Report argues for domestic police role for military
by Jay McDonough
The Posse Comitatus Act was passed in 1878, just after the end of the Reconstruction following the Civil War, and prohibited the federal government from using the military for domestic law enforcement purposes except in very rare cases. Per Wikipedia, the Act was a political concession to Southern states, withdrawing the Union military forces that policed ex-Confederate states during the Reconstruction.
A couple months ago, the Department of Defense announced it was assigning a full-time Army unit to be on call to facilitate military cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security in the event of another terrorist attack.A report in the Army Times last month first brought the domestic deployment to light. The Army's 3rd Infantry Division 1st Brigade Combat Team became the first unit assigned permanently to Northern Command.This clearly raises issues with respect to the Posse Comitatus Act, but even more troubling are recent reports a U.S. Army War College professor has written a report asserting military intervention would be required in a number of domestic scenarios.
According to the Army Times report, the Team would be on-call to respond in the event of a natural disaster or terror attack anywhere in the country, or they could be used to "help with civil unrest and crowd control." (Link)The author warns potential causes for such civil unrest could include another terrorist attack, "unforeseen economic collapse, loss of functioning political and legal order, purposeful domestic resistance or insurgency, pervasive public health emergencies, and catastrophic natural and human disasters." The situation could deteriorate to the point where military intervention was required, he argues.The author of the report notes the proposals are his alone and don't represent U.S. policy, but it's also certain the report has been read throughout the Defense Department. But economic collapse? Loss of functioning political order? Purposeful domestic resistance? That's one terrifying slippery slope. And not in keeping with American values.
Posse Comitatus: Repealed (apparently)
This is a bit scary because we are nearing the conditions necessary: