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Posse Comitatus Act
is about the Posse Comitatus Act in the United States. For other uses of posse comitatus, see Posse comitatus. The Posse Comitatus Act is a United States

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This article is about the Posse Comitatus Act in the United States. For other uses of posse comitatus, see Posse comitatus. Posse Comitatus Act Other short titles Knott Amendment Enacted by the 45th United States Congress Effective June 18, 1878 Citations Statutes at Large 20 Stat. 152 Codification U.S.C. sections created 18 U.S.C. § 1385 Legislative history
  • Passed the House on May 18, 1878 (130–117)
  • Passed the Senate on June 7, 1878 (29–21) with amendment
  • House agreed to Senate amendment on June 15, 1878 ()
  • Signed into law by President Rutherford B. Hayes on June 18, 1878
Major amendments 1956, 1981

The Posse Comitatus Act is a United States federal law (18 U.S.C. § 1385, original at 20 Stat. 152) signed on June 18, 1878 by President Rutherford B. Hayes. The purpose of the act – in concert with the Insurrection Act of 1807 – is to limit the powers of the federal government in using federal military personnel to enforce domestic policies within the United States. It was passed as an amendment to an army appropriation bill following the end of Reconstruction, and was subsequently updated in 1956 and 1981.

The Act only specifically applies to the United States Army and, as amended in 1956, the United States Air Force. While the Act does not explicitly mention the United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps, the Department of the Navy has prescribed regulations that are generally construed to give the Act force with respect to those services as well. The Act does not apply to the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard under state authority from acting in a law enforcement capacity within its home state or in an adjacent state if invited by that state's governor. The United States Coast Guard, which operates under the Department of Homeland Security, is not covered by the Posse Comitatus Act either, primarily because although the Coast Guard is an armed service, it also has both a maritime law enforcement mission and a federal regulatory agency mission.

The title of the act comes from the legal concept of Posse comitatus, the authority under which a county sheriff, or other law officer, conscripts any able-bodied man to assist him in keeping the peace.

Contents
  • 1 History
  • 2 Legislation
    • 2.1 Recent legislative events
  • 3 Exclusions and limitations
    • 3.1 Exclusion applicable to U.S. Coast Guard
    • 3.2 Advisory and support roles
  • 4 See also
  • 5 References
  • 6 Further reading
  • 7 External links

History

The Act, 15 of the appropriations bill for the Army for 1879, found at 20 Stat. 152, was a response to, and subsequent prohibition of, the military occupation of the former Confederate States by the United States Army during the ten years of Reconstruction (1867–1877) following the American Civil War (1861–1865). The president withdrew federal troops from the Southern States as a result of a compromise in one of the most disputed national elections in American history, the 1876 U.S. presidential election. Samuel J. Tilden of New York, the Democratic candidate, defeated Republican candidate Rutherford B. Hayes of Ohio in the popular vote. Tilden garnered 184 electoral votes to Hayes' 165; 20 disputed electoral votes remained uncounted. After a bitter fight, Congress struck a deal resolving the dispute and awarded the presidency to Hayes.

In return for Southern acquiescence regarding Hayes, Republicans agreed to support the withdrawal of federal troops from the former Confederate states, formally ending Reconstruction. Known as the Compromise of 1877, South Carolina, Florida and Louisiana agreed to certify Rutherford B. Hayes as the President in exchange for the removal of Federal troops from the South.

The U.S. Constitution places primary responsibility for the holding of elections in the hands of the individual states. The maintenance of peace, conduct of orderly elections, and prosecution of unlawful actions are all state responsibilities, pursuant of any state's role of exercising police power and maintaining law and order, whether part of a wider federation or a unitary state. During the local, state, and federal elections of 1874 and 1876 in the former Confederate states, all levels of government chose not to exercise their police powers to maintain law and order. Some historians have concluded most Reconstruction governments did not have the power to suppress the violence.

