The U.S. Marine Corps And Domestic Peacekeeping
SUBJECT AREA - Topical Issues
Title: THE U.S. MARINE CORPS AND DOMESTIC PEACE KEEPING
Author: Major Timothy J. Reeves, USMC
Problem: The President may use Marine forces to quell insurrection and keep the
peace within the borders of the United States and her territories. The U.S. Constitution,
U.S. laws, and Department of Defense guidance limit the Marine Corps' role in providing
a domestic peace keeping capability to quell insurrection and domestic disturbances. This
thesis provides a framework defining the Marine Corps' limited role in domestic peace
keeping, and discusses the inability of the Marine Corps to provide a credible force due to
constitutional limitations and shortfalls in DoD doctrine and Marine Corps' capabilities.
Discussion: Throughout our nations history, the President as the commander and chief has used
the military as a peace keeping force to quell unrest and insurrection within the country's borders.
Although the original Articles of the U.S. Constitution initially excluded the military from this task;
follow-on legislation over the next 200 years defined the legal limitations in which civil authorities
could use the military in a domestic peace keeping role. The thesis examines the constitutionality
of using the Marine Corps in domestic peace keeping missions; and the policies established by the
DoD in order to develop a framework defining the Marine Corps' mission in domestic peace
keeping. The research examines this mission in terms of the Marine Corps' limited ability to
project a credible domestic peace keeping capability by presenting the various levels that unrest
threatens our national interests.
Conclusions: Comparing the tactics Marine forces may legally employ in domestic peace
keeping to the tactics necessary to meet domestic unrest, the research identifies several shortfalls
preventing the Marine Corps from providing a credible domestic peace keeping capability. These
shortfalls are evident in the legal constraints placed on Marines while supporting law enforcement
personnel; command, control, and communication problems inherent to this difficult mission;
proper force selection criteria; and domestic peace keeping training. Until law makers, the DoD,
and the Marine Corps address these shortfalls, it is doubtful that Marine forces will provide an
effective domestic peace keeping force capable of executing this difficult task in the 1990s and
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. INTRODUCTION 1
A. BACKGROUND 1
B. METHODOLOGY AND OBJECTIVES 5
C. BENEFITS OF RESEARCH 6
D. ASSUMPTIONS AND LIMITATIONS OF RESEARCH 7
E. ORGANIZATIONS OF THESIS 8
II. U.S. LEGISLATION ON DOMESTIC PEACE KEEPING 9
A. U.S. CONSTITUTION AND THE EARLY YEARS 10
B. POSSE COMITATUS ACT OF 1878 18
C. 1981 MODIFICATION OF THE POSSE COMITATUS ACT 26
D. SUMMARY 28
III. DEFINING CRITERIA FOR USMC INVOLVEMENT
IN DOMESTIC PEACE KEEPING 31
A. THE NATURE OF DOMESTIC PEACE KEEPING 31
B. DOD GUIDANCE ON DOMESTIC PEACE KEEPING 36
C. USMC FORCE SELECTION CRITERIA 41
D. SUMMARY 43
IV. DOMESTIC PEACE KEEPING ISSUES 45
A. DOMESTIC PEACE KEEPING CONTINUUM 46
B. LEGAL ISSUES AND FORCE SELECTION REQUIREMENTS 50
C. TRAINING ISSUES 56
D. COMMAND, CONTROL, AND COMMUNICATIONS 58
E. SUMMARY 66
V. SUMMARY OF RESEARCH AND RECOMMENDATIONS
FOR FUTURE STUDY 69
A. SUMMARY OF RESEARCH 69
B. DOMESTIC PEACE KEEPING DILEMMAS 73
C. OPPORTUNITIES FOR FUTURE STUDY 75
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
CINC Commander in Chief
CJCSI Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Instruction
DoD Department of Defense
DoJ Department of Justice
DOMS Department of Military Support
FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation
FMFLANT Fleet Marine Force Atlantic
FMFPAC Fleet Marine Force Pacific
JCS Joint Chiefs of Staff
JTF Joint Task Force
JULLS Joint Universal Lessons Learned System
LAPD Los Angeles Police Department
LIC Low Intensity Conflict
MAGTF Marine Air Ground Task Force
MCPPA Marine Corps Principle Planning Agent
MCRPA Marine Corps Regional Planning Authority
MEF Marine Expeditionary Force
MEU/SOC Marine Expeditionary Unit/Special Operations Capable
MOS Military Occupational Specialty
MOUT Military Operations in Urban Terrain
OOTW Operations Other Than War
PME Professional Military Education
ROE Rules Of Engagement
SCRAG Senior Civilian Representative of the Attorney General
SO/LIC Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict
U.S. United States
USCINCLANT Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Command
USCINCPAC Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Command
USCINCSOC Commander in Chief, U.S. Special Operations Command
USCINCTRANS Commander in Chief, U.S. Transportation Command
THE U.S. MARINE CORPS AND DOMESTIC
1. Historical Perspective
Our nation's history thoroughly documents the active involvement of
United States (U.S.) military forces in quelling domestic disturbances. From the years
following the close of the American Revolution to the recent 1992 Los Angeles riots,
various U.S. Presidents have committed federal forces to assist law enforcement in
repressing insurrections and keeping the peace. Evolving legislation starting with the U.S.
Constitution continues to establish a framework for using the U.S. military in domestic
peace keeping missions. Although Congress possesses the right to declare war, the
President, as the Commander in Chief, can direct the military to repress insurrection
as past Presidents have done.1 This thesis provides a framework defining the Marine Corps'
limited role in domestic peace keeping, and discusses the inability of the Marine Corps to
provide a credible force due to constitutional limitations and shortfalls in Department of
Defense (DoD) doctrine and Marine Corps' capabilities.
1 Dorothy Schaffter and Dorothy M. Mathews, The Powers of the President as
Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States (Washington, D. C.: U. S.
Government Printing Office, 1956), 48-49.
The public views using the military in domestic peace keeping missions as
detracting from the their ability to perform as guardian of the nation.2 However, both the rising
potential for civil disobedience within the inner cities and the shrinking budget guarantee the
military's continued active role in domestic peace keeping to bring civil unrest under control. This
rising potential for civil unrest requires that the Marine Corps provide a credible capability to
address domestic disturbances in the future.
2. Rising Potential for Civil Disorder
On 22 October 1993, the Mayor of Washington D.C. requested the mobilization
of National Guard military police units to aid Washington D.C. police in curbing the rising crime
rate.3 Recent Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) statistics showing a tripling of crimes reported
to police between 1966 and 1990 document this rising crime rate. Additionally, the FBI reported a
quadrupling of violent crimes reported to police in the same period.4 Washington D.C. already has
the largest ratio of police to residents of any city in America, and this call for federal assistance
clearly demonstrates the deteriorating conditions in the inner cities. These deteriorating conditions
increase the potential for civil unrest and rioting. Many efforts, including spending on social
programs, prison expansions, mandatory sentencing, and new law enforcement techniques have
not helped in curbing this rising crime rate.5
2 Morris Janowitz, The Professional Soldier: A Social and Political Portrait
(Glencoe, IL: The Free Press, 1960), 419-420.
3 B. Drummond Ayres, Jr., "Washington Mayor Seeks Aid of Guard in Combating
Crime," New York Times, 23 October 1993, Sec. Al.
4 Earnest van den Haag, "How to Cut Crime," National Review, 30 May 1994, 30,
5 Ted Gest, et al, "Violence in America," U.S. News and World Report, 17 January
Studies have shown that the race riots of the 1960s achieved goals by focusing
attention on the rioters' causes. During the 1967 summer riots in Detroit, Michigan rioters
brought national attention to the impoverished conditions of the inner cities, which was one of
their objectives. The 1967 riots also demonstrated that civil unrest was instrumental in gaining
much needed federal funding which attempted to reduce the root causes of violence caused by
this poverty.6 These facts show that civil disturbances will continue in the inner cities, since
rioters believe their destructive action will achieve national attention and hopefully, their goals.
In addition to rising crime in the inner cities, recent articles explain that this
country is in the midst of a cultural war. Presently, segments of the U.S. population harboring
radical opinions on abortion, homosexuality, race relations, and other emotional issues are calling
for "militant action" against people intolerant to their opinions.7 Evidence of past cultural wars
suggest that they normally precede violence and civil disobedience.8 Based on rising cultural
conflicts, civil unrest is likely to continue throughout all segments of American society where
emotional issues exist. As a result, civil authorities will require force to keep the peace.
The summer riots of 1967 brought into question the ability of law enforcement and
the National Guard in combination to adequately control civil unrest. The police and National
Guard were unable to restore order in a number of cities including
6 Irwin Isenberg, The City in Crisis (New York, NY: H.W. Wilson Company,
7 Joe Loconte, "The Battle to Define America Turns Violent," Christianity Today,
25 October 1993, 75-76.
8 James D. Hunter, "Before the Shooting War Begins," Columbia Journalism
Review 32 (July/August 1993): 30.
Detroit, Newark, and Watts, until U.S. military forces were introduced.9 More recently in May
1992, the President sent an additional 4,000 active duty U.S. Marines and Army personnel into
Los Angeles to deal with the worst peace time riots in U.S. history. This occurred because law
enforcement personnel and National Guard troops were unable to restore order.10 The rapid
escalation of violence characterized by civil unrest will in most cases require the use of military
forces to aid police in restoring order.
Additionally, the festering crime and violence in the inner city has increased in
part due to the reduction of the federal budget in social service areas, and this has created an
environment conducive to civil unrest. The large scale criminal activity conducted by gangs,
including illegal drug activity, is causing a proliferation of sophisticated weapons, and making the
nature of civil disturbances more violent and volatile. These factors will in turn increase the
likelihood of using military force in future domestic peace keeping missions.
3. Federal Budget Reduction Efforts
With domestic spending cuts at hand, the public will clamor to expand the role of
the DoD into the domestic peace keeping realm. This will occur because the military is well
equipped for the mission, and corresponding cuts in the DoD budget will make domestic peace
keeping a means to justify a large defense budget to the public.11 The U.S. military possesses
equipment, and a large manpower pool easily accessible for domestic peace keeping missions.
Communications equipment, armored personnel
9 Isenberg, 17.
10 Amos A. Jordon, William J. Taylor, and Lawrence J Korb, America National
Security Policy and Process (Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins Press Ltd., 1993), 56.
11 Jordon, 174.
carriers, and weapons readily transported to potential unrest areas are a tremendous capability
available to civil authorities.12 Additionally, the training military forces receive in Operations
Other Than War (OOTW) in executing global peace keeping missions is portable to a domestic
From a city budget perspective, cities cannot afford an on-call manpower pool to
quell civil unrest. Police need manpower to make arrests and still maintain police lines, to close in
on troubled areas and quickly control unrest. Cases where police surrounded riot areas to let
unrest "burn-out" on its own accord resulted in additional destruction of property and suffering to
innocent victims caught in the area.13 The military represents a large manpower source which
could easily perform the domestic peace keeping mission in consonance with law enforcement. In
this regard, the past use of military forces by civil authorities to quell insurrection and rebellion, the
rising potential for civil disorder due to rising crime and cultural differences, and a shrinking
federal budget, all suggest the employment of U.S. Marine Corps forces in a domestic peace
keeping role in the 1990s and beyond, Consequently, these factors provide the impetus for the
research presented in this thesis.
B. METHODOLOGY AND OBJECTIVES
1. Purpose of Research
A number of questions arise pertaining to the constitutionality of the use of
Marine forces performing domestic peace keeping missions. This thesis will explore the
12 Jordon, 175-176.
13 Isenberg, 74.
issue by first developing a constitutional framework which defines the domestic peace keeping
mission the military can legally perform. Once the framework is developed, the thesis will next
analyze the defining criteria for U.S. Marine Corps involvement in this mission, and discuss
pertinent problem areas arising from executing this mission.
2. Research Questions
In exploring domestic peace keeping, the research formulated the following
questions in fulfilling the goal of this thesis;
. Historically, how has the President used the military during periods of civil unrest and
. What mission can the military perform in domestic peace keeping as defined
. Is the law limiting the involvement of the military still compatible with the nature of civil
. What is the DoD guidance on domestic peace keeping?
. What issues or dilemmas should the Marine Corps thoroughly examine prior to the
commitment of forces in fulfilling domestic peace keeping missions?
By thoroughly researching these questions and presenting the answers in a concise form, the
goals of this thesis will be satisfied and a usable product will be the end result.
3. Research Methodology
Initially, this thesis provides a historical overview of past domestic peace keeping
issues and the legislation defining the framework of this issue. Once defined, the thesis next
applies this legal perspective and examines the DoD guidance limiting the use of military forces
in domestic peace keeping missions. Identifying the military's overall mission is crucial in
understanding how the U.S. Marine Corps will execute these missions. This thesis will then draw
from the constitutional and DoD research in order to identify and discuss areas of
hindering the U.S. Marine Corps from successfully executing domestic peace keeping missions.
