Elite combat brigade for homeland security missions raises ire of ACLU


Erin Rosa
The Colorado Independent
November 3, 2008

In the next three years the military plans to activate and train an estimated 4,700 service members for specialized domestic operations, according to Air Force Gen. Gene Renuart, commander of U.S. Northern Command, which was created in 2002 for homeland defense missions.

The comments, made at the annual National Homeland Defense and Security Symposium in Colorado Springs last week, reveal more details about the recent stationing of active military personnel inside United States borders for what officials say is a mission centering around responding to catastrophic emergencies.

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t

In September the Army Times reported that the 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team — a unit based in Fort Stewart, Ga., that most recently spent 35 of the last 60 months in Iraq patrolling in full battle gear — would be put under the control of Northern Command, located on Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs.

Military representatives claim that the unit, now referred to as the Consequence Management Response Force, is only supposed to assist in responding to terrorist attacks or natural disasters, but that hasn’t stopped numerous civil liberties advocates from speculating just how closely the military will be involved with law enforcement issues falling under a state’s jurisdiction.

“This isn’t a military police brigade or a civil affairs brigade. This is actually a combat brigade being assigned a domestic mission,” said Mike German, national security counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union’s legislative office in Washington., D.C.

The ACLU filed a Freedom of Information Act Request last week with the Department of Justice and the Pentagon asking for records relating to the assignment of domestic forces to the Northern Command.

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