Posse Comitatus Act: An Act in Need of a Regulatory Update   [open pdf - 283KB]

"The Posse Comitatus Act (PCA), primarily through misinterpretation, has acted as a needless hurdle to full and proper employment of the Armed Forces in a domestic capacity. By design, the PCA limits who can employ the U.S. Armed Forces to enforce the laws within the U.S. In the recent past, even when the President has properly and clearly authorized employment of the Armed Forces, military members have misapplied the PCA to unnecessarily limit the use of Armed Forces to respond to a domestic crisis. The main concern is not the PCA itself. Before and after the PCA was enacted, Presidents have successfully used the Armed Forces, primarily the Army, in response to domestic issues. The PCA acknowledges the President and Congress can use the military in a domestic capacity. The chief issue that arises is subordinate officers, to include legal advisers, perceiving PCA barriers when none exist. In response, DoD needs to update DoD Directive (DoDD) 5525.5. It was much too broad when released in 1986 and much has changed since then both in laws and the world. This DoDD needs to discuss the GWOT [Global War on Terror]."

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