View Full Version : Military Reviews Placing Special Ops on U.S. Soil

06-21-2007, 01:44 PM
21 June Washington Examiner - Military Reviews Placing Special Ops on U.S. Soil (http://www.examiner.com/a-790871~Military_reviews_placing_special_ops_on_U_S __soil.html) by Rowen Scarbourgh.

The U.S. military command in charge of protecting the homeland asked the Pentagon earlier this year for a contingent of special operations officers to help with domestic anti-terrorism missions.

Military sources told The Examiner that U.S. Northern Command, established at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado in 2002, requested its own special operations command similar to ones assigned to overseas war-fighting commands, such as U.S. Central Command.

A spokeswoman for NorthCom this week issued a statement to The Examiner saying, "This capability resides in every other geographical combatant command and would allow the commander of U.S. Northern Command to deploy these unique capabilities for homeland defense and civil support operations."

The request was approved six months ago by the then-commander of NorthCom, Adm. Timothy Keating, who has since moved to U.S. Pacific Command.

But now, the new NorthCom commander, Air Force Gen. Gene Renuart, is reviewing Keating's decision...

06-21-2007, 02:00 PM
There are reasons why military forces are restricted from internal operations. We should leave it that way. There are also means by which miltary forces can be utilized inside the US and the Constitution is explicit in this. I for one would not want to be part of a military operation inside the US without the localized declaration of Martial Law as a protection for the servicemembers conducting that operation. Col Jones, SgtMaj Johnson and and Cpl Jackson don't need to be sued in civil court or threatened with criminal prosecution for conducting an authorized action within the borders.

Ken White
06-21-2007, 02:54 PM
Totally agree Troufion, that is a bad move and hopefully the review will trash the idea.

Sheesh. Every time I think we've done the dumbest thing in the world, somebody comes up with a new one... :o

Bill Moore
06-21-2007, 03:55 PM
My knee jerk reaction is this is too stupid to do, but I think for select operations it could make sense. Much like UK's SAS operations within UK for select CT missions, we could employ our unique direct action capabilities within the U.S. effectively, although it would probably require deputizing the force temporarily. My concern, and slapout can address it best, is that our law enforcement organizations are getting distracted by homeland defense focused on "potential" terrorist attacks, which is allowing the gangs to regain lost ground. What is the greatest threat to our citizens, Abu dumbass with a suicide vest in the mall or resurgent Bloods, Crips, Aryan Nation, and other gangs? The gangs are killing our people today, and we don't seem to have enough beat cops out their securing our population, nor does the FBI have enough resources to track both gangs and terrorist suspects. This plays out further, in that the gangs (especially evolved gangs) can provide safe haven for potential terrorists, since they are business men and will provide a service for a price potentially.

06-21-2007, 04:15 PM
Maybe they need to be more specific. Another example of the misuse of terminology. (Anti- or Counter- Terrorism).

Seems alot of the useage of the term anti-terrorism has been ill defined on multiple occassions. Lets be sure of what they are talking about. Just because they would have a plans cell in Northcom, and I am not so sure they have not always had one, if it's for anti-terrorism purposes it would seem perfectly logical. All you need to do is spend a week around Ft Bliss AO;)

Antiterrorism Definition: Those passive defensive measures taken to minimize vulnerability to terrorism.

Counterterrorism Definition: The full range of offensive measures taken to prevent, deter, and respond to terrorism.

My 2cents.

Ok, all you doctrinal phds fire away:D

Tom Odom
06-21-2007, 04:20 PM
Antiterrorism Definition: Those passive defensive measures taken to minimize vulnerability to terrorism.

Counterterrorism Definition: The full range of offensive measures taken to prevent, deter, and respond to terrorism.

You are doctrinally correct!