The violence and fraud related to elections had been increasing since 1868, with disruption of Republican meetings, killing and intimidation of many blacks, and a suppression of the black vote by paramilitary groups such as the Red Shirts in Mississippi and the Carolinas, and the White League in Louisiana, in addition to armed white men of what were called rifle clubs. The scale of these is suggested by the fact that in North Carolina, 20,000 white men belonged to rifle clubs, and many others to the Red Shirts. These groups have been described as the "military arm of the Democratic Party" at that time in the South. White Democrats regained control of all Southern state legislatures by 1876. They also elected Democratic U.S. congressmen from the South; together, these politicians halted and reversed political reforms related to the inclusion of freedmen in the political system in the American South, and worked to restore white supremacy.

When the U.S. Representatives and Senators from the former Confederate states reached Washington, they set as a priority legislation to prohibit any future President or Congress from directing, by military order or federal legislation, the imposition of federal troops in any U.S. state. By the 1878 election, Congress was dominated by the Democratic Party, and they passed the Posse Comitatus Act in 1878.

In the mid-20th century, the administration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower used an exception to the Posse Comitatus Act, derived from the Enforcement Acts, to send federal troops into Little Rock, Arkansas, during the 1957 school desegregation crisis. The Arkansas governor had opposed desegregation after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1954 in the Brown v. Board of Education that segregated public schools were unconstitutional. The Enforcement Acts, among other powers, allow the President to call up military forces when state authorities are either unable or unwilling to suppress violence that is in opposition to the constitutional rights of the people.

The original Posse Comitatus Act referred essentially to the United States Army. The United States Air Force was added in 1956. This law is often relied upon to prevent the Department of Defense from interfering in domestic law enforcement. The United States Coast Guard is not included in the Act even though it is one of the five armed services because it is not a part of the Department of Defense. At the time the Act became law, the Coast Guard was part of the United States Department of the Treasury, and was thus exempt.

Legislation

The original provision was enacted as Section 15 of chapter 263, of the Acts of the 2nd session of the 45th Congress.

Sec. 15. From and after the passage of this act it shall not be lawful to employ any part of the Army of the United States, as a posse comitatus, or otherwise, for the purpose of executing the laws, except in such cases and under such circumstances as such employment of said force may be expressly authorized by the Constitution or by act of Congress ; and no money appropriated by this act shall be used to pay any of the expenses incurred in the employment of any troops in violation of this section and any person willfully violating the provisions of this section shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction thereof shall be punished by fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars or imprisonment not exceeding two years or by both such fine and imprisonment

The text of the relevant legislation is as follows:

18 U.S.C. § 1385. Use of Army and Air Force as posse comitatus
Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army or the Air Force as a posse comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.

Also notable is the following provision within Title 10 of the United States Code (which concerns generally the organization and regulation of the armed forces and Department of Defense):

10 U.S.C. § 375. Restriction on direct participation by military personnel
The Secretary of Defense shall prescribe such regulations as may be necessary to ensure that any activity (including the provision of any equipment or facility or the assignment or detail of any personnel) under this chapter does not include or permit direct participation by a member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps in a search, seizure, arrest, or other similar activity unless participation in such activity by such member is otherwise authorized by law.
Recent legislative events

In 2006, Congress modified the Insurrection Act as part of the 2007 Defense Authorization Bill (repealed as of 2008). On September 26, 2006, President George W. Bush urged Congress to consider revising federal laws so that U.S. armed forces could restore public order and enforce laws in the aftermath of a natural disaster, terrorist attack or incident, or other condition. These changes were included in the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007 (H.R. 5122), which was signed into law on October 17, 2006.

Section 1076 is titled "Use of the Armed Forces in major public emergencies." It provided that:

The President may employ the armed forces... to... restore public order and enforce the laws of the United States when, as a result of a natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident, or other condition... the President determines that... domestic violence has occurred to such an extent that the constituted authorities of the State or possession are incapable of maintaining public order... or suppress, in a State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy if such... a condition... so hinders the execution of the laws... that any part or class of its people is deprived of a right, privilege, immunity, or protection named in the Constitution and secured by law... or opposes or obstructs the execution of the laws of the United States or impedes the course of justice under those laws.

