Outside view: The case for a U.S. militia


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captain obvious
August 3, 2005, 03:33 PM
I saw this in my campus E-Mail account today and wondered what the take here would be.

Outside view: The case for a U.S. militia

By WILLIAM S. LIND, Outside View Contributor

WASHINGTON, Aug. 3 (UPI) -- I spent last week in Pittsfield, Maine, at a symposium on modern war called by Col. Mike Wyly, U.S. Marine Corps retired. Col. Wyly was one of the heroes of the maneuver warfare movement in the Marine Corps in the 1970s and '80s, and when he suggests it's time for a new effort, people listen. My hope was that we might make some progress on Fourth Generation war theory, and while I am not sure we accomplished that we did gain some ground on one important question: What might a state armed service designed for 4GW look like?

To address that question, we first had to answer another one: what would such a force's mission be? Not being neo-Trotskyites, we derived our answer within the framework of a defensive grand strategy. The new service's (and it should be a new armed service) primary mission would be to prevent outbreaks of Fourth Generation war on American soil. The focus must be on prevention, not "first response," because if we are forced into a response mode the enemy has already won. And, the new service must be oriented not only to preventing imported 4GW, like that we saw on Sept. 11, 2001, but also the home-grown variety such as London just experienced.

But -- and here was the kicker -- the new service has to keep us safe without pushing America further toward Big Brother, the all-powerful, centralized, national security state represented by the Department of Homeland Security, the "Patriot Act" and much else coming out of Washington.

So what should this new 4GW armed service be? The answer of our working group at the symposium was, "a militia."

The militia was the basis of America's defense through most of our history as a republic. More, there are two contemporary models. One is volunteer fire departments, which small town and rural America depend on and which almost always perform well. The other is community policing, where cops walk the same beat in the same neighborhood for a long time, long enough to understand the neighborhood and prevent crimes instead of just responding to them. Neither volunteer fire departments nor community police serve as control mechanisms for the federal government. They respond to their local communities, not to Washington.

The new militia's most important function would be neighborhood watch. The only way to prevent 4GW attacks is to find out about them before they happen, and that means the militia, like community police, must know what is happening in their neighborhoods. But again, we don't want to feed Big Brother. Almost all of what the militia knows should remain on the local level.

How can we make this happen? Our working group decided the militia should normally report to the county sheriff, a local, elected official who has a lot of independence. Sheriffs' powers, defined over centuries in common law, allow them to tell the feds to stick it. Nor are they under the thumb of local or state politicians. If they violate citizens' rights, they can be unelected real fast. The militia, we also decided, would not have powers of arrest unless deputized. A separation of powers between the militia and law enforcement would also help maintain citizens' rights.

Another danger we wanted to avoid was allowing the First Generation culture of order, still characteristic of America's Second Generation armed forces, to carry over to the new service.

Like Third Generation militaries, the militia must be outward focused, prize initiative over obedience and depend on self-discipline, not imposed discipline. We, therefore. determined that there should be very little in the way of formal ranks or commands and no saluting, drill, uniforms (at least none required) etc.

The largest unit would be the company, with an elected captain. The captain's duties would be mostly administrative, and sub-units could elect adjutants to handle their paperwork if they wanted to. The militiamen would be free to choose leaders on a task basis, picking whoever they thought was best qualified depending on what they had to do. Yes, this means trusting ordinary citizens to show some common sense. Republics do that; if they can't or won't, they are no longer republics.

Another characteristic of our anti-4GW militia is that unless mobilized, the militiamen would not be paid. Instead of pay, they would collect points toward retirement benefits and -- we thought this could kill two birds with one stone -- they would receive health insurance for themselves and their families. Instead of health coverage just becoming another "entitlement," citizens who did something for their country would find their country doing something for them. We thought long-term benefits like pensions and health insurance would also help recruit the kind of people the militia needs, solid citizens capable of delayed gratification.

Next week's column will continue this report on the results of Col. Wyly's symposium, including the militia. And no, the fact that we met in Maine did not lead us to consider using moose as crew-served weapons carriers.

--

(William S. Lind, expressing his own personal opinion, is Director for the Center for Cultural Conservatism for the Free Congress Foundation.)

--

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enfield303
August 3, 2005, 04:12 PM
It strikes me as a good idea. it might be a problem in my county(our sheriff is rather anti-RKBA. you can't get a permit to carry unless you are an LEO, or a good contributer to his campaign). I like payment idea. What kind of structure would be involved? Duty requirements? Standard weapons? Training?

Henry Bowman
August 3, 2005, 04:19 PM
:confused: What is 4GW? What does "First Generation culture of order" and "America's Second Generation armed forces" mean?

spartacus2002
August 3, 2005, 04:27 PM
Lind is a proponent of dividing the history of warfare into four "Generations." You can find an explication at http://www.d-n-i.net/fcs/4th_gen_war_gazette.htm Sample below:

While military development is generally a continuous evolutionary process, the modern era has witnessed three watersheds in which change has been dialectically qualitative. Consequently, modern military development comprises three distinct generations.

