The Discerning Texan

All that is necessary for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing.
-- Edmund Burke
Friday, March 07, 2008

The North American Army

Without much warning to the nation, without any media coverage, and without the OK of Congress, a military agreement was signed by the Armed Forces commanders of the U.S.A. and Canada on February 14th. The army is composed of two armed forces: the U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) and Canada Command. USNORTHCOM's website describes the joint forces as "a Civil Assistance Plan that allows the military from one nation to support the armed forces of the other nation during a civil emergency." The commanders are U. S. Air Force Gen. Gene Renuart and Canadian Air Force Lt.-Gen. Marc Dumais. Both commands were established within the last few years.

According to Gen. Renuart:

"This document is a unique, bilateral military plan to align our respective national military plans to respond quickly to the other nation's requests for military support of civil authorities,” Renuart said. “Unity of effort during bilateral support for civil support operations such as floods, forest fires, hurricanes, earthquakes and effects of a terrorist attack, in order to save lives, prevent human suffering and mitigate damage to property, is of the highest importance, and we need to be able to have forces that are flexible and adaptive to support rapid decision-making in a collaborative environment."

Also known as "Executive Directive 51", the measure was signed by Bush on May 4, 2007, and it outlines the procedures to be followed by the federal government in case of a catastrophic emergency. The directive describes such an emergency as "any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government functions." Directive 51 gives the President the power to declare the catastrophic emergency without specifying who has the authority to declare the emergency over. It also specifies that, in case of such an emergency, an "Enduring Constitutional Government," comprising "a cooperative effort among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the Federal Government" will take the place of the nation's regular government. Although this new government will be coordinated by the executive branch (the President), the oversight of Congress is not required.

The directive has been under fire because the Constitution specifies that the three branches of government are all equal, with no single branch having the authority to coordinate the others. Free to operate without the oversight of Congress, the President would have power over the other two branches and would be something like a dictator. Also, it is not clear how the directive will work with the National Emergencies Act of 1976, which gives Congress authority to oversee OVER presidential power during emergencies. The Act is not mentioned in the text of Directive 51.

To further confuse matters and raise more questions, the White House has refused the Homeland Security Committee access to the classified documents relating to the continuity of the government in case of emergencies. Although the White House cites "national security concerns", it seems strange not to allow access to a Committee that is directly involved with homeland security.

Clearly, we have reservations about Directive 51 as well as the North American Army, but we're not going to start worrying about this being one of the first steps in the erosion of United States sovereignty, and we're not going to subscribe to any conspiracy theories regarding the New World Order. We haven't drawn any firm conclusions. On one hand, having Canada's assistance at our disposal in case of an emergency seems like a favorable idea. On the other, imagining a foreign army crossing our borders for ANY reason just doesn't set well with us. That notion is so alien to Americans!

It is plain to see that Directive 51 ties in directly with the creation of the North American Army, but what is not clear is: Exactly what is the U. S. government preparing for? Are they expecting some catastrophe that is going to throw the nation into a state of national emergency? Why all the preparations? Is this really about fires, floods and earthquakes? Or is the government preparing for something else we don't know about?

Posted by Two Sisters from the Right, 3/07/2008 03:22:00 AM |