Defense Support of Civil Authorities and its importance
Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) denotes the process through which the US military can be deployed to undertake tasks that are meant for the civil authorities (Tussing & McCreight, 2014). Conventionally, the military is charged with the responsibility of defending the US territories against intrusion by foreigners.
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However, in the contemporary times, the role of the US military has changed greatly due to increased terrorist activities. The US military now works with the civil authorities in mitigating domestic crimes and in other rescue missions during disasters.
The DSCA is headed by The Directorate of Military Support for Domestic Operations (DOMS) and each state has a single DOMS. The DOMS is responsible for discharging military equipments and personnel to areas of disasters when called to do so by the office of emergency management.
The basic roles, functions, missions, and capabilities of the National Guard
The National Guard is a special military reserve unit established at around 1636 (Buchalter, 2007). It is composed of citizen-soldiers and they are mandated to serve in the army while preserving their civilian lives.
The National Guard is made up of two branches, viz. the Air National Guard and the Army National Guard. The National Guard’s personnel are skilled men and women who provide technical support to the military in times of special needs.
The mission of the National Guard is primarily to offer support to the military in times of active warfare. Initially, such support was only afforded in active warfare involving the US and a foreign country. However, the mission is changing with the changing nature of attacks within the US territories.
Terrorist attacks have increased tremendously within the US, thus facilitating the deployment of the National Guard in the homeland security. In pursuance of this mission, the National Guard was employed during the Second World War to contain the Soviet Union.
The National Guard’s main responsibility is to provide professional support to the active soldiers in times of war (Buchalter, 2007). With the introduction of the “Total Force Concept” in the 1970s, the role of the National Guard has changed greatly (Tussing & McCreight, 2014).
The concept was launched by Melvin Laird, the then secretary of defense. The move followed concerns from the public over excessive expenditure on the Vietnam War. The total force concept requires cooperation amongst all elements of the forces. In other words, the concept increased the National Guard’s involvement in the US security.
The National Guard also assists in the homeland security (Buchalter, 2007). Given that unit personnel are deployed in almost every community in the US, they act as intermediaries between the federal government and the local communities.
They have the skills and authority needed to respond to terrorist attacks in the homeland. There are about 3,000 armories located across the US, which is a clear indication that they also assist the federal government in maintaining homeland security on top of providing emergency services to the military in times of active participation.
In addition to providing assistance to the army and maintaining the homeland security, the National Guard offers training to local first responders (Buchalter, 2007). The training centers on emergency response in case of chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear (CBRN) events (D’Agostino, 2010).
The training benefits the rest of the military as well as local law enforcers. Presently, the National Guard has roughly 3,000 personnel trained to operate in hazardous environment such as chemically contaminated environments.
In addition to providing military support in times of war between the US and a foreign power, the National Guard also participates in domestic issues. The National Guard is subdivided into units deployed in all the 50 states making up the US (Buchalter, 2007).
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The units operate under the governors of their respective states and at times, they may be ordered to participate in the provision of emergency services in times of disasters in their respective states.
The unit is called upon to respond to natural calamities such as hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes. However, the state employing the services of the National Guard in such incidences should pay some fee to the federal government to obtain consent (D’Agostino, 2010).
The concept of Defense Support of Civil Authorities
The local law enforcement agencies regularly require the support of the military in critical situations (Tussing & McCreight, 2014). The deployment of the military under the DSCA is the last resort after all other means have failed. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is authorized to deploy federal resources to any state in times of disasters upon request by a state.
FEMA can command any local federal forces to join in mitigating a disaster in any state, but it can only request the military’s support when all other agencies have failed to contain the situation (Buchalter, 2007).
Every federal agency is at liberty to appeal for military help. However, the agency seeking for the assistance should specify on the nature and extent of the assistance needed using a memorandum. Military aid is synchronized with the local authorities in the area where such assistance is needed.
This aspect ensures that the support is maximized. Decisions regarding withdrawal or continuance of the support are made by the DoD officials, local government, and federal agencies (Tussing & McCreight, 2014). A new memo must be prepared if changes are to be made to the original request.
There are plentiful other decrees, principles and laws that govern the armed forces’ function in carrying out operations aimed at supporting the local authorities (D’Agostino, 2010). The laws include the Insurrection Act, Homeland Security Act, and the Homeland Security Presidential Directive – 5 (Buchalter, 2007).
