November 25, 2008
Defense Secretary Robert Gates has ordered the Pentagon to conduct a “broad review” to determine if the military and the National Guard and Reserve can “adequately deal with domestic disasters,” including “a catastrophic attack on the country,” according to the Associated Press. Gates’ order falls on the heels of an earlier report released by the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves urging the Pentagon to “use the nation’s citizen soldiers to create an operational force that would be fully trained, equipped and ready to defend the nation.”
|Gates plan for a review of the National Guard’s role is especially troublesome in the wake of the Pentagon’s announcement in September that the 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team would be deployed domestically by Northcom beginning October 1.|
Gates and the Pentagon are obviously in the process of implementing the John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007. The act changed federal law so that the Governor of a state is no longer the sole commander in chief of their state’s National Guard during emergencies within the state, a direct violation of Article I, Section 10 and Clause 3 of the Constitution. As original envisioned by the founders, who rightfully feared standing armies, active and reserve military organizations were to be limited in size and scope and complemented by citizen-soldiers. The the John Warner Defense Authorization Act has finally put to rest the idea that these citizen-soldiers will not be federalized.
It can be argued that the Warner bill is simply a culmination of earlier piecemeal violations, including the Militia Act of 1792, the Insurrection Act of 1807, and in particular the Militia Act of 1903, the latter allowing for the creation of the National Guard of the United States as the primary organized reserve force for the U.S. armed forces. Gates is simply announcing a fiat accompli – the merging of the Department of Defense and the National Guard into one cohesive force that will be deployed domestically in violation of the Posse Comitatus Act which substantially limited the powers of the federal government to use the military for law enforcement. In the past, maintaining order during domestic disasters was the responsibility of local and state law enforcement, although the National Guard was on occasion called in cases of civil unrest.
Gates plan for a review of the National Guard’s role is especially troublesome in the wake of the Pentagon’s announcement in September that the 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team would be deployed domestically by Northcom beginning October 1.
“Beginning Oct. 1 for 12 months, the 1st BCT will be under the day-to-day control of U.S. Army North, the Army service component of Northern Command, as an on-call federal response force for natural or manmade emergencies and disasters, including terrorist attacks,” the Army Times reported on September 30. The battle-hardened brigade, straight out combat duty in Iraq, will engage in “specialty tasks” usually reserved for local law enforcement. In addition, the brigade will use “the first ever nonlethal package that the Army has fielded… designed to subdue unruly or dangerous individuals without killing them,” an especially chilling prospect in light of growing predictions of civil unrest as the economy worsens.
If the Pentagon plan is realized, the National Guard will receive training for “homeland defense and civil support missions, as opposed to the warfighting now consuming them.” The Associated Press admits Gates’ effort is designed to “integrate reservists into the modern day military and consider treating them on a more equal basis to the active duty troops.”
Arnold L. Punaro, former chairman of the commission, welcomed Gates’ recommendations and declared that improving the military’s role in homeland defense and enhancing the clout of the reserves “represent a historic break with the past.” It also represents a “historic break ” with the Constitution of the United States.
Gates and the Pentagon realize the United States does not face a serious external terrorist threat. Instead, it faces in the not too distant future a reaction on the part of the citizenry to the banker engineered deconstruction of the economy and the social and political chaos that will undoubtedly follow. The National Guard, along with the 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team and other military troops, will use the “nonlethal package… designed to subdue unruly or dangerous individuals” mentioned by the Army Times.
Gates’ “operational force that would be fully trained, equipped and ready to defend the nation” has nothing to do with Osama bin Laden and his cave-dwelling terrorists — or another Hurricane Katrina for that matter — but it has everything to do with preventing the people from rising up and taking back their country.