C. BENEFITS OF RESEARCH
The information presented will provide an understanding of the difficulties
involved in preparing and training for this mission as well as identifying dilemmas
involving the deployment of forces for domestic peace keeping. The research will also
discuss issues which should be resolved to aid the U.S. Marine Corps in effectively
executing domestic peace keeping missions.
D. ASSUMPTIONS AND LIMITATIONS OF RESEARCH
Although the military's use in domestic peace keeping missions is voluminous and
well documented, the research will focus on the milestone events in history shaping
legislation and clarifying the use of federal forces in a domestic peace keeping role. The
section of the thesis addressing this topic frames the constitutionality of this issue, and
does not provide a complete historic overview, as this effort would detract from the
overall goal of the research.
The research focuses on using the military in a peace keeping role to restore order
during periods of civil unrest and disobedience. The research does not address the issue of
using military personnel in an active law enforcement role as this subject could be treated
as a completely separate issue. However, where appropriate, the research will present
issues and legislation that involve the military indirectly aiding law enforcement. This is
done to clarify and properly frame the domestic peace keeping mission. Consequently, the
scope limits the thesis to addressing the use of the military in domestic peace keeping to
provide a useful product.
E. ORGANIZATION OF THESIS
This chapter presented a brief introduction to the thesis background, methodology, and
research objectives. The chapter briefly introduced the historic use of the military in quelling civil
unrest, and their inevitable use in the future due to the rising potential for civil disorder. The
factors discussed earlier in this chapter indicate that federal military forces will assist law
enforcement and National Guard forces in keeping the peace.
Chapter II establishes a constitutional framework by reviewing the legislation initiated by
the articles of the U.S. Constitution, the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, and the modification of the
Posse Comitatus Act in 1981. This chapter will familiarize the reader with significant historical
events which formed the basis for using the military in a domestic peace keeping role.
Chapters III and IV will address the defining criteria describing the mechanics of
employing U.S. Marines in areas of civil unrest. Chapter III will discuss the pertinent DoD
directives and orders, and the nature of civil unrest, which defines how the Marine Corps will
employ forces to conduct this mission. Chapter IV will explore the issues of using Marine forces
in domestic peace keeping in terms of force selection criteria; constitutional and training issues;
command, control, and communications problem; and other significant issues which have an
impact on Marine forces performing domestic peace keeping missions. Finally, Chapter V will
summarize the research, and provide suggestions for future research on the topic of U.S. Marine
forces in a domestic peace keeping role.
II. U.S. LEGISLATION ON DOMESTIC PEACE KEEPING
In this chapter, the thesis presents a legislative overview pertaining to using federal
military forces in domestic peace keeping. The research discusses the American Revolution
experience and its impact on the drafting of the U.S. Constitution, the Posse Comitatus Act of
1878, and its amendment of 1981. Where appropriate, this chapter discusses specific
incidents directly affecting legislation of the Constitution and U.S. Law. The summary of this
chapter provides a definition of the legal use of military forces in domestic peace keeping.
A. U.S. CONSTITUTION AND THE EARLY YEARS
Since the end of the American Revolution, the founding fathers began drafting the U. S.
Constitution to provide a legal framework for governing the newly formed country. The
experience gained from the American Revolution, specifically the first hand effects of an
oppressive standing army, gave the framers of the Constitution incentive to limit the use of the
federal military in domestic situations.14 With the American Revolutionary War experience and
Shays' Rebellion of 1786, Articles I and IV of the U.S. Constitution set the framework for
exempting the use of regular forces to quell civil disturbances. The U.S. Constitution excluded
federal military forces from domestic peace keeping missions until President Jefferson introduced
the 1807 Act in response to the threat that The Buff Conspiracy posed to the nation. As a
result of the large scale insurrectionist threat that
14 Ernest van den Haag, Political Violence and Civil Disobedience (New York, NY:
Harper and Row, 1972), 91.
the Burr Conspiracy posed to the nation, the 1807 Act allowed the President to use
federal military forces in domestic peace keeping.
1. Revolutionary Experience and the Shays' Rebellion
Shays' Rebellion of 1786 had a significant impact on the development of
constitutional authority preventing federal forces from intervening in domestic disturbances. Due
to an economic depression and currency shortage in Massachusetts, the court system forced
citizens to forfeit land for failing to pay taxes. As a result, Daniel Shays' organized New England
farmers revolted against the Massachusetts court system to prevent the issuing of arrest warrants
and forfeiture of properties. On several occasions, rebellion followers assembled under arms to
keep the Massachusetts court system from meeting, in order to frustrate these unfair tax practices
and property seizures.15
President Washington and Congressional leaders became concerned with the
danger this growing anarchy posed to the newly formed organization of states. As a result of this
movement's growing momentum, Congress voted to raise a militia of 2,000 men from the New
England states to add to the 5,000 man militia already raised in Massachusetts.16 With this force,
the federal government effectively quelled a rebellion of several thousand men under arms. This
action had a profound effect on how the founding fathers envisioned using the militia, and not the
military to keep the peace.
The President and Congress used federalized militia because the individual
states could not always quell rebellions, or protect themselves from insurrection.17 Even
15 Robert W. Coakley, The Role of Federal Military Forces in Domestic Disorders
1789-1878 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1988), 5-7.
16 Coakley, 5.
17 Coakley, 20.
with the experience of requiring a federalized militia to quell this rebellion, the framers of the
U.S. Constitution tasked the militia rather than the federal army to deal with domestic disorder, Law
makers made this stipulation because to use federal military forces in domestic disturbances
would require a large standing army. Law makers felt that the President and Congress might
indiscriminately use a standing army to oppress the states in the same manner the King of
England did with the Colonies. The successful use of New Englanders to deal with New
Englanders during the Shays' Rebellion reinforced the concept that the militias could adequately
deal with domestic disturbances. As a Result, the founding fathers drafted Articles I and IV of
the U.S. Constitution to authorize using state militias and prohibit using the federal military in
domestic disturbances, thereby avoiding the necessity of a large standing army.
a. Article I, Section 8, U.S. Constitution
During the drafting of the Constitution, the authors carefully worded the
articles dealing with the power granted to Congress in using military force in a domestic setting.
Although they recognized the need for military force to suppress rebellion and insurrection, early
law makers did not wish to grant authority to Congress to indiscriminately create and use a large
standing army.18 Rather, they drafted laws to interpose in domestic disturbances by using state
militias and thereby reduce the requirement for a large standing army. Therefore, the drafters of
the U.S. Constitution prevented Congress from using the federal army by writing: "The Congress
shall have the power ... to provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union,
suppress Insurrections, and repel Invasions."19 This article of the Constitution is written to
18 Coakley, 14.
specifically prevent Congress from using regular military forces in a domestic setting. Article I
limited Congress' power to calling upon a state's militia under three conditions: to execute the laws
of the union, suppress insurrection, and repel invasions.20 Regular forces were not considered for
domestic peace keeping by the framers of the U. S. Constitution because this mission would
require a large standing army, which they felt would threaten the security of the nation.21
Therefore, Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution implies that it is illegal to use the regular or
standing army in domestic peace keeping missions. Similarly, the framers of the U.S. Constitution
were consistent in defining the President's power in dealing with domestic disorder as written in
Article IV of the U.S. Constitution.
b. Article IV, Section 4, U.S. Constitution
This article gives the President power to call a state or many states'
militias into federal service to protect the individual states against domestic violence and civil
unrest. The framers of the Constitution gave the President these powers by drafting
into law that:
The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of
Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the
Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against
This section of law guaranteed that the federal government could intervene to quell domestic
disturbances at the request of a states governing body. As to how the President and Congress
could intervene with force was subject to a great deal of debate. Coakley
19 U.S. Constitution, art. I, sec. 8.
20 Allen R. Millett, The Constitution and the Citizen-Soldier, Chapter 5 of Papers on
the Constitution (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1990), 100.
21 Millett 95.
22 U.S. Constitution, art. IV, sec. 4.
discusses this debate between the "Federalists" who favored intervention with regular forces, and
the "Anti-Federalists" that envisioned the President intervening by using the militia of the
requesting state and surrounding states' militias. Alexander Hamilton, one of the most vociferous
"Federalists," felt that to prevent the "violent destruction of life and property incident to war"
which insurrection causes, a nation will have to resort to the security a standing army affords
even if the presence of a standing army risks reducing their freedom and liberty.23 The "Anti-
Federalists" did not share this same view and the result of the debate made it clear that regular
forces were exempted from use, and the President and Congress could only intervene with
federalized state militias.24
As in Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, this article contends that the
executive branch is prohibited from using regular military forces to protect against domestic
violence. These articles fulfilled the intent of the drafters of the Constitution to avoid the necessity
of a large standing army by empowering the President and Congress to task the state militias to
keep the peace. Shortly after the adoption of the U. S. Constitution, President Washington and the
Congress found it necessary to use the militia as outlined in these articles of the Constitution to
deal with the Whiskey Rebellion in the state of Pennsylvania.
2. The Whiskey Rebellion
In 1791, a growing dissatisfaction to the taxation system in Pennsylvania tested
the constitutional right of the federal government to intervene, at the request of a state, to put
down insurrection. Earlier in the year, the federal government had leveled a
23 James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay, The Federalist Papers, (New
York, NY: Viking Penguin Inc., 1987), 114-115.
24 Coakley, 13-15.
heavy excise tax on distilled spirits. Pennsylvania residents opposed this tax because distilling
spirits was considered the livelihood of the population and a major source of income.25 Within a
year, growing opposition to this tax escalated from tarring and feathering tax collectors to open
defiance of this new federal law. The high tide of the rebellion occurred when 7,000-15,000 men
supporting the now open rebellion gathered at Pittsburgh, and threatened to riot and destroy the
city if demands were not met.26 The federal government's growing concern for this situation
forced President Washington and Congress to call upon Articles I and IV of the U.S. Constitution,
which gave them power to intervene at the request of a state's government to quell insurrection
and enforce federal laws. As a result, Washington federalized the state militias of Pennsylvania,
New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia, and personally took command of a total force of 15,000
men.27 This body of federalized militia marched on Pittsburgh into the rebellion stronghold,
essentially ending the civil disturbance without bloodshed.
The actions of the federal government during the 1791 Whiskey Rebellion
upheld the federal government's power to use military force to execute domestic peace keeping
missions; although these peace keeping missions were accomplished without regular military
forces. The first use of federal land and naval forces in domestic peace keeping did not occur
until fifteen years later, during the Burr Conspiracy. This incident gave rise to the
realization that the state militias were not capable of addressing wide
25 John A. Carrol and Mary W. Ashworth, First in Peace, Vol. 7 of George
Washington (New York, NY: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1957), 183.
26 Coakley, 35.
27 Schaffter, 2.
spread insurrection, and that the President needed federal military assistance in addition to the
3. 1807 modifying Act to the U.S. Constitution
Prior to 1807, it was illegal for the federal government to employ regular forces
in domestic peace keeping. In this year, President Jefferson and Congress signed into law the
1807 Act giving the federal government explicit power to use federal army and naval forces in
domestic cases involving insurrection and obstruction to federal law.
The foundation for the 1807 Act came as a result of Jefferson's inability to
effectively use state militias to deal with the Burr Conspiracy. In 1806, Aaron Buff was
attempting to raise a military force predominantly in the West and in some Eastern states in order
to gain power. His plan called for the overthrow of the existing government in Washington, D.C.,
seizure of the federal arsenal, and the seizure of the country's monetary funds. If this did not
succeed, Buff's plan was to travel by ship to New Orleans and proclaim Louisiana and the
Western states free from the Union.28 Because of the magnitude of the situation and that Buffs
followers were geographically dispersed, Jefferson found it difficult to call on any particular
state or states' militias to effectively deal with the insurrection. He therefore proposed to Congress the 1807 Act which stated,
That in all cases of insurrection or obstruction to the laws, either of the United
States or of any individual State or Territory, where it is lawful for the President of
the United States to call forth the militia for the purpose of suppressing such
insurrection or of causing the laws to be duly executed, it shall be lawful for him to
employ, for the same purposes, such part of the land and naval force of the United
States as shall be judged necessary, having first observed all the prerequisites of
the law in that respect.29
28 Thomas P. Abernethy, The Burr Conspiracy (New York, NY: Oxford University
Press, 1954), 40.
29 Coakley, 80-83.
Congress signed the 1807 Act into law and legalized the use of federal military forces to deal
with domestic disorder. Regular land and naval forces could now be used as long as the basic
tenants of the Constitution contained in Articles I and IV were adhered to as pertaining to the
powers of the President and Congress to prevent rebellion, insurrection, and enforce federal
The years following the Buff Conspiracy and the 1807 Act provided few
occurrences for the use of regular forces in domestic peace keeping.30 The 1842 Doff Rebellion
served as the first major challenge to the 1807 Act. The Dorr Rebellion required the ruling of
the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of the federal government to use federal military
forces in domestic peace keeping.
