The Largest Security-Cleared Career Network for Defense and Intelligence Jobs - JOIN NOW


Garden Plot / CONPLAN 2502 (Civil Disturbance Operations)

Use of the military to support civil authorities stems from core national values as expressed in the Constitution. Article I, Section 8 states, “Congress shall have power... to provide for calling forth the Militia to execute laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections, and repel Invasions.” Article II, Section 3 states the President, “...shall take care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” The 10th Amendment reads, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it, are reserved to the States respectively...,” providing the basis that Federal government support, including DoD assistance, is provided in support of State and local authorities.

The President is authorized by the Constitution and Title 10 (10 USC 331–334) to suppress insurrections, rebellions, and domestic violence. After issuing a Cease and Desist Order, the President issues an executive order that directs the Attorney General and the SECDEF to take appropriate steps to disperse insurgents and restore law and order. The Attorney General is then responsible to coordinate the federal response to domestic civil disturbances. The restrictions of the Posse Comitatus Act no longer apply to federal troops executing the orders of the President to quell the disturbance in accordance with Rules of the Use of Force (RUF) approved by the DoD General Counsel and the Attorney General.

USNORTHCOM Concept Plan (CONPLAN) 2502 (Civil Disturbance Operations), is the plan for supporting state and local authorities during civil disturbances. This plan serves as the foundation for any CDO operation and standardizes most activities and command relationships. Tasks performed by military forces may include joint patrolling with law enforcement officers; securing key buildings, memorials, intersections and bridges; and acting as a quick reaction force. The JTF commander, a general officer, coordinates all DoD support with the Senior Civilian Representative of the Attorney General (SCRAG). DoD will usually establish a JTF headquarters near where the Attorney General’s local representative is based.

Garden Plot is the DoD Civil Disturbance Plan, the generic Operations Plan [OPLAN] for military support related to domestic civil disturbances. The department of the Army Civil Disturbance Plan (DA GARDEN PLOT), is the governing publication for planning, deployment, employment, and redeployment of federal military resources involved in countering domestic civil disturbances. Military assistance to Federal, State, and local government (including government of U.S. territories) and their law enforcement agencies for civil disturbances and civil disturbance operations, including response to terrorist incidents, are referred to cumulatively as "Military Assistance for Civil Disturbances (MACDIS)."

The DoD Strategy for Homeland Defense and Civil Support (2005) defines Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) as, “DoD support, including federal military forces, the Department’s career civilian and contractor personnel, and DoD agency and component assets, for domestic emergencies and for designated law enforcement and other activities.” It notes that DSCA is also often referred to as Civil Support. There has been discussion in some DoD offices of distinguishing between the two terms: Civil Support as a total force construct with DSCA involving Federal support only and not include the National Guard in Title 32 or State Active Duty status. But as of 2008 they remained essentially synonymous.

Until the 2005 DoD Strategy for Homeland Defense and Civil Support, the term Military Assistance to Civil Authorities (MACA) was essentially synonymous with Civil Support and served as an overarching construct that included three subordinate mission sets: Military Support to Civil Authorities (MSCA), Military Assistance to Civil Disturbances (MACDIS) and Military Assistance to Civil Law Enforcement Agencies (MSCLEA). Defense Support of Civil Authority (DSCA) has replaced MACA. The term MACDIS has been replaced by Civil Disturbance Operations (CDO).

Civil disturbances are riots, acts of violence, insurrections, unlawful obstructions or assemblages, or other disorders prejudicial to public law and order. The term civil disturbance includes all domestic conditions requiring or likely to require the use of Federal Armed Forces pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 15 of Title 10, United States Code.

The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 (PCA), subsequent amendments and policy decisions prohibits the use of federal military forces (to include Reserve forces) to perform internal police functions. PCA thus restricts the type of support DoD can provide domestic law enforcement organizations. There are a wide variety of exceptions to the PCA and the law essentially gives the President all the authority he needs to employ DoD forces inside the U.S. although there may appropriately be political consequence that would inhibit such employment.

The term posse comitatus [ komitei.tAs, -tius , [med. (Anglo) L., force of the county: see prec. and county.] applies to the 'The force of the county’; the body of men above the age of fifteen in a county (exclusive of peers, clergymen, and infirm persons), whom the sheriff may summon or ‘raise’ to repress a riot or for other purposes; also, a body of men actually so raised and commanded by the sheriff.

In the United States the posse comitatus was perhaps most important on the Western frontier (there known as a posse), but it has been preserved as an institution in many states. Sheriffs and other peace officers have the authority to summon the power of the county. In some counties it is a crime to refuse assistance. In general, members of a posse comitatus have been permitted to use force if necessary to achieve a posse’s legitimate ends, but state laws differ as to the legal liability of one who in good faith aids an officer himself acting beyond his authority.

