Civilian national security force becoming reality?

Monday, March 23, 2009 Comments

Two recent government actions have me wondering if Obama is making a "down payment" on his "civilian national security force"?

Last Wednesday, the House passed H.R. 1388, the Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education (GIVE) Act (you can see how your Representative voted here). The bill is now in the Senate and a vote is expected later today. If you don't want this passed, please call your senators today!

The GIVE Act will significantly increase funding and expand the scope of the existing AmeriCorps program. The stated goal is to expand the current 75,000 volunteers to 250,000 and it applies to all ages from children to seniors.

There are a few things concerning about this bill. First, they talk of the increased need for volunteers given the current economic conditions. Sure, but there are already countless volunteer opportunities through countless private organizations, as well as the existing opportunities through the government, for anyone who is interested. There is no shortage of volunteer opportunities in this country, and people are already doing that on their own. We don't need the government to tell us to volunteer, and we don't need them to create / expand government programs and spend more money in order to promote volunteerism.

More troubling is the "Congressional Commission on Civic Service" established by this bill (thanks to E3 Gazette for sifting through the details):

There is established in the legislative branch a commission to be known as the ‘Congressional Commission on Civic Service’ (in this title referred to as the ‘Commission’).

SEC. 6104. DUTIES.
(a) General Purpose- The purpose of the Commission is to gather and analyze information in order to make recommendations to Congress to--

(b) Specific Topics- In carrying out its general purpose under subsection (a), the Commission shall address and analyze the following specific topics:

The "specific topics" include:

(5) The effect on the Nation, on those who serve, and on the families of those who serve, if all individuals in the United States were expected to perform national service or were required to perform a certain amount of national service.

(6) Whether a workable, fair, and reasonable mandatory service requirement for all able young people could be developed, and how such a requirement could be implemented in a manner that would strengthen the social fabric of the Nation and overcome civic challenges by bringing together people from diverse economic, ethnic, and educational backgrounds.

(7) The need for a public service academy, a 4-year institution that offers a federally funded undergraduate education with a focus on training future public sector leaders.

(8) The means to develop awareness of national service and volunteer opportunities at a young age by creating, expanding, and promoting service options for elementary and secondary school students, through service learning or other means, and by raising awareness of existing incentives.

(9) The effectiveness of establishing a training program on college campuses to recruit and educate college students for national service.

(11) The constraints that service providers, nonprofit organizations, and State and local agencies face in utilizing federally funded volunteer programs, and how these constraints can be overcome.

(12) Whether current Federal volunteer programs are suited to address the special skills and needs of senior volunteers, and if not, how these programs can be improved such that the Federal Government can effectively promote service among the ‘baby boomer’ generation.

So while the liberals assure us it's all voluntary, nothing mandatory here, the bill clearly indicates that the intention is to one day make it mandatory, they just need to figure out the best way to do that. They're targetting everyone from elementary age to senior citizens. Regarding #12, I can't help but wonder if government-mandated "service" could become a requirement to receive Social Security - nevermind that people have been paying into it their entire working lives.

Call me crazy, but once it becomes forced, it ceases to be "service" and becomes "involuntary servitude" (also known as slavery). Last time I checked, the Constitution outlawed slavery a long time ago.


On a related topic, I recently learned about Dept of Defense Directive 1404.10, which establishes a "DoD Civilian Expeditionary Workforce" and rescinds a prior directive from 1992 regarding the emergency use of civilian personnel.

So what did Obama change compared with the prior version?

The 1992 directive specifically deals with overseas deployments of civilian personnel. It does not mention terms like "restoration of order" or "stability operations", prominently featured in the new directive.

The wording now reads,

Members of the DoD Civilian Expeditionary Workforce shall be organized, trained, cleared, equipped, and ready to deploy in support of combat operations by the military; contingencies; emergency operations; humanitarian missions; disaster relief; restoration of order; drug interdiction; and stability operations of the Department of Defense in accordance with DoDD 3000.05...

What exactly is meant by "contingencies," "restoration of order," and "stability operations"? Also, the 1992 directive does not appear to be geared toward domestic use of this "expeditionary workforce" while the current version does:

The 1992 directive mentions the term "overseas" no fewer than 33 times.

The 2009 directive does not mention the term "overseas" in the body of the directive even once.


These two items are troubling in and of themselves. Taken together, one can't help but wonder if it is part of a larger effort to, as I said in the beginning of this post, make a "down payment" on the Civilian National Security Force that Obama envisions.

Back in July, Obama had this to say on the campaign trail:

"We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives we've set. We've got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded."

Here's the video clip:

Links to this post