Ken White
06-21-2007, 04:27 PM
involvement in 'Support to the civil power' as do Canada and Mexico, Bill. We do not and we have traditionally avoided that with only rare exceptions -- such exceptions can and probably will occur in the future -- and my bet would be that most Americans want to keep it that way. I'd be even more willing to bet that the Armed Forces, mostly, will also want to keep it that way. Not to mention Congress...

Gangs are a problem, no question but a percentage of the public goes bonkers whenever the Cops crack down on them too hard (hard being in the eye of the beholder). Try to hit them with an Armed Forces direct action crew and the ACLU, the relatively far left element in Congress and the netroots crowd would froth at the mouth -- IOW, it would likley create more problems that it would solve.

The Cops, per se, are not overly oriented on the Terrorism bit; I've got two sons who are Cops, one on each coast. Their and neighboring departments get only peripherally and sporadically involved in the effort. The FBI and the other Federal LE agencies are another matter; they are too heavily involved to the detriment of their basic mission.

Lack of resources is not nearly as much a problem as is allocation of those resources (plus their 'public relations image' and concern for pandering to Congress). Instead of setting Cops (the Feds) to catch Terrorists we should have a dedicated anti-espionage and counter terror agency ala the UK MI5. The cultural, operational and ethical requirements for law enforcement work and for CE/CT operations are dramatically, almost diametrically different -- the cops are in all respects poorly equipped and trained for the job. We didn't do it right due to the politics involved so we'll have to live with what we have.

The FBI HRT is pretty capable in spite of some goofs and it can be expanded; most local and State Police have tactical response teams and some are quite good. There is adequate civil capability out there, it just isn't wisely organized and used and I expect that situation will improve as we move along, I know that efforts are underway to obtain such improvement.

Full disclosure. Though a former SF Intel guy, I am not a USSOCOM fan, I think it was almost as great a mistake as was the formation of DHS -- though I will give SOCOM credit for great R&D, super good and well executed equipment procurement and forward thinking in many respects and will acknowledge that much of my dislike revolves around the long existing bureaucratic parochialism engendered by the way Congress allocates funds and favors and the turf and ego battles that engenders. I mention that mostly to say that SOCOM will always look for other missions; means more money and more spaces. This Northern Command mission, IMO is a bad, really bad, idea...

John T. Fishel
06-21-2007, 05:54 PM
Beginning with the Whisky Rebellion when President Washington led federalized militia into Western Pennsylvania we have used the military in a wide variety of situations domestically. In 1878, as part of the agreements ending Reconstruction (the occupation of the South) Congress passed the posse comitatus act making it a crime for the Army to serve in a domestic law enforcement role - with very limited exceptions, many honored in the breach over the years. (The act really was enabling legislation for domestic terrorist like the Ku Klux Klan.) Recently, Congress has loosened the strings a bit particulary with regard to CD and CT ops. The Air Force is bound by posse comitatus as it was created from the Army while the Navy and USMC are not - DOD has applied it to them by policy but it is not the law. These are the ground rules under which the discussion needs to take place.:D

Which brings us to NORTHCOM: 1. NORTHCOM's AOR is North America and adjacent waters - it includes Mexico and Canada. 2. As a unified command, it should have a SOF organization as does any other unified command. 3. JTF 6 has long operated with SOF components. 4. 19th and 20th SFG are National Guard units that can be used in either Title 32 or Title 10 status. (How to tie Title 32 NG units into a NORTHCOM controlled domestic op is an interesting but, I submit, not insoluble question.)

Ken White
06-21-2007, 07:45 PM
I believe I mentioned that we had used Federal Troops before (not least as Strike busters long after the Whiskey Rebellion - or the Civil War and its aftermath for that matter...) and stated we almost certainly would again -- I'm not sure that answers the problem.

Exceptions to any law are always possible and the JTF 6 use of ArNG SOF is not quite the same thing this proposal envisions.. I suspect most of us are also aware of the history and application of Posse Comitatus.