In 2008, these changes in the Insurrection Act of 1807 were repealed in their entirety, reverting to the previous wording of the Insurrection Act. It was originally written to limit Presidential power as much as possible in the event of insurrection, rebellion, or lawlessness.

In 2011, President Barack Obama signed National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 into law. Section 1021(b)(2) extended the definition of a "covered person", i.e., someone possibly subject to detention under this law, to include:

A person who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces.

Section 1021(e) purports to limit the scope of said authority with the text, "Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States."

Exclusions and limitations

There are a number of situations in which the Act does not apply. These include:

  • Army and Air National Guard units and state defense forces while under the authority of the governor of a state;
  • Federal military personnel used in accordance to the Insurrection Act, as was the case during the 1992 Los Angeles riots.
  • Under 18 U.S.C. § 831, the Attorney General may request that the Secretary of Defense provide emergency assistance if domestic law enforcement is inadequate to address certain types of threats involving the release of nuclear materials, such as potential use of a nuclear or radiological weapon. Such assistance may be by any personnel under the authority of the Department of Defense, provided such assistance does not adversely affect U.S. military preparedness. The only exemption is nuclear materials.
  • Support roles under the Joint Special Operations Command
Exclusion applicable to U.S. Coast Guard
See the Law Enforcement Detachments and Missions of the United States Coast Guard for more information on U.S. Coast Guard law enforcement activities.

Although it is an armed service, the U.S. Coast Guard, which operates under the Department of Homeland Security, is not restricted by the Posse Comitatus Act. The Coast Guard enforces federal laws within its jurisdiction, even when operating as a service within the U.S. Navy.

In December 1981, additional laws were enacted clarifying permissible military assistance to domestic law enforcement agencies and the Coast Guard, especially in combating drug smuggling into the United States. Posse Comitatus clarifications emphasize supportive and technical assistance (e.g., use of facilities, vessels, and aircraft, as well as intelligence support, technological aid, and surveillance) while generally prohibiting direct participation of Department of Defense personnel in law enforcement (e.g., search, seizure, and arrests). For example, a U.S. Navy vessel may be used to track, follow, and stop a vessel suspected of drug smuggling, but Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachments (LEDETs) embarked aboard the Navy vessel would perform the actual boarding and, if needed, arrest the suspect vessel's crew.

Advisory and support roles

Federal military personnel have a long history of domestic roles, including the occupation of secessionist Southern states during Reconstruction. The Posse Comitatus Act prohibits the use of federal military personnel to "execute the laws"; however, there is disagreement over whether this language may apply to troops used in an advisory, support, disaster response, or other homeland defense role, as opposed to domestic law enforcement.

On March 10, 2009, members of the U.S. Army Military Police Corps from Fort Rucker were deployed to Samson, Alabama, in response to a murder spree. Samson officials confirmed that the soldiers assisted in traffic control and securing the crime scene. The governor of Alabama did not request military assistance nor did President Obama authorize their deployment. Subsequent investigation found that the Posse Comitatus Act was violated and several military members received "administrative actions".