4. Legislation Tested and Upheld in the 1842 Dorr Rebellion
In Rhode Island, an organization rivaling the existing state government claimed
legitimacy by holding elections, and electing their representatives as Rhode Island's new
governing body. This "legislative body" under Thomas Wilson Dorr, placed Rhode Island in the
odd position of having two state governing bodies.31 In order to quell the growing support Doff
received, Samuel King the legal governor, called out the state militia and passed the Algerian Act.
This act made it punishable by fine and imprisonment to participate with Dorr in his governing
body.32 During Governor King's attempt to quell the insurrection, military forces under L.M.
Borden broke into, and substantially damaged the home of Martin Luther, an ardent Dorr
partisan. In 1849 in a trespassing suit (Luther
30 Coakley, 91.
31 Robert J. Morgan, A Whig Embattled: The Presidency Under John Tyler
(Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1954), 97-98.
32 Coakley, 121.
v. Borden), the Supreme Court ruled that the President of the United States, under the U.S.
Constitution and the 1807 Act, had power to aid individual states by using state militias and federal
forces to preserve the peace.33 In the case of Luther v. Borden, the highest court upheld the rights
of the federal government as articulated by the Constitution and the 1807 Act to use federal
military forces in domestic peace keeping. During the Civil War Reconstruction, the country again
witnessed the authority of the federal government to intervene with federal forces to keep the
B. POSSE COMITATUS ACT OF 1878
An historical review of the events between the Dorr rebellion and the Posse Comitatus
Act of 1878 show a number of examples where civil authorities used regular military forces
without the express permission of the federal government. Earlier, the use of the Navy, Army,
and even U.S. Marines in domestic peace keeping, began shortly after the drafting of the
Constitution when federal marshals were given power to call the military to service as a posse
comitatus. Federal marshals could call as a member of a posse, any "able bodied" man to enforce
federal law. This included members of the state militia and federal troops within their jurisdiction.
When called, members of the posse would act under orders from the federal marshal, and not the
federal government. Later, the military's service during the Reconstruction period, and during the
Labor Strikes of 1877, gave way to the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878. This act redefined how
federal military forces could be used by civil authorities in keeping the peace or enforcing federal
33 Schaffter, 3.
1. Posse Comitatus and the Fugitive Slave Law
As early as 1850, federal marshals began to call upon the militia, regular army,
and Marine forces as part of a posse comitatus to enforce the Fugitive Slave Law. This law
made it possible for southern slave owners to have runaway slaves returned by federal
marshals.34 In the Northern states, because of strong abolitionist feelings, federal marshals found
it necessary to call out a posse to aid in enforcing the Fugitive Slave Law. Marshals soon began
to call upon regular forces with greater frequency, because they were well suited to enforce the
Fugitive Slave Law. The Burn's Incident of 1854 aptly illustrates the use of the militia and the
regular military as a posse by federal marshals.
Burns, a runaway slave from Virginia, had stowed away on a ship and sailed to
Boston, Massachusetts. His owner located him in Boston, and by invoking the Fugitive Slave
Law, requested his return to Virginia by federal marshals. Due to bitter opposition to slavery in
Massachusetts, federal marshals were compelled to organize a posse comitatus to keep the peace
while complying with the Fugitive Slave Law. As a result, marshals raised a posse consisting of
1,000 militia, and 180 Marines and soldiers to prevent abolitionists from freeing Burns.35
The Burns incident heightened a growing concern in Congress on the use of
federal military forces as a posse. At the request of the Senate, the U.S. Attorney General
reviewed U.S. law, and defined when federal marshals could use regular forces as
a posse comitatus. U.S. Attorney General Caleb Cushing issued this opinion:
A Marshal of the United States, when opposed in the execution of his duty, by
unlawful combinations, has authority, to summon the entire able bodied force of
his precinct, as a posse comitatus. The authority comprehends, not only
34 Coakley, 129.
35 Coakley, 135-137.
bystanders and other citizens generally, but any and all organized armed forces,
whether militia of the state, or officers, soldiers, sailors, and Marines of the United
This precedent set by the U.S. Attorney General initiated the convenient and often indiscriminate
use of military forces by federal marshals and state governing authorities. President Pierce
reiterated in 1856 that U.S. Attorney General Cushing's posse comitatus doctrine did not apply
"where state, and not federal law was involved." He also made it clear that the use of federal
military forces by state authorities must meet the criteria previously set forth by the Constitution
and the 1807 Act.37 Even with this understanding, state authorities used federal military forces
when they could not impel the President to commit federal forces under the articles of the U.S.
Constitution or the 1807 Act. This circumvention of the U.S. Constitution and the 1807 Act
created a dilemma for law makers which became apparent during the Reconstruction period and
the Labor Strikes of 1877.
2. Use of the Regular Military as a Posse Comitatus
The period of time between the 1866 Reconstruction and the violent Labor
Strikes of 1877, required the government to constantly use federal military forces to keep the
peace. During this period, the country experienced violent, widespread civil unrest never
witnessed before in our nations history and represents an escalation in the use of military force to
quell domestic unrest. The Reconstruction period required the federal military to act in place of
civil authorities until proper state governments could be established, and the 1877 labor strikes
required the military to keep the peace during
36 C.C. Andrews, ed., Opinions of the Attorneys General of the United States
(Washington, D.C.: Robert Farnham, 1856), 272-274.
37 Coakley, 137.
violent labor disputes. The military's involvement in the 1877 labor strikes finally forced law
makers to draft legislation removing the authority local officials possessed over the military
provided by the posse comitatus doctrine.
a. Civil War Reconstruction
After the Civil War, the federal government divided the Southern states
into military districts to maintain order until residents elected new state governments. This
difficult transition period between military and civil rule required the direct involvement of
military forces because of violent unrest.38 Opposing political sentiments and racial strife caused
this civil unrest. Riots in many of the major cities occurred when political groups attempted to
disrupt the newly elected state governments with armed force. The resulting riots often spread
to surrounding rural areas as it did in Mobile, Alabama in 1869.
Two days after the Alabama state election, newly elected Republicans
held a meeting to adopt a state constitution. The meeting was forcefully interrupted by an armed
group from the opposing political party, and a riot lasting the night ensued until federal troops
intervened.39 This pattern of unrest repeated itself in almost every major city in the South during the
Reconstruction period, taxing the ability of federal forces to keep the peace.
The clashes between blacks and whites, and the violent opposition
between struggling political parties required the rapid intervention of federal forces. Often,
military commanders used their own judgment in determining under what
38 U. S. Congress, Senate, Federal Aid in Domestic Disturbances 1787-1903, 67th
Cong., 2d sess., 1922, Committee Print, 90-91.
39 U. S. Congress, Senate, Federal A id in Domestic Disturbances 1787-1903, 109.
circumstances and intensity to intervene. During this time, military commanders in the field often
acted without guidance from the federal government as the chain of command from the President
to federal military forces was not always clear.40 In certain instances, civilians sued individual
soldiers and the federal government because of their peace keeping actions.41 The Reconstruction
period initiated the concern of the federal government to more closely define who possessed the
authority to control military forces during domestic peace keeping missions. It was not until the
Labor Strikes of 1877, when the wholesale use of the federal military under the auspices of the
posse comitatus doctrine motivated the government to finally initiate legislation.
b. Labor Strikes of 1877
The Labor Strikes of 1877 resulted in the drafting of the Posse
Comitatus Act of 1878, eliminating the authority the posse comitatus doctrine held over military
forces. In Martinsburg, West Virginia in 1877, railroad firemen and brakemen commenced a
strike in protest of a ten percent wage reduction. The strike quickly spread along the Baltimore
and Ohio railroad network and shut down the major railroad hubs in six states.42 Railroad traffic
essentially halted east of the Mississippi. The response by state authorities to prevent further
damage to the railroad lines and hubs caused considerable domestic unrest.43 Riots occurred in
Baltimore and Pittsburgh when the governors called out the local militia to quell disturbances.
The state militia of Pennsylvania fired on an angry crowd in response to stone throwing. The
mob in turn
40 Coakely, 344.
41 Jerry M. Cooper, The Army and Civil Disorders (Westport, CT: Greenwood
Press, 1980), 84.
42 U.S. Congress, Senate, Federal Aid in Domestic Disturbances 1787-1903, 162.
43 Cooper, 5.
caused eight to ten million dollars in damages to the railroad hub.44 The spreading unrest in six
states forced the President to commit one half of the U. S. Army to restore order.
Many of the requests for federal assistance came as result of the posse
comitatus doctrine and not in the manner that the drafters of the U.S. Constitution had envisioned.
In an attempt to quell unrest, federal marshals called in regular forces stationed within their
jurisdiction as a posse to enforce the law until the governor could properly request federal troops
from the President.45 The overall command and control of these forces became confused due to
the difference in command structure for a force called as a posse comitatus, or a force called by
the President as outlined by the U.S. Constitution.46 The Labor Strikes of 1877 served as the final
catalyst for federal legislation to eliminate the authority of anyone other than the President and
Congress to use federal forces in domestic peace keeping.
3. Posse Comitatus Act of 1878
The President and Congress passed the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 to restore
the "old rules" which limited the circumstances for using federal forces in domestic peace
keeping. This legislation clarified the chain of command, forcing military commanders to exercise
discretion by waiting for orders from Washington, D.C. prior to committing forces.47 The posse
comitatus legislation did not limit the existing powers of the President or Congress. Their powers
to use federal forces in domestic peace keeping remained the same under the Constitution and the
1807 Act. The posse comitatus
44 U.S. Congress, Senate, Federal Aid in Domestic Disturbances 1787-1903, 167.
45 Bennett M. Rich, The Presidents and Civil Disorder (Menasha, WE George
Banta Publishing Company, 1941), 77.
46 Rich, 84.
47 Coakley, 341.
legislation forbid state governing bodies from using federal forces in dealing with domestic issues
without the express order of the President .48 The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878
From and after the passage of this act it shall not be lawful to employ any part of the
Army of the United States as a posse comitatus, or otherwise, for the purpose of
executing the laws, except in such cases and under such circumstances as such
employment of said force may be expressly authorized by the Constitution or by act of
With the passage of the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, use of federal military
forces by civil authorities outside of the Constitution and the 1807 Act became illegal.
This legislation returned the use of federal forces to the President and Congress
exclusively, and eliminated the rights of federal marshals to use the military as a posse.
The Presidents in the years following the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 (1879-1941)
found it necessary to continue employing regular military forces within the structure of the
Constitution and the 1807 Act to prevent rebellion and insurrection. Most civil disturbances
revolved around labor disputes in various industrial sectors. In most of these labor disputes,
violence invariably erupted between workers and corporation management, resulting in the
deployment of federal troops to keep the peace. This period is full of examples of federal troops
successfully restoring order, such as the Telluride and Goldfield Colorado mining strikes; the steel
strike at Gary, Indiana; the West Virginia coal field strikes; and the 1941 North American
Aviation strike. The unrest which resulted from these strikes was brought under control by federal
troops requested by the state governor in accordance with the U.S. Constitution and the 1807 Act.
48 Cooper, 83.
49 Coakley, 342.
The federal military continued to establish restrictions and regulations governing
the local commander's employment of units in domestic peace keeping, as called for by the Posse
Comitatus Act. In 1894, some officers were ignorant of the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, and this
situation required General John M. Schofield to educate his officers through telegrams and Army
regulations. In so doing, General Schofield ensured that federal forces employed as a domestic
peace keeping force acted under the direction of the President, and not local officials.50
The use of regular forces during this period was not without instances of
unlawful actions by the military. In Idaho's Coeur d'Alene mining region in 1899, federal troops
inadvertently sided with mine owners and unfairly treated striking miners. They conducted illegal
search and seizures, unlawfully arrested and imprisoned strikers, and established and
administered a prison camp.51 However, this incident was the exception rather than the rule that
typified the use of federal troops in domestic peace keeping from 1879 to 1941.
The domestic peace keeping policy established by the Constitution, the 1807
Act, and the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, remained relatively unchanged from World War II
to present. Even during the tumultuous rioting in the 1960s and 1970s, state civil authorities
required the intervention of federal forces to restore order. When governors could not restore
order in their states using the National Guard and law
50 Cooper, 104-105.
51 In this particular instance, military forces were seen as an instrument of the state
officials and mine owners. Actions by the military forces unknowingly perpetuated the
situation and did not accomplish the peace keeping mission. An investigation after these
incidents reiterated that the military's responsibility was merely to restore and maintain
order to allow civil officials to make arrests and to enforce the law. For information see
enforcement personnel, the President would authorize the deployment of federal troops which
were able to restore law and order in riot areas.52 Additional changes in the use of federal
military forces aiding law enforcement personnel did not occur until early 198 1, with the
passage of a modification to the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878.
