Wednesday, October 08, 2008
On October 1st, the 1st Brigade Combat Team of the U.S. Army's 3rd Infantry Division began training in NorthCom, a domestic federal defense command that encourages the support of "civil authorities." Troops will actively serve as an on-call response team, thereby breaking restraints that have been in place for over 100 years.
Army Times reports that soldiers "may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control or to deal with potentially horrific scenarios," and test out the Army's first nonlethal weapons package designed to "subdue unruly or dangerous individuals without killing them." The assignment is expected to become permanent within a year.
The federal government's ability to exercise military force within the United States has been largely prohibited by both the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 and the Insurrection Act of 1807, the latter having since been amended to authorize the depletion of troops during a "natural disaster, epidemic, orther serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident, or other condition." Additionally, the Defense Authorization Act of 2006 has amended the President's ability to declare martial law, allowing him or her to take control of the National Guard without any state authorization.
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