See also
  • Martial law
  • List of military actions by or within the United States
  • United States Northern Command
  • Military Cooperation with Civilian Law Enforcement Agencies Act
  • Operation Garden Plot
  • National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive
  • Militarization of police
References
  1. ^ a b c d "The Posse Comitatus Act: Setting the recordstraight on 124 years of mischief and misunderstanding before any more damage is done," Military Law Review, Vol. 175, 2003.
  2. ^ George C. Rable, But There Was No Peace: The Role of Violence in the Politics of Reconstruction, Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1984, p. 132
  3. ^ Lieberman, Jethro (1999). A Practical Companion to the Constitution: How the Supreme Court Has Ruled on Issues from Abortion to Zoning. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-21280-0. 
  4. ^ Mazzetti, Mark and Johnston, David. "Bush Weighed Using Military in Arrests", New York Times, 22 June 2009
  5. ^ a b c http://www.uscg.mil/History/articles/LEDET_History.asp Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachments (LEDETs): A History
  6. ^ Text at Wikisource
  7. ^ John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007
  8. ^ H.R. 5122, pp. 322-323
  9. ^ "H.R. 4986: National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008". GovTrack.us. 2008. Retrieved January 24, 2008. 
  10. ^ GPO text of Public Law 112-81 (PDF)
  11. ^ "Text of Public Law 112-81" (PDF), GPO
  12. ^ About the United States Coast Guard
  13. ^ Army reviews shows troop use in Samson killing spree violated federal law>, Birmingham News
  14. ^ Revolutionizing Northern Command, Lt. Col. Gary L. McGinniss, U.S. Army
Further reading
  • Hendell, Garri B. "Domestic Use of the Armed Forces to Maintain Law and Order: posse comitatus Pitfalls at the Inauguration of the 44th President", Publius (2011) 41(2): 336-348 doi:10.1093/publius/pjq014
  • Lindorff, David. "Could It Happen Here?". Mother Jones magazine, April 1988.
  • The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878: A Documentary History. Buffalo, N.Y. : W.S. Hein, 2003. ISBN 978-0-8377-3900-7
External links
  • 18 U.S.C. § 1385 Use of Army and Air Force as Posse Comitatus
  • The Posse Comitatus Act: A Principle in Need of Renewal, Washington University Law Quarterly Vol 75 No. 2
  • The Posse Comitatus Act and Related Matters: The Use of the Military to Execute Civilian Law Congressional Research Service
  • Should the Posse Comitatus Act be Changed to Effectively Support Local Law Enforcement? U.S. Army War College
  • Mold, Mildew, and the Military Role in Disaster Response, JURIST
  • John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007
  • Text of H.R. 5122
  • Bill Text 112th Congress (2011-2012) S.1867.ES
  • Federalist Paper #29 Concerning the Militia, Alexander Hamilton, pub. 10-January-1788
Authority control
  • WorldCat Identities
  • VIAF: 178360813
  • LCCN: n2003103970


The Posse Comitatus Act: A Harmless Relic from the Post-Construction Era or a Legal Impediment to Transformation?
The Posse Comitatus Act: A Harmless Relic from the Post-Construction Era or a Legal Impediment to Transformation?
The Secretary of Defense should seek repeal of The Posse Comitatus Act (PCA). This Act presents a formidable obstacle to our nation's flexibility and adaptability at a time when we face an unpredictable enemy with the proven capability of causing unforeseen catastrophic events. The difficulty in correctly interpreting and applying the Act causes widespread confusion at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels of our military. Given that future events may call for the use of the military to assist civil authorities, a review of the efficacy of the PCA is in order. This monograph will document the historical context of the PCA, clearly explain the parameters of the law, and provide an analysis of the PCA's value in today's security environment. An analysis of the PCA will reveal that, although the policy goals behind the Act are generally sound and desirable, Congress could better implement their intent through other means.



