Saturday, September 27, 2008

Posse Comitatus?

Several bloggers today have pointed to this obviously disturbing article from Army Times, which announces that "beginning Oct. 1 for 12 months, the [1st Brigade Combat Team of the 3rd Infantry Division] will be under the day-to-day control of U.S. Army North" -- "the first time an active unit has been given a dedicated assignment to NorthCom, a joint command established in 2002 to provide command and control for federal homeland defense efforts and coordinate defense support of civil authorities." The article details:

They'll learn new skills, use some of the ones they acquired in the war zone and more than likely will not be shot at while doing any of it.

They may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control or to deal with potentially horrific scenarios such as massive poisoning and chaos in response to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive, or CBRNE, attack. . . .

The 1st BCT's soldiers also will learn how to use "the first ever nonlethal package that the Army has fielded," 1st BCT commander Col. Roger Cloutier said, referring to crowd and traffic control equipment and nonlethal weapons designed to subdue unruly or dangerous individuals without killing them.

"It's a new modular package of nonlethal capabilities that they're fielding. They've been using pieces of it in Iraq, but this is the first time that these modules were consolidated and this package fielded, and because of this mission we're undertaking we were the first to get it."

This is apparently intended as a permament deployment. Isn't this prohibited by the Posse Comitatus act? Deploying military troops on American soil except as an ad-hoc response to a crisis, is prohibited, and I am curious about this deployment and the reason behind id. With the unprecedented grab for executive power by this administration, this is actually worrying.
There are other avenues for this sort of force, and it's not from the military.

And - this is on the "dwell time" for units , that time when they are supposed to be stationed at a post between deployments overseas. I wonder how the military is viewing this, and more importantly, I wonder why we're not hearing a whole lot about it.

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