C. 1981 MODIFICATION OF THE POSSE COMITATUS ACT
The discussion of the 1981 Amendment to the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 is germane
because it provides further legal definitions of how U.S. military personnel and equipment may be
used in the law enforcement arena. This discussion is helpful because it provides the foundation of
the DoD's current domestic peace keeping policy described in chapter III.
1. Purpose of the Legislation
The sharp increase in illegal drug use in the 1960s and 1970s became a growing
concern in this country. With the overwhelming task of combating illegal drug use, the federal
government searched for methods to curtail drug distribution and smuggling. The amendment to
the Posse Comitatus Act clarified the cooperation between the military and law enforcement
agencies.53 This modification defines the use of military personnel and equipment in a law
enforcement role and discusses how the military may legally proceed while working with law
52 The military provided a very credible force due to fire discipline and combat
experience that many of the units received during recent tours in Viet Nam. For more
insight on this discussion, see Isenberg, 72.
53 Paul Jackson Rice, "New Laws and Insights Encircle the Posse Comitatus Act,
unpublished research paper (Carlisle Barracks, PA: U.S. Army War College, 1983), 2.
2. Act of 1981
The Amendment of 1981 to the Posse Comitatus Act states that the military
can provide equipment and facilities only in situations where military personnel are not used in an
active law enforcement role. Further, the military may provide training and expert military advisors
to law enforcement personnel, but military personnel cannot be placed in charge of any law
enforcement operation.54 It is clear that this modifying amendment reinforces the indirect role of
the federal military in supporting law enforcement personnel while performing domestic peace
keeping missions. Military personnel have no authority to arrest, or conduct search and seizure of
property while in the execution of domestic peace keeping operations. The military's role in a
domestic peace keeping mission is relegated to one of support. The military cannot perform police
or judicial functions unless martial law is declared.55 Their mission is to overcome organized
resistance to the enforcement of laws by aiding federal authorities and local law enforcement
personnel. The military may provide assistance while law enforcement personnel make arrests,
but the military cannot make arrests.56 The relegation of the U.S. Marine Corps to a support role
was articulated by the Director of the FBI in a recent lecture. Director Freeh stated that in
domestic peace keeping missions, the military would be used strictly to support law enforcement,
and would not have the powers of arrest, or conduct search and seizure.57 The 1981
Amendment to the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878
54 Rice, 3-5.
55 Schaffter, 140.
56 Coakley, 348.
57 Director Freeh's comments were made during the Erskine Lecture Series,
sponsored by the Marine Corps University on 16 November, 1994. Director Freews
comment was in response to a question regarding how the FBI perceived the use of
military forces in aiding law enforcement during periods of civil unrest.
is important, because it establishes a limitation on the powers the military possesses when called
to duty as a domestic peace keeping force,
In the years following the American Revolution, the founding fathers debated the role of
military force in enforcing federal law and keeping the peace. Early domestic disturbances such
as the Shays' Rebellion, resulted in the drafting of Articles I and IV of the U.S. Constitution
discussed in this chapter. These civil disturbances impressed upon the drafters of the Constitution
that a military force would be necessary to quell civil unrest and to keep the peace. The
Constitution stipulated that state militias were the only military forces that could be used in
domestic peace keeping missions. The adverse experience with the occupying British Army
during Colonial America provided this impetus.
It was not until 1807, during the Burr Conspiracy, that President Jefferson suggested
using federal troops in addition to state militias during domestic peace keeping. The use of federal
forces came as a direct result of the wide spread threat of insurrection that former Vice
President Burr posed to the country. During the Burr Conspiracy, state militias were unable to
cope with the domestic threat of this rebellion. As a result, the 1807 Act made it lawful for the
President to use any necessary land or naval forces to suppress insurrection and to keep the
peace within the country's boundaries. The ease at which Congress and the President passed this
law clearly demonstrates that the military's role in domestic peace keeping can easily expand to
extreme threats to our domestic security in the future.
The 1807 Act was not the first use of federal forces in domestic peace keeping. The
posse comitatus doctrine made it possible for federal marshals to call troops individually or as a
unit to serve as a posse to enforce federal law. Marshals routinely used the military as a posse to
enforce the Fugitive Slave Law prior to the Civil War. Unfortunately, this made it convenient for
civil authorities to call into service any federal military troops located in their jurisdiction without
the prior advice or consent of the President. This dilemma prompted the passing of the Posse
Comitatus Act of 1878 which made it illegal to use federal military forces as a posse comitatus
except under the provisions already authorized by the U.S. Constitution and the 1807 Act. Finally,
the 1981 Amendment to the Posse Comitatus Act clarified the military's limited role in supporting
law enforcement. These limitations will be discussed further in the following chapters showing
the impact on the military's ability to effectively meet the challenging demands of domestic peace
This chapter showed that the President can use any and all federal military forces in
domestic peace keeping missions to enforce federal laws, quell insurrection, and keep the peace,
Under the auspices of the U.S. Constitution, the 1807 Act, and the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878,
the President retains command of these forces during their use. These laws formalize the chain of
command from the local military commander to the President functioning as the Commander in
Chief Chapter I discussed the inevitable use of Marine forces in executing domestic peace
keeping missions for a variety of reasons. This chapter provided the constitutional framework
which authorizes the President and Congress to commit U.S. Marines in a domestic peace
keeping environment under the U.S. Constitution and subsequent legislation. This is
important because in the past, the President used the regular military to keep the
peace in many violent unrests, even during the Reconstruction Period and 1877 Labor
Riots where there was no peace to keep. This historic use of the military as a
domestic peace keeping force, is an indicator that the U.S. Marine Corps will
be called upon to react to violent domestic disturbances in the 1990s and beyond. This historic
precedent should also serve as an impetus to prepare, train, and equip for this mission to ensure
success against the threat of widespread domestic disturbance. Next, chapter III will discuss the
limitations placed on the Marine Corps as they prepare and execute this difficult peace time
III. DEFINING CRITERIA FOR USMC INVOLVEMENT
IN DOMESTIC PEACE KEEPING
With the mission constitutionally defined, it is logical to next address the defining and
limiting criteria articulated by the DoD and the U.S. Marine Corps. Chapter III presents the
peculiar nature of domestic peace keeping which must be taken into account while preparing for
this difficult mission. The research next examines the DoD position in pertinent DoD documents
and directives, and finally this chapter provides a perspective on the U.S. Marine Corps' selection
of forces in executing this mission. The purpose of Chapter III is to analyze the methods used by
the DoD and U.S. Marine Corps to provide a domestic peace keeping capability as
constitutionally defined in Chapter II. This chapter lays the foundation in order to identify and
discuss significant issues the U.S. Marine Corps must resolve to provide a domestic peace
A. THE NATURE OF DOMESTIC PEACE KEEPING
Domestic peace keeping is arguably one of the most difficult peace time missions the
military performs. The difficulties arise from the requirements that must be met prior to deploying
military forces. Not only must military units prepare for this mission because of the characteristics
of domestic peace keeping, but training must be compatible with law enforcement methods.
Formal relations between the military and civilian authorities must also be established prior to civil
1. Mission Characteristics
Civilian authorities must realize that when a certain threshold of violence is
reached, the military should be called upon to aid in restoring order.58 This suggests that the military
will rapidly deploy to civil disturbance areas with little warning, and little understanding of the
mission and overall situation. Before a governor's request for help, the level of violence achieved
by the riot will be substantial, because calling for federal military aid is a sensitive issue. It clearly
displays a lack of control by elected officials. In most cases, civil authorities will request U.S.
Marine forces as a last resort, and well after violence is out of control. During the 1960s riots,
state governors were reluctant to call in military forces. When they finally did, the military was
tasked with an already deteriorated situation. This required the almost immediate deployment of
forces without carefully working out the command and control structure, rules of engagement
(ROE), or mission tasking issues.59 This rapid tasking characteristic affords little time, if any, for
commanders anticipating these missions to conduct unit training in preparation for the mission.
Marine units identified as capable of performing domestic peace keeping missions should be
prepared and trained prior to their employment to civil unrest areas.
Military forces experienced this during the recent Los Angeles riots. In
anticipation of the riots, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) drafted a letter for the
mayor's signature declaring Los Angeles a formal emergency. This allowed a rapid request for
the National Guard and military immediately after civil unrest broke out.60
58 National Advisory Committee on Criminal Justice Standards and Goals, "Report of
the Task Force on Disorders and Terrorism, " (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government
Printing Office, 1976), 56.
59 Jorden, 174.
60 Robert Vernon, L.A. Justice (Colorado Springs, CO: Focus on the Family
Understandably, military commanders must make preparations with civil authorities well
before the requirement for military intervention in order to successfully execute their
domestic peace keeping mission.
Similarly, the type of mission the military is being asked to perform must be
defined prior to committing forces. Peace keepers should not be sent into areas lightly
armed where there is no peace. The former Secretary of Defense, Mr. Caspar
Weinberger, stated that the U.S. should not confuse the mission to quell civil unrest with
any other missions such as humanitarian assistance or disaster relief.61 Although these
comments were intended for peace keeping missions abroad, they are pertinent in the
domestic arena. Military commanders must understand the rapid response requirement of
civil unrest, and have a clear conception of the mission prior to deployment. By
accomplishing these two requirements, the peace keeping force will successfully
coordinate their efforts with the law enforcement tactics used to restore order during civil
2. Law Enforcement Requirements
Law enforcement personnel are trained to act in a specific manner when
performing a crowd dispersal function. The same riot control tactics must be used by the
military to complement law enforcement.62 By understanding and training with the same
peace keeping techniques as that of law enforcement, the military can prevent an
escalation of violence by avoiding improper actions that could further incite rioting. The
Publishing, 1993), 163.
61 Caspar W. Weinberger, "How to Lose a Peace Keeping Force," Forbes, 29 August
62 Gary T. Marx, "Civil Disorder and the Agents of Social Control," Journal of
Social Issues 26, no. I (1970): 175.
only method in which Marine units can hope to act in the same manner as law enforcement is to
train using the same techniques that law enforcement utilize.
The 1960's riots provide two examples of the lack of preparation by
National Guard units in training to law enforcement standards. During the 1967 riots in Watts
and Newark, tanks indiscriminately strafed buildings in response to sporadic sniper fire.63 During
the same summer in Detroit, National Guard units used deadly force to enforce Michigan state
laws. As a result, looters and arsonists were fired upon.64 In both of these instances, the National
Guard's actions provoked a greater violent response from rioters. Had the National Guard
training been more coordinated with law enforcement methods, the difficulties encountered could
have been avoided. By tailoring training methods to law enforcement standards, the military will
be more capable of supporting civil authorities in achieving their desired end state.
3. Civilian Control of Military Forces
Civilian control over military forces used in domestic peace keeping is essential
in restoring order with minimum further disturbance. The military is trained and equipped with
such substantial fire power that if unleashed without constraints, could inadvertently create
severe damage. If the military is in control, the situation would take on the appearance of a
military state or martial law, which would be looked on unfavorably by the general public.65
However, as the level of domestic violence escalates into a more serious threat to our domestic
security, the general public may not only
63 Isenberg, 17.
64 Steven E. Ambrose, and James A. Barber, Jr., The Military and American Society
(New York, NY: The Free Press, 1972), 252.
65 Coakley, 348.
tolerate, but encourage a form of martial law to restore law and order. For example, in the Shays'
Rebellion, New Englanders were able to put down a threat to the country's domestic security by
other New Englanders. If this were not possible, then the public would certainly authorize the use
of additional force to ensure our domestic security. This level of violence that determines the level
of military involvement is not defined. Such as when does law enforcement ask for National
Guard assistance, when does the governor request federal military forces, and when does the
military take on the responsibilities defined under martial law. The next chapter provides a
discussion on this important issue.
At the request of civil authority, the military is called in to restore order, or to aid
law enforcement in enforcing federal law. It is then logical that the military receive guidance from
the civil authority which initially requested their assistance. In this respect, civil authority must
exercise some form of control over employed military forces in much the same manner as our
political leaders exercise control over the military during time of war. Since civilian authorities
ultimately assume responsibility for the consequences of using troops in quelling unrest, they
should provide that guidance for the military.
Although the President is designated the Commander in Chief of the military, he
must provide decentralized control of military units engaged in domestic peace keeping. Civilian
control is exercised over the military through written guidance drafted by both the DoD and the
U.S. Marine Corps.66 This guidance aids military commanders
66 This guidance is found in several instructions and directives drafted by the JCS,
DoD, and the Marine Corps. Further information may be found in DoD Directives
3025.12 and 5525.5, Chairman of the JCS Instruction 3216.01, and Marine Corps Order
involved in peace keeping missions to provide a capability without violating the Articles of the U.S.