The Posse Comitatus Act and Related Matters: The Use of the Military to Execute Civilian Law
The Posse Comitatus Act and Related Matters: The Use of the Military to Execute Civilian Law
The Constitution permits Congress to authorize the use of the militia “to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions.” And it guarantees the states protection against invasion or usurpation of their “republican form of government,” and, upon the request of the state legislature, against “domestic violence.” These constitutional provisions are reflected in the Insurrection Acts, which have been invoked numerous times both before and after passage of the Posse Comitatus Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1385, in 1878. Congress has also enacted a number of statutes that authorize the use of the land and naval forces to execute their objective.The Posse Comitatus Act outlaws the willful use of any part of the Army or Air Force to execute the law unless expressly authorized by the Constitution or an act of Congress. History supplies the grist for an argument that the Constitution prohibits military involvement in civilian affairs subject to only limited alterations by Congress or the President, but the courts do not appear to have ever accepted the argument unless violation of more explicit constitutional command could also be shown. The express statutory exceptions include the legislation that allows the President to use military force to suppress insurrection or to enforce federal authority, 10 U.S.C. §§ 331- 335, and laws that permit the Department of Defense to provide federal, state and local police with information, equipment, and personnel, 10 U.S.C. §§ 371-382.Case law indicates that “execution of the law” in violation of the Posse Comitatus Act occurs (a) when the Armed Forces perform tasks assigned to an organ of civil government, or (b) when the Armed Forces perform tasks assigned to them solely for purposes of civilian government. Questions concerning the act’s application arise most often in the context of assistance to civilian police. At least in this context, the courts have held that, absent a recognized exception, the Posse Comitatus Act is violated when (1) civilian law enforcement officials make “direct active use” of military investigators; or (2) the use of the military “pervades the activities” of the civilian officials; or (3) the military is used so as to subject “citizens to the exercise of military power which was regulatory, prescriptive, or compulsory in nature.” The act is not violated when the Armed Forces conduct activities for a military purpose.The language of the act mentions only the Army and the Air Force, but it is applicable to the Navy and Marines by virtue of administrative action and commands of other laws. The law enforcement functions of the Coast Guard have been expressly authorized by act of Congress and consequently cannot be said to be contrary to the act. The act has been applied to the National Guard when it is in federal service, to civilian employees of the Armed Forces, and to off-duty military personnel. The act probably only applies within the geographical confines of the United States, but the supplemental provisions of 10 U.S.C. §§ 371-382 appear to apply worldwide.Finally, the act is a criminal statute under which there has been but a handful of known prosecutions. Although violations will on rare occasions result in the exclusion of evidence, the dismissal of criminal charges, or a civil cause of action, as a practical matter compliance is ordinarily the result of military self-restraint.This report provides an historical analysis of the use of the Armed Forces to execute domestic law and of the Posse Comitatus Act, including their apparent theoretical and constitutional underpinnings. The report then outlines the current application of the act as well as its statutory exceptions, and reviews the consequences of its violation. This report appears in abridged form as CRS Report RS20590, The Posse Comitatus Act and Related Matters: A Sketch.



The Posse Comitatus Act (PCA) and the United States Army: A Historical Perspective - Whiskey Rebellion, Fugitive Slave Act, Reconstruction, Grant, 1992 Los Angeles Riots, Branch Davidian Assault
The Posse Comitatus Act (PCA) and the United States Army: A Historical Perspective - Whiskey Rebellion, Fugitive Slave Act, Reconstruction, Grant, 1992 Los Angeles Riots, Branch Davidian Assault
This excellent report has been professionally converted for accurate flowing-text e-book format reproduction. Anytime the use of US Armed Forces in support of civil authorities is considered, government and military leaders, pundits, and citizens reflexively turn to the Posse Comitatus Act for guidance. Since 9/11, the US Armed Forces face an increased likelihood that they will be called on to participate in actions typically viewed as civil matters. Many have also called for an increased role for the US Armed Forces in responding to natural disasters. Though many constitutional provisions, laws, and legal rulings govern this question, in the minds of many, the Posse Comitatus Act has prominence. Most individuals think they know what the Posse Comitatus Act allows and disallows; most of them are wrong.Before 1878, the use of the US Army in support of and at times instead of civil law enforcement was rare; however, it was not considered unlawful. The Civil War and Reconstruction forced a reexamination of those precedents and the legal principles behind them. After the passage of the Posse Comitatus Act in 1878, the Armed Forces have been called on much less frequently to conduct civil law enforcement duties. When employed, their use has been controversial, and the constitutional basis for their use has been challenged in the media, in politics, and in the courts.In this monograph, Matt Matthews provides an insightful overview of the passage of the PCA during the Reconstruction era. He then reviews case studies in which the armed forces were called on to support civil authorities and examines how military leaders dealt with the provisions of the act. Finally, Mr. Matthews calls for a much-needed review of the act, now more than 125 years old. This monograph will be a useful read for military and civilian professionals alike who will likely be called on to make critical decisions regarding the use of US Armed Forces in support of civil authorities. CSI—The Past is Prologue. Chapter 1 - The Army as a Posse Comitatus from 1787 to 1865 * The Constitution * The Judiciary Act and the Calling Forth Act * The Whiskey Rebellion * From Adams to Tyler * The Army and the Fugitive Slave Act * Chapter 2 - Reconstruction and the True Origins of the Posse Comitatus Act * Presidential Reconstruction * Congressional Reconstruction * President U.S. Grant Strikes Back * The End of Reconstruction and the Passage of the Posse Comitatus Act * Chapter 3 - Posse Comitatus Act Causes Confusion * Chapter 4 - The 1992 Los Angeles Riots and the Posse Comitatus Act * Chapter 5 - The Posse Comitatus Act and the Assault on the Branch Davidian Compound * Chapter 6 - Conclusions



