Loading...

Defense Secretary Opposes Use of Active-Duty Troops to Police US Cities

June 3, 2020 by Dan McCue
Defense Secretary Opposes Use of Active-Duty Troops to Police US Cities
Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper holds a news conference at the Pentagon, June 3, 2020. (DoD photo by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jack Sanders)

WASHINGTON – Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Wednesday he opposes the use of active-duty military to police U.S. cities and contain current street protests over the death of George Floyd.

“I’ve always believed and continue to believe that the National Guard is best suited for performing domestic support to civil authorities in these situations in support of local law enforcement,” Esper said at a news conference at the Pentagon Wednesday.

“I say this not only as Secretary of Defense, but also as a former soldier and a former member of the National Guard, the option to use active-duty forces in a law enforcement role should only be used as a matter of last resort and only in the most urgent and dire of situations,” he added. “We are not in one of those situations now. I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act.”

Esper’s statement appears to put him at odds with President Donald Trump, who has warned state governors that he is willing to use the Insurrection Act of 1807 to send troops to “dominate” the streets if they can’t get a handle on the unrest.

Esper had already authorized the movement of about 1,300 active-duty Army units to military bases just outside the nation’s capital, but they have not entered the city — and defense officials said some of the troops were beginning to return to their home bases Wednesday.

Earlier Wednesday, the president appeared to be taking credit for the deployment of federal and other law enforcement officers to Washington,D.C., saying it offered a model to states on how to stop violence accompanying some protests nationwide.

Since the protests over Floyd’s death in police custody flared over the weekend, troops deployed to assist with protest response around the country have been National Guard forces under state control.

Asked whether Trump retains confidence in Esper, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Wednesday, “As of right now, Secretary Esper is still Secretary Esper, and should the president lose faith, we will all learn about that in the future.”

In The News

Health

Voting

Military

October 5, 2022
by Dan McCue
Senators Laud DOD for Imposing Anti-PFAS Procurement Rules

WASHINGTON — The lead Senate sponsors of the PFAS Free Military Purchasing Act this week lauded the Department of Defense’s... Read More

WASHINGTON — The lead Senate sponsors of the PFAS Free Military Purchasing Act this week lauded the Department of Defense’s recent decision to make its own stand against the proliferation of so-called “forever chemicals.” Late last month, the Defense Department issued a Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation... Read More

October 5, 2022
by Dan McCue
Army Releases Climate Strategy Implementation Plan

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army released a comprehensive plan on Wednesday aimed at reducing the future impacts and risks on... Read More

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army released a comprehensive plan on Wednesday aimed at reducing the future impacts and risks on its installations and fighting forces associated with climate change. Senior Army leaders have long been concerned that the effects of climate change and extreme weather are... Read More

August 1, 2022
by Dan McCue
Samuel Sandoval, One of the Last ‘Navajo Code Talkers’ Dies

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — Samuel Sandoval, one of the last remaining Navajo Code Talkers, a band of Native American heroes who... Read More

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — Samuel Sandoval, one of the last remaining Navajo Code Talkers, a band of Native American heroes who transmitted messages during World War II using a code based on their native language, is dead. Sandoval reportedly died late Friday at a hospital in Shiprock,... Read More

July 22, 2022
by Tom Ramstack
DC Mayor Could Deploy National Guard Under Defense Bill Approved by House

WASHINGTON — The District of Columbia’s mayor would gain a right to call out the National Guard in an emergency... Read More

WASHINGTON — The District of Columbia’s mayor would gain a right to call out the National Guard in an emergency under the National Defense Authorization Act approved by the U.S. House of Representatives this month. The $840.2 billion bill would fund the Defense Department for the... Read More

July 8, 2022
by Dan McCue
Last WWII Medal of Honor Winner to Lie In State at Capitol

WASHINGTON — Hershel Woodrow “Woody” Williams, the longest living World War II Medal of Honor recipient, will lie in honor... Read More

WASHINGTON — Hershel Woodrow “Woody” Williams, the longest living World War II Medal of Honor recipient, will lie in honor in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda on Thursday, July 14. Williams, the last remaining Medal of Honor recipient from World War II, died in his native West... Read More

June 26, 2022
by Dan McCue
Army Selects Lockheed Martin for Long-Term Energy Storage Program

BETHESDA, Md. — The U.S. Army has selected Lockheed Martin to build the first megawatt-scale, long-duration energy storage system at... Read More

BETHESDA, Md. — The U.S. Army has selected Lockheed Martin to build the first megawatt-scale, long-duration energy storage system at Fort Carson in Colorado. The installation and its use as a demonstration project for the Department of Defense is being overseen by the U.S. Army Engineer... Read More

News From The Well