Constitution or the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878.
B. DOD GUIDANCE ON DOMESTIC PEACE KEEPING
Due to the complex and political nature of using military forces in domestic peace
keeping, the Secretary of Defense, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Commandant,
U.S. Marine Corps, provide advice on the use of Marine forces in assisting civil authorities. This
section presents the specific written guidance by members in, and out of the chain of command
in order to familiarize the reader with the requirements placed on units executing domestic peace
1. DoD Guidance
DoD Directive 3025.12 discusses the relationship between the President, the
Department of Justice (DoJ), and the DoD, in dealing with requests for military support; and
military interaction with the DoJ in providing this support. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Instruction (CJCSl) 3216.01 describes the relationship between the Secretary of Defense and the
Secretary of the Army as the executive agent for military assistance for civil disturbances; and
more importantly, the manner in which the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) provides
forces for domestic peace keeping missions. Finally, DoD Directive 5525.5 clarifies issues
regarding military assistance to law enforcement agencies and describes the limiting factors built
into the U.S. Constitution and the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878.
a. DoD Directive 3 025.12 and CJCSI 3216. 01
Although the primary responsibility for quelling civil unrest falls under the
authority of the state and local governments, the President issued an Executive Order designating
the Attorney General of the United States, and the Secretary of Defense as the primary officials
tasked with planning and executing military assistance for civil disturbances.' The President must
grant authorization to use military force in all cases with the exception of extreme emergency
situations where military commanders can use their initiative and employ forces
. To prevent loss of life, or wanton destruction of property, or to restore governmental
functioning and public order.
. When state or local authorities are unable or decline to provide protection to federal
property or federal government functions.
Although these two instances provide the only emergency exceptions, commanders must
request authorization from the President while they provide military assistance for civil
The DoD responds to requests from civil authorities, and the DoJ serves
the President as the coordinating authority in recommending when to use military aid and when to
release the military to return to normal duty. The Attorney General receives and coordinates
preliminary requests for military assistance and provides a formal request to the President for
adjudication. The President then determines if federal action in the form of committing military
forces is necessary, and tasks the Secretary of Defense to provide domestic peace keeping
forces.69 The Secretary of the Army is the executive
67 Department of Defense Directive 3025.12, "Military Assistance for Civil
Disturbances (MACDIS)," 4 February, 1994, 3.
68 DoD Directive 3025.12, 4.
69 DoD Directive 3025.12, 6.
agent of the Secretary of Defense tasked with military assistance for civil disturbances. The
Secretary of the Army in turn provides the liaison between the DoD and the DoJ to ensure the
military coordinates the President's wishes and guidance.
In response to requests for military assistance, the Secretary of the
Army tasks the Department of Military Support (DOMS) under the U.S. Army to act as the
principle agent in developing guidance, plans, and procedures for domestic peace keeping. The
DOMS has the Secretary of Defense's authority to commit DoD resources in domestic peace
keeping missions, in response to civilian requests received by the DoJ and approved by the
President. The DOMS however, must closely coordinate with the Chairman, JCS through the
Directorate of Operations prior to committing military forces assigned to combatant commands.
Depending on the geographical location of the civil disturbance, the
DONIS, in coordination with the Joint Staff, will assign the mission to the appropriate Commander
in Chief (CINC) of that region. The U.S. and its possessions are divided into
the following geographical boundaries under the designated CINC:
. Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Command (USCINCLANT); the Common Wealth of
Puerto Rico, the territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands, the 48 contiguous states, and the District
. Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Command (USCINCPAC); Alaska, Hawaii, and U.S.
possessions and territories in the Pacific area.
The CINC placed in charge of executing the domestic peace keeping
mission is designated as the supported CINC, and those CINCs tasked with providing units to
the supported CINC are designated as supporting CINCs. In addition, the Commander in Chief,
U.S. Special Operations Command (CINCSOC), provides the DoD response to domestic terrorist
incidents upon request. The Commander in Chief, U.S. Transportation Command (USCINCTRANS),
provides transportation to and from the civil disturbance areas as necessary. Due to
the rapid nature of response to requests for military assistance, the Chairman JCS has
authorized the direct liaison from the DOMS to the appropriate CINCs. The Chairman tasks
the CINCs to respond and provide forces to the DOMS, but not to interfere with the primary
mission of the CINCs to provide a war fighting capability.70 In turn, the appropriate service
components falling under the CINCs provide forces as necessary to meet domestic peace keeping
b. DoD Directive 5525.5
As discussed under the 1981 Modification of the Posse Comitatus Act
in Chapter II, the military cannot provide direct assistance to law enforcement personnel when
called upon to execute domestic peace keeping missions. DoD Directive 5S25.5 states that the
. Interdict a vehicle, vessel, aircraft, or other similar activity.
. Conduct search or seizure.
. Arrest, apprehend, stop and frisk, or similar activity.
. Use military personnel for surveillance or pursuit of individuals, or as under cover
agents, informants, investigators, or interrogators.71
The use of military force in domestic peace keeping is therefore limited to giving
assistance to law enforcement personnel by providing manpower. There are exceptions to
the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, but these exceptions are emergency circumstances,
70 Chairman of The Joint Chiefs of Staff Instruction 3216.01, "Military Assistance to
Civil Disturbances," 28 October, 1994, 2.
71 Department of Defense Directive 5525.5, "DoD Cooperation with Civilian Law
Enforcement Officials," 15 January, 1986, encl. (4), 3.
when law enforcement personnel cannot perform their functions. This request is granted only
after lengthy debate between the President, DoD, and the DoJ, and represents extreme situations
requiring temporary empowerment of the military to perform law enforcement activities.72 This
extreme situation deals with wide spread criminal activity and is defined as a grave threat to U.S.
domestic security. Military assistance to provide support during times of civil unrest usually does
not fall into this category. Therefore, the military is legally limited to what they can provide to law
enforcement personnel, and this problem area creates a dilemma. If the military could conceivably
execute this mission at the high end of the spectrum defined by extreme situations, then the
military should anticipate this expanded mission in terms of training and equipping. This issue is
discussed in greater detail in the next chapter.
2. U.S. Marine Corps Guidance, MCO 3440.7
To assist the CINCs in planning and executing domestic peace keeping missions,
MCO 3440.7 designates the Director of Operations, Plans, Policies and Operations Department,
Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps as the overall coordinator for administrative support to civil
authorities. MCO 3440.7 also provides the U.S. Marine Corps liaison representatives to the
DOMS as required.73 Additionally, the Director of Operations also coordinates with the Marine
forces under the respective CINCs to aid in planning and coordinating domestic peace keeping
missions. The order designates the Commanding Generals, Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic
(FMFLANT) and Pacific (FMFPAC)
72 DoD Directive 5525.5, encl. (4) 6.
73 Marine Corps Order 3440.7, "Marine Corps Assistance to Civil Authorities," I
January, 1992, 3.
as the Marine Corps Principle Planning Agents (MCPPA) on U.S. Marine Corps
assistance to civil authorities.
MCO 3440.7 stipulates that MCPPAs will not utilize reserve units in domestic
peace keeping missions while active U.S. Marine units are available. In keeping with the guidance
of DoD Directive 3025.12, commanding officers will comply with the spirit and intent of this
directive and involve Marine forces in domestic peace keeping when tasked by the CINC.
Lacking this direction, commanding officers will use Marine forces when their involvement will
prevent loss of life and wanton destruction of property.74 Marine Corps Order 3440.7 clearly
indicates that when tasked, Marine forces will rapidly deploy to support law enforcement
authorities to quell insurrection and restore order as necessary. Thus, the mission characteristics,
law enforcement requirements, and DoD guidance as previously discussed, all have a distinct
impact on the type of U.S. Marine forces selected to execute domestic peace keeping missions.
C. USMC FORCE SELECTION CRITERIA
One of the lessons learned from the Los Angeles riots of 1992 is that the nature of civil
disturbance has changed since the 1960s. In the 1960s, reactions to civil disturbances focused
more on crowd control rather than law enforcement activities, and required federal forces trained
in crowd control and dispersal tactics. However, during the Los Angeles riots, the focus turned
away from crowd control to anti-sniper and counter-terrorist tactics.75 Additionally, the threat of
drive by shootings and bombings
74 Marine Corps Order 3440.7, 4.
75 "Joint Task Force Los Angeles After Action Report," 7/12/92, under the key word
"Garden Plot," down loaded from the Joint Universal Lessons Learned System (JULLS)
posed a threat to those Marines conducting foot patrols and standing guard at stationary
outposts.76 This evolution away from crowd control to anti-sniper, vital area security, and reaction
force missions requires a different capability than that normally required in the 1960s and 1970s.
However, providing Marine forces to domestic peace keeping missions is secondary to providing
combat forces to the CINCs, and our operational tempo does not guarantee the designation of a
qualified unit to peace keeping missions.
These factors are apparent to high level decision makers because MCO 3440.7
addresses the need for Marine Corps commanders to provide any available forces for employment
to disturbance areas.77 Consequently, the possibility of employing any Marine unit to a domestic
peace keeping mission is possible, The type of unit and their level of peace keeping training will
vary in each situation. This casts doubt on the Marine Corps' ability to employ their most qualified
peace keeping forces to execute this complex mission. Although the Marine Corps prides itself on
the ability to accomplish any and all missions, using any and all Marine forces indicates that units
not specifically trained in a peace keeping mission could be used. The DoD directives and MCO
3440.7 previously discussed do not specify the type of unit to employ during military assistance to
civil authorities. Rather, the CINC or the Joint Task Force JTF) Commander select the units in a
response to an assigned mission.
Hopefully, when tasked by the CINCs, the component commanders would provide
credible units to the JTF Commander. If peace keeping trained ground combat units or military
police units were not available, the Marine Corps Regional Planning Agents
database, on 6 February 1995, II-3.
76 "Joint Task Force Los Angeles After Action Report, JULLS database, I-6.
77 Marine Corps Order 3440.7, 3.
(MCRPA) assigned as Commanding Generals, Marine Corps Bases Camp Lejeune/Camp
Pendleton would then arbitrarily select units from within the Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF)
ground combat element to execute domestic peace keeping missions.78 Because of this, ground
unit commanders should consider their units eligible to conduct domestic peace keeping missions
when tasked. This situation represents one of the dilemmas discussed in the next chapter dealing
with unit selection issues.
This chapter provided the logical follow-on discussion developed from Chapter II. The
chapter moved from the constitutional definition of domestic peace keeping to defining the criteria
of how the DoD and DoJ use military forces to assist civil authorities during periods of civil
unrest. The chapter identified the necessity of rapidly employing federal military forces into
deteriorating situations. This rapid response characteristic demonstrated the need to use U.S.
Marine units adequately trained to conduct these missions. However, due to the evolving nature
of civil unrest away from demonstrations and riots to wide spread violence and unlawful activity,
the forces now eligible by DoD and U. S. Marine Corps definitions may not be those best suited
for the mission. The increasing threat of violence also questions the limited support that Marine
units may provide as defined by U.S. Law and DoD guidance.
This chapter illustrated the chain of command from the President to the Secretary of
Defense, with consultation from the U.S. Attorney General from the DoJ. The DOMS
78 Major John Sullivan, USMC Action Officer at Head Quarters, U.S. Marine Corps,
Plans, Policies, and Operations, Future Operations Branch, interviewed by author, 8
under the Secretary of the Army serves as the primary planning agent tasking the CINCs to
provide units at the request of civilian authorities. Although this chapter provided a discussion of
the manner in which U.S. Marine forces should be employed, and which forces are best suited
according to Marine Corps planners; there exist several problem areas which require resolution
to ensure success in executing domestic peace keeping missions. Chapter IV provides an in
depth discussion on these issues and suggests possible solutions to the problems facing Marine
commanders called to execute future domestic peace keeping missions.
IV. DOMESTIC PEACEKEEPING ISSUES
The research to this point provided an overview of the constitutionality and historic use of
military forces in domestic disturbances and civil unrest. It introduced the evolving nature of civil
unrest in our inner cities, and the guidance provided by DoD and U.S. Marine Corps directives to
peace keeping forces. This effort defined the limitations placed on Marine forces in domestic
peace keeping missions and provided guidance to Marine commanders. However, when U.S.
Law and DoD guidance is compared with the tactics needed to oppose the various levels of civil
unrest, several problem areas emerge in the study of domestic peace keeping. A discussion of
these problem areas is extremely important because it will aid U.S. Marine forces to provide a
credible domestic peace keeping capability in the 1990s and beyond.
