Yes... This is true. The Government is setting up a special command to create a rapid deployment force of about 50,000 troops to respond to domestic problems. Initial group will be at Ft. Stewart Georgia.
The U.S. military expects to have 20,000 uniformed troops inside the United States by 2011 trained to help state and local officials respond to a nuclear terrorist attack or other domestic catastrophe, according to Pentagon officials," the Washington Post reported on December 1. "The long-planned shift in the Defense Department's role in homeland security was recently backed with funding and troop commitments after years of prodding by Congress and outside experts, defense analysts said."
The Post article notes there are some critics who worry that the new move may "possibly undermine the Posse Comitatus Act, a 130-year-old federal law restricting the military's role in domestic law enforcement." However, the Bush administration's new policy of deploying federal troops in American cities and communities does more than "possibly undermine" the Posse Comitatus Act; it guts the act and the protections that it provided American citizens against military dictatorship. The Posse Comitatus Act, passed in 1878, in response to abuses by federal troops during Reconstruction after the Civil War, forbade the president's use of U.S. Army troops as "a posse comitatus, or otherwise, for the purpose of executing the laws" without expressed authorization from Congress.
The Post article reports:
Before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, dedicating 20,000 troops to domestic response — a nearly sevenfold increase in five years — "would have been extraordinary to the point of unbelievable," Paul McHale, assistant defense secretary for homeland defense, said in remarks last month at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. But the realization that civilian authorities may be overwhelmed in a catastrophe prompted "a fundamental change in military culture," he said.
A major component of this "fundamental change in military culture" has been the federalization of the National Guard for the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This has stripped many states of Guard units and leaves states and communities without the trained military personnel, equipment, and first-responders they would need in the event of natural disaster or severe terrorist attack.
In an address to the National Guard Association's 130th General Conference on September 22, 2008, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates gave an indication of the extent to which the National Guard has been increasingly drawn upon for foreign conflicts. Secretary Gates remarked:
Today the Guard is engaged in more than 40 countries around the world, in places such as Bosnia, Kosovo, the Sinai, the Horn of Africa, and Guantanamo Bay. Since September 11th, 2001, more than 660,000 have been mobilized - the largest since World War Two and the first extended mobilization of both the Guard and the Reserve since the establishment of the all-volunteer force.
The question that logically springs to mind is: "Why not bring the National Guard home from Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo, etc. so that they will be available for deployment in emergencies by the state governors, rather than go down this dangerous road of nationalizing and militarizing our police powers?"
Among those who are alarmed by the announced deployment is radio/TV commentator Glenn Beck, who told his radio audience on December 1:
While the rest of the world is going to pay attention today to Barack Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton and they are going to make this the big story, the big story today, at least for those people that are following the world, should be Pentagon to deploy 20,000 troops inside the U.S. for domestic security....
Now, these guys are being deployed for security for chemical, biological, terrorist activity, natural disaster. But this is what the National Guard is for. The reason why our founding fathers said there would be no standing army is because the federal government has no place in your town. The power to order troops, the power to be able to have people with weapons in your neighborhood must not ever be in the hands of the President or the congress. It must be in the hand of the individual governors. Our founders knew this. 20,000 — this is a battalion. This is something entirely new....
The announcement of the domestic troop deployment indicates that the proposals of a bipartisan commission launched a decade ago are continuing to be adopted. The United States Commission on National Security/21st Century, more commonly known as the Hart-Rudman Commission, was launched in 1998 by President Clinton. The Commission produced several reports with policy recommendations. One of the most important pertaining to the matter at hand, Road Map for National Security, was delivered to President Bush on January 31, 2001. Road Map was the original source for the idea of creating the Department of Homeland Security, and idea that President Bush pushed through Congress after 9/11 — with the help of the influential backers of the Hart-Rudman Commission. Road Map also recommended federalizing the National Guard for both foreign and domestic service, with an emphasis on assuming more domestic police powers. The deployment of military troops — whether Army, Marines, or National Guard — for policing of America's streets is an ominous development, one that certainly runs contrary to the letter and spirit of the constitutional checks and balances embedded in our system of government by the Founders.
As noted above by assistant defense secretary for homeland defense Paul McHale, prior to 9/11 a proposal of this sort "would have been extraordinary to the point of unbelievable." Perhaps it still should be. Perhaps there ought to be a great deal more outcry, a great deal more scrutiny, and great deal more debate — before these "extraordinary" measures of tyranny are allowed to become ordinary, business-as-usual features of our political landscape.
Pentagon to Detail Troops to Bolster Domestic Security
By Spencer S. Hsu and Ann Scott Tyson
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, December 1, 2008; A01
The U.S. military expects to have 20,000 uniformed troops inside the United States by 2011 trained to help state and local officials respond to a nuclear terrorist attack or other domestic catastrophe, according to Pentagon officials.
The long-planned shift in the Defense Department's role in homeland security was recently backed with funding and troop commitments after years of prodding by Congress and outside experts, defense analysts said.
There are critics of the change, in the military and among civil liberties groups and libertarians who express concern that the new homeland emphasis threatens to strain the military and possibly undermine the Posse Comitatus Act, a 130-year-old federal law restricting the military's role in domestic law enforcement.
But the Bush administration and some in Congress have pushed for a heightened homeland military role since the middle of this decade, saying the greatest domestic threat is terrorists exploiting the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
Before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, dedicating 20,000 troops to domestic response -- a nearly sevenfold increase in five years -- "would have been extraordinary to the point of unbelievable," Paul McHale, assistant defense secretary for homeland defense, said in remarks last month at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. But the realization that civilian authorities may be overwhelmed in a catastrophe prompted "a fundamental change in military culture," he said.
The Pentagon's plan calls for three rapid-reaction forces to be ready for emergency response by September 2011. The first 4,700-person unit, built around an active-duty combat brigade based at Fort Stewart, Ga., was available as of Oct. 1, said Gen. Victor E. Renuart Jr., commander of the U.S. Northern Command.
If funding continues, two additional teams will join nearly 80 smaller National Guard and reserve units made up of about 6,000 troops in supporting local and state officials nationwide. All would be trained to respond to a domestic chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or high-yield explosive attack, or CBRNE event, as the military calls it.
Military preparations for a domestic weapon-of-mass-destruction attack have been underway since at least 1996, when the Marine Corps activated a 350-member chemical and biological incident response force and later based it in Indian Head, Md., a Washington suburb. Such efforts accelerated after the Sept. 11 attacks, and at the time Iraq was invaded in 2003, a Pentagon joint task force drew on 3,000 civil support personnel across the United States.
In 2005, a new Pentagon homeland defense strategy emphasized "preparing for multiple, simultaneous mass casualty incidents." National security threats were not limited to adversaries who seek to grind down U.S. combat forces abroad, McHale said, but also include those who "want to inflict such brutality on our society that we give up the fight," such as by detonating a nuclear bomb in a U.S. city.
In late 2007, Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England signed a directive approving more than $556 million over five years to set up the three response teams, known as CBRNE Consequence Management Response Forces. Planners assume an incident could lead to thousands of casualties, more than 1 million evacuees and contamination of as many as 3,000 square miles, about the scope of damage Hurricane Katrina caused in 2005.
Last month, McHale said, authorities agreed to begin a $1.8 million pilot project funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency through which civilian authorities in five states could tap military planners to develop disaster response plans. Hawaii, Massachusetts, South Carolina, Washington and West Virginia will each focus on a particular threat -- pandemic flu, a terrorist attack, hurricane, earthquake and catastrophic chemical release, respectively -- speeding up federal and state emergency planning begun in 2003.
Last Monday, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates ordered defense officials to review whether the military, Guard and reserves can respond adequately to domestic disasters.
Gates gave commanders 25 days to propose changes and cost estimates. He cited the work of a congressionally chartered commission, which concluded in January that the Guard and reserve forces are not ready and that they lack equipment and training.
Bert B. Tussing, director of homeland defense and security issues at the U.S. Army War College's Center for Strategic Leadership, said the new Pentagon approach "breaks the mold" by assigning an active-duty combat brigade to the Northern Command for the first time. Until now, the military required the command to rely on troops requested from other sources.
"This is a genuine recognition that this [job] isn't something that you want to have a pickup team responsible for," said Tussing, who has assessed the military's homeland security strategies.
The American Civil Liberties Union and the libertarian Cato Institute are troubled by what they consider an expansion of executive authority.
Domestic emergency deployment may be "just the first example of a series of expansions in presidential and military authority," or even an increase in domestic surveillance, said Anna Christensen of the ACLU's National Security Project. And Cato Vice President Gene Healy warned of "a creeping militarization" of homeland security.
"There's a notion that whenever there's an important problem, that the thing to do is to call in the boys in green," Healy said, "and that's at odds with our long-standing tradition of being wary of the use of standing armies to keep the peace."
McHale stressed that the response units will be subject to the act, that only 8 percent of their personnel will be responsible for security and that their duties will be to protect the force, not other law enforcement. For decades, the military has assigned larger units to respond to civil disturbances, such as during the Los Angeles riot in 1992.
U.S. forces are already under heavy strain, however. The first reaction force is built around the Army's 3rd Infantry Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team, which returned in April after 15 months in Iraq. The team includes operations, aviation and medical task forces that are to be ready to deploy at home or overseas within 48 hours, with units specializing in chemical decontamination, bomb disposal, emergency care and logistics.
The one-year domestic mission, however, does not replace the brigade's next scheduled combat deployment in 2010. The brigade may get additional time in the United States to rest and regroup, compared with other combat units, but it may also face more training and operational requirements depending on its homeland security assignments.
Renuart said the Pentagon is accounting for the strain of fighting two wars, and the need for troops to spend time with their families. "We want to make sure the parameters are right for Iraq and Afghanistan," he said. The 1st Brigade's soldiers "will have some very aggressive training, but will also be home for much of that."
Although some Pentagon leaders initially expected to build the next two response units around combat teams, they are likely to be drawn mainly from reserves and the National Guard, such as the 218th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade from South Carolina, which returned in May after more than a year in Afghanistan.
Now that Pentagon strategy gives new priority to homeland security and calls for heavier reliance on the Guard and reserves, McHale said, Washington has to figure out how to pay for it.
"It's one thing to decide upon a course of action, and it's something else to make it happen," he said. "It's time to put our money where our mouth is."
I don't know about the 800 'concentration camps' though. Three of the ones listed for Nevada are active prisons one is a naval air station (top gun). I suppose these facilities could be used to contain large groups of people but they aren't the facilities just waiting for facism as described.
Is having 20K troops prepared and available for disaster/social crisis situations a bad idea?
They are going to be hired to control crowds of mad shoppers at Walmarts and elsewhere when the next fad of F*&^ing toy comes out for their little bass turds! Mommy, Kill somebody for my new toy or I'll cry!!!!!!! They killed for a TV!!!!! Kill for MEEEEEE!!!!!!!
Hmmm, the dislike of this policy is something, I bet, the right and left wing can agree on. Only naive moderates totally trust any government. Can the NRA and the ACLU reach a detante and work in concert over this policy? Nah, this is America.
I believe the reason or the "pretext"-depending upon your point of view- is the anticipated nuclear or biological attack by the year 2013 or much sooner.
Biden was briefed a terrorist attack is a CERTAINTY before the year 2013.....when an if it comes, let's hope it is a BLUE state.....Bush kept us safe for 7 years....I doubt the LIBERALS will keep us safe!......
The Elected Administration will be tested, lets all hope they get a passing grade on execution and application of tactics when it happens ... I hope the people who get bit the hardest and bleed the most are the ones who voted for Obama ... WPT ... (YAC) ...