If you have ever been to a conference where they discuss NORCOM and the various disaster relief scenarios, they will (or would) tell you time and time again, that they are limited in their immediate response by the fact that they have no control over the local government. Well that has certainly changed.
Dan Elliott, Associated Press, 3 July 2011
Active-duty and National Guard troops also have distinctly different chains of command. The president is the commander-in-chief of active-duty troops, while the Guard reports through a state chain of command leading to the governor.
A dual-status commander would straddle that divide. With the approval of both state and federal officials, he or she would get temporary authority to command both types of troops and report up both chains of command.
The U.S. Northern Command, with headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., began training dual-status commanders last year. Northern Command was created after the 2001 terrorist attacks to defend the U.S. homeland and help civilian authorities handle domestic crises like Katrina
The goal is to have at least one officer in each of the 50 states and in four U.S. territories qualified and ready to be a dual-status commander on a moment's notice, said Adm. James Winnefeld, commander of Northern Command
This was in the local paper, but I had a hard time finding the complete story online. Note that the training has been going on for a year, but that they release the news on the 4th of July to dress it up in patriotic colors.
This is big news even if you are not particularly worried about an Operation SERF style takeover of the United States. It is a major erosion of the separation of powers. Remember a lot of people will tell you that the 2nd Amendment refers to the various States Militias (aka The National Guard).
At the bottom of the article they frame the justification of the separate chains of command in a rather slanted fashion. They frame it as Governors wanting to maintain their power. Likely true, but beside the point. It is not until you get to the last line, where they even begin to address the heart of the matter.
"If you ask them who they'd like to have protecting them and enforcing the laws in the event of a crisis, they'd rather have their neighbors....than somebody from thousands of miles away."Exactly, you can un-elect a Mayor, or Governor who does a terrible job in disaster relief. You might even make a stab at recalling them. But it takes a pretty major SNAFU to make a difference at the Presidential level.