The purpose of this chapter is to analyze the data presented in the previous chapters, and
discuss several problem areas affecting U.S. Marine forces carrying out domestic peace keeping
missions. This chapter discusses force composition, legal and training issues, and provides a
discussion on command, control, and communication problems inherent to domestic peace keeping
missions. Many of these issues selected for discussion depend on the many variables of domestic
unrest. For example, choosing the correct Marine force, and training them to meet the threat
clearly depends on the level of threat. Only by establishing a criteria that defines the level of
threat can the Marine Corps adequately prepare their peace keeping forces to successfully
accomplish these missions. The next section of this chapter is devoted to defining the various
levels of peace keeping across the level of domestic violence spectrum, in order to logically
discuss the dilemmas and problems previously noted.
A. DOMESTIC PEACE KEEPING CONTINUUM
The various levels of domestic unrest in future disturbances will undoubtedly
dictate the level of force, and types of forces the government will use to restore order.
This consideration is necessary to deploy the most qualified and trained force to meet the
threat criteria. The thesis has developed a quantifiable method to determine the level of
force necessary, and link this force level to the threat the unrest poses to our national
interests. Figure 4-1 was developed to graphically depict the varying levels of civil unrest,
and the threat that this unrest poses to our national interests.
Click here to view image
Along the vertical axis of figure 4- 1, the level of violence is measured to reflect the
overall threat to the country's national interests. As the level of unrest increases, it becomes an
increasing threat to our national interest and requires a measured response by civil authorities.
Along the horizontal access, in coordination with the level of unrest, response by civil authorities is
measured in phases in order to use the appropriate amount of force to adequately address the
level of unrest corresponding to the threat to our national interests. It is important to note that the
level of unrest graphically portrayed in figure 4-1 depicts the escalation of civil unrest that
threatens our survival national interests. Obviously, not all civil unrests can be portrayed in this
manner. Less violent unrests can be depicted by a flattening curve to show that the unrest never
exceeded a threat to our peripheral national interests. The rapidity that the civil unrest reaches a
threat to our vital and survival national interests will vary, and the slope and curve depicted in
figure 4-1 will change accordingly depending on the nature and extent of the unrest.
Referring to figure 4-1, civil unrest below the peripheral level of our national interests is
relatively non-existent in the phase level I category and is classified as an daily occurrence by
law enforcement authorities to enforce local and federal law. A phase level I requirement does
not require any action by the government above normal police functions because civil unrest does
not threaten our national interests. Likewise, civil unrest escalating past our peripheral national
interests requires a limited response by civil authorities as well. For example, an unrest falling
within our peripheral national interests is "one that does not seriously affect the well-being of the
United States as a whole."79 A
79 Donald E. Nuechterlein, America Overcommitted: United States National
phase level II requirement suggests that unrest activity has reached a notable level of concern to
our national interests, but civil authorities are able to address the situation using local and federal
law enforcement personnel to curb unrest. The use of law enforcement personnel in addressing
phase level II unrest is appropriate because the civil unrest is caused primarily by those intent on
pursuing criminal activity. Many people would argue that in the major cities of our nation, the
level of unrest has reached a peripheral threat to our national interests, and is rapidly escalating to
a major threat to our national interests as seen in phase level III.
In phase level III in figure 4-1, an escalation in civil unrest can rapidly move to a major
threat to our national interests. A threat to our major national interests is one that the country
defines as important, but not crucial to the well-being of the country overall.80 If the situation is
tolerable, although distressing, it falls within a major threat to national interests and requires a
limited increase in force to deal with the unrest. To address this major threat, civil authorities
would use both federal and local law enforcement personnel in order to address the problem.
Domestic disturbances reaching phase level III are an escalation in criminal activity and civil
disobedience. The level of unrest is threatening to the public and requires both local and federal
authorities using special task forces and police units in order to control the unrest.
To this point, civil unrest falling in phase levels I, II, and III have been limited to using
law enforcement personnel in dealing with the threats to our peripheral and major national
interests. The threat of civil unrest to our vital and survival national interests will
Interests in the 1980s, (Lexington, KY: University of Kentucky Press, 1985), 13.
80 Nuechterlein, 12.
require the addition of the military and the National Guard to quell this unrest due to the increased
threat this unrest poses to the well-being of the nation. The July 1994 national security strategy
stated that the use of the military against threats to our national interests will be decisive to the
vitality and survival of our national entity.81 Figure 4-1 shows two distinct phases that require
military assistance because of the different required responses to civil unrest falling within our
vital and survival national interests. With a civil unrest threatening our vital national interests, the
addition of the military and National Guard would be made to aid law enforcement to quickly
bring unrest under control. Threats to our vital national interests are those that will cause serious
harm to the security of the nation if strong measures, including the use of the military are not
quickly taken by the government.82 Civil unrest in phase level IV can be characterized as
widespread criminal activity and rioting exceeding local and federal law enforcement's ability to
keep the peace and protect civilians and property. At this low intensity level of military
involvement, law enforcement needs the National Guard and the military to conduct law
enforcement functions to aid civil authorities in restoring order. This involvement falls under the
lower end of the spectrum in terms of the use of limited force to quell domestic disturbances and
to keep the peace. This would include those powers described in chapter III that are prohibited by
U.S. Law and DoD guidance. The current capability authorized by U.S. Law and DoD guidance
that the Marine Corps brings to the domestic peace keeping realm, are more appropriate for
phase level V responses to threats to our survival national interests rather than our vital interests.
The peace keeping continuum developed in this
81 National Security Strategy of the United States, (Washington, DC: U. S.
Government Printing Office, 1994), 10.
82 Nuechterlein, 9.
chapter would classify the Los Angeles riots as falling under a phase level IV response by civil
authorities to restore order. The difference in the capability that the Marine Corps will provide
between phase levels IV and V is important to note because it requires two very different
capabilities in response to different situations.
A level of civil unrest that threatens the very survival of our nation, would require a phase
level V involvement of the military to restore order. This particular phase represents the extreme
emergency circumstances in which the military is used during the imposition of martial law, and is
the exception to the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 discussed in the previous chapter. An example
of a phase level V response would be the use of the military to prevent a civil war or to address a
domestic threat so serious it challenges the very survival of our nation. Activities in phase level V
cross over the peace keeping boundary into the peace making realm and require an entirely
different response by the military in terms of Rules of Engagement (ROE) and basic duties in
addressing a domestic disturbance of this magnitude. The domestic peace keeping continuum
developed in this chapter can also be used to delineate a transition point for the enactment of
martial law and the changing of ROEs. Now that the domestic peace keeping continuum has
linked domestic unrest to the threat to our national interests, and provided an appropriate force
response to the unrest, it is appropriate to discuss the legal restrictions and force selection criteria
in providing a credible force.
B. LEGAL ISSUES AND FORCE SELECTION REQUIREMENTS
In the previous chapter, DoD guidance discussed the necessity of the Marine Corps to
respond with any and all military force in order to aid civil authorities in keeping
the peace. In reviewing past domestic disturbances in the nation, the majority of the large scale
unrests fall into the phase level IV response characteristics as a threat to our vital national
interests. These disturbances require the use of additional manpower to aid law enforcement
personnel in performing their duties. Not only must the military provide manpower in phase level
IV responses, but they should provide manpower in the form of personnel trained in law
enforcement methods. This creates a legal dilemma between what actions U.S. Law allows, and
what actions need to be taken by Marine forces deployed in a phase IV environment.
1. Legal Issues
The use of the Marine forces to aid law enforcement personnel in quelling civil
unrest and domestic disturbances is a logical extension of our warfighting capability. The Marine
Corps has successfully operated at the war end of the spectrum, so the deployment of military
forces at the peace keeping end is credible.83 What is not logical is restricting the military from
directly assisting law enforcement personnel as required by phase IV threats. As discussed in
Chapter III, the direct assistance of interdicting vehicles, conducting search and seizure, and
arresting, apprehending, stopping or frisking civilians is prohibited by the Posse Comitatus Act and
DoD directives. These restrictive policies are in direct conflict with the overall tactics of peace
keeping in a phase level IV response, which require forces to detain suspected enemy, and search
and confiscate weapons. These methods provide the basic protection for peace keepers and non
combatants alike. Marine forces engaged in foreign assistance peace keeping missions routinely
83 Colonel Burke, U.S. Army, "The Army Corps, III Corps Perspective," lecture
presented at the U.S. Marine Corps Command and Staff College, Quantico, VA, 6
these activities because they are not restricted by U.S. Law. Employing the same Marine force to
quell civil unrest falling in phase level IV and restricting their activities, will surely invite disaster.
This is because phase level IV requires Marine units to use law enforcement techniques in aiding
civil authorities to restore order to unrest areas.
The entire nature of civil unrest and riot activities has changed dramatically in this
country. The sophistication of gang warfare includes the proliferation of small arms and automatic
weapons, increased mobility, communications, and even rudimentary intelligence functions.
Referring to figure 4-1, this increase in capabilities by the threat quickly elevates the response to
deal with a threat to our vital national interests with this sophisticated threat. In supporting law
enforcement, the role of the military in domestic peace keeping during phase level IV has
dramatically changed. The military is moving to peace keeping actions which are coming into
conflict with current U.S. Law and DoD guidance. This conflict was never more clear than in the
Los Angeles riots which serves to demonstrate this "gray area" between adhering to U.S. Law
and performing domestic peace keeping functions as required by phase level IV response
The "gray area" between U.S. Law and domestic peace keeping tasks during the
Los Angeles riots became apparent with the detention of criminal suspects. U.S. Marines
detained civilians suspected of looting and other crimes, although this activity violated the 1981
modification to the Posse Comitatus Act. The reasoning behind this action, according to a Marine
officer participating in JTF Los Angeles, was that "we were in such close proximity and contact
with law enforcement personnel, that Marines felt comfortable law enforcement personnel would
arrive within a few minutes to actually make the arrest."84 Small unit leaders made these
judgment calls in order to effectively assist law enforcement personnel in restoring law
and order to the city of Los Angeles. In order to accomplish the mission of credibly
supporting law enforcement, U.S. Marines did what was required, even though it meant
violating DoD directives and U.S. Law.
This example illustrates that these Marine forces were sent to perform phase
level IV tasks and were successful in their mission because they conducted law enforcement
functions. U.S. Marines manning check points and protecting key areas, should be authorized to
search and seize weapons from civilians which in their judgment pose a threat to their safety. In
Los Angeles, Marines assigned to a military police company protecting a strip mall, stopped,
searched, and questioned suspicious individuals penetrating into their sector. The military police
conducted cursory body searches or frisks in order to determine the level of threat the suspect
presented.85 Although realizing these actions fell into a "gray area," Marines took the necessary
steps to safeguard themselves from potential danger. Law makers and military leaders must
closely examine this "gray area" because current legislation and DoD policy requires modification
if the Marine Corps is to provide a credible phase IV response capability. Modifications to the
law will enable military forces to effectively meet threat levels found in phase level IV. Ignoring
the widening gap or "gray area" between U.S. Law and the necessary actions of level IV forces
guarantees the failure of these missions in the future. The "gray area" will require military
participants in domestic peace keeping missions to make judgment calls in
84 Major Scott Street interview of 8 February 1995.
85 Major John Forquer, USMC, Student, U.S. Marine Corps Command and Staff
College, formerly a Military Police Company Executive Officer, interviewed by author, 16
order to do what it takes to accomplish the mission. The more risk that Marines take by making
judgment calls, the more likely these risks may call into question the legal employment of
Marine forces assigned to meet phase level IV threats.
2. Force Selection Issues
Chapter III addressed the necessity of local commanders to consider any ground
force employable to conduct domestic peace keeping missions. The "gray area" within the Posse
Comitatus Act provides a further limitation to U. S. Marine Corps force selection parameters.
Due to the sensitive nature and high profile of domestic peace keeping, the Marine forces
assigned to phase level IV responses should be those units that conduct daily training and
operations in parallel with law enforcement tactics. Those units are military police units trained in
law enforcement missions and experienced in working with the public.
Military police are already familiar with the more restrictive ROEs which
authorities will invariably establish in domestic peace keeping missions falling under phase level
IV response. Military police are trained to detain civilians and conduct personnel searches to find
and confiscate concealed weapons.86 Additionally, military police are accustomed to the constant
interaction with the public and law enforcement agencies near their bases. The very nature of
dealing with civil unrest with the most appropriately trained military force suggests the logical
choice of military police units over other Marine units.
By working with military police units rather than other Marine units, law
enforcement personnel will greatly reduce the potential for incidents resulting in
86 Major John Forquer interview of 16 February 1995.
misunderstanding basic orders. To use the Los Angeles riots as an example, a law enforcement
team issued orders to a ground Marine unit to provide cover while confronting an armed suspect
barricaded in his residence. The Marines that were issued the covering order commenced to lay
down covering fire on the face of the apartment building. Marines fired approximately 30 rounds
into the building before law enforcement personnel stopped them.87 Clearly, the definition of the
word "cover" had a different definition to what the law enforcement team wanted, and what the
Marine unit delivered. This example illustrates the requirement to use military units trained in law
enforcement techniques to meet the requirements of phase level IV threats. The forces most
suited are military police units trained similarly to law enforcement personnel, and not necessarily
any available ground unit as called for by current DoD guidance.