The aforementioned rules apply to the concept of DSCA and determine military response to calls for assistance. When local law enforcers deploy the assistance of DSCA, the forces so employed immediately become answerable to the operational control of U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM).
Explain DOD’s roles and responsibilities in homeland defense
The Department of Defense (DoD) is a department within the federal government charged with the responsibility of managing and overseeing all the activities of the federal security organs (Buchalter, 2007). The department is the largest employer worldwide and it has over 3 million employees. Its employees are not only military men, but also civilians who execute other special functions.
The department oversees all the security operations in the US under the watch of the Secretary of Defense. The secretary of defense is answerable to the president of the US.
There are three departments within the DoD, viz. the U.S. Department of the Army, the U.S. Department of the Navy, and the U.S. Department of the Air Force (Buchalter, 2007). The intelligence departments are also under this department. The department’s major functions are outlined below.
DoD chief function is to coordinate the operations of the US security organs (D’Agostino, 2010). The department allocates resources to various security organs depending on the needs of the security organ in question. The department organizes and conducts recruitment for military personnel.
In addition, DoD retains the resources for the military and only releases them when needed. DoD is responsible for the procurement of military equipments necessary for the working of the military. The department is also charged with the responsibility of ensuring that the military remains equipped and ready to counter attacks that may arise.
The department, through the various intelligence departments that operate under it, is responsible for providing intelligence reports to the president regarding the security of the nation (Tussing & McCreight, 2014). The intelligence community is charged with the responsibility of providing warnings to security agents of security threats prior to their occurrence.
The IC is composed of highly trained crime detectives with the ability to detect crime before it is accomplished. It is composed of both the military and civilians. The security officers in charge of providing global security rely greatly on the IC’s report to combat terrorism and protect the citizens around the world.
All the intelligence departments are under the DoD and intelligence reports are submitted to the DoD, which in turn presents it to the president (Buchalter, 2007). The intelligence report is important to a nation’s security since it warns the country of an attack before it is accomplished.
The DoD’s objectives in homeland defense
The primary objective of the DoD is to secure the US territories from foreign attacks (D’Agostino, 2010). The department has well skilled and equipped personnel who ensure that the American territories remain secure. With the increasing terrorist attacks, the department aims at achieving full protection of its boarders and counter crime.
In a bid to accomplish this mission, the department recruits qualified personnel and affords the necessary training to equip them with the necessary skills to counter attacks. In addition, the department has highly experienced intelligence personnel with the ability to detect crime before it is accomplished. This objective extends to cover containing major threats to the world’s security.
The second objective that the DoD is obliged to meet is homeland security (Gates, 2009). The department has highly trained staff and it avails assistance to the local law enforcers as and when needed. Its objective is to train military personnel to handle different types of crimes including nuclear attacks.
How the US employs all elements of national power in homeland defense
The military’s primary function is to protect the US territories against external attacks. However, this role has extended to the provision of emergency services and support to the civil authorities (Gaston, 2011). The military only comes to support the civil authorities.
Crises are managed at the lowest level by the civil authorities, but when the nature of the crisis turns critical and it can no longer be managed by the local authorities, the military is deployed to assist. Military support is requested by the agency in need of the support and it is required to pay the cost incurred by the army.
The requesting agency is required to file a memo to the DOMS containing the nature of support needed and the estimated cost of the operation.
The US military collaborates with the civil authorities in times of disasters and in countering riots and demonstrations by the public in major towns in the US. However, the military is employed in situations where the local law enforcement agencies cannot manage due to lack of skills or equipment (Tussing & McCreight, 2014).
Defense Support of Civil Authorities is an important aspect of security in the US since it ensures that the country is secure at all times. The military at times share training facilities and equipments with the local civilians increasing the ability of the local law enforcers to counter attacks.
Buchalter, R. (2007). Military Support to Civil Authorities: The Role of the Department f Defense in Support of Homeland Defense. Web.
D’Agostino, M. (2010). Homeland defense: DOD can enhance efforts to identify capabilities to support civil authorities during disasters. Collingdale, PA: DIANE Publishing.
Gaston, R. (2011). Standardizing readiness and response in defense support of civil authorities. Web.
Gates, M. (2009). National defense strategy. Collingdale, PA: DIANE Publishing.
Tussing, B., & McCreight, R. (2014). Introduction to Homeland Defense and Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA): The U.S. Military’s Role to Support and Defend. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.