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09/27/2008

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Jason

I really ought to outline my argument better but the topic was very broad. I don't debate your points outlined above, but there's a very big difference in what ought to be and what is being done. Also people are consistently misinterpreting the basic points of the Army Times article. There's no question that the Army (writ large, which includes Guard and Reserve) has the mission of homeland defense and civil support. Has for decades. There is no question that the Army is stretched, and even in the DOD Strategy for HLD/CS, there is clear indication that the mission of civil support is tertiary to other missions.

But that wasn't the point of the Army Times article. What the article said was that the Army has developed a CBRNE Consequence Management Response Force, which eventually will be three units at about 4-5000 persons each, purpose of which is to respond to terrorist WMD incidents. One can debate this assumption, but OSD believes that DOD has unique capabilities in this area and that there will be multiple simultaneous terrorist WMD attacks. This is not a new discussion, and because the Army is stretched, it has delayed implementing this concept for a few years now.

Final point, DOD has acknowledged that the National Response Plan/Framework has identified a role for DOD as acting "in support of" DHS and other govt agencies in responding to a catastrophy. As such NORTHCOM is the appropriate command to coordinate and execute said responsibilities. So again, not a surprise that NORTHCOM will now take on JTF-Civil Support and any active/Reserve/federalized Guard units associated with that mission.

The debate over the article degenerated into a tangential discussion over the appropriateness of an active duty combat brigade temporarily assuming this role, and why such a unit would be developing non-lethal weapons capabilities and training on crowd/traffic control tactics. Oh my, shades of Kent State! but THAT WASN'T THE POINT OF THE ARTICLE or the intent of the Army leaders quoted in said article. What state/local cops did in Minnapolis/St Paul during the RNC is irrelevant to the proposed role of active duty Army units executing a CM role in support of the DHS response to a terrorist WMD incident.

That said, this is an important policy issue, and one must account for the abject failure of state and local authorities to prepare for and respond to catastrophies using their own funds and resources. Used to be (20 yrs ago) that state/local were responsible for 50% of the bill - no longer - evidently Katrina and Ike have set the new standard of zero funding responsibility. If DHS/FEMA were more capable and the state/local use of police and Guard units more credible, yes, no need for the active duty Army units.

But we don't have those assurances, so given the political and moral need for urgency in an unlikely but possible WMD incident, who you gonna call?

Jason

In addition, Bob Bateman's post on said issue may be of interest.

http://warhistorian.org/wordpress/?p=891#more-891

Barry

In addition, the high-level officials of the Bush administation will still be around, and form the nucleus of the next GOP administration. Everything that they got away with this time will be a *baseline* for what they try the next time.

Barry

"What state/local cops did in Minnapolis/St Paul during the RNC is irrelevant to the proposed role of active duty Army units executing a CM role in support of the DHS response to a terrorist WMD incident."

Bull f*cking shit - does anybody think that US troops will be under any more legal restaints than US police?

Jason

"Bull f*cking shit - does anybody think that US troops will be under any more legal restaints than US police?"

Ahhhh - yeah? That's what the original posts were about - posse comitatus? and again, for the reading impaired, the Army Times article was about supporting the federal response to a terrorist WMD incident with active duty specialists. Has nothing to do with law enforcement roles.

Barry and a whole lot of other commenters are reading too much into the discussion. Don't blow this up into what it isn't.

Diodotus

As Bill Adama once said, there's a good reason why governments separate their police from their military.

ling

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