That said, I'm unsure how you can so categorically state that "these are the ground rules under which any discussion needs to take place." While they are fact, so to are facts that: Congress will have a say; Mr. and Mrs. America will have a say; DoD will have a say, OGA will have a say: JTF 6 will tell you it's a bad idea and, off the record, why and will remind you that placing armed Marines on the border did not go well (and Texas will tell you that they do not wish SF units employed in that role within the State); and more.

You say NorthCom should have a SOF organization * just like any other unified command. Does this mean that TransCom and Joint Force Command shoyld also have a SOF organization? :)

I believe you'll find that the Title 32 capability is not all encompassing in the LE and LE Assist roles; some States are cool with it, even automatically deputizing State activated Guard personnel; others are less happy with the idea. Further, the merging of Title 10 and Title 32 functions can get politically rather hairy. don't think it'll be that easy to sort out.

That doesn't even get into the fact that SF has lost its way and probably shouldn't be helped to wander further; exempting1st Group, the others are all into direct action as opposed to IW. That is less due to national needs then to what SOCOM and the Groups want to do. I realize it's a lot more fun to kick in doors than it is to train Indigs and that it's easier to train door kickers than it is to train multi talented trainers but there is a question of role and mission diversion that may not be in the long term interest of the nation -- or of SF itself. Any way you cut it, normal direct action is not a SF mission.

* All the Unified Geographic Commands do have a SOF organization but it picks up operational elements only on order and generally for specific operations. Having a NorthCom Theater SOC to plan, coordinate and facilitate is a good thing, I totally agree. Having an assigned direct action capability is an entirely different thing and is IMO, a very bad idea.

John T. Fishel
06-21-2007, 09:28 PM

Sorry about the shorthand lumping functional and geographic unified commands together. We really are only talking about the latter. We seem to be in agreement that a SOCNORTH for planning is a good idea. Do we differ on the SOC also being a C2 element if there were a special op in the AOR? I favor it. As far as SOF operational elements being assigned to SOCNORTH:
-I don't really see it happening unless we are talking about NG SOF and USAR PSYOP and Civil Affairs (which, I understand, are no longer SOF???). In fact, I expect that SOF, like most other forces would be OPCON as needed, which is OK by me.
-The idea for a SOCNORTH expressed in the article is for the typical SOC w/o assigned troops; unless there is more info elsewhere.
-I would never suggest that Congress not play - it set the posse comitatus rules and changed them, for better or worse. But it is the Congressionally written posse comitatus that, along with Art. II of the Constitution sets the prmary rules. Much of the discussion appeared to me to ignore that.
-The public plays in many ways not the least in elections but it generally does not give very coherent advice.
-DNI will have a say on intel matters and should.
-I note that you point out the tragic events that the Marines were involved in in JTF6. But I have not seen any complaints about SOF in general or SF in particular in JTF 6. Seems to me that SF brings a superb set of skills to the strat recon mission - see, report, but don't be seen.
-Title 32: state duty status. NG is under the command of the governor of the state and subject to state regs and laws regarding law enforcement. Granted that states differ. In and operational mission in Title 32 status the Guard can only be ordered to participate by the Governor.

I am not saying that it is a good idea to assign forces COCOM to Northcom, in fact, it probably is both impractical and simply unhelpful. But I have no objection for the use of SOF controlled by a SOCNORTH in an OPCON status. And, despite the difficulties, I think some creative use of NG in Title 32 status might be a good idea.



Rob Thornton
06-21-2007, 09:52 PM
Maybe NORTHCOM has just been watching too much 24 and they want to put Jack in charge:eek:

06-21-2007, 10:28 PM
In a war with a lot of bad ideas, this one is near the top.

06-21-2007, 11:36 PM
It always happens that a really good discussion gets going when I end up having a busy day at work. So here is my 2 cents.

1-Posse Comitatus is a fact and it is a law. It also has exceptions which include Military Bases,National Parks and Indian reservations. In 73 or 74 when a bunch Indians shot some FBI agents on a reservation (Wounded Knee) I was about 5 minutes from boarding the aircraft at green ramp at Ft.Bragg/Pope AFB. All it took was a phone call. It does not apply to what a military commander would do on his base or protecting National Monuments or an Indian Reservation used as a staging area,etc. It just seems prudent that Northcom would at least have a SOF planning group to build contingency plans at the least.

2-The US Military can not be sued. You can sue the US Govt. but not the military. You can be criminally prosecuted under the USC or UCMJ.

3-Bill I just found out what 4GW stands for Gangs,Guerrillas,Groups of terrorist and Goof Ball individuals:) All your comments on gangs are dead on the average Joe has no idea what a threat this is. True Gang suppression TTP's have had an effect in some areas but they just spring up in other areas or splinter or just lay low for awhile.

4-FBI HRT ahh can you say Waco. The FBI is an investigative agency that is what they are outstanding at and that is what they should do! That is why they were created in the first place.

5- The primary federal Law Enforcement Agency is the US Marshal service. They were at the fore front of the civil rights movement and before you had Martial law you had Marshal law (pun intended). They have the authority to enforce federal court orders which is what they did and when they were out gunned they requested federal troops which were legally deployed in support of there mission. The President can assume this authority under his executive authority relative to the enforcing the laws of the land. When federalizing the State National Guard raised a question of loyalty, regular federal troops were deployed beginning with 101st in Little Rock,Ar. to start school desegregation.

6-That's my 2 cents except John T.'s buddy wrote a fantastic paper called "Gangs: The New Urban Insurgency" it is in the SWJ library and I highly recommend it.

06-22-2007, 12:05 AM
"2-The US Military can not be sued. You can sue the US Govt. but not the military. You can be criminally prosecuted under the USC or UCMJ."

I am under the understanding that a civil suit can be brought against a specific memeber of the military for that person's actions. Further during the JTF6 missions a Marine killed a shepherd on the border, there was a big deal about prosecuting the Marine and or suing the Marine for wrongful death. At the moment I unfortunately cannot remember the outcome, though I am sure someone here will.

06-22-2007, 01:20 AM
Maybe LawVol can help for an exact citation. A police officer can be sued individually (I know this from personal experience even when it was frimly established I had qualified immunity and two I literally just happen to be there I did not engage in any action) so unless something has changed or some type of special circumstance exist the military to include it's members can not be sued. But???the Us Government can be. Catch 22 type situation. You would not get money from the Matine Corps but you could get it from the US Govt. Can you give more details of this incident?

Bill Moore
06-22-2007, 01:31 AM
slapout thanks, I always appreciate your street smart common sense and humor. I like your new definition of 4GW :).

You guys know I'm a bull in the china shop, so I'm going to step on some toes. The FBI HRT is O.K., but it pales in comparison to LA SWAT, which has a much larger budget, and a much larger pool of hardened street cops to assess from. Most large cities, with large tax bases have a capable SWAT unit; however, when you see SWAT teams responding in smaller towns (recall the recent shooting in the VA college) and you see grossly overweight cops in military camis (why do you need to look like a tree if you're clearing a building? why are they wasting time putting on camis? respond to the crisis quickly, no time for make up, throw on your SWAT jacket for ID purposes, and get on target, and hopefully don't be out of breath, is that asking to much), you realize they have no hope of resolving a terrorist situation. In the end they'll become traffic cops directing traffic around the site while the investigation ensues.

For the U.S. I like the idea of forming a MI5 style organization that is a hybrid of law enforcement and intelligence organization that can focus on terrorist organizations and foreign based threats such as hostile state networks within our borders. They could use the Marshals (I assume) has their direct action arm, once they decided to roll up a target or organization.

As mentioned in the other posts, NORTHCOM also covers Mexico and Canada. Since Northern Mexico is somewhat a lawless area, and a safehaven for 4th Generation Gangs that are undermining our economy and society, I would hope we would consider using SOF to interdict select targets preemptively. Since one of the Mexican Mafia's militia is largely composed of Mexican SOF trained by U.S. our return on investment with that option has been somewhat limited.

