Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

March 18, 2009

Army response to Alabama shootings?

Filed under: Homeland Defense — by Philip J. Palin on March 18, 2009

The Alabama Department of Public Safety and CNSnews are reporting that military police based at the Army’s Ft. Rucker responded to last week’s murder spree in Southern Alabama.

According to CNSnews, the Department of Defense has begun an investigation into how and why the federal troops were deployed.  No official statement is yet available on the principal DOD website.  Under the so-called Posse Comitatus statute, use of federal troops to enforce the law is illegal except under very specific circumstances.

In recent months concern has been expressed regarding the potential role of federal military assets assigned to assist in domestic disaster response.  If confirmed – and depending on how it is confirmed – the Ft. Rucker incident will further fuel such concern.

UPDATE: Regional coverage from the Dothan Eagle.  National coverage from USA Today.  Story published by the Army Times.

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Comment by William R. Cumming

March 18, 2009 @ 2:00 pm

DOD used to field an excellent course for it Military Liason to Civil Authorities personnel. These typically were Commissioned personnel that were assigned to each DOD base in the US and had the job of formal liaison with civil authorities surrounding the base. Because of the CSEPP (Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program) operated under an MOU between FEMA and Department of the Army I would have though Army personnel in Alabama (Anniston Depot) were some of the most knowledgable about Posse Commitatus! Guess not!

Comment by William R. Cumming

March 19, 2009 @ 9:58 am

This mornings WAPO says DOD launching an investigation since NO DOD/Army approval of deployment and no request for assistance from the Governor of Alabama.

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