A 2010 Pentagon directive on military support to civilian authorities details what critics say is a troubling policy that envisions the Obama administration’s potential use of military force against Americans. The directive contains noncontroversial provisions on support to civilian fire and emergency services, special events and the domestic use of the Army Corps of Engineers.
The troubling aspect of the directive outlines presidential authority for the use of military arms and forces, including unarmed drones, in operations against domestic unrest. “This appears to be the latest step in the administration’s decision to use force within the United States against its citizens,” said a defense official opposed to the directive.
Directive No. 3025.18, “Defense Support of Civil Authorities,” was issued Dec. 29, 2010, and states that U.S. commanders “are provided emergency authority under this directive.”
“Federal military forces shall not be used to quell civil disturbances unless specifically authorized by the president in accordance with applicable law or permitted under emergency authority,” the directive states. “In these circumstances, those federal military commanders have the authority, in extraordinary emergency circumstances where prior authorization by the president is impossible and duly constituted local authorities are unable to control the situation, to engage temporarily in activities that are necessary to quell large-scale, unexpected civil disturbances” under two conditions.
The conditions include military support needed “to prevent significant loss of life or wanton destruction of property and are necessary to restore governmental function and public order.” A second use is when federal, state and local authorities “are unable or decline to provide adequate protection for federal property or federal governmental functions.”
“Federal action, including the use of federal military forces, is authorized when necessary to protect the federal property or functions,” the directive states. Military assistance can include loans of arms, ammunition, vessels and aircraft. The directive states clearly that it is for engaging civilians during times of unrest.
A U.S. official said the Obama administration considered but rejected deploying military force under the directive during the recent standoff with Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and his armed supporters. Mr. Bundy is engaged in a legal battle with the federal Bureau of Land Management over unpaid grazing fees. Along with a group of protesters, Mr. Bundy in April confronted federal and local authorities in a standoff that ended when the authorities backed down…more
FA Note: Frank DuBois served as the NM Secretary of Agriculture from 1988 to 2003. DuBois is a former legislative assistant to a U.S. Senator, and a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior. Frank DuBois’ worthy comments below followed his post above.
Anymore, I don’t know what to believe. This, however, is from the regular feature Inside The Ring by Bill Gertz, a well-known reporter, columnist and author. Further, the comments and analysis are based upon a public document.
If accurate that military force was “considered but rejected” under the directive in the Bundy situation, that leads to several questions: Who requested that military force be considered? BLM? DOI? Who in DOD considered the request, and on what grounds did they reject it?
This, of course, leads us back to the questions we’ve asked before on the Bundy operation. At some point, those questions need to be answered too, as do the .
In the meantime, the following background information and inventory compilation for each land or water management agency (Forest Service, BLM, USFWS, NPS, EPA, BOR, NOAA) would be helpful to the public:
° The statutory definition of law enforcement officer
° The legislative or other authority authorizing each agency to have LEOs
° The legislative authority of each agency to contract for law enforcement services
° The chain of command/management structure for law enforcement in each agency or department.
° The number of LEOs in each agency
° The number and type of weapons owned by each agency
° The amount and type of ammunition owned by each agency
° The number and type of vehicles owned by each agency
° The number and type of special equipment, including attack dogs, owned by each agency
° The number of SWAT teams in each agency
° The most recent annual appropriation for law enforcement for each agency or department
A report with the above information, including totals, would not interfere with any ongoing cases, would clarify some issues and make sure the public and Congress have accurate information as they contemplate this issue.