The Posse Comitatus Act does not prohibit the president from using the Army to restore order in extraordinary circumstances even over the objection of a state governor.
pos·se – noun
a body of men, typically armed, summoned by a sheriff to enforce the law.
com·i·tat·us – noun
a body of wellborn men attached to a king or chieftain by the duty of military service
Posse Comitatus Act‘s intent is that the “military is currently prohibited by Federal statute from participating in domestic law enforcement.”
I keep hearing of how the military can’t be used to DEFEND our borders as that is against the Posse Comitatus Act. I guess I am missing where that rule is located and I have searched many times trying to find it. The deployment of US Military at our Border to DEFEND against invading foreigners is not in state law enforcement – If the US Military is prohibited from DEFENDING America against FOREIGN INVADERS then WHO or WHAT do we call to DEFEND OUR BORDERS??? China? Russia? Mexico?
Would someone please fill me in as it seems I am missing the point on this matter.
Also, since the President is the COMMANDER IN CHIEF of the military why can some left wing judge overrule his ORDER as Commander in Chief of the Military as long as it fits within the law??? If America were to be attacked by Chinese troops (out of military uniforms) would that same left wing judge rule that the President can’t order US Military to DEFEND us??? ~ Jackie Juntti (Granny)
This must be what a stray dog feels as it sleeps in a flea laden hovel to get out of freezing weather. Swarmed, over run, feasted upon until its life blood has all been sucked up by parasites.
We should not be shocked. We watched as it happened to Europe and we said “poor Europe is lost”. We thought the ocean would protect us but the camp of the saints just changed its flight plan.
America will never live again; Only its outer shell named the “United States” and even then its survival will be iffy, short, and compromised.
I am personally offended by anyone who would break our laws, invade our country, eat our food, use our supplies, expect free care from our doctors, all with nary a thought or worry about whether they are wanted or welcome here or not. The audacity. Then they sit atop the foolish and few fences that we do have and LAUGH at us, the citizens of America. Do they think we will welcome them after all of this? No, we will not. ~ Linda Shrock-Taylor
To answer the questions posed by Jackie, Linda and Patrick Buchanan, we submit the following (thank you Granny) for your consideration… Ed.
What of ‘Posse Comitatus’?
October 7, 2005 ~ Having already wrecked a legendary American city, Hurricane Katrina may now be invoked to undermine a fundamental principle of American law: When it comes to domestic policing, the military should be a last resort, not a first responder.
On Sept. 26, President Bush urged Congress to consider revising federal laws so that the U.S. military could seize control immediately in the aftermath of a natural disaster, noting that “it may require change of law.”
The law the president seems to be referring to is the Posse Comitatus Act, the longstanding federal statute that restricts the government’s ability to use the U.S. military as a police force.
Sen. John Warner, R.-Va., chairman of the Armed Services Committee, also has signaled his desire to change the law.
Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita called Posse Comitatus a “very archaic” statute that hampers the president’s ability to respond to a crisis.
Not so. The Posse Comitatus Act is no barrier to federal troops providing logistical support during natural disasters. Nor does it prohibit the president from using the Army to restore order in extraordinary circumstances even over the objection of a state governor.
What it does is set a high bar for the use of federal troops in a policing role. That reflects America’s traditional distrust of using standing armies to enforce order at home, a distrust that’s well-justified.
There are good reasons to resist any push toward domestic militarization.
As one federal court has explained: “Military personnel must be trained to operate under circumstances where the protection of constitutional freedoms cannot receive the consideration needed in order to assure their preservation. The Posse Comitatus statute is intended to meet that danger.”
Army Lt. Gen. Russell Honore, commander of the federal troops helping out in New Orleans, seemed to recognize that danger when he ordered his soldiers to keep their guns pointed down: “This isn’t Iraq,” he said.
Soldiers are trained to be warriors, not peace officers which is as it should be. But putting full-time warriors into a civilian policing situation can result in serious collateral damage to American life and liberty.
