The following information has been copied from official US Army sites as well as the Army Times and only scratches the surface. Our forefathers warned against a standing Army in the US, never mind the Posse Comitatus Act (based on common law and codified in 1878).
Over 80,000 US Army troops have been trained and held ready to “respond to” civil unrest conditions in the United States. As part of this mission a massive exercise is scheduled for next month.
The Vibrant Response 12 and 12A military exercise is scheduled for Aug. 16-28 at various venues in southern Indiana and northern Kentucky.
The exercise will be the fourth field training event in the Vibrant Response series, which trains federal military forces on their role in supporting civilian consequence managers in responding to catastrophic chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear – or CBRN – incidents.
The event will be the first confirmation exercise for the 5,200-person Defense CBRN Response Force (DCRF). They are among the more than 7,000 active and reserve Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and civilians who will train in the exercise.
The DCRF replaces the 4,500-person CBRN Consequence Management Response Force.
“We have forged a strong training partnership with the Indiana National Guard and the people who run Camp Atterbury and Muscatatuck Urban Training Complex,” said Paul Condon, Army North’s lead Vibrant Response exercise planner.
“We’ve worked with them to add several new venues at both Camp Atterbury and Muscatatuck Urban Training Complex in order to accommodate the larger DCRF,” Condon added.
Participating organizations include the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Army’s 9th Area Medical Laboratory, the Fort Knox Fire Department, and National Guard elements from Indiana, California, West Virginia, Michigan, Illinois and Minnesota.
“Even Verizon Wireless will participate,” said Clark Wigley, Army North joint exercise planner.“They also are providing some of their mock equipment for the military to transport.”
The DCRF was created as part of DOD’s transformation of the nation’s tiered CBRN response enterprise. The units will assume their mission on Oct. 1 as federal military initial CBRN response forces.
For the next 12 months, the 1st BCT was 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 man-made emergencies and disasters, including terrorist attacks.
This new mission marked 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.
“Right now, the response force requirement will be an enduring mission. How the [Defense Department] chooses to source that and whether or not they continue to assign them to NorthCom, that could change in the future,” said Army Col. Louis Vogler, chief of NorthCom future operations. “Now, the plan is to assign a [new] force every year.”
The 1st BCT’s soldiers learned how to use “the first ever nonlethal package that the Army has fielded,” 1st BCT commander Col. Roger Cloutier said, referring to crowd and traffic control equipment and nonlethal weapons designed to subdue unruly or dangerous individuals without killing them.
“It’s a new modular package of nonlethal capabilities that they’re fielding. They’ve been using pieces of it in Iraq, but this is the first time that these modules were consolidated and this package fielded, and because of this mission we’re undertaking we were the first to get it,” Cloutier said.
The package includes equipment to stand up a hasty road block; spike strips for slowing, stopping or controlling traffic; shields and batons; and, beanbag bullets along with pepper spray and tasers.
“If we go in, we’re going in to …restore normalcy and support whatever local agencies need us to do, so it’s kind of a different role,” said Cloutier.
This new mission is part of a NorthCom and DOD response package where active-duty soldiers will be part of a force that includes elements from other military branches and dedicated National Guard Weapons of Mass Destruction & Civil Support Teams.
“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,” Cloutier added.
10 U.S.C. (United States Code) 375
Sec. 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.
18 U.S.C. 1385
Sec. 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.
NOTE: The only exemption has to do with nuclear materials (18 U.S.C. 831 (e))