First generation warfare reflects tactics of the era of the smoothbore musket, the tactics of line and column. These tactics were developed partially in response to technological factors — the line maximized firepower, rigid drill was necessary to generate a high rate of fire, etc.— and partially in response to social conditions and ideas, e.g., the columns of the French revolutionary armies reflected both the élan of the revolution and the low training levels of conscripted troops. Although rendered obsolete with the replacement of the smoothbore by the rifled musket, vestiges of first generation tactics survive today, especially in a frequently encountered desire for linearity on the battlefield. Operational art in the first generation did not exist as a concept although it was practiced by individual commanders, most prominently Napoleon.

Second generation warfare was a response to the rifled musket, breechloaders, barbed wire, the machinegun, and indirect fire. Tactics were based on fire and movement, and they remained essentially linear. The defense still attempted to prevent all penetrations, and in the attack a laterally dispersed line advanced by rushes in small groups. Perhaps the principal change from first generation tactics was heavy reliance on indirect fire; second generation tactics were summed up in the French maxim, "the artillery conquers, the infantry occupies." Massed firepower replaced massed manpower. Second generation tactics remained the basis of U.S. doctrine until the 1980s, and they are still practiced by most American units in the field.

While ideas played a role in the development of second generation tactics (particularly the idea of lateral dispersion), technology was the principal driver of change. Technology manifested itself both qualitatively, in such things as heavier artillery and bombing aircraft, and quantitatively, in the ability of an industrialized economy to fight a battle of materiel (Materialschlacht).

The second generation saw the formal recognition and adoption of the operational art, initially by the Prussian army. Again, both ideas and technology drove the change. The ideas sprang largely from Prussian studies of Napoleon's campaigns. Technological factors included von Moltke's realization that modern tactical firepower mandated battles of encirclement and the desire to exploit the capabilities of the railway and the telegraph.

Third generation warfare was also a response to the increase in battlefield firepower. However, the driving force was primarily ideas. Aware they could not prevail in a contest of materiel because of their weaker industrial base in World War I, the Germans developed radically new tactics. Based on maneuver rather than attrition, third generation tactics were the first truly nonlinear tactics. The attack relied on infiltration to bypass and collapse the enemy's combat forces rather than seeking to close with and destroy them. The defense was in depth and often invited penetration, which set the enemy up for a counterattack.

While the basic concepts of third generation tactics were in place by the end of 1918, the addition of a new technological element-tanks-brought about a major shift at the operational level in World War II. That shift was blitzkrieg. In the blitzkrieg, the basis of the operational art shifted from place (as in Liddell-Hart's indirect approach) to time. This shift was explicitly recognized only recently in the work of retired Air Force Col John Boyd and his "OODA (observation- orientation- decision- action) theory."

Thus we see two major catalysts for change in previous generational shifts: technology and ideas.

another okie
August 3, 2005, 05:07 PM
If you will check on the internet you will find the website for the state guard association. About 14 (?) states, as I recall, have State Guard units, which unlike the National Guard are not part of the federal command structure and cannot be called up for foreign service. Their mission is usually described as to be there in the event the National Guard is off on some federal mission and there is a local emergency. Seems like New York and Tennessee are two of the states that have such entities.

Actually, under federal law, there already is an unorganized militia, which is you and me. Federal law defines the National Guard as the organized militia and all men between certain ages as the unorganized militia.

Frankly I'm beginning to think it was a mistake when they did away with the old militia structure and substituted the federalized National Guard structure.

Daniel964
August 3, 2005, 05:54 PM
I find it strange that you came up with this. I was talking with my father last summer and proposed something similar to him for Homeland Defense.

captain obvious
August 3, 2005, 06:40 PM
Frankly I'm beginning to think it was a mistake when they did away with the old militia structure and substituted the federalized National Guard structure.

+1, and bingo.

While it would definately not be politically expiedent to go back to the militia system today (it is/was rather difficult to send milita units overseas without their consent, IIRC - case in point: the invasion of Canada in the War of 1812), it would really do us well never to have changed.

Just wondering, did the act that spurred the National Guard have anything to do with the US being able to deploy troops to fight in World War I? I don't know much about the act or situation and would like to know more.

Darth Ruger
August 3, 2005, 07:18 PM
That whole 'generation' theory sounds interesting on the surface, but it doesn't make any sense, because it's dividing lines are all mixed up. It says the first generation was...

...rendered obsolete with the replacement of the smoothbore by the rifled musket...
And then it says...