The Posse Comitatus Act and the United States Army: A Historical Perspective
The Posse Comitatus Act and the United States Army: A Historical Perspective
Anytime the use of US Armed Forces in support of civil authorities is considered, government and military leaders, pundits, and citizens reflexively turn to the Posse Comitatus Act for guidance. Since 9/11, the US Armed Forces face an increased likelihood that they will be called on to participate in actions typically viewed as civil matters. Many have also called for an increased role for the US Armed Forces in responding to natural disasters. Though many constitutional provisions, laws, and legal rulings govern this question, in the minds of many, the Posse Comitatus Act has prominence. Most individuals think they know what the Posse Comitatus Act allows and disallows; most of them are wrong.Before 1878, the use of the US Army in support of and at times instead of civil law enforcement was rare; however, it was not considered unlawful. The Civil War and Reconstruction forced a reexamination of those precedents and the legal principles behind them. After the passage of the Posse Comitatus Act in 1878, the Armed Forces have been called on much less frequently to conduct civil law enforcement duties. When employed, their use has been controversial, and the constitutional basis for their use has been challenged in the media, in politics, and in the courts.In this monograph, Matt Matthews provides an insightful overview of the passage of the PCA during the Reconstruction era. He then reviews case studies in which the armed forces were called on to support civil authorities and examines how military leaders dealt with the provisions of the act. Finally, Mr. Matthews calls for a much-needed review of the act, now more than 125 years old. This monograph will be a useful read for military and civilian professionals alike who will likely be called on to make critical decisions regarding the use of US Armed Forces in support of civil authorities. CSI—The Past is Prologue.Timothy R. ReeseColonel, ArmorDirector, Combat Studies Institute



The Posse Comitatus Act and the United States Army: A Historical Perspective (Global War on Terrorism Occasional Paper)
The Posse Comitatus Act and the United States Army: A Historical Perspective (Global War on Terrorism Occasional Paper)
Anytime the use of US Armed Forces in support of civil authorizes is considered, government and military leaders, pundits, and citizens reflexively turn to the Posse Comitatus Act for guidance. Since 9/11, the US Armed Forces face an increased likelihood that they will be called on to participate in actions typically viewed as civil matters. Many have also called for an increased role for the US Armed Forces in responding to natural disasters. Though many constitutional provisions, laws, and legal ruling govern this question, in the minds of many, the Posse Comitatus Act has prominence. Most individuals think they know what the Posse Comitatus Act allows and disallows; most of them are wrong. Before 1878, the use of the US Army in support of and at times instead of civil law enforcement was rare; however, it was not considered unlawful. The Civil War and Reconstruction forced a reexamination of those precedents and the legal principles behind them. After the passage of the Posse Comitatus Act in 1878, the Armed Forces have been called on much less frequently to conduct civil law enforcement duties. When employed, their use has been controversial, and the constitutional basis for their use has been challenged in the media, in politics, and in the courts. In this monograph, Matt Matthews provides an insightful overview of the passage of the PCA during the Reconstruction era. He then reviews case studies in which the armed forces were called on to support civil authorities and examines how military leaders dealt with the provisions of the act. Finally, Mr. Matthews calls for a much-needed review of the act, now more than 125 years old. This monograph will be a useful read to military and civilian professionals also who will likely be called onto make critical decisions regarding the use of US Armed Forces in support of civil authorities.~

$10.59
-$4.16(-28%)



