Special Operations Prepared for Domestic Missions
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of washingtonpost.com
Posted: July 6th, 2007
The U.S. Northern Command, the military command responsible for "homeland defense," has asked the Pentagon if it can establish its own special operations command for domestic missions. The request ... would establish a permanent sub-command for responses to incidents of domestic terrorism as well as other occasions where special operators may be necessary on American soil. The establishment of a domestic special operations mission, and the preparation of contingency plans to employ commandos in the United States, would upend decades of tradition. Military actions within the United States are the responsibility of state militias (the National Guard), and federal law enforcement is a function of the FBI. Employing special operations for domestic missions sounds very ominous, and NORTHCOM's request earlier this year should receive the closest possible Pentagon and congressional scrutiny. There's only one problem: NORTHCOM is already doing what it has requested permission to do. When NORTHCOM was established after 9/11 to be the military counterpart to the Department of Homeland Security, within its headquarters staff it established a Compartmented Planning and Operations Cell (CPOC) responsible for planning and directing a set of "compartmented" and "sensitive" operations on U.S., Canadian and Mexican soil. In other words, these are the very special operations that NORTHCOM is now formally asking the Pentagon to beef up into a public and acknowledged sub-command.