Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The New Chain of Command Coming to You

The Operation SERF folks will just love this one.

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.


Ron said...

Thanks for pointing this out! It totally escaped my radar.

Anonymous said...

Too many soldiers in some areas and not enough in others is normal during the first few days of a crisis. Also, it was my understanding that delays moving refugees out was due to needing to find places in other states to house them.

The "dual status" thing is more of a administrative term if they really intend to use Guard generals (who are already appointed by State governors), but the problem in the future could be a POTUS who makes dual status commanders of generals who are NOT from that state.

russell1200 said...

They would not need dual status if they were using Guard Generals. But do you really see them letting Guard Generals commanding Federal troops beyond their own forces.

This is taking regular service officers and having them command State National Forces.

And of course if the Governeor says "No", FEMA drags its feet, or possibly they get no help from anyone, and are accused of being obstructionist.