behind their backs and lobbying members of Congress to defeat the order.
- Still in the United States: Reserve and National Guard components of all branches tend to get teased by members of the Regular components since the latter serve full-time while the former are only called up for drill one weekend a month and maintain their civilian careers on the outside world (hence the nickname "Weekend Warriors"). This rivalry turned especially vicious during The Vietnam War, since many people volunteered for the National Guard to avoid being drafted and sent overseas (since National Guard units weren't deployed overseas at the time). Ever since Operation Desert Storm and The War on Terror, the animosity has lightened up a bit, since Reserves and National Guard units have served on combat deployments alongside regular component units on a regular basis.
- This is surprisingly averted in Canada's military: The Army, Navy, and Air Force are simply different elements of the same service, and thus it is rare to see a unit that doesn't contain a mix of at least two of them. Then there are what are known as "purple trades": occupations like engineer, doctor, clerk, etc that don't directly identify with an element: the difference between an Army and an Air Force engineer literally boils down to what color of beret the member likes better.
- In Britain there are Youth Groups linked to the military. There's the Air Cadets, Army Cadets and Sea Cadets. The Air Cadets and the Army Cadets hate each other, but they seem to forget about this hatred when confronted with the Sea Cadets, who they join together to hate.
- Same thing also happens in the Canadian cadet organizations.
- Don't even think about what happens when any of them encounter the Police Cadets or the Boys Brigade.
- The Royal Marines and the Parachute Regiment are more like Vitriolic Best Buds, at least since the Falklands War. Everybody still makes fun of the RAF, though the Army Air Corps is very popular since they got Apaches, and the Navy looks down its collective nose at the lot of them.
- And of course, the Scots military units hate the English military units, and they both hate the Welsh ones. But if there's Americans nearby, all bets are off as everyone teams up to beat up the Yanks. And the Scots Guards hate the regular Scots units too, for being too wimpy.
- And of course any Highland regiment hates (in order from least to most) any OTHER Highland regiment, any Lowland regiment, any Irish regiment, any Welsh Regiment and EVERY American unit. Of course, they will team up with less objectionable enemies to beat more hated ones.
- Despite their long and proud history of this sort of thing, the British Army ended up being the Only Sane Organisation in the middle of one of these during The Troubles. MI-5, MI6, the Royal Ulster Constabulary and Special Branch spent so much time bickering over who was responsible for what (bit of an Enforced Trope, because domestic counter-insurgency operations were uncharted waters back then) and trying to show one another up that the quality of their work was rather lacking. Eventually the Army resorted to forming a new company within the Intelligence Corps to run surveillance operations in-house.
- In war games, Canada and the US.
- Particularly during the Napoleonic Wars, the British Army vs. the Royal Navy. The Navy was the more glamorous and respectable service, while the Army was the one actually fighting Napoleon in Europe but often considered a poor second by high society. This is referenced in fiction set in this time period such as Sharpe, Aubrey-Maturin and so on.
- It has to be remembered here that the Royal Navy basically swept their enemies (French, Dutch, Spanish, Danes) off the sea at a time when the Army generally suffered ignominious defeats on the European continent, i. e. before the Peninsular War, while Army successes elsewhere in that era were depended on the Navy. And the British army simply was too small on its own, even during the Peninsular campaign it was very much dependent on the manpower provided by their Spanish and Portuguese allies as well as the King's German Legion.
- "The British Army should be a projectile to be fired by the British Navy." — Lord Grey, British Prime Minister.
- It reflects Britain's historical position as a maritime power, hence giving the Navy the lion's share. The great adversary, France, has the exact same rivalry between Navy and Army but in reverse, as befits France's continental position.
- Historically, members of the French army's 11th Parachute Brigade and the French Foreign Legion did not get along. Those stereotypical interservice bar brawls were a very common occurrence back when they trained near each other and took weekend leave in the same town. The Legion's elite parachute regiment is technically part of the 11th Paras. One wonders if this makes the rivalry more or less intense for them.
- Happened during the rescue of the Burnham couple from the Abu Sayyaf. Philippine Marine Intelligence had been tracking the group for a while after gaining an informant which Abu Sabaya, the group's leader, trusted. Later, their already considerable intelligence effort was boosted by American assistance. However, the Marines were never given the chance to use any of this hard won intelligence. The Philippine Army always insisted on taking over every effort to actually go in and face the Abu Sayyaf because they wanted the credit for the rescue. This eventually resulted in a clusterfuck which resulted in hostage death. Philippine Marine Intelligence is still bitter about it all.
