U.S. Military Purchasing Combat Equipment for Domestic Contingency Planning
July 19, 2012
For the last two years, the President’s Budget Submissions for the Department of Defense have included purchases of a significant amount of combat equipment, including armored vehicles, helicopters and even artillery, under an obscure section of the FY2008 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the purposes of “homeland defense missions, domestic emergency responses, and providing military support to civil authorities.” Items purchased under the section include combat vehicles, tanks, helicopters, artillery, mortar systems, missiles, small arms and communications equipment. Justifications for the budget items indicate that many of the purchases are part of routine resupply and maintenance, yet in each case the procurement is cited as being “necessary for use by the active and reserve components of the Armed Forces for homeland defense missions, domestic emergency responses, and providing military support to civil authorities” under section 1815 of the FY2008 NDAA.
Section 1815 of the FY2008 NDAA requires that every five years the Secretary of Defense work with the Secretary of Homeland Security to determine “military-unique capabilities needed to be provided by the Department of Defense to support civil authorities in an incident of national significance or a catastrophic incident.” The section defines “military-unique capabilities” as those that “cannot be provided by other Federal, State, or local civilian agencies” and are “essential to provide support to civil authorities in an incident of national significance or a catastrophic incident.” Once these “military-unique capabilities” have been determined in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Secretary of Defense must develop a plan for maintaining the capabilities as well as any “additional capabilities determined by the Secretary to be necessary to support the use of the active components and the reserve components of the Armed Forces for homeland defense missions, domestic emergency responses, and providing military support to civil authorities.” Once the plan is enacted the DoD must then “include in the materials accompanying the budget submitted for each fiscal year a request for funds necessary to carry out the plan . . . during the fiscal year covered by the budget.”