Should the Posse Comitatus Act be Changed to Effectively Support Local Law Enforcement?
Should the Posse Comitatus Act be Changed to Effectively Support Local Law Enforcement?
The Posse Comitatus Act was created to limit the military’s role in civilian law enforcement. The original act was passed in June 1878 as part of the Army appropriation bill. The National Security Act of 1947 further directed the Secretary of Defense to publish regulations that do not permit direct participation by the Army or Air Forces in search, seizure, arrest, or other similar activities, except when permitted by law. The Posse Comitatus Act does not apply the National Guard formation while under state control and therefore allows governors the flexibility to utilize the Guard in support of law enforcement missions. This exception is lost once National Guard formations are called to serve on Active Duty. This research paper will explore the history of the use of a Posse Comitatus before and during the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and present day situations. The paper will examine when the Posse Comitatus Act applies and when it does not apply to active duty and National Guard formations. Exceptions to the law which have been granted by Congress for counter drug operations, suppression of insurrection and emergency situations related to weapons of mass destruction will also be examined. Three situations will be examined in detail including the Los Angeles Riots in 1992, the World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference in Seattle in 1999, and the use of Military Police in Samson, Alabama in 2009. Finally, this paper will examine command and control issues related to the use of Federal Armed forces in support of local law enforcement. The Posse Comitatus Act restricts the Federal Government in all but extraordinary situations. Its intent to limit federal involvement in domestic affairs is still sound. In the future, commanders at all levels should be required to receive training on the Posse Comitatus Act to ensure understanding and intent. Congress should consider allowing active duty units to serve under state command and control and the Posse Comitatus Act should be left as a federal law.



A Strategic View of Homeland Security: Relooking the Posse Comitatus Act and DOD's Role in Homeland Security (Defense)
A Strategic View of Homeland Security: Relooking the Posse Comitatus Act and DOD's Role in Homeland Security (Defense)
Today, the developing global economy, the revolution in information technologies, and other advances of technology have added new dimensions to the homeland security paradigm. Recent events both at home and abroad, and especially the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, have demonstrated the emergence of this current complex threat situation and highlight America’s growing vulnerability in the domestic arena. The seriousness of this latest incident beckons one to ask what steps the U.S. government should take to prevent future tragedies like these from happening. While the FBI and FEMA have lead agency responsibilities for crisis management and consequence management, respectively, many suggest an increased role for DOD in homeland security–especially Army units—who have the forces most capable of responding to biological and chemical terrorism, possibly the Nation's greatest threat. But in terms of responding to homeland emergencies, the Posse Comitatus Act severely limits the involvement of regular military forces during federal emergencies, even when they may be the most adequate organization to respond to such incidences. This book examines DOD’s role in Homeland Security and the viability of the Posse Comitatus Act when viewed through the rubric of the current threat environment. By exploring DOD’s historic role in the defense of the U.S. homeland and the advent of the Posse Comitatus Act—its history, application, and weakening over the last couple of decades—the book seeks to determine if regular Armed Forces (and specifically the active Army) should play a more significant role in the homeland security mission. In this book, the author acknowledges the significance of the Posse Comitatus Act in American history as an evolution of the Nation’s long-standing fear of standing army involvement in domestic affairs, but posits that in today’s strategic and domestic environment in the U.S. the Act has limited application or impact. By focusing on changes to the Act brought on by the growth of military involvement in the War on Drugs since the 1980s, and expanding use of military forces in other domestic support operations, the author suggests a growing irrelevance of the Posse Comitatus Act. Then, examining the domestic policy of three allied nations—Israel, Canada, and the United Kingdom—the author shows how these democratic nations have more clearly defined procedures for employment of military forces for domestic security matters, better interagency coordination, and a greater reliance on unity of command during times of crisis. This book uses the “FAS” test as evaluation criteria, as proposed in Joint Pub 3.0, Appendix B (The Estimate Process), which assesses the feasibility, acceptability, and suitability of strategy to ensure that elements of U.S. national security are not in danger. The author concludes that given the current threat environment, the Posse Comitatus Act is at best a relic in great need of revision. He adds that Posse Comitatus is one of several factors limiting the development and execution of effective homeland defense doctrine in America; a doctrine that must be combined arms, joint, interagency, coalition and multi-dimensional in nature, in order to adequately succeed in defending the homeland today. Amongst several options for change, the author argues that at a minimum, the Act should be revised to facilitate the full use of DOD capabilities for domestic defense in cooperation with other federal agencies. The author also contends that in order to maximize the Nation’s ability to prepare for, prevent, deter, and respond to attacks on the homeland, DOD must consider expansion of the Army as part of its transformation efforts by creating dedicated homeland defense forces.