Congress sought to terminate the prevalent use of federal soldiers in civilian law enforcement roles in the South during the Reconstruction Period following the Civil War. The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 created general prohibition against use of military personnel in civilian law enforcement. The most renowned statutory exception has been traditionally referred to as The Insurrection Acts (10 USC 331–334) that were modified and renamed to Enforcement of the Laws to Restore Public Order by the 2007 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The new language clarifies Presidential authority to invoke the acts for situations resulting from natural disasters and other emergencies.

The President is authorized by the Constitution and laws of the United States to employ the Armed Forces of the United States to suppress insurrections, rebellions, and domestic violence under various conditions and circumstances. Planning and preparedness by the Federal Government and the Department of Defense for civil disturbances are important due to the potential severity of the consequences of such events for the Nation and the population.

Military resources may be employed in support of civilian law enforcement operations in the 50 States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the U.S. territories and possessions only in the parameters of the Constitution and laws of the United States and the authority of the President and the Secretary of Defense, including delegations of that authority through this Directive or other means.

The primary responsibility for protecting life and property and maintaining law and order in the civilian community is vested in the State and local governments. Supplementary responsibility is vested by statute in specific Agencies of the Federal Government other than the Department of Defense. The President has additional powers and responsibilities under the Constitution of the United States to ensure that law and order are maintained.

The mission at NORTHCOM is to anticipate events in the homeland and to be prepared to respond, to either prevent the attacks or defeat them if they occur and then to mitigate the consequences of those attacks should they occur. In addition, NORTHCOM has a secondary mission to provide defense support to civil authorities. It's an old mission that the Army used to lump together under the Garden Plot scenario, in that there was always a brigade that was prepared to respond to civil disturbances.

The secretary of the Army is the Executive Agent for DOD in matters pertaining to civil disturbances. The U. S. Army Director of Military Support (DOMS) is the action agent and the DOD point of contact in all such matters. The Secretary of the Army as the DOD Executive Agent, will, in the event of a civil disturbance within CONUS, exercise through the Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, the direction of those forces committed to him by the military services. In the event of civil disturbances in U. S. territories and possessions and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico outside CONUS, the DOD Executive Agent exercises the direction of those forces assigned or committed to the commanders of unified or specified commands.

The Coast Guard, as well as the other Services, is required to maintain support plans. GARDEN PLOT is the name applicable to such service plans. Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) of operational commanders should reflect guidance herein. Military assistance to civil authorities is a peacetime matter, not to be confused with military support of civil defense (MSCD), which is a wartime function.

DOD task force operations to quell civil disturbances off military property can be initiated only by Presidential order. Cases of such initiation in the past occurred during the urban political and racial unrest in the Vietnam era when federal troops were deployed on a number of occasions. GARDEN PLOT operations may include terrorist incidents, though the FBI, not the Army, will then be the lead agent. In the event of civil unrest upon the high seas and waters subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, where in the Coast Guard has standing statutory responsibility, Coast Guard units will in all likelihood be legitimately involved in law enforcement operations well before any Presidential invocation of civil disturbance plans. The Coast Guard character for law enforcement and cooperation with civil authorities is much broader than that of DOD services. DOD services are subject to law enforcement restrictions that are not applicable to the Coast Guard. For policy reasons (i.e., to ensure unity of command and control), there may be instances when these restrictions are imposed upon Coast Guard personnel under a DOD task force commander's operational control.

Cooperation with other services in GARDEN PLOT operations is paramount and requires particular understanding of task force constitution and chains of command. Civil disturbance planning cannot be deliberate in that force mix and locales are obviously indeterminate. Guidance herein will provide a basis for Coast Guard participation and related area and district supplemental instructions or other directives. Actual Coast Guard participation will in all likelihood be the logical extension of traditional law enforcement functions.

The right of the United States to use federal forces to protect federal property and functions is an accepted principle of government. However, this use of federal forces is warranted only when the need for protection of Federal property or functions clearly exists and State or local authorities cannot or will not give adequate protection. Prior to the designation of a civil disturbance objective area and employment of federal forces by Presidential order, the Army may reinforce other federal forces defending federal property.

Elements of the U. S. Army Intelligence and Security Command (USAINSCOM) maintain liaison with federal, state, and municipal investigative and police agencies and on order of Department of the Army, collect and report civil disturbance information in response to requests from DA, the Personal Liaison Officer for the Chief of Staff, Army (PLOCSA), task force commanders, CONUS Army commanders, and other specified commands.

