Friday, Jan 30th, 2009
The Defense Department has established a "civilian expeditionary workforce" that will see American civilians trained and equipped to deploy overseas in support of worldwide military missions.
The move is seen by some as an initial step towards fulfilling president Obama’s promise to form a civilian national security force as powerful as the U.S. military.
The intent of the program “is to maximize the use of the civilian workforce to allow military personnel to be fully utilized for operational requirements,” according to a Defense Department report.
The program was officially implemented one week ago, on the 23rd January, when Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England signed Defense Department Directive 1404.10 (PDF), which provides a summation of the duties the workforce will undertake.
The directive, which is effective immediately, states that civilian employees of the DoD will be asked to sign agreements stating that they will deploy in support of military missions for up to two years if needed.
Workforce members, who are divided into different designations under the directive, will serve overseas in support of humanitarian, reconstruction and, if necessary, combat-support missions.
"If the employee does not wish to deploy, every effort will be made to reassign the employee to a nondeploying position." the DoD report states.
While the directive suggests that the DoD will at first seek volunteers to serve in the civilian workforce, section 4, subsection (e) paragraph (2) states:
Management retains the authority to direct and assign civilian employees, either voluntarily, involuntarily, or on an unexpected basis to accomplish the DoD mission.
In addition, the directive states that all workforce members will be subject to physical and psychological testing, both before and after deployment.
The directive refers several times to the civilian workforce as a component of the "Total Force", which it describes as "The organizations, units, and individuals that compromise the DoD resources for implementing the National Security Strategy." This "Total Force" includes active, reserve and retired military personnel in addition to DoD civilian employees.
Back in July 2008, Barack Obama, then the presidential front runner, called for a "civilian national security force" as powerful as the U.S. military.
"We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives we’ve set. We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded," Obama told a Colorado Springs audience.
The comments that were ignored by the vast majority of the corporate media but were found to be troubling by some independent journalists who compared the idea to the formation of the Nazi Hitler Youth.
Fears of "youth brigades" or civilian stasi style units increased following Obama’s appointment of Rahm Emanuel to chief-of staff.
In his book, "The Plan: Big Ideas for America," Emanuel writes: "It’s time for a real Patriot Act that brings out the patriot in all of us. We propose universal civilian service for every young American. Under this plan, all Americans between the ages of 18 and 25 will be asked to serve their country by going through three months of basic training, civil defense preparation and community service."
The book also notes, "Some Republicans will squeal about individual freedom, ruling out any likelihood that they would let people opt out of universal citizen service."
Emanuel is also an enthusiastic supporter of the United States Public Service Academy Act, a lobbying group founded in 2006 in order to promote the foundation of an American public service academy modeled on the military academies – a youth corps whose students would be trained in "civilian internship in the armed forces".
Furthermore, in a rediscovered 2006 audio clip of an interview with Ben Smith of the New York Daily News, Emanuel outlined the agenda for compulsory military-style training, essentially a domestic draft, aimed at preparing Americans for a chemical or biological terrorist attack.
When controversy arose over the program last November, the use of the word "required" to describe the program was removed from Obama’s change.gov website and replaced with "community service" type terminology.
Though the civilian expeditionary workforce program is restricted to DoD employees, similar programs have already been established for public sector workers.
One such program has seen hundreds of police, firefighters, paramedics and utility workers recently trained and dispatched as "Terrorism Liaison Officers" in Colorado, Arizona and California to watch for "suspicious activity" which is later fed into a secret government database.