Archive: Domestic Role of the Military

Afghanistan Lost? Homeland Insecurity? What Role Does the Brass Play?

No one has been held accountable for any miscues in strategy or concept.

By William M. Arkin | February 1, 2008; 08:29 AM ET | Comments (18)

Yes, We Can Fight Wildfires and Terrorists at the Same Time

The federal government is big (and competent) enough to fight two enemies at once.

By William M. Arkin | October 25, 2007; 08:17 AM ET | Comments (40)

Trimming the Government's Talons -- Or Not

Ever since I revealed the existence of the Pentagon's Talon database and the military's collection of information on anti-war protests, the story has careened in all directions. The sinister interpretation is that the Defense Department was or is keeping any...

By William M. Arkin | July 9, 2007; 09:02 AM ET | Comments (17)

Special Operations Prepared for Domestic Missions

The U.S. Northern Command, the military command responsible for "homeland defense," has asked the Pentagon if it can establish its own special operations command for domestic missions. The request, reported in the Washington Examiner, would establish a permanent sub-command for...

By William M. Arkin | June 22, 2007; 07:32 AM ET | Comments (71)

Asking About Gays in the Military

Will Gen. Peter Pace's mild repudiation of his remarks on homosexuality save the day, or will the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff be forced into retirement for saying that he personally felt homosexuality was immoral? Though people will...

By William M. Arkin | March 14, 2007; 07:46 AM ET | Comments (482)

It's Time to See the Army like FEMA

FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is synonymous with disaster. When ever it in the news, of course you know some disaster has occurred. And we're pretty sure as well that part of that disaster is FEMA itself: relief checks...

By William M. Arkin | March 12, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (22)

America Needs a Few Good Civilians

The White House announcement last week that it was nominating Dell L. Dailey of South Dakota to be the State Department Coordinator for Counterterrorism immediately caught my attention. Dailey, who is hardly a household figure, is famous in the world...

By William M. Arkin | February 20, 2007; 08:38 AM ET | Comments (41)

The Troops Also Need to Support the American People

Editor's Note: More than 900 comments have been posted to this entry -- making the page too long for some computers to download and display quickly and properly. We're therefore allowing no new comments to be added to the page....

By William M. Arkin | January 30, 2007; 08:51 AM ET | Comments (998)

The Mandate on Rumsfeld

In the weekend before an election, everything is political. So when the Military Times newspapers revealed this weekend that they would be calling for President Bush to fire Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld in their upcoming November 13 issues,...

By William M. Arkin | November 6, 2006; 09:15 AM ET | Comments (22)

A Draft Might Help Us

Poor John Kerry. False debate and fake scandal. Here's my perspective on the fact that I got more than 100 comments on my John Kerry blog as well as dozens of e-mails, many decrying the media focus on this story:...

By William M. Arkin | November 2, 2006; 12:39 PM ET | Comments (79)

America Spends To Keep the Military Away

The Air Force, which has been on a tear cutting positions in its uniformed ranks to save modernization money, has announced that it is cutting about 3,500 jobs from its Europe-based force. Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England has meanwhile...

By William M. Arkin | October 26, 2006; 10:14 AM ET | Comments (19)

The Role of Military Men in Politics

With national security dominating the American political scene, it was only a matter of time before we began to see men in uniform increasingly appearing on the national stage. Two of the most prominent, retired Vice Admiral Joseph A. Sestak...

By William M. Arkin | October 19, 2006; 03:33 PM ET | Comments (33)

Michael Brown: Go Away

Is it just me, or does former FEMA director Michael Brown bear a striking resemblance to JonBenet Ramsey fantasist and liar John Mark Karr? Both just can't get out of the news: Michael Brown is back blaming Secretary of...

By William M. Arkin | August 29, 2006; 11:55 AM ET | Comments (66)

The Price of Homeland Security

Yet another task force has issued yet another failing report card to the federal government on homeland security. Nearly five years after 9/11, it says "we cannot count on the national government to perform one of its most basic...

By William M. Arkin | July 3, 2006; 08:28 AM ET | Comments (39)

WMD Prep in Washington

Code Name(s) of the Week: Marble Challenge, Focal Point North Korea prepares to test its missile, Iran stiff-arms the West by setting the pace of nuclear negotiations, terrorists obtain enough highly enriched uranium to build a 10-kiloton nuclear device, which...

By William M. Arkin | June 22, 2006; 09:41 AM ET | Comments (62)

Back to the Bunker

I had an article in the Outlook section of the print newspaper today:Back to the BunkerBy William M. ArkinSunday, June 4, 2006; B01On Monday, June 19, about 4,000 government workers representing more than 50 federal agencies from the State Department...

By William M. Arkin | June 4, 2006; 05:10 PM ET | Comments (25)

Telephone Records are just the Tip of NSA's Iceberg

The National Security Agency and other U.S. government organizations have developed hundreds of software programs and analytic tools to "harvest" intelligence, and they've created dozens of gigantic databases designed to discover potential terrorist activity both inside the United States and...

By William M. Arkin | May 12, 2006; 10:47 AM ET | Comments (216)

Still Preparing For the Wrong Disaster

The Pentagon announced the kick-off of the two-week Ardent Sentry 06 exercise yesterday, a large scale domestic crisis response stew that will test the ability of first responders from the federal government, five states and two Canadian provinces to...

By William M. Arkin | May 11, 2006; 09:15 AM ET | Comments (29)

Blabbermouthing about Secrets

Pentagon spying and the government clampdown on the leaking of classified information are at the top of my news interests this week. Yesterday, the House version of the fiscal year 2007 Intelligence Authorization bill included language directing the Defense...