Military intelligence units have a very limited role during domestic support operations other than civil disturbance operations. U.S. Dep't of Defense, Reg. 5240.1-R, Procedures Governing the Activities of DOD Intelligence Components that Affect United States Persons (Dec. 1982)[hereinafter DOD 5240.1-R], does not apply to DOD intelligence components when they perform authorized law enforcement activities, including civil disturbance activities. In such cases, DOD intelligence components may collect, report, process, and store information on the activities of persons and organizations not affiliated with the Department in accordance with U.S. Dep't of Defense, Dir. 5200.27, Acquisition of Information Concerning Persons and Organizations Not Affiliated with the Department of Defense (7 Jan. 1980) and U.S. Dep't of Defense Civil Disturbance Plan (GARDEN PLOT) (15 Feb. 1991).

The Insurrection Act permitted the President to call the militia into Federal service to suppress insurrections and to enforce the law, including when State authorities were unable or unwilling to secure the Constitutional rights of their citizens. Rarely in U.S. history has this authority been employed. In fact, the National Guard has been federalized under the provisions of the Insurrection Act only ten (10) times since World War II.

U.S. Presidents invoked the Insurrection Act when a Governor requested such a decree or when State authorities were clearly unable or unwilling to secure the Constitutional rights of their citizens. When this authority is employed it takes control of a state’s National Guard from the Governor and places command and control within the Federal government. This requires the federalized National Guard forces to perform missions assigned by the federal government, where and when specified, which may not be consistent with a Governor’s direction that these forces conduct lifesaving, law enforcement or other critical emergency functions in support of the State emergency management agencies and incident commanders.

Controversy over civil rights and the unpopular war in Vietnam during the 1960s and 1970s resulted in one of the most turbulent periods in American histry. During this same time, major riots occurred in Los Angeles in 1965; Detroit in 1967; Chicago in 1968 during the Democratic National Convention; Santa Barbara, California, in 1970; East Los Angeles, California, in 1970 and 1971; and Attica, New York, in 1971, during a major prison riot. Violent rioting once again erupted across the country on April 29,1992, when four police officers were acquitted after being accused of beating a black suspect (Rodney King). Also in recent years, issues such as abortion, gay rights, immigration, and gun control have generated great public debate and resulted in many mass assemblies and demonstrations.

The Active Army has often led federalized forces of the various state ARNGs during periods of domestic disturbance, such as the several Garden Plot operations to restore order in major urban areas in the 1960s.

The ability of the Reserve Components to conduct operations to control civil disturbances was increased during fiscal year 1970; 375,000 National Guardsmen and 14,000 Army Reservists had been trained in riot control as the year closed. The Army National Guard conducted, at the expense of regular training, sixteen hours of refresher civil disturbance training. Some states also carried out civil disturbance command post exercises in conjunction with local and state civil authorities. The Army Reserve had three infantry brigades which were part of the federal military contingency force for the control of civil disturbances. These units also conducted sixteen hours of refresher civil disturbance training at the expense of primary training. This additional responsibility of the Reserve Components called for their immediate availability in times of natural disasters, civil disturbances, and other emergencies. The Army National Guard bore the brunt of these requirements because of its responsibility to the respective state governments. From July 1, 1969, to June 30, 1970, individual National Guard units were called in by state governors on ninety-two different occasions in thirty-one states and the District of Columbia. These included civil disturbances at Chicago, Illinois; Madison, Wisconsin; Charleston, South Carolina; Berkeley, California; and Columbus and Kent, Ohio.

In response to the US invasion of Cambodia, student unrest broke out. Under Operation "Garden Plot," from 30 April through 04 May 1970 9th Air Force airlift units transported civil disturbance control forces from Ft Bragg to various locations throughout the eastern US. Such deployments were commonplace during the unrest of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

The 943d Rescue Group participated in Operation Garden Plot in support of Republican and Democratic conventions in 1972.

The anti-war and civil right protests picked up momentum in 1968. On 20 May 1972, the 10th Transportation Battalion assumed a secondary mission and provided 650 for a civil disturbance task force. The task force conducted garden Plot exercise on 6 and 7 September 1972 and 1st US Army commended the Soldiers for their professionalism. It conducted another Garden Plot Exercise from 18 to 20 January 1973. In February 1973, the US and North Vietnamese sign the Peace Accords in Paris and the US agreed to withdraw ground units from Vietnam. With troops out of the war, the need for a civil disturbance task force diminished. They conducted another Garden Plot Exercise on 28 June and 19 December 1973.

Page last modified: 29-04-2021 11:32:30 Zulu