06-22-2007, 01:38 AM
Ken, I will have to disagree with you about the focus of Group right now on DA as opposed to UW. I am speaking as a 10th group guy so I am not really sure about the other groups but I can tell you we DEFINITELY have a stronger emphasis on UW/FID then on DA. I don't think that the emphasis has been weak on UW/FID on SOF's part but I do believe that a lot of Big Army commanders are uncomfortable with the idea of a bunch of "long haired cowboys" running around the country side with their own private militias (some of them actually believe this). I know that when dealing with some infantry commanders, the further you get from FM 7-8 the less comfortable they are. Some of them are not really sure what we do but it is not written down in a reg and must therefore be wrong. It gets old sometimes.


06-22-2007, 02:56 AM
MARFA, Texas (CNN) -- A grand jury refused Thursday to indict Marine Cpl. Clemente Banuelos in the killing of Texas teen-ager Ezequiel Hernandez, whom the Marine shot while on a drug patrol along the U.S.-Mexico border....

Although the defense department has supported the Marines -- they had radioed to superiors asking for permission to load their weapons and fire at Hernandez -- it has also suspended all missions that would put troops on the U.S.-Mexico border while it reviews military drug policies.

It also is looking for a way to protect troops from criminal and civil liability should they be used on such missions in the future. It may seek immunity for troops provided they follow established rules of engagement or agreements with local law enforcement agencies.


(as far as I can tell nothing has been done to change the law or grant immunity, it was basically dropped after the case went away, therfor military are still liable criminally and civily, though the precedent of ROE in place could be argued -Troufion)

Ken White
06-22-2007, 02:58 AM
1st and 10th -- the poor 3rd, 5th and 7th are torn between both worlds (as are the 19th and 20th). My Francophone 3d Group Grandson in Law just got back from the 'Stan, did get to speak some French to the COS guys. :)

As to your comments on the Big Army versus SF, tell me about it -- hasn't changed since I left the 7th in another lifetime :(

I heard a rumor that the SO University is working up a better than the current effort to educate folks as they go through C&GS or its equivalents and all the War Colleges so they understand the SO piece a little better. If so, that will help but I don't guess there's much that can be done to eliminate the tendency toward parochialism...

Illegitimi non Carborundum, keep the Faith...

Ken White
06-22-2007, 03:02 AM
I don't really have a problem with NorthCom having an SOF planning and coordinating element; I would very strongly suggest that it might be better not to call it "SOC North" just on PR grounds and I do believe it should not have any direct action elements assigned. Nor do I think it need to be anywhere near the size of the OCONUS Geographic Commands.

I was elsewhere when you went to Green Ramp but I did earlier go to CAAF to go to Little rock in '57 and to Green Ramp and then all the way to Mississippi in 62 to get Mr. Meredith in UMiss. Also went to Detroit in 68, and in a later life I worked occasioanl Garden Plot plans and a few disaster repsonses so I'm sorta familiar with the use of Federal troops in support of the old civil power.

I don't think lawsuits are a big concern, I know they are for local LE -- got two sons who are Cops but as you say, the Armed Forces aren't going to be a target other than as individuals until the law gets changed.

Re: The FBI HRT, Yeah, I can say Waco and I can say Ruby Ridge. Sometimes folks learn from their screwups, sometimes they don't. However, whether its the HRT, the Marshals, the USBP or ICE Reaction Force or the Wackenhut Team from Oak Ridge is immaterial to me as long as it is a civilian law enforcement agency.

My suspicion is that while USSOCOM might not care much; if deployed and used, the shooters would be identified as "Delta" or "SEAL" or "MARSOC" and that senior folks in all colors of uniforms on E-Ring in the five sided funny farm would not like that at all. Right now Congress polls in the pits, 14% and the Armed forces are high -- the service chiefs like it that way and they do not want too many people that work for them going around shooting fellow Americans regardless of their culpability.

