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The National Guard and Police Support in the District of Columbia

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On Friday, Oct. 22, 1993, the Mayor of Washington, D.C. requested authority from the President to activate the D.C. National Guard to support the Districts efforts of stemming violent crime. The Mayors request to the President and notification of certain Members of Congress had implications beyond the issue of using the Guard to control crime. These implications include constitutional issues concerning control over the National Guard, military concerns over the use of the Guard as a part of the Total Force concept, fiscal and budgetary considerations, and political arguments concerning D.C. statehood. Ultimately, the Mayors request was rejected by the President on constitutional grounds. However, had the President allowed Guard troops to be mobilized, it is the thesis of this paper that bureaucratic, legal and political pressures would have been brought to bear to limit the Guards effectiveness. Indeed, it can be argued that these pressures also played a role in the Presidents decision to reject the Mayors request. In considering this issue, this paper describes those background events that led to the Mayors request. This paper also discusses the role of the National Guard, its dual status, and, its unique structure in regard to the District of Columbia. Next, the constitutional issues are examined. Finally, this paper considers the politically contentious nature of the Mayors request and argues that the bureaucratic and political forces, as they emerged, would serve to limit the Guards role.

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  • Sociology and Law
  • Personnel Management and Labor Relations

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