Militarization Of Police Powers In US? - RAND Study Says Maybe

January 16, 2010 - San Francisco, CA - - In a September 2008 stump speech, then candidate Barack Obama advocated the establishment of a national security force.

Since then various alternative media sources [the subject is radioactive as far as the MSM is concerned] have explored the meaning of Obama's words and what they might ultimately portend.

Below the relevant portion of the speech given July 2, 2008.

"Obama, July 2, Colorado Springs, CO: [As] president I will expand AmeriCorps to 250,000 slots [from 75,000] and make that increased service a vehicle to meet national goals, like providing health care and education, saving our planet and restoring our standing in the world, so that citizens see their effort connected to a common purpose.

People of all ages, stations and skills will be asked to serve. Because when it comes to the challenges we face, the American people are not the problem – they are the answer. So we are going to send more college graduates to teach and mentor our young people. We'll call on Americans to join an energy corps, to conduct renewable energy and environmental clean-up projects in their neighborhoods all across the country.

We will enlist our veterans to find jobs and support for other vets, and to be there for our military families. And we're going to grow our Foreign Service, open consulates that have been shuttered and double the size of the Peace Corps by 2011 to renew our diplomacy. We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that 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. We need to use technology to connect people to service. We'll expand USA Freedom Corps to create online networks where American can browse opportunities to volunteer. You'll be able to search by category, time commitment and skill sets. You'll be able to rate service opportunities, build service networks, and create your own service pages to track your hours and activities.

This will empower more Americans to craft their own service agenda and make their own change from the bottom up." [sources, Fact Check - almost always aligned to the left - and the Wall Street Journal, which carried the campaign's pre-speech release,]

Obama delivering the controversial section of the speech below.

It seems fairly clear that what Obama was referring to - in laundry list manner - though dealing generally with domestic service, was directed at a civilian, but highly trained quasi-military force capable of being inserted into hot spots to handle law enforcement duties professionally so that the responsibility wouldn't have to fall on the over burdened military.

That seems a reasonable idea...however...

Recently [2009] the RAND think tank produced a monograph on the subject titled rather suggestively A Stability Police Force for the United States. Justification and Options for Creating U.S. Capabilities

The following section clearly envisions the possibility of such a force being used domestically, mentioning the Posse Comitatus Act which prohibits the military from carrying out domestic law enforcement. Actually the study mentions the Act 16 times.

"In particular, for theMP option to be as cost-effective as possible, relief from thePosse Comitatus Act would be required to permit its membersto perform domestic law enforcement functions." [source, RAND Study pg. 105,]

The juxtaposing then of Mr. Obama's speech against the hard reality of the RAND study does indeed give pause for concern, not in the conspiratorial sense that some publications suggest, but from the standpoint of the potential misuse with which such a force might be used.

That is a question that requires the widest public scrutiny and public debate well before legislation might be considered.

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