Americans concerned over the buildup of military-style units within non-security-related federal agencies – specifically Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams – are having those concerns confirmed.
A 2010 Pentagon directive on military support to civilian authorities reveals what critics say is a policy that outlines the potential use of military force against Americans by the Obama administration, reports the Washington Times.
While the document – signed by then-Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn – contains standard provisions on support to civilian emergency services, special events and domestic use of the Army Corps of Engineers, it also outlines presidential authority for use of military weapons and personnel against Americans during times of domestic unrest.
“This appears to be the latest step in the administration’s decision to use force within the United States against its citizens,” a defense official opposed to the directive told the Times.
Directive No. 3025.18, “Defense Support of Civil Authorities,” issued Dec. 29, 2010, provides “emergency authority” to U.S. commanders.
“Federal military forces shall not be used to quell civil disturbances unless specifically authorized by the president in accordance with applicable law or permitted under emergency authority,” the directive states.
“Federal action, including the use of federal military forces, is authorized when necessary to protect the federal property or functions.”
“In these circumstances, those federal military commanders have the authority, in extraordinary emergency circumstances where prior authorization by the president is impossible and duly constituted local authorities are unable to control the situation, to engage temporarily in activities that are necessary to quell large-scale, unexpected civil disturbances” under two conditions.
- Military support required “to prevent significant loss of life or wanton destruction of property and are necessary to restore governmental function and public order.”
- When federal, state and local authorities “are unable or decline to provide adequate protection for federal property or federal governmental functions.”
The military is authorized to provide assistance in the form of arms, ammunition, vessels and aircraft to engage civilians.
While the use of unarmed drones is specifically mentioned, “use of armed [unmanned aircraft systems] is not authorized,” the directive states.
Among the federal agenicies with SWAT teams are the the Department of Agriculture, the Railroad Retirement Board, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Office of Personnel Management, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Education Department.
During the recent standoff between armed Bureau of Land Management agents and Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, the administration considered deploying military force under the Directive No. 3025.18 but ultimately rejected the idea.