Military to assist with future natural disasters

Emergency Management Alert, January 6, 2009

The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) is planning to use an unlikely source to provide more assistance during natural disasters.

By 2011 the DOD plans to have 200,000 troops expressly trained to assist in natural disaster rapid response, according to Time magazine. In fact, 4,700 soldiers have already engaged in the new assignment. The $556 million program is just a part of the $2.3 billion Federal Emergency Management Agency’s project to have civilian emergency management authorities working with military forces in developing response plans.

But some officials are concerned that the project dismisses the Posse Comitatus Act, a 130-year-old law that bars the President from using the military for civil affairs. However, the Pentagon insists that the project will not infringe on this law because troops will not be involved in law enforcement, and will just provide assistance such as sending out supplies.

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