- Sometimes also happens between factions of a political party.
- In pre-revolutionary Iran, as usual, the Imperial Army, Navy, and Air Force had rivalries with each other, and all disliked the SAVAK. After the Revolution, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps showed up. The regular military has somewhat put aside its differences to hate on the IRGC, as although it started as a revolutionary militia, it now has its own land, naval, and air forces, as well as complete control of the Iranian long-range missile force (and thus Iran's nuclear weapons if/when it gets them), and commands the Basij — the regime's morality and political police force — as well .
- In Saddam Hussein's Iraq, after his rise to power, had the typical triangular operation — the military, the Baath Party, and the people. If one branch got too uppity, he would instigate the other two against the one.
- In the People's Republic of China, there is much resentment between the main army, and the navy and air force, the latter two technically under the army. Also, the missile and artillery forces are somewhat independent. Also, each army by military district can have intense problems with each other. So much so, the government brought in units from the countryside during the Tiananmen Square massacre, as those in the Beijing military district were considered too untrustworthy, and might turn the conflict into a full-blown civil war.
- The concept of "separation of powers" within a government is intended to foster this, so that no one branch of government can become totally autonomous. In the United States, this is called "checks and balances," and is deliberately created so that the three branches will struggle against each other for power and hopefully create a stasis.
- During the run-up to World War II, the intense rivalry between the Japanese army and navy was only made worse by the fact that both forces were heavily involved in politics, to the point that the main political factions in the Japanese government weren't political parties at all, but "Army" and "Navy". Before the war, it wasn't uncommon for army and navy officers to assassinate each other. Once the war got underway, both services established dedicated amphibious warfare branches, the army had their own fleet of light carriers to support army aircraft, and prioritization of steel and development money for navy ships and planes meant that the army's tanks were under-armored and completely outnumbered and outgunned by the Allies.
- With regards to the Australian Defence forces, one (army) recruiter once joked that "The Army sleeps under the stars, the Navy navigate by the stars and the Air Force choose their hotels by the stars." This was met by silence as 90% of the audience was looking to join the Air Force.
- Italian Regia Marina (the Navy) versus Regia Aeronautica (the Air Force) during World War II: the Navy complained that the Air Force was the reason they had no carriers, that they were never on the battlefield in time and that they weren't very good at recognizing the British ships but not of their inability at sinking battleships, while the Air Force complained that the Navy hoarded all the funds and technically-capable recruits but couldn't defeat the Royal Navy. In a magnificent example of Fascist, but Inefficient, they were both right due the inefficiency of the Fascist government.
- Perhaps they should both blame the collective Italian military establishment for saying, essentially: "This radar fad? It'll never catch on." Cue instances of Italian cruisers being jumped by British battleships and an entire fleet being crippled in its home port by British aircraft.
- In the Italian army there is a long standing rivalry between the Bersaglieri and the Alpini, as the latter replaced the former as mountain troops.
- The Carabinieri (military police and gendarmerie) are despised by the rest of the armed forces, with a contempt second only to the one reserved for the military cooks (Cordon Bleugh Chefs by Italian standards).
- The British regimental system led to this, since regiments were raised from different parts of the country and had distinct histories and traditions. Sometimes this led to a Fire-Forged Friendship, but more often to rivalry; for example, the Gordon Highlanders (raised partially from Glencoe) hated the Argylls (raised by the Campbell clan which led the Massacre of Glencoe).
This can go back a LONG way. In a battle in the Sikh War in 1845, a Scottish regiment broke and retreated ignominiously — right in front of the waiting Royal Welch Fusiliers, who were as verbally snarky about this as you could expect Welsh soldiers to be. The Scots then showed more fight to the Welsh than they had to the Sikhs, and an English regiment had to be interposed to maintain order. This is still a point raised in interaction between both regiments today and no love has been lost.