A I also said, I agree Gangs are a big problem. I just don't agree on a military solution to them. Bad idea. Very bad idea.

Ken White
06-22-2007, 03:26 AM
Working backwards here -- that and not being a typist makes me late. Thanks for the thoughtful response. I agree we're pretty close. I think NorthCom should have a SOC but I also think it oughta be low key and even possibly called something else. It should definitely be involved if the operational units get committed.

Yeah, they're in the process of moving most, not all, of the CA away from SOCOM, PsyOps as I understand it is gonna be about a 50:50 split. Agree that Congress can change the Posse Comitatus but my objection to the use of Federal troops in the direct Action mode barring a really unusual situation is purely based on the PR and the Politics -- my suspicion is the the Chiefs of Staff / CNO / CMC will feel the same way (CinCSoc probably won't care).

Re the comment on the public; Sir, you are a Master of Understatement!!! Well said.

My JTF 6 comment was based on a conversation with a friend who's pretty reliable and who was in discussions with the JTF J3 on another matter a few months ago. Perception was there had been jurisdiction, operational and disciplinary problems and some disenchantment had occurred. Same for the Tejas Guard comment. Re the Marine and the shooting, I'm told there were other problems and I wasn't referring totally to the shooting but also to the logistic and personnel problems that occurred

Having dealt with the Guard and Reserve on a full time basis in my last job before retirement, I'm far more aware of Title 10 and 32 problems and limitations (and Guard and Reserve capabilities <- that is not derogatory) than I want to be; however, in this case, which Title rules and the Posse Comitatus Act are not the problem in use of the Guard in Title 32 status under NorthCom direction -- I think the politics will be.

Still, we're in pretty much agreement; just quibbling over details. Thanks again.


06-22-2007, 03:51 AM
Hi Troufion, what was described sheds some light on it. One why were they shooting? Generally it can only be in defense of yourself or an innocent person. Two exactly what their status was is the question, i.e. martial law or some kind of declaration of emergency. Which obviously did not exist and in that case he was vulnerable to prosecution and or civil penalties. Even if it had gone forward he still probably would have come out OK. But it was his uncertain legal status to enforce the law i.e. make an arrest as opposed to shoot in self defense. Yes I know it sounds crazy but shooting someone is an arrest (when acting under the color of law), it is a seizure under the constitution and only LE can do that. Unless the special situations exist for Federal troops like martial law, etc.

Hi Ken, did you meet my buddy George standing in the doorway to the University of Alabama saying segregation now and forever before he ran away:) I was actually on a protection deatil for his son once. I was Alabama ICE (Isolate The Criminal Element) as part of the ATF project safe neighborhoods. My comment about the FBI HRT is just to point out that SWAT ain't their thing. Investigations is and they are the best at it and having a SWAT team detracts from that. Where do you live in Florida? I grew up down there.
We will have to disagree about SOF there are certain missions that they would definately do better then LE that need to be done.

Bill, when I started in LE most SWAT teams were operated like you desribed. Only the largest cities could afford full time dedicated teams how it starting becoming what it is today I am not sure. Fat cops don't run fast but if they ever get a hold of you:eek:

Ken White
06-22-2007, 05:08 AM
I would, however suggest that civilian LE whose job the Gangs are can do everything as well as the guys in the SO community can if they're properly and sensibly selected and trained. It ain't that hard.

Been my observation that saying you can't do the job and someone else is needed to do it reflects badly and that most people are protective of their turf and will bend over backwards to avoid saying that and getting 'help' they don't want, particularly if that 'help' comes from the Feds.

Aside from the fact of really adverse PR and the political (not legal) implications, I have no prob with Military SOF doing SOF stuff (even in CONUS); LE isn't Military SOF stuff.