$13.35
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How the Posse Comitatus Act Restricts Department of Defense Information Sharing
How the Posse Comitatus Act Restricts Department of Defense Information Sharing
This study argues that the Posse Comitatus Act (PCA) limits Department of Defense (DoD) information-sharing initiatives, but that such limitations are necessary to the preservation of civil-military relations. Throughout its history, the United States has struggled with the appropriate role of federal military forces in domestic operations, and the PCA reflects this struggle. With respect to domestic intelligence operations, the federal government has emphasized the importance of information sharing between the various federal agencies, including the DoD, and local law enforcement.The study begins by explaining the United States intelligence infrastructure, the relationships between the various agencies, and the functions of DoD within that structure. Next, the thesis analyzes the PCA and accompanying regulations designed to restrict the use of federal forces in a law enforcement capacity. Then, through three case studies dating from the 1920s, the 1970s, and post-11 September 2001, the study discusses the practical application of PCA restrictions to DoD domestic intelligence operations, as well as lessons learned from past operations. This section concludes that the PCA does in fact inhibit information sharing between DoD and state authorities. Finally, the thesis concludes that such inhibitions are crucial to preserving healthy civil-military relations within the United States.



POSSE COMITATUS: An Impediment to Our National Security
POSSE COMITATUS: An Impediment to Our National Security
The Posse Comitatus Act (PCA) is often the so called linchpin that bars the use of our military forces to support and enforce civil law within the borders of the United States. This act has in effect, denied the citizens of the United States the utmost protection they should be afforded by the federal government by restricting the use of Department of Defense assets to be used as force multipliers to our federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies. The United States will be required to once again do more with less as federal spending is decreased on not only homeland defense, but its security as well. The Federal Government will need to effectively utilize the combined resources of its numerous departments in order to accomplish this endeavor. Currently, the misinterpretation of the Posse Comitatus Act and the addition of subsequent restrictions have degraded our ability to properly protect the homeland. The Posse Comitatus Act is an ambiguous and highly misinterpreted law that needs to be rescinded and replaced with a new law that clearly identifies the terms in which the use of military forces in protecting the homeland is appropriate. This book focuses on the use of military forces in domestic affairs within the historical context of posse comitatus within the United States, the subsequent Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, the interpretation of the Posse Comitatus Act since its passage, and its current influence on the United States' ability to defend its homeland. This work is a historical case study of the Posse Comitatus Act to include recommendations for how best to use our nation's military forces in a non-wartime environment in order to better ensure our nation's security in a whole of government approach.

$11.65
-$1.30(-10%)



The Posse Comitatus Act: A Harmless Relic From The Post-Reconstruction Era Or A Legal Impediment To Transformation?
The Posse Comitatus Act: A Harmless Relic From The Post-Reconstruction Era Or A Legal Impediment To Transformation?
The Secretary of Defense should seek repeal of The Posse Comitatus Act (Pca). This Act presents a formidable obstacle to our nation's flexibility and adaptability at a time when we face an unpredictable enemy with the proven capability of causing unforeseen catastrophic events. The difficulty in correctly interpreting and applying the Act causes widespread confusion at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels of our military. Given that future events may call for the use of the military to assist civil authorities, a review of the efficacy of the Pca is in order. This paper documents the historical context of the Pca, explains the parameters of the law, and provides an analysis of the Pca's value in today's security environment. An analysis of the Pca will reveal that, although the policy goals behind the Act are generally sound and desirable, Congress could better implement their intent through other means.

$12.99
-$2.97(-19%)


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