- US Senator (and former presidential candidate) John McCain, a decorated Navy pilot, is fond of saying, "When I graduated from the Naval Academy, I tried to get into the Marine Corps, but my parents were married."note
- In Russia, you have the army and the navy, the army and VDV in a not exactly bitter rivalry, and the army and the gendarmerie, the army intelligence (GRU), FSB, and SVR, the police and FSB hating each other with a passion.
- British journalist and former Navy Commando Lewis Page is known, when writing about military hardware for marines, to litter his articles with the J-word and then issue a not-apology in a footnote.
Perhaps the fact of the author being an 11-year navy man and holder of the Royal Marines' commando qualification might allow it to be excused, under the heading of banter among fellow allied servicemen. If not, too bad.
- The adoption of machine guns by the British Army could have been done anything up to fifty years earlier, if the Infantry and the Royal Artillery had co-operated. The first machine-guns used by the British had been imported American Gatling Guns, used to deadly effect during the Zulu War in 1879. But as these came on artillery wheeled carriages, the Royal Artillery had insisted these were clearly artillery weapons and part of their inventory. The R.A. also insisted that any subsequent machine guns taken up by the Army be installed on cumbersome wheeled trails - even when countries like France and Germany were issuing their MG's on man-portable lighter carriages and issuing them direct to the infantry units they would support. Machine guns were only taken out of artillery control and issued direct to infantry units in the years immediately preceding WW2.
- A similar demarcation dispute scuppered British development of self-propelled guns, vital to the experimental "blitzkrieg" strategy, in the 1920's and 1930's. The self-propelled Birch Gun (capable of keeping pace with a tank attack and providing immediate heavy support fire) was way ahead of its time for the late 1920's, but was shelved when the dispute over whether it was a tank or an artillery piece could not be resolved. Both SPG's and the lightning-war strategy they had been designed for were enthusiastically taken up by Germans who had observed the British manouevres and seen potential...
- The Royal Artillery had seemingly learnt nothing and even as late as 1942, was still bitterly arguing that vitally needed anti-tank guns belonged to it, and not to the infantry. The British Army wastefully duplicated its anti-tank formations in a confused chain of command — some were directly issued to infantry, others were made into artillery regiments.
- Meanwhile in Germany, when General Guderian was made Inspector-General of Armour in 1943, with the remit of rationalising all aspects of AFV production and delivery to the armed forces, inter-service rivalry rewrote his terms of operation to exclude all StuG self-propelled guns — then numerically more important than conventional tanks. Thus a good two-thirds of Germany's heavy armour ended up outside his control. His task was scuppered before it began, and German AFV production remained a long way behind that of the Allies.
- On Gemini 12, Buzz Aldrin held up a sign during his spacewalk that said, "Go Army, Beat Navy." His commander (Jim Lovell) was a Navy captain, so he wasn't very happy about this.
- In the Roman Catholic Church, there are similar rivalries between religious orders. The Dominicans and the Franciscans don't get along, and are united in their mutual dislike of the Jesuits. Monks may team up on generic priesthood. Unofficial coteries and official departments in the Vatican may support (or be made of) one or another faction. The failure of Catholic missionaries in Ming China has been attributed to the infighting, as the Jesuits' opponents managed to get the Pope to speak out against Jesuit attempts to accommodate Chinese customs.
- A more specific example from British history: during the Victorian Era, the British Army was largely divided into two cliques: the "Wolseley Ring" (led by Garnet Wolseley, mostly veterans of African colonial campaigns) and the "Roberts Ring" (after Frederick Lord Roberts, mostly serving in India). These two groups competed for assignments and promotions, leading to serious tension between segments of the military. (Queen Victoria, for what its worth, favored Roberts.)
- Back in the heydays of the Soviet Union (still might be true in Russia) the Submarine Corps, the Naval Infantrynote , The Airborne Troops note and the Interior Troopsnote all considered themselves to be miles above the rest of the armed forces. They tolerated each other but any other branch consisted of useful idiots at the very best.
- Between Italian police forces, the one between the Carabinieri (military police and part of the Italian Army until 2000, when they became their own branch) and the State Police and their predecessors (civilian police and never part of the Army, even if one of the corps that were amalgamated in the modern State Police was considered part of the military from 1943 to the creation of the State Police in 1981). While the officers tend to leave each other alone, the higher-ups have fought enormous ministerial-level battles for jurisdiction outside of the main cities (and the funds coming with it), with the Carabinieri ultimately winning.