Gangs are an LE job. Given interstate proliferation, some Federal involvement is going to occur, if you don't like the FBI doing it, then pick an Agency. I used the HRT in the comment simply because it existed (and will probably continue to do so, distraction or not). I hear the Park Police have a good crew (no snark and no fooling)

On the FBI, both my Sons would disagree with you on the caliber of the Investigative ability of the FBI. Both of 'em have bad stories. One of 'em has a hilarious tale about a bank that got hit by a serial bank robber everyone had been looking for for months when not one but two SAs were in a bank he hit. Bad Guy got away, embarassing in several ways the SAs in the process. Few weeks later he got caught by a local cop. Then, of course, there was Ol' Eric Rudoplh...;)

No Federal Troops in 'Bama, the AL ArNG just got Federalized IIRC. I had to deal with Faubus and rather irate and unfriendly Arkansans in AR and Barnett in MS (actually not, we set between the runways at Columbus AFB for ten days doing little and went back to Bragg). George was a trip though...

I'm up in the L.A. corner, Redneck Riviera. I fit right in. :)

06-22-2007, 08:15 AM
Ken, it has been my experience when LE doesn't ask for backup or assistance when it is needed gets a lot of people hurt. I would agree that the mentality by the brass is yes we will protect our turf and no we do not need any help but that doesn't make it right.

I have friends that would agree with your son's judgment about the FBI's investigative ability. My parents live just outside Daytona Beach when the first female serial killer (supposedly anyway) Irene Warnus was working. When the second murder happened the local Cops thought it was a pissed off hooker the FBI said no it dosen't fit the profile and we see how that ended up. But on the whole they do pretty good.

06-22-2007, 11:05 AM
Late to this great discussion. A few things to add....

Troufion's made a comment early in this thread about military forces being "restricted from internal operations" and also correctly indicated that there are other permissive authorities. Posse Commitatus, which has been drug out in this thread already but whose application has not really been discussed, prevents only the use of the military (by combo of law and policy as discsussed) directly in the enforcement of laws in the U.S. And of course things like the Insurrection Act and Stafford Act have more to say. But in short, the U.S. military is in no way prevented from the conduct of military operations within the U.S. By Posse Commitatus or other. PC is far less restrictive than is often touted. Martial law is something dramatically different and for most situations a red herring.

So a corollary of that permissiveness becomes the legal wrangling, executive decisions, political landmines, etc. of what is law enforcement and what is military operations in today's context of the GWOT. :eek:

Not to die in that rat hole, I'm glad it has been brought out here already that NORTHCOM's AOR includes areas outside of the 50 states, possessions and territories to which PC applies. BTW, PACOM and I think even SOUTHCOM own areas to which it DOES apply. PC does not map perfectly 1:1 to NORTHCOM.

Finally, there is a legitimate componency argument to be made in the context of Defense Support of Civil Authorities. SOCOM forces are lending their special capabiltiies in support of civil authorities (whether it be HRT, LA SWAT, USSS or other for NSSEs, etc.), so NORTHCOM damn well better have a liaison cell that knows the secret handshake. Then they can at least get along with SOCOM and step on each others's toes like all the other geographic CINCs (can we say that now that Gates is in?), rather than being completely out to lunch. There's a lot of debatable issues with regard to the COCOM of SOF, but not having a SOF connection at the NORTHCOM HQ is akin to a head in the sand and abdication from engagement in those issues.

In the net, there certainly is a reason to be worried about this and the details of its execution. But to call this an inherently and epicly bad thing is I think premature. Let us screw it up first, before we lambast it.

John T. Fishel
06-22-2007, 02:17 PM
Slapout, you are right about my buddy Max's paper. It is available from SSI on the web. He has expanded it into a book which is currently under consdieration for publication. From what I hear, it is likely to be a go.

