Beginning Oct. 1 for 12 months, the 1st BCT [Brigade Combat Team] will be under the day-to-day control of U.S. Army North, the Army service component of Northern Command, as an on-call federal response force for natural or manmade emergencies and disasters, including terrorist attacks.The article goes on to say that these soldiers "may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control or to deal with potentially horrific scenarios such as massive poisoning and chaos in response to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive, or CBRNE, attack."
It is not the first time an active-duty unit has been tapped to help at home. In August 2005, for example, when Hurricane Katrina unleashed hell in Mississippi and Louisiana, several active-duty units were pulled from various posts and mobilized to those areas.
But this new mission marks the first time an active unit has been given a dedicated assignment to NorthCom, a joint command established in 2002 to provide command and control for federal homeland defense efforts and coordinate defense support of civil authorities.
After 1st BCT finishes its dwell-time mission, expectations are that another, as yet unnamed, active-duty brigade will take over and that the mission will be a permanent one.
Great. When catastrophe strikes, and you think things couldn't get any worse, along comes the federal government.
1st BCT commander Col. Roger Cloutier could hardly contain his excitement. He said, "I don't know what America's overall plan is -- I just know that 24 hours a day, seven days a week, there are soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines that are standing by to come and help if they're called. It makes me feel good as an American to know that my country has dedicated a force to come in and help the people at home." Cloutier strikes me as the kind of uber-patriot who has that ridiculous Lee Greenwood song as a running soundtrack in his head.
Chuck Baldwin, presidential candidate for the Constitution Party, thinks deploying U.S. troops at home is a bad idea. He writes:
One of America's most sacred principles has always been that the U.S. military was never to be used for domestic law enforcement. The fear of standing armies ran very deep in the hearts and minds of America's founders. The tyranny and misery inflicted upon the colonies by British troops weighed heavily upon those who drafted our Constitution and Bill of Rights. In their minds, the American people would never again be subjected to the heavy weight of army boots. Furthermore, they insisted that America would have a civilian -- not military -- government.I don't know about you, but the move to militarize and nationalize law enforcement in this country makes me a little uncomfortable.