Defense Support of Civilian Law Enforcement Agencies

In last Friday’s Federal Register the Department of Defense published a final rule on Defense Support of Civilian Law Enforcement Agencies. The rule specifies and defines the support that DoD may provide to federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, “including responses to civil disturbances.”

“The President is authorized by the Constitution and laws of the United States to employ the Armed Forces of the United States to suppress insurrections, rebellions, and domestic violence under various conditions and circumstances,” the new rule states.

“Planning and preparedness by the Federal Government, including the Department of Defense, for civil disturbances is important due to the potential severity of the consequences of such events for the Nation and the population. The employment of Federal military forces to control civil disturbances shall only occur in a specified civil jurisdiction under specific circumstances as authorized by the President, normally through issuance of an Executive order or other Presidential directive authorizing and directing the Secretary of Defense to provide for the restoration of law and order in a specific State or locality.”

The new rule, which forms part of the Code of Federal Regulations, is almost identical to DoD Instruction 3025.21 on “Defense Support of Civilian Law Enforcement Agencies” that was issued on February 27, 2013 (noted by Public Intelligence on April 11).

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