Ken, yeah, we are really close. Amazing what a good discussion will bring our!:wry:

Ironhorse, PACOM does have some US territory - Hawaii comes to mind as does Guam - where PC applies. SOUTHCOM is a bit different. Until the second last revision of the UCP, it had no territory on which PC applied. Then it picked up Caribbean waters. Then NORTHCOM was created and it lost most of those. However, JIATF-South is located in Key West and is subordinate to SOUTHCOM. But its CO is a USCG Rear Admiral and it has Customs and other LE folk in addition to USCG so it would be hard for it to violate PC either as a reg or law.:cool:

06-22-2007, 02:56 PM
Ironhorse, PACOM does have some US territory - Hawaii comes to mind as does Guam - where PC applies. SOUTHCOM is a bit different. Until the second last revision of the UCP, it had no territory on which PC applied. Then it picked up Caribbean waters. Then NORTHCOM was created and it lost most of those. However, JIATF-South is located in Key West and is subordinate to SOUTHCOM. But its CO is a USCG Rear Admiral and it has Customs and other LE folk in addition to USCG so it would be hard for it to violate PC either as a reg or law.:cool:

That turmoil is exactly what I was unable to recall the current net of, as of my last post.

Checking just now, SOUTHCOM does NOT list anything domestic-y in its AOR or "area of focus (http://www.southcom.mil/AppsSC/pages/aoi.php)" as they call it on their web page. However, the About NORTHCOM (http://www.northcom.mil/About/index.html) page pins the rose squarely on SOUTHCOM for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, where PC et al apply. So there's a clear black and white line that is crossed for land masses, even if we don't dive into the gray and sloppiness of the whole territorial waters, Coast Guard, JIATF, etc.

USNORTHCOM’s AOR includes air, land and sea approaches and encompasses the continental United States, Alaska, Canada, Mexico and the surrounding water out to approximately 500 nautical miles. It also includes the Gulf of Mexico and the Straits of Florida. The defense of Hawaii and our territories and possessions in the Pacific is the responsibility of U.S. Pacific Command. The defense of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands is the responsibility of U.S. Southern Command. The commander of USNORTHCOM is responsible for theater security cooperation with Canada and Mexico.

John T. Fishel
06-22-2007, 03:06 PM
Ironhorse, it seems that the 2 commands can't get it right:eek:, how are we mere mortals supposed to sort it out?

06-22-2007, 03:32 PM
John T Fishel, I copy that with the appropriate levity that I read was intended :)

For those more literal out there, I know the UCP is a lot more specific than the webmasters' interpretations of it for public consumption. But to say that even the full UCP is completely clear (in a functional go-to-work way) would be to do injustice to the horrible ambiguites of our world and the complexities inherent in any attempt to impose a convenient organizing taxonomy on it.

06-22-2007, 03:39 PM
P.S. speaking to an FDNY official not long after 9/11. For those that don't know it, FDNY and NYPD get on in many ways like Christians and lions. Rough paraphrase of his observations:

We'd finally agreed that the FD had lead for explosions and fires, and the PD had the lead for acts of terrorism. That seemed like a great plan, and we were ready to live with that. Until we had an act of terrorism that caused an explosion and a fire, when it didn't do much for us and we were back at it.

Ken White
06-22-2007, 05:25 PM
Late to this great discussion. A few things to add...

Let us screw it up first, before we lambast it.

And we probably will :)

Then we'll fix it, we're pretty good at that methodology

Good post, BTW

01-18-2009, 06:03 PM
< I don't think that the emphasis has been weak on UW/FID on SOF's part but I do believe that a lot of Big Army commanders are uncomfortable with the idea of a bunch of "long haired cowboys" running around the country side with their own private militias (some of them actually believe this). >

One of my instructors was a long haired civil operator who had done just this - maybe he was pulling our legs, but he had a pretty amusing story about the early OEF days and hiring out Pashtun body guards for local dignitaries, when they started essentially tithing him, and being culturally sensitive and aware, he was forced to accept said tithings. The story was a cautionary tale, because apparently he wound up getting into a lot of trouble over this, but fought it in a court martial and was exonerated.