Accession Number:

ADA492865

Title:

The Use of Federal Troops for Disaster Assistance: Legal Issues

Descriptive Note:

Congressional rept.

Corporate Author:

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

2008-11-28

Pagination or Media Count:

10.0

Abstract:

Natural disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina, raise questions concerning the Presidents legal authority to send active duty military forces into a disaster area and the permissible functions the military can perform to protect life and property and maintain order. The Stafford Act authorizes the use of the military for disaster relief operations at the request of the state governor, but it does not authorize the use of the military to perform law enforcement functions, which is ordinarily prohibited by the Posse Comitatus Act. However, the President may invoke other authorities to use federal troops to aid in the execution of the law, including the Insurrection Act. This report summarizes the possible constitutional and statutory authorities and constraints relevant to the use of armed forces, including National Guard units in federal service, to provide assistance to states when a natural disaster impedes the operation of state and local police.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE