For the last two years, the Department of Defense has been increasing its purchase of weapons suitable for use inside the borders of the United States.
The Army is buying such items as helicopters, artillery (!!), armored vehicles. It is part of a section of the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the purposes of “homeland defense missions, domestic emergency responses, and providing military support to civil authorities.” Officially, this is for use by by “the active and reserve components of the Armed Forces for homeland defense missions, domestic emergency responses, and providing military support to civil authorities.” This is authorized under section 1815.
Section 1815 of the FY2008 NDAA requires that every five years the Secretary of Defense work with the Secretary of Homeland Security to determine “military-unique capabilities needed to be provided by the Department of Defense to support civil authorities in an incident of national significance or a catastrophic incident.” The section defines “military-unique capabilities” as those that “cannot be provided by other Federal, State, or local civilian agencies” and are “essential to provide support to civil authorities in an incident of national significance or a catastrophic incident.”
Section 1815 of the FY2008 NDAA was put together by something called the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves (CNGR). It is a 13-member independent commission created by Congress in 2004.
In their final report published in 2008, the CNGR describes section 1815 as a way of prioritizing domestic support missions within the military, allowing DoD to explicitly budget for resources needed in providing military support to civil authorities. The final report of the CNGR describes the Department of Homeland Security as “the federal agency with the most comprehensive national perspective on the response capabilities present in federal, state, and local government” placing it in the “best position to generate civil support requirements.” The CNGR report also recommends that DoD, the National Guard and DHS work to “exchange representatives” and personnel in advisory positions to increase common knowledge and training related to civil support missions.
So, the Department of Homeland Security is involved. This is to be expected.
Central to all this is equipment that has two uses: domestic and international. This is CDU: critical dual use.
Nearly a year after it was passed, the House Armed Services Committee reiterated its “strong support” for section 1815 of the 2008 NDAA and “urged” the DoD to comply with its planning requirements. . . .
Army Chief of Staff Ray Odierno wrote in a recent article in Foreign Affairs that the increasing use of the military in domestic situations will be part of a necessary evolution as it transitions to “responding in force to a range of complex contingencies” both inside the U.S. and abroad. Odierno states that the “need for U.S. armed forces, and the army in particular, to provide planning, logistical, command-and-control, and equipment support to civil authorities in the event of natural disasters continues to be demonstrated regularly and is unlikely to diminish.” The Army will “contribute to broader national efforts to counter those challenges at home, if needed” including using “active-duty forces, especially those with niche skills and equipment, to provide civilian officials with a robust set of reliable and rapid response options.”
Foreign Affairs is the publication of the Council on Foreign Relations. It is highly influential.
We are seeing the extension of military affairs, under the authority of the Commander-in-Chief, into domestic law-keeping.