In January, without any recognizable corporate media coverage, Rep. Bob Filner, a California Democrat, introduced H.R. 675. The bill would amend title 10 of the United States Code and extend to civilian employees of the Department of Defense the authority to execute warrants, make arrests, and carry firearms. The bill was referred to the Armed Services Committee on January 26, 2009.
Filner’s bill would amend the United States code with the following: “Sec. 1585b. Law enforcement officers of the Department of Defense: authority to execute warrants, make arrests, and carry firearms… for any offense against the United States.” (Emphasis added.)
The Posse Comitatus Act, passed on June 18, 1878 after the end of Reconstruction, limits the powers of the federal government to use the military for law enforcement. The Act prohibits members of the federal uniformed services from exercising nominally state law enforcement, police, or peace officer powers that maintain “law and order” on non-federal property within the United States.
H.R. 675 sidesteps Posse Comitatus by defining “law enforcement officer of the Department of Defense” as “a civilian employee of the Department of Defense,” including federal police officers, detectives, criminal investigators, special agents, and game law enforcement officers classified by the Office of Personnel Management Occupational Series 0083 (the United States Office of Personnel Management is described as an “independent agency” of the U.S. government that manages the civil service of the federal government).
In 2005, the Office of Personnel Management partnered with the Department of Homeland Security to create a “21st century human resources management system that fully supports the Department’s vital mission,” according to then Office of Personnel Management Associate Director for Strategic Human Resources Policy Ron Sanders.
At approximately the same time, the DoD issued a Defense Directive 1404.10 (read PDF) that establishes a “DoD Civilian Expeditionary Workforce” and rescinds a prior Clinton era directive dealing with the emergency use of civilian personnel. The Obama administration describes the Civilian Expeditionary Workforce as follows:
Members of the DoD Civilian Expeditionary Workforce shall be organized, trained, cleared, equipped, and ready to deploy in support of combat operations by the military; contingencies; emergency operations; humanitarian missions; disaster relief; restoration of order; drug interdiction; and stability operations of the Department of Defense in accordance with DoDD 3000.05
“This new directive is odd, coming as it does after campaign promises by Obama to establish a paramilitary ‘civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded’ as our military,” writes Doug Ross.
According to Sec. Def. Robert Gates, defeating terrorism will require the use of more “soft power,” with civilians contributing more in communication, economic assistance, political development and other non-military areas. “Gates called for the creation of new government organizations, including a permanent group of civilian experts with a wide range of expertise who could be sent abroad on short notice as a supplement to U.S. military efforts. And he urged more involvement by university and other private experts,” the Associated Press reported in late 2007.
It should be noted that the original Civilian Expeditionary Workforce directive mentions the term “overseas” no fewer than 33 times, while the Obama revision does not mention “overseas” at all. In other words, the revised directive is designed for “emergency operations” in the United States.
Both H.R. 675 and the DoD Civilian Expeditionary Workforce directive will establish civilian “soft power” under the direction of the Pentagon. Obama is now actively working to create a paramilitary “civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded” as the military. In order to skirt Posse Comitatus, Obama’s paramilitary brownshirts will be organized and run out of the Office of Personnel Management with orders coming from the Pentagon.
In the recent past, the Pentagon sent operatives to snoop on anti-war and patriot demonstrations — for instance, Alex Jones’ protest at the Federal Reserve was monitored by the Pentagon . In the not too distant future they will likely send “civilians” with firearms and the power to arrest “rightwing extremists” who represent, according to the Department of Homeland Security and numerous federalized police agencies, “offense against the United States.”