Military Purpose Doctrine

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The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 generally prohibits military forces from performing ordinary civilian law enforcement functions such as arrest, surveillance, interdiction, search and seizure. This long standing rule was changed by the Obama Administration in early 2013 and those changes are reflected in new Military Purpose Doctrine that is worth noting.  The Military Purpose Doctrine provides that, “law enforcement actions that are performed primarily for a military purpose, even when incidentally assisting civil authorities, will not violate the PCA [Posse Comitatus Act].”

“Defense Support of Civil Authorities,” Joint Publication 3-28, July 31, 2013:

The publication introduces a new addition to the DoD lexicon: “complex catastrophe.” A complex catastrophe is anything that the federal government feels it to be. If you ever had a college accounting class, I’m sure you counted widgets with the rest of the students. A widget could be anything. A complex catastrophe is a widget.
A complex catastrophe (which may “magnify requirements for defense support of civil authorities”) is defined as: “Any natural or man-made incidentincluding cyberspace attack, power grid failure, and terrorism, which results in cascading failures of multiple, interdependent, critical, life-sustaining infrastructure sectors and causes extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage or disruption severely affecting the population, environment, economy, public health, national morale, response efforts, and/or government functions.”
The big question is one of “what does this mean to me“? It means that the US military can now legally be employed on the streets of your town to combat anything that the USGOV feels is a ‘complex catastrophe’. Between 1878 and 2013, it couldn’t. In those intervening years, the various state national guard organizations handled ‘complex catastrophes’, managed by the respective US States. Today, its the Army and Marines.

Where once it was management from your state capitol, it is now management from the nation’s capitol.

I have discussed this earlier on this blog in 2013 and (taking the tinfoil hat off for a moment) while it may be completely harmless, it is still a fundamental change in philosophy.

(replacing the tinfoil hat) Recent revelations about IRS and EPA targeting groups who were politically opposed to the President, domestic intelligence collection that would seem to violate the 4th Amendment are disturbing The amount (Senate filibuster) of effort it took for Congress to force the Attorney General to issue a statement that the USGOV had no present plans to undertake extrajudicial killings of US Citizens by drone aircraft, etc. gives one pause as to the intentions of the new law. — the NEW NORMAL.

13 thoughts on “Military Purpose Doctrine

  1. And what is maddening, is that even with the Herculean steps it takes to get them to just say that they have no plans to kill US citizens with drones… all that can change with the stroke of a pen when they simply decide that the law doesn't apply due to current circumstances.

  2. And just what good is such power to have if one doesn't actually use it . . . .? One more "little change" that is taking us all towards a very bad place . . .

  3. What was wrong with using the National Guard?

    I keep asking that question and nobody has an answer — because it's not about using the state militaries to deal with crisis situations. They do just fine. It's about setting up a legal scenario to justify using the military on US Soil against US Citizens. I can't see any other possible justification for the change in the law.

  4. You nailed it – what the HELL is the National Guard for? President Rand Paul will deal with this!

    [Not to mention the recently very successful FBI HRT…but that's completely different]

  5. The National Guard (often referred to as 'citizen soldiers') is not politically reliable. And that is the core of this decision. They are unlikely to take direction from the White House if it goes against their neighbors.

    Why else this change in the law?

  6. Benjamin Franklin — "He who would trade liberty for some temporary security, deserves neither liberty nor security."

  7. Another step toward the totalitarian state, with the now ironically named Democratic Party at it's head.

  8. It depends on who is in the White House. That's not how the country was set up, but it's what the likes of Obama and Clinton dream of.

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