It can also undermine military readiness, because when soldiers are forced into the role of police officers, their war-fighting skills degrade. That’s what the General Accounting Office concluded in a 2003 report looking at some of the homeland security missions the military was required to carry out after Sept. 11, 2001.
According to the report, “While on domestic military missions, combat units are unable to maintain proficiency because these missions provide less opportunity to practice the varied skills required for combat and consequently offer little training value.”
The GAO also concluded that such missions put a serious strain on a military already heavily committed abroad.
American law calls for civilian peace officers to keep the peace, or, failing that, National Guard troops under the command of their state governors. So perhaps we should stop treating the National Guard as if it’s no different than the Army Reserve.
As Katrina made landfall, there were 7,000 Louisiana and Mississippi Guard troops deployed in Iraq. Among them were 3,700 members of Louisiana’s 256th Mechanized Infantry Brigade, who took with them high-water vehicles and other equipment that could have been put to better use in New Orleans.
The Guard personnel at home had only one satellite phone for the entire Mississippi Gulf Coast when Katrina initially hit because the others were in Iraq.
Lt. Gen. Steven Blum, chief of the National Guard Bureau, noted that had the Louisiana Guard “been at home and not in Iraq, their expertise and capabilities could have been brought to bear.”
Disaster relief and responding to civil disturbances are core missions for the Guard; attempting to establish democracy in the Middle East is not.
The Katrina tragedy ought to be an occasion for rethinking a number of federal policies, including our promiscuous use of the Guard abroad. Instead, Washington seems poised to embrace further centralization and militarization at home.
That has the makings of a policy disaster that would dwarf Hurricane Katrina. (Source)
The Posse Comitatus Act
May 16, 2013 ~ Section 1385 of Title 18, United States Code (USC), states:
“Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army or 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.”
The PCA does not apply to the U.S. Coast Guard in peacetime or to the National Guard in Title 32 or State Active Duty status. The substantive prohibitions of the Posse Comitatus Act (PCA) were extended to all the services with the enactment of Title 10 USC, Section 375. As required by Title 10 USC, Section 375 the secretary of defense issued Department of Defense Directive 5525.5, which precludes members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps from direct participation in a search, seizure, arrest, or other similar activity unless participation in such activity by such member is otherwise authorized by law.
The PCA generally prohibits U.S. military personnel from direct participation in law enforcement activities. Some of those law enforcement activities would include interdicting vehicles, vessels, and aircraft; conducting surveillance, searches, pursuit and seizures; or making arrests on behalf of civilian law enforcement authorities. Prohibiting direct military involvement in law enforcement is in keeping with long-standing U.S. law and policy limiting the military’s role in domestic affairs.
The United States Congress has enacted a number of exceptions to the PCA that allow the military, in certain situations, to assist civilian law enforcement agencies in enforcing the laws of the U.S. The most common example is counterdrug assistance (Title 10 USC, Sections 371-381). Other examples include:
The Insurrection Act (Title 10 USC, Sections 331-335). This act allows the president to use U.S. military personnel at the request of a state legislature or governor to suppress insurrections. It also allows the president to use federal troops to enforce federal laws when rebellion against the authority of the U.S. makes it impracticable to enforce the laws of the U.S.
Assistance in the case of crimes involving nuclear materials (Title 18 USC, Section 831). This statute permits DoD personnel to assist the Justice Department in enforcing prohibitions regarding nuclear materials, when the attorney general and the secretary of defense jointly determine that an “emergency situation” exists that poses a serious threat to U.S. interests and is beyond the capability of civilian law enforcement agencies.
Emergency situations involving chemical or biological weapons of mass destruction (Title 10 USC, Section 382). When the attorney general and the secretary of defense jointly determine that an “emergency situation” exists that poses a serious threat to U.S. interests and is beyond the capability of civilian law enforcement agencies. DoD personnel may assist the Justice Department in enforcing prohibitions regarding biological or chemical weapons of mass destruction.
Military support to civilian law enforcement is carried out in strict compliance with the Constitution and U.S. laws and under the direction of the president and secretary of defense. (Source)