The selection of a Marine force to combat a level of unrest falling into phase
level V is another subject. In this particular phase, ROEs will certainly change and so will the
mission. In that regard, Marine ground combat units who have been training in the war end of the
spectrum are qualified to conduct this mission. Phase level V represents the level of combat that
Marine forces train to every day. However, the likelihood of deploying to conduct this type of
mission is remote and does not require any additional training on our part. Addressing a threat
with a phase level IV force is the most likely requirement the Marine Corps will face in future
domestic peace keeping missions. Unfortunately, phase level IV is the phase the Marine Corps is
least prepared for in terms of training.
87 Major John Forquer interview of 16 February 1995,
C. TRAINING ISSUES
As previously discussed, the Marine Corps will be required to provide a phase level IV
force capability to quell civil unrest. Therefore, we should devote training to conduct these
missions, or send only those units trained in these functions such as military police units. This may
not be possible as the number of Marine Corps military police companies is not unlimited. As a
result, the Marine Corps should provide integrated training with law enforcement personnel to
those units considered for phase level IV missions. There are two reasons for this requirement;
because of our commitment to the nation, and the emergency circumstances that can be rapidly
enacted by law makers.
Marines are committed "to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign
and domestic," as sworn to by our military oath. This commitment to defend our country and the
Constitution against domestic violence cannot be taken lightly and when called, the Marine Corps
must provide a credible force capable of fulfilling this obligation. The second reason the Marine
Corps must train to provide a phase level IV response capability is because of the emergency
response circumstances in the Posse Comitatus Act. Recalling chapter II, this act under extreme
circumstances allows law makers to intervene with military force that is temporarily granted police
powers. This emergency contingency could rapidly place Marine forces in an arena where they
have limited training and experience such as in phase level IV requirements. Because of these
factors, the Marine Corps needs to be ahead in providing a credible level IV force projection
Marines designated for these missions should undergo rigorous training in military
operations in urban terrain (MOUT). The training regimes should include techniques to
prevent drive-by shootings, suspect detention, and search and seizure techniques. These skills are
vital in ensuring that civilians and peace keepers are safeguarded from the threat we will face in
the involvement of forces in phase level IV operations. Ideally, this training will also establish the
vital liaison links between Marine units and law enforcement authorities which they will be
assisting in future domestic peace keeping operations.
Our Professional Military Education (PME) should stress the use of Marine forces in
conducting law enforcement type operations in support of civil authorities. Our resident schools
should teach proper law enforcement techniques and procedures at all levels. Officer and enlisted
alike should undergo training to effectively deploy Marine forces in response to civil authorities.
The Marine Corps University could easily integrate FBI lectures into the curriculum at Quantico
dealing with this subject to provide training across the spectrum. In addition to PME, units should
conduct realistic training with law enforcement personnel by going on command sanctioned "ride
alongs" with police in order to become familiar with their ROE when operating in the law
The next logical step in the training cycle is to develop the doctrine for operating in the
phase level IV spectrum of domestic peace keeping. In order to provide a credible domestic
peace keeping force, the Marine Corps should be leading the way in developing operating
procedures, tactics, and techniques in conducting these missions. Not only in this phase, but
preparing to move rapidly into the phase level V which necessitates a rapid change in ROEs and
procedures to deal with a gravely deteriorating situation. This training will aid Marine forces
immensely in identifying the transition point between phase levels IV and V to less restrictive
ROEs and a more permissive environment in addressing a level V threat to our national interests.
D. COMMAND, CONTROL, AND COMMUNICATIONS
The exercise of command authority during domestic peace keeping missions is difficult,
requiring close coordination between military and civil authorities. The key to conducting a
successful domestic peace keeping operation is ensuring that command rests with the appropriate
authority. The appropriate authority must coordinate the use of the military with the use of
National Guard, and law enforcement personnel. The political complexity of dealing with
domestic disorder indicates the need for civil authorities to exercise control over the military
during these periods. In a report to the President in 1976, a task force recommended that the
appropriate command relationship between the military and civil authority is to legally place the
military subordinate to civil authorities in times of unrest.88 The President, as discussed in Chapter
II, is legally empowered by the Constitution to exercise this command. However, the President is
not able to exercise effective control due to other pressing domestic and international
commitments. The President must therefore exercise his control through a senior civilian official
at the scene of the civil unrest.
Although the state governor in the affected region seems a logical choice, as early as the
1870s, Congress and senior military leaders realized that state governors were not qualified to
serve in this capacity. General Hancock in 1877, implored the President not to place elements of
Hancock's division under the command of the Pennsylvania Governor.89
88 National Advisory Committee on Criminal Justice Standards and Goals, 114.
DoD Directive 3025.12 provides guidance on the President's command authority which presents
the military commander with a dilemma. The chain of command from the President through the
CINC and down to the JTF commander is clearly defined.90 However, this command and control
structure can be confused when the President and the Attorney General appoint civilian
representatives to influence the military commander. The President can appoint a personal
representative to communicate his guidance to the military commander, and the DoJ may also
designate a Senior Civilian Representative of the U.S. Attorney General (SCRAG).91
Accordingly, the civilian representatives appointed by the President and the Attorney
General may augment, but not replace the chain of command. This situation can place the JTF
commander in an awkward situation. Not only is the JTF commander receiving guidance from the
CINC, but he will receive informal guidance from the state governor, the SCRAG, and the
President's personal representative. Figure 4-2 graphically depicts the chain of command as
delineated by DoD directives, This depiction shows the doctrinal relationship of the SCRAG
augmenting the military forces as shown by the dashed line, and the CINC maintaining overall
control of the JTF and reporting to the President.
89 Cooper, 63-64.
90 DoD Directive 3025.12, 4.
91 DoD Directive 3025.12, 7.
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In reality, the JTF commander does not exercise complete command authority as delineated from
the CINC. The Los Angeles riots demonstrated this departure from established directives by
defining the SCRAG as having authority over military forces. In a message from the Secretary
of the Army to Commander in Chief, Forces Command (CINCFORCOM), the message stated under
the mission paragraph:
Direct Joint Task Force Los Angeles to commence and conduct civil disturbance
operations in the city and county of Los Angeles and other districts of California as
tasked by Senior Civilian Representative of the Attorney General (SCRAG), Mr.
Further in the message, the tasking requested that the supported CINC report the operational
chain of command to the DOMS.92 DoD guidance provides a stated chain of command with the
SCRAG having an augmenting role as seen in figure 4-2. However,
92 Secretary of the Army message to U.S. Forces Command, subject: "Execute
Order, Oplan Garden Plot," 020359Z May 1992.
this message in reality interposes the SCRAG above the JTF commander in the chain of
command as portrayed in figure 4-3.
Click here to view image
The possibility for confusion under this situation in figure 4-3 is apparent. A military officer
assigned as the JTF commander must exercise coordination between the different civilian and
military agencies in order to successfully employ military forces. On one side of the chain of
command, the JTF commander reports through the SCRAG to the DoJ and finally to the
President. On the other side, the JTF commander reports to the CINC who in turn reports to the
President. A situation where a commander will take orders from two different authorities will
surely lead to confusion. This situation will allow the proliferation of conflicting ROEs and mission
tasking to occur, and will become even more confusing with the CINC removed from the area and
the SCRAG located in the disturbance area. To alleviate potential confusion and streamline
the command and control task, military units should use liaison officers and effective
communications to exercise control over their units
1. Liaison Officers
The forming of a JTF in a domestic setting is very similar to forming a JTF in an
international environment. There are many different organizations with various capabilities and
limitations working together for the first time. In this regard, using liaison officers will greatly
reduce the coordination burden placed on the JTF commander by the nature of the situation. The
JTF commander will require senior officers to serve within the JTF command element and
coordinate activities with the National Guard (if they are not federalized), the city police
department, county and state police units, FBI task forces, the state governor, mayor's office, and
other organizations as necessary. These liaison officers represent a vital link, providing direct
interaction between the task force command element, deployed units, and civil authorities.
The complexity of the coordination role that the liaison officers perform show the
necessity to use talented officers in these billets. The JTF commander must evaluate liaison
requirements early in the operation, and use officers familiar with these tasks. The JTF
commander can also use liaison officers to educate civil authorities in the capabilities of military
forces. Not all law enforcement personnel understand the legal limitations of the military in civil
disturbances. Liaison officers will provide this information to prevent the possible illegal use of
military forces. Similarly, liaison officers must be familiar with the methods of police agencies,
FBI units, and other task organizations in order to accurately communicate these capabilities to
the JTF commander. Using liaison officers will require the JTF commander to use a timely and
robust communication network to maintain contact with liaison officers and tactical units,
in order to accomplish effective command and control throughout the disturbance area.
The means by which a commander will execute his command authority is
through the use of adequate communication equipment. Lack of appropriate communications
systems is not a new problem with domestic peace keeping; it occurred during the 1967 riots as
well as the recent Los Angeles riots. During the 1967 riots, the U.S. Army used communication
equipment operating on frequencies not used by police units. As a result, the military and the
police could not communicate and coordinate efforts. U.S. Army units could not identify
boundary areas or riot perimeters; and this caused a great deal of confusion between law
enforcement units, the U.S. Army, and National Guard units in coordinating riot control efforts.
Lack of communication created friendly fire incidents when one of two adjoining units became
engaged in anti-sniper operations and could not communicate their actions to the adjoining unit.
The adjoining unit mistook this fire as sniping against their unit and indiscriminately responded in
kind. These type of unfortunate incidents increased casualties and damage.93
During the Los Angeles riots, JTF Los Angeles units possessed adequate radios;
however, these radios did not operate efficiently in the heavily built-up area of a
modern city.94 As a result, Marine units established other procedures which enabled them
93 Marx, 175.
94 Major Scott Street, USMC Action Officer at Head Quarters, U.S. Marine Corps,
Plans, Policies, and Operations, Security and Law Enforcement Branch, interviewed by
to communicate with higher and subordinate units. Military units located with law
enforcement officers used their communication nets to relay messages when military
radios did not work. This action quickly overloaded normal police frequencies by
introducing additional radio traffic on an already strained communication network.
To overcome the communication problem, the JTF commander eventually
authorized the use of cellular telephones. Since these phones did not exist in the JTF's table of
equipment, units purchased cellular telephones and distributed them to restore communications.95
Cellular telephones also enhanced the communications between law enforcement personnel and
military units in the field. The JTF Los Angeles after action report recommends purchasing
cellular telephones and issuing them to units prior to deploying into urban areas. Although this
recommendation is probably not feasible with the current budget reduction efforts, it provides an
important learning point. Units deploying to modern built-up areas either in a domestic or
international arena may find their organic communications equipment not suited for the operation.
Consequently, commanders must address this issue prior to deployment and take action to correct
this potential shortfall. Another important issue falling within the command, control, and
communications realm is the National Guard's placement in the operation and their overall
relationship with the JTF commander.
3. National Guard Relationship
Depending on the circumstances and the degree of disorder during civil
disturbances, the National Guard may remain under the control of the state governor, or it
author, 8 February 1995.
95 Joint Task Force Los Angeles After Action Report, JULLS database, I-6.
may be federalized by the President to serve with regular military units. From a command and
control standpoint, whenever the President introduces military forces into a civil disturbance area
as he would do in phase levels IV and V, the National Guard should be federalized. This provides
a convenient hand-off point and federalizing the National Guard makes it easier to place them
under the command of the JTF commander and thereby preserves a unity of command among all
military forces. Although the President reserves the right to federalize the National Guard, it is
not done without some coordination problems which may hinder the JTF mission.96
Federalizing the National Guard places them under the operational control of the
JTF commander, but relieves the state from providing administrative control over the now
federalized units. This situation requires the JTF commander to provide administrative control
over the federalized National Guard units already deployed and on the way. The JTF
commander is already tasked with a great deal of responsibility and to add another large unit
under the JTF commander's administrative control further complicates the task. The JTF Los
Angeles mission provided a good method of solving this problem. The CINC tasked another U.S.
Army command to perform all administrative control functions necessary for the federalized
National Guard, and simultaneously placed them under the operational control of the JTF
commander.97 This procedure worked in this case because of the mission's short duration.
However, the administrative processing of the National Guard into and out of federal service
was time consuming and administratively manpower intensive. The CINC had to call in additional
96 Ambrose, 247.
97 Joint Task Force Los Angeles After Action Report, JULLS database, II-6.
combat service support units to provide administrative, medical, and financial support to the
National Guard. The computer information systems designed by the U.S. Army to maintain pay
and medical records are not compatible with National Guard systems and this resulted in
accountability problems. This problem would be exceedingly more difficult had the CINC tasked
the Marine Corps with administrative support of National Guard units.
