RTH10260 wrote: ↑
Mon Oct 16, 2017 6:01 pm
Maybenaut wrote: ↑
Mon Oct 16, 2017 5:26 pm
I'm not sure he could have mobilized the military much sooner than he did. Whether, when, and which components of the military can be mobilized to respond to a natural disaster is extraordinarily complicated. After Katrina there were some changes to the Stafford Act (that's the law that establishes and authorizes FEMA) and to Title 10 (governs the Department of Defense) to provide the DOD more authority than it did have, but it still isn't as simple as picking up the phone. Here's an article about it by Richard J. Hayes, a Brig. Gen. in the Illinois National Guard that explains the law as well as the short-comings.
http://ndupress.ndu.edu/Portals/68/Docu ... _Hayes.pdf
Apart from the legalities, how much leeway do the commanders in HQ of the forces have to "play" planning exercises out of the blue if they feel they may be pushed into action? Are they permitted to preplan a disater relief obviously in making, or would they have to plan an "invasion" of native territory, perhaps disguised as a landing exercise?
I don't think they can. Federal forces must, at a minimum, be invited in by the governor.
But, respectfully, there is no "apart from the legalities." There are a bunch of hoops that all federal agencies, including the military, have to jump through -- including declaring a disaster (who gets to declare, when the declaration can take place, whether it's a "major" disaster, etc. -- all of which are triggering events and come with specific authorities and limitations); coordinating officials have to be named; cost-shares have to be determined; there's a lot to it -- a lot more than I just described.
It may seem like these laws are arcane, but they're rooted in the constitutional concerns of federalism vs. states' rights, civilian control over the military, and avoiding using the military for law enforcement. So it's unlikely that Congress is ever going to give the President the power to "just do whatever you think you need to do to make it better."