Hi again, ATS. I created a thread a while back about legal exemptions to the Posse Comitatus Act based off the information in a book I wrote (and due
to the T&C here, cannot mention). The Department of Defense just released a new publication called Defense Support of Civil Authorities which you can
read in full should you choose: www.dtic.mil...
A couple of highlights to note:
One, as the publication points out, is that "There are several forms of direct assistance to civilian law enforcement by military personnel that are
permitted under the Military Purpose Doctrine. 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]." According to the DoD, this can
include: investigations into the Uniform Code of Military Justice, enforcement actions on a military installation, and measures to protect classified
military information or equipment.
Two, the DoD has created a new disaster form called a "complex catastrophe." This is defined thusly: "Any natural or man-made incident, including
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."
Third - and where things can start to get fuzzy - the publication states: "In response to an RFA [Request For Assistance] from a civil authority,
under imminently serious conditions and if time does not permit approval from higher authority, DOD officials may provide an immediate response by
temporarily employing the resources under their control, subject to any supplemental direction provided by higher headquarters, to save lives, prevent
human suffering, or mitigate great property damage within the US. Immediate response authority is not an exception to the PCA [Posse Comitatus Act],
nor does it permit actions that would subject civilians to the use of military power that is regulatory, prescriptive, proscriptive, or
"In extraordinary emergency circumstances, where authorization by the President is impossible and duly constituted local authorities are unable to
control the situation, involved federal military commanders are granted 'emergency authority
.' Emergency authority enables the involved
military commander to engage in temporary actions to quell large-scale, unexpected civil disturbances to prevent significant loss of life or wanton
destruction of property and to restore government al function and public order. When duly constituted federal, state, territorial, or local
authorities are unable or decline to provide adequate protection for federal property or federal governmental functions, federal action, including the
use of federal military forces, is authorized when necessary to protect the federal property or functions. Responsible DOD officials and commanders
will use all available means to seek presidential authorization through the chain of command while applying their emergency authority."
Fourth, under the heading SUPPORTING CIVILIAN LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES, it reads: "When requested, federal forces may provide support to federal,
state, territory, tribal and local law enforcement organizations reacting to civil disturbances, conducting border security and counterdrug (CD)
missions, preparing for antiterrorism operations, and participating in other related law enforcement activities. The requested support must be
consistent with the limits Congress placed on military support to law enforcement through PCA [Posse Comitatus Act] and other laws."
And finally - though it may not give some of you any comfort - the DoD does acknowledge: "no DOD personnel in a Title 10, USC, status [this includes
the Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force] will become involved in direct civilian law enforcement activities, including, but not limited to, search,
seizure, arrest, apprehension, stop and frisk, surveillance, pursuit, interrogation, investigation, evidence collection, security functions, traffic
or crowd control,or similar activities, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the President, Constitution, or act of
I still personally believe our military is our last, best option in preventing the federal government and the powers that seem to control them from
taking this country even further from the Constitution than it already has gone. I just hope when orders are given that violate laws like Posse
Comitatus, those military personnel who honor the vows they took will hold firm and disobey. It may be one of our last hopes.