This chapter examined the research presented in chapters II and III and provided an
analysis of the Marine Corps' capability to respond to future domestic peace keeping missions. In
this chapter, the research developed a domestic peace keeping continuum which links civil unrest
to its threat to our national interests in order to provide a phased level of force to meet the threat.
Figure 4-1 graphically depicts the various phase levels I through V in which civil unrest may be
categorized. Phase levels I and II require the continued effort of law enforcement to deal with
civil unrest. Phase level III introduces the National Guard to a deteriorating situation in order to
assist law enforcement. It is not until phase levels IV and V that the Marine Corps should
introduce forces to assist law enforcement. However, the difference between phase levels IV and
V require a different force capability.
Phase level IV requires forces trained in search, seizure, arrest, and apprehension in
order to provide a credible force under this phase level. Although these actions are against U.S.
Law as dictated in the Posse Comitatus Act and DoD policy, these activities are required to
safeguard peace keepers and civilians, while aiding civil authorities in restoring law and order.
Because the majority of civil unrest where the military becomes involved falls within the
phase level IV criteria, Marine forces will be tasked with performing these missions. Therefore,
the Marine Corps should get involved in developing and maintaining a credible law enforcement
training program concentrating on law enforcement skills. On the other hand, the Marine Corps
has operated in the spectrum of phase level V for so long that we do not need to train our
forces in the more permissive ROEs and less restrictions of the use of force.
The research showed that the command structure of a domestic peace keeping JTF is
complex and difficult to control. This chapter demonstrated that the President and the U.S.
Attorney General possess the capability to interject civilian representatives above the JTF
commander. Figure 4-2 provided a graphical depiction of the chain of command as defined by
DoD directives, and figure 4-3 showed the actual chain of command for JTF Los Angeles. This
point illustrates that even with definitive guidance, it is possible to have a chain of command
situation where the JTF commander reports to both the CINC and the SCRAG. This will have an
effect on the overall command relationship between the CINC and the JTF commander. This
situation in combination with the JTF commander's requirement to communicate with law
enforcement agencies, requires the extensive use of liaison officers. Liaison officers serve the JTF
commander by communicating the capabilities and limitations of Marine units tasked with domestic
peace keeping missions to reduce confusion between Marines and civil authorities.
This chapter identified the shortfalls of U.S. Marine Corps' communications equipment
in meeting domestic peace keeping missions. Marines should use police communication
networks and cellular telephones to overcome communication problems while operating in
the built-up areas of modern U.S. cities such as Los Angeles. Effective communications
are essential in the high profile mission of domestic peace keeping. Lack of communication
between Marine commanders and their units will require small unit leaders to make judgment calls.
The changing nature of civil unrest evolving from riot control to defending property and
combating gangs armed with sophisticated weaponry, has created a "gray area" in the law. This is
seen in phase level IV employment where U.S. Law as articulated by the U.S. Constitution, the
Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, and the 1981 amendment of the Posse Comitatus Act prohibit law
enforcement activities by Marine forces. Experience from the Los Angeles riots demonstrated the
need to grant U.S. Marine forces the legal right to detain vehicles and suspects, conduct arrests,
searches, and seizures in order to accomplish the peace keeping mission. With these powers, the
U.S. Marine Corps will be able to project a credible force to provide a domestic peace keeping
force to deal with future phase level IV threats.
V. SUMMARY OF RESEARCH AND RECOMMENDATIONS
FOR FUTURE STUDY
The research presented in this thesis identified the criteria from U.S. Law and DoD
guidance which currently limits the U.S. Marine Corps' mission in domestic peace keeping to
assisting law enforcement personnel. After defining the Marine Corps' mission, the capability that
the Marine Corps may legally employ in the domestic peace keeping arena was compared to the
capability that is needed when dealing with various levels of civil unrest. This comparison yielded
several dilemmas in terms of what the Marine Corps needs to deliver to deal effectively with civil
unrest, and what the Marine Corps may legally deliver to meet the civil unrest threat. Additionally,
the research also identified several shortfalls in the Marine Corps' capability to adequately
perform this difficult mission.
A. SUMMARY OF RESEARCH
The data was collected by performing an in-depth literary review of books, research
papers, and magazine articles dealing with the discussion of the federal military assisting civil
authorities during domestic unrest. Additionally, a review of DoD and U.S. Marine Corps
directives established criteria in which U.S. Marine forces will limit their support to civil
authorities during domestic peace keeping missions. The author also collected data through
personal interviews with Marine officers participating in Joint Task Force Los Angeles, and
action officers at Head Quarters, U.S. Marine Corps. These interviews were crucial in identifying
the differences in the required actions of Marine peace keepers to quell civil unrest, and the
actions legally authorized by U.S. Law.
1. Legal Constraints
Articles I and IV of the U.S. Constitution empowered the President to use the
states' militias to keep the peace during times of domestic disturbances. The drafters of the
Constitution exempted the President and Congress from using the federal military forces due to a
strong opposition to maintaining a standing army to accomplish this task. The 1807 Act later
granted the President the authority to use federal military forces in domestic peace keeping
missions. This action occurred because law makers realized that certain wide spread threats to the
country's national interests could not be handled solely by law enforcement and the states' militias.
The President may use these forces to enforce federal laws, quell insurrection, and in general
keep the peace within the states and territories of the United States of America. The President
maintains command of these forces during their employment under the Posse Comitatus Act of
1878 which formalizes the chain of command from the President to the military commander.
Congress passed the 1981 Amendment of the Posse Comitatus Act in response to requests to use
the military in combating illegal criminal activity focusing on drug smuggling and distribution. This
amendment clarified the cooperation between the military and law enforcement. It limited the use
of the military to indirectly aiding law enforcement agencies. Based on this established
constitutional framework, the DoD provided further guidance on the military's use in domestic
peace keeping missions.
2. DoD Criteria
The many documents and directives presented in Chapter III discussed the
formal chain of command from the President to the CINC. The President tasks the Secretary of
Defense with consultation from the U.S. Attorney General to plan and execute domestic peace
keeping missions. The Secretary of Defense in turn tasks the DOMS under the Secretary of the
Army as the principle agent for these missions. The DOMS possesses the Secretary of
Defense's authority to plan and commit DoD forces in response to approved civilian requests for
military assistance. The DOMS is able to directly task the appropriate CINC depending on the
geographic location of the civil unrest, and direct the supporting CINCs to provide forces as
Under DoD guidance, specifically DoD Directive 5525.5, the military cannot
provide direct assistance to law enforcement personnel when called upon to execute domestic
peace keeping missions. According to this directive, the military cannot:
. Interdict a vehicle, vessel, aircraft, or similar activity.
. Conduct search or seizure.
. Arrest, apprehend, stop and frisk, or similar activity.
. Use military personnel for surveillance or pursuit of individuals, or as under cover
agents, informants, investigators, or interrogators.
The use of military force is therefore limited to providing assistance to law enforcement
personnel in the form of manpower for domestic peace keeping. This limitation in the
Marine Corps' peace keeping powers by U.S. Law and DoD guidance is not compatible
with the powers necessary to deal with the threats to our national interests that the military
will be tasked to deal with in the 1990s and beyond.
3. U.S. Marine Corps Mission in Domestic Peace Keeping
In Chapter IV, figure 4-1 graphically depicts two circumstances when the
President will employ Marine forces in domestic peace keeping missions. These two areas are in
response to domestic threats to the nations vital and survival national interests. The difference
between vital and survival national interests defines the spectrum of force that will be used by the
Marine Corps to deal with these different types of domestic disturbances. A threat to our vital
national interests is a threat to the well-being of the nation if the government does not respond
with military force, whereas a threat to our survival interest requires the military to immediately
respond to a perilous threat.98 The Marine Corps' capability to respond to both of these threats is
questionable in terms of threats to our vital national interests.
The Marine Corps provides an extremely credible force in terms of providing
combat power to deal with a phase level V threat or a threat that a domestic disturbance poses
to our survival national interests such as civil war. The Marine Corps has been operating at the
war end of the spectrum for so long that there is no question as to their capability to defeat such
a threat. However, in addressing a domestic disturbance that threatens our vital national
interests, the Marine Corps is limited by the law and DoD guidance to provide a credible
As presented earlier, the escalation of civil unrest into phase level IV will
require the addition of Marine forces to quell insurrection and unrest. However, these forces
are necessary to aid law enforcement in performing law enforcement activities to bring unrest
under control. Although military police units possess the training and
98 Nuechterlein, 9-10.
experience to perform these functions, they are limited by U.S. law in providing these capabilities
to law enforcement personnel. Likewise, Marine ground units are neither empowered nor
extensively trained in these capabilities as well. As a result, U.S. Law and DoD guidance have
left a gap in the Marine Corps' capability to provide a credible domestic peace keeping force to
combat the most common types of disturbances the Marine Corps will be tasked to address,
phase level IV threats to our vital national interests.
B. DOMESTIC PEACE KEEPING DILEMMAS
In interviews with Marine officers involved in domestic peace keeping missions and
officers responsible for articulating the Marine Corps' policy on domestic peace keeping, it
became apparent to the author that Marines took whatever action was necessary. At times,
these actions required Marines to violate U.S. Law and DoD directives in order to safeguard
their units and accomplish the mission. The previous chapter identified the need to examine U.S.
Law and DoD) guidance in order to eliminate the "gray area" existing between the necessary
actions of peace keepers to accomplish the phase level IV mission, and the actions authorized by
the law and DoD guidance.
The power of the President and the U.S. Attorney General to interject civilian
representatives into the chain of command, complicates the JTF command and control structure.
The civilian representation by the President and the SCRAG allow a dual reporting situation to
exist which will invariably lead to confusion. Marine commanders must understand this inherent
problem area and work hard to reduce conflict and eliminate the confusion this problem presents.
This factor adds to the complexities of cooperating with the numerous law enforcement agencies
and governmental task forces converging on a small riot torn urban area. Two effective methods
to simplify the command and control process and clarify relationships between the military and law enforcement agencies, is through liaison
officers and effective communications.
Due to the random nature of civil unrest, many different organizations with a variety of
capabilities will be working together for the first time. In this respect, the JTF commander will
require senior officers to serve with the JTF command element and other agencies to coordinate
the activities of the National Guard, JTF components, city, count and state police departments, FBI
task forces, and civil authorities. The coordination role these liaison officers perform, demonstrates
the necessity of talented and experienced officers in these billets. To effectively function in
response to civil authorities and CINC tasking, the JTF commander must evaluate liaison
requirements early in the operation and use officers familiar with these tasks. Liaison officers will
serve as a vital link between the JTF commander and external agencies in order to communicate
capabilities and limitations of the military and civilian agencies.
Marine commanders deploying into built-up cities must understand that the
communication assets organic to their units may not be sufficient. The radios carried by Marine
units cannot effectively transmit in heavily built-up areas. During the Los Angeles riots, unit
commanders were forced to use cellular telephones or relay transmissions through police radio
networks. This was done because organic radios were not effective in cross-town
communications. Cellular telephones served as the method to tie-in the many law enforcement
agencies deployed in close proximity to Marine units. Reliable and robust communications are a
definite requirement in dealing with any civil unrest. There is a significant shortfall in the
communication assets allotted to Marine commanders participating in domestic peace keeping
missions, and this shortfall must be corrected prior to deploying into modem cities.
C. OPPORTUNITIES FOR FUTURE STUDY
The research presented in this thesis identified possible areas of future research that will
undoubtedly aid U.S. Marine Corps units tasked with executing domestic peace keeping missions.
These areas of research include legal issues, and the U.S. Marine Corps' ability to meet the
changing characteristic of civil unrest.
The Marine Corps would benefit from research into initiating legislation to empower
military forces with the right to conduct search and seizure, interdiction of vehicles, and the
detention of suspects. This research would identify the limiting factors under U.S. law that
prevents the military from effectively accomplishing the mission, and recommend legislation
which would empower the military to more aggressively combat the changing threat to Marine
forces performing domestic peace keeping missions. Eliminating or reducing the "gray area"
between what action is necessary and what action is authorized will relieve a judgmental burden
from small unit leaders faced with difficult decisions during domestic peace keeping missions.
The other topic for potential thesis research is to address the readiness of U.S. Marine
Corps units to accomplish domestic peace keeping missions. The research could concentrate on
training and equipping issues in order to determine the readiness levels of those qualified units
identified by the U. S. Marine Corps to accomplish the mission. The research in this thesis
already identified some of these issues, but more detailed research would provided valuable
data to Marine commanders tasked with executing future domestic peace keeping missions. The result
of this research may very well reinforce the need of the Marine Corps to closely evaluate their
policy in using any available Marine unit to participate in domestic peace keeping missions. These
research areas will contribute to this thesis in aiding the Marine Corps in providing a credible
domestic peace keeping capability to the nation.
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