By William M. Arkin | April 28, 2006; 07:35 AM ET | Comments (43)

The F Bomb

My post "Free Speech and Patriotism" provoked many responses that took me to task for using the F word and being rude and childish in responding to a Marine Corps general who asked me whether I considered myself a journalist...

By William M. Arkin | April 3, 2006; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (7)

Dots: An Apparatus of Domestic Repression?

Current and former members of the 902nd Military Intelligence Group, come forth.  I believe your unit is spying on anti-war, anti-military and environmental organizations under the guise of "force protection."  Ever since Pentagon domestic spying was revealed by yours truly...

By William M. Arkin | March 24, 2006; 10:30 AM ET | Comments (28)

War Vs. More War for Congress

Retired Vice Admiral Joseph A. Sestak is running for Congress in Pennsylvania, hoping to dislodge 10 term Republican Curt Weldon, vice chairman of the House Armed Services Committee (thanks to Defense Daily for bringing this to my attention). Sestak, who...

By William M. Arkin | February 13, 2006; 09:00 AM ET | Comments (40)

No Big Deal, Pentagon Says

Oh my goodness, Donald Rumsfeld, says. Well-meaning, honest mistakes: "no big deal." That's how the Secretary of Defense describes his Department's own admission to Congress that the Pentagon "inappropriately" collected information on anti-war and anti-military protestors in the United States. ...

By William M. Arkin | February 9, 2006; 09:45 AM ET | Comments (15)

Pentagon Collects Thousands of Names?

I've said in these pages that I believe the Bush administration's characterization of warantless NSA surveillance is limited but wonder what else it might be trying to cover in its zeal to protect the revealed program.  I've criticized Congress in...

By William M. Arkin | January 23, 2006; 09:30 AM ET | Comments (28)

Pentagon Says We're Sorry

The administration argued yesterday that the President has the Constitutional authority to order warantless surveillance, as Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez delivered a new legal defense to Congress of the National Security Agency's surveillance activities and Vice President Dick Cheney spoke...

By William M. Arkin | January 20, 2006; 09:30 AM ET | Comments (47)

The American Battlefield

The Pentagon now says that it has ordered a "review" of the collection of information about U.S. citizens, particularly those who pose no plausible terrorist threat, after my NBC Nightly News piece ran Tuesday and my blog yesterday revealed some...

By William M. Arkin | December 15, 2005; 08:30 AM ET | Comments (45)

Pentagon Domestic Spying

An NBC Nightly News piece yesterday on domestic spying by the military featured yours truly discussing an intelligence database of 1,519 "suspicious incidents" that covers the period July 2004-May 2005.  The database -- which I obtained from a military source...

By William M. Arkin | December 14, 2005; 10:00 AM ET | Comments (60)

Military Identity Confusion

In these days of identity theft, one can never be too careful. So isn't it a little strange that the Pentagon's Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA) can write a "special report" on "Production and Use of Fraudulent Military Identification Cards" and...

By William M. Arkin | November 30, 2005; 10:14 AM ET | Comments (29)

Domestic Military Intelligence Is Back

Code Name of the Week: CornerstoneYesterday, Walter Pincus reported in The Washington Post about the Defense Department's Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA), certainly one of the more mysterious Pentagon agencies, and one that is at the center of the Defense Department's...

By William M. Arkin | November 29, 2005; 10:28 AM ET | Comments (83)

The War on Flu

"Avian flu is not an imminent threat to the United States because of responsible agencies with active and preventative measures already in place." This is the lead sentence of a "Point Paper on Avian Flu" produced by U.S. Northern Command...

By William M. Arkin | November 9, 2005; 12:00 PM ET | Comments (4)

Bird Flu, Hurricanes, the Mexico Problem

Code Name of the Week: Ardent Sentry Despite the administration's politically motivated push for a strong federal government response to a possible influenza pandemic and the president's love affair with all things military, the Pentagon is planning to pay only...

By William M. Arkin | November 8, 2005; 08:30 AM ET | Comments (16)

Myers, Uzbekistan, Nukes Bye Bye

Posse Notaneedus. Though Senator John Warner (R-VA) said last week that Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld told him in a telephone conversation that the Pentagon would examine the Posse Comitatus Act to see whether the law impedes military response in domestic...

By William M. Arkin | October 3, 2005; 11:48 AM ET | Comments (25)

DOD: No New Rules Needed

Weeks before hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf coast, the Pentagon drafted new policies regarding the use of the military in the United States. The drafts -- marked "For Official Use Only" and "Pre-Decisional" and obtained by this Washington Post blogger...

By William M. Arkin | September 22, 2005; 09:19 AM ET | Comments (23)

Today in DC: Commandos in the Streets?

Today, somewhere in the DC metropolitan area, the military is conducting a highly classified Granite Shadow "demonstration." Granite Shadow is yet another new Top Secret and compartmented operation related to the military's extra-legal powers regarding weapons of mass destruction. It...

By William M. Arkin | September 21, 2005; 07:21 AM ET | Comments (35)

Rumsfeld to Katrina: "Thanks"

Virginia Sen. John Warner (R.-VA) asked Donald Rumsfeld last week to conduct a "thorough review" of presidential authority to use the armed forces to "restore public order" in an emergency like Katrina. His letter (PDF) unleashed a torrent of...

By William M. Arkin | September 20, 2005; 07:55 AM ET | Comments (32)

 

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