New Department of Defense Rule Allows Military to Override Local Authorities

A recent rule change by the Department of Defense has given commanders of the military the authority to send the military in to intervene in “civil disturbances”

By Derrick Broze

The Long Island Press reported  on the rule change:

“By making a few subtle changes to a regulation in the U.S. Code titled “Defense Support of Civilian Law Enforcement Agencies”   the military has quietly granted itself the ability to police the streets without obtaining prior local or state consent, upending a precedent that has been in place for more than two centuries.

The most objectionable aspect of the regulatory change is the inclusion of vague language that permits military intervention in the event of “civil disturbances.” According to the rule:

Federal military commanders have the authority, in extraordinary emergency circumstances where prior authorization by the President is impossible and duly constituted local authorities are unable to control the situation, to engage temporarily in activities that are necessary to quell large-scale, unexpected civil disturbances.

Under this unilateral change a serving “Federal Military Commander” would judge what exactly constitutes a “civil disturbance”. Several other phrases in the text are just as vague. Under what could be considered an emergency we find the following:

“wanton destruction of property,” “adequate protection for Federal property,” “domestic violence,” or “conspiracy that hinders the execution of State or Federal law”

Determining what exactly is “wanton destruction”, or what exactly “hinders the execution of State or Federal law” is a rather tricky situation. One that is now left up to Military Commanders rather than the President. The language also fails to specify what would be so extreme that the President’s authorization would be “impossible”.

Although this rule change is noteworthy, it is hardly the first time the United States government has violated the Posse Comitatus Act by authorizing the use of military force in local matters.

Under the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 was passed in response to federal troops interfering with local laws and elections after the Civil War. The act was the first to make unauthorized deployment of troops a crime, following the Insurrection Act of 1807, which outlined the circumstances that allow the president to use military force within the country.

As we have seen in recent years and months, Posse Comitatus is all but dead. The militarization of local police forces using Federal funds is on the rise. As the police are given unmanned aerial vehicle technology (drones), tanks, and an unlimited array of toys, it is becoming more difficult to distinguish between the police and the military.

In the past month America has watched as two American cities were forced under “lockdown” and door to door searches were implemented to pursue criminals. While reporting live in Watertown, Massachusetts during the Boston Bombings  I personally witnessed Blackhawk helicopters, snipers, military vehicles and busloads of soldiers ferried into the Boston area. More recently, New Orleans citizens were forced into their homes as the police initiated door to door searches in search of  “gang members” responsible for a shooting.

As the rule change quietly passes under the mainstream medias radar, many are left wondering what the rationale is for such a rule change.

Theories abound on why the Department of Homeland Security and several other federal agencies have been making ammunition purchases numbering in the thousands. Silence from the federal government has sparked a number of theories on the topic. So much noise has been made about the purchases that the Government Accountability Office has said they will launch an investigation . Is it possible the ammo purchases and the recent rule change are related?

Another recent incident that came to mind upon hearing of this rule reversal is Adam Kokesh’s Open Carry Armed March on Washington D.C. on July 4, 2013.

Kokesh has received equal amounts of praise and hate from his fans, and the media. Whatever you may believe about the tactics or purpose of his march, it is not that difficult to imagine a situation where the federal government would authorize the use of Military at or before this event. Does an armed march of thousands of aware, discontent individuals into the heart of D.C. count as a “civil disturbance”? Only time will tell.

While the federal government continues to expand it’s ability to suppress insurrection, and “civil disturbances”, many Americans are beginning to question the reasoning behind such maneuvers. We have witnessed a sitting President fight for the authority to detain American citizens, the Department of Justice spy on AP journalists emails  the IRS harass groups that support the constitution , and further erosion of  liberties.

At what point do the people begin to look around and recognize the government, and the idea of a State, as antithetical to freedom and happiness?

Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

(Photo: Getty Images)