Under the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, or SPP, the military of the United States and Canada are advancing NORTHCOM into a domestic military command structure, with authority extending to Mexico, even though Mexico has not formally joined with the current United States-Canadian NORTHCOM command structure.
Connecting a number of recent developments, President Bush appears to have positioned the U.S. military and the National Guard acting under presidential authority to intervene in a wide range of domestic incidents that could occur anywhere in North America.
On April 17, 2002, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld announced the establishment of NORTHCOM as responsible for a “homeland defense” area defined to include the U.S., Canada, Mexico, parts of the Caribbean and waters in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans contiguous to the United States. NORTHCOM also serves as the head of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, a U.S.-Canadian command.
Section 1076 of the John Warner Defense Appropriation Act for Fiscal Year 2007 grants the president the right to commandeer federal troops or state National Guard to use them domestically. The language of that legislation allows the president to use federal troops or the National Guard in federal service in a wide range of emergencies, including natural disasters, epidemics or other public health emergencies, terrorist attacks, insurrections, or domestic violence, including conspiracies to commit domestic violence.
As WND has reported, the new National Security (NSPD-51) and Homeland Security (HSPD-20) Presidential Directives signed by the president May 6 and posted to the White House website May 9 give the president unprecedented, almost dictatorial, powers should the president declare a national emergency.
NSPD-51 and HSPD-20 make no specific reference to the National Security Act under U.S.C. Title 50 or the requirement of that act that the president bring a declaration of a national emergency to Congress immediately and publish the declaration in the Federal Register.
With the new legal authority granted under Section 1076 of the John Warner Defense Appropriation Act for Fiscal Year 2007, as well as the emergency powers of the president as specified in NSPD-51 and HSPD-20, President Bush could avoid having to wait for a decision by the state of Louisiana to mobilize the National Guard – in a hurricane scenario, for example – before he could declare martial law and send in U.S. troops or the National Guard acting under the authority of the president.
Under USNORTHCOM, the United States command of the continental NORTHCOM, the U.S. military has been conducting a variety of domestic exercises aimed at using the Armed Forces and National Guard under the president’s control to be involved in a wide range of U.S. homeland emergencies, including health emergencies, natural disasters, terrorist events and even domestic violence.
Extensive USNORTHCOM field drills have been conducted under a variety of exercises, including ARDENT SENTRY – NORTHERN EDGE 07 (AS-NE 07), VIGILANT GUARD, ALASKA SHIELD, INDIANA SENTRY, BLUE FLAG, and POSITIVE RESPONSE.
AS-NE 07, conducted April 30 to May 17, included the Canada Command as a full partner and was the largest exercise to date in terms of the number of personnel, the length of the drill, the cost and the complexity of the exercise series. The exercise took place in New England, Alaska, as well as Ohio, Illinois and Indiana, with cross-border deployments staged in the Indiana part of the exercise.
National Planning Scenario One of AS-NE 07 involved the detonation of a 10-kiloton improvised nuclear devise by terrorists. A second scenario involved a hurricane impacting the New England states, including New York.
On May 16, Gen. Victor E. Renuart, commander of NORAD and USNORTHCOM, told the press AS-NE 07 “allowed us to validate the incredible amount of planning that has gone on since Hurricane Katrina, not only to respond to things like a hurricane, but also to ensure that the agencies responsible for homeland security and homeland defense really can work together under a series of demanding scenarios.”
Last year’s exercise, ARDENT SENTRY ’06, tested a variety of scenarios, including a chlorine gas terrorist attack, the crash of an airplane into a bridge in Michigan, a sulfuric acid leak at a rail yard, and multiple radiological dirty bombs going off in American cities. A southern scenario in Arizona involved an act of biological terrorism in Mexico, with pneumonic plague spreading in northern Mexico and causing a mass migration of Mexicans across our southern border as people sought medical assistance.
WND has also reported KBR, formerly a Halliburton subsidiary, has in place a $385 million Department of Homeland Security contract to build on a contingency basis detention facilities that could be utilized for domestic emergencies, including sudden mass immigration across our southern border.
The SPP 2006 “Report to Leaders” identifies under “Health Initiatives” the following agreements the SPP trilateral working groups are tasked to complete:
- Draft and complete a North American influenza plan by 2006;
- Complete Canada-U.S. and Mexico-U.S. joint assessments of the stockpiling of vaccines and antidotes within nine months (March 2006) and on an on-going basis;
- Within the next 9-24 months (March 2006-June 2007) improve Canada-U.S.-Mexico infectious diseases surveillance systems, training and response systems.
The SPP 2006 “Report to Leaders” report also identifies under “Bioprotection” the following agreements the SPP trilateral working groups are tasked to complete:
- Share plans within nine months (March 2006) for isolation and quarantine during a transborder infectious disease outbreak;
- Within 12 months (June 2006), examine the feasibility of a tracking and control system for monitoring the movement of dangerous human pathogens within North America;
- Within 12 months (June 2006), develop a North American plan to address pandemic influenza.
While these agreements are mentioned and tasked in the SPP 2006 “Report to Leaders,” not one of these agreements are documented, linked or printed on the SPP.gov website. Conceivably, any of these agreements might define emergency situations where U.S. federal troops or National Guard under the direction of the president could be mobilized to intervene in the U.S. or elsewhere on the continent of North America.
Judicial Watch, in documents obtained from a Freedom of Information Act request, has reported Adm. Tim Keating, commander, USNORTHCOM, as well as NORTHCOM political adviser Deborah Bolton and NORAD-NORTHCOM director of plans policy and strategy Maj. Gen. Mark Volcheff, attended the secret North American Forum September 2006 meeting in Banff, Alberta, Canada.
WND has previously reported the Banff meeting involved a closed-door elite discussion of advancing the North American integration objectives currently being implemented under the rubric of SPP.
In the “Rapporteur Notes” taken at the conference, as released through the Judicial Watch FOIA request, mention was made that “Mexico has not participated in NORTHCOM as there has not been great understanding of the differentiation from NORAD.” The notes suggest the subsequent discussion focused on “confidence building measures” that might be taken to prompt Mexico to join NORTHCOM.
The conference further suggested an exchange of military personnel and cadets with Mexico as a means of gaining Mexican involvement in NORTHCOM, as well as regular talks about cooperation, perhaps focusing on disaster relief.
According to the notes, the problem integrating Mexico into NORAD and NORTHCOM involved organized crime and the drug trade in Mexico. “Internal security in Mexico is an issue that can only be tackled with help from the U.S. and Canada,” the conference notes recorded.
The conference notes suggest U.S.-Canadian military integration in NORAD and NORTHCOM are much more advanced, with some 80 formal treaties and 240 agreements in place between the two countries and a Canada Command firmly established within NORTHCOM.
During Adm. Keating’s command of NORAD and NORTHCOM, the U.S. and Canadian commands were integrated into a single command center.
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