Second generation warfare was a response to the rifled musket, breechloaders, barbed wire, the machinegun, and indirect fire.
This implies the era of the rifled musket, breechloaders, machine gun, etc., were responsible for both the end of the first generation and the start of the second generation, which means the first generation ended with the start of the Civil War, and the second generation began after, or during, World War I. That's a big chunk of time, technological development, and warfare to be between 'generations'. So what is it, 'Generation 1.5'?

It also says that one of the principle characteristics of second generation warfare was a new reliance on indirect fire. But earlier in the same paragraph, it says...

Second generation warfare was a response to...indirect fire.
So was indirect fire a cause of second generation warfare or a charcteristic of it?

Sounds like like nothing more than an interesting hypothesis that hasn't been very well thought-out.

Anyway, getting back to this militia thing... Have you guys ever heard of KISSATA? It's something I found when doing a web search last year. I don't participate in it, although the only reason I don't is because of a lack of time to devote to it. Read all of it carefully. I've mentioned it to others in the past, and some have remarked that it looks like one of those anti-government groups that want to take over the country. It's not. It's not a militia at all, it's just a concept that anyone can use to begin their own training with a few friends. If it ever became necessary to put the training to use (in the event of terrorist attacks, etc), it would be done in cooperation with local law enforcement, just like the Colonel's proposal. It's very much along the same lines as what's been proposed by that Marine Colonel (I wonder how he'd feel if he knew a civilian thought of it first... :D ), except the Colonel's version takes it a little farther with retirement benefits, larger groups of men, and deputizing them.

Anyway, when someone tells me that "it looks like one of those crazy militia groups", I know they didn't take the time to read all of it and understand that it's just a concept, not an anti-government para-military movement like those ones that were in the news a lot back in the early 1990's. They even recommend against using high-capacity semi-auto rifles and prefer cheap surplus bolt-action rifles and gear. All you have to do is get the training booklet, get a few friends together, and do some training every so often (they recommend one weekend a month). I don't have the booklet (I like the concept, but a lack of time prevents me from doing it), but I think the website explains it well enough to understand what it's about. Being former military, a lot of it would just be refresher training for me.

Read it and decide for yourself:
http://kissata.homestead.com/

Edit to add: You also need a sense of humor to read it. It contains a lot of tongue-in-cheek humor.

Hawkmoon
August 3, 2005, 07:59 PM
It bloody well SHOULD be "difficult" to send the militia (or the National Guard) haring off to other countries. That's not their role.

What is taking place in Iraq today is conclusive proof that the United States went way too far in downsizing the regular forces. It's one thing to include deploying reserves to foreign theaters for limited periods or time ... or even for extended periods, if it becomes operationally necessary. But the National Guard isn't called the "National Guard" by accident. Their purpose is to guard the nation. Yeah, they can be federalized in case of emergency or war -- but Iraq was never a declared war, and after two years can hardly be classified as an "emergency." And yet a significant percentage of the boots on the ground over there are NG boots, and that's wrong.

It also leaves unanswered just who is minding the store at home, if the troops that are supposed to belong to the states for their defense (NG units are state military unless federalized, remember?) have been "borrowed" indefinitely by Uncle Sam. And even when those units return home, after playing in the sandbox for a year, many of them won't be in much condition to defend the home turf for awhile.

Which leaves who to defend the home front? US -- the "unorganized militia." You and me (although technically I am over the age, I don't think that precludes me from playing, it only means I am not an automatic participant). Is there likely to be a mass invasion of the United States? No. But on a smaller scale I can foresee the possibility of smaller groups attacking installations such as refineries and nuclear power plants, which are incredibly poorly guarded. It would not be a bad idea for a governor to have a list of unorganized militia in his/her state to call upon in an emergency.

Except that nobody in their right mind would tell the state they have military weapons, even if they are only semi-auto clones. It would be better if the governors simply made it known that if they put out a call they would welcome anyone properly equipped showing up.

As to those state militias mentioned? I wonder about some of them. In researching militias one of the ones that came up on Google was Massachusetts. And what I found troubling about the MA Militia is that they have attached themselves to the MA National Guard for legitimacy. They are not an independent militia at all. I don't know if this might be the case in any other states that have militias at the state level.

ctdonath
August 3, 2005, 08:03 PM
Restore the Militia Act of 1792 (modernized as appropriate): every able-bodied male is obligated to equip himself to a mundane level (minimal camping gear, M16, 9 mags loaded, etc.), registers (not so the gov't can control & oppress him, but so the gov't can contact & equip & train him), and participates in periodic drills - just as the Founding Fathers intended. The organized militia was originally intended so they could be called up, self-equipped and generally know what to do in an orderly manner, for defense on our own soil.

Unfortunately this got twisted into the National Guard, where anyone signed up cannot keep their own military arms, and is expected to fight outside our borders; also we got the Selective Service, where those called up are expected to be untrained and unequipped, and are thus geared toward cannon-fodder bullet-sponge jobs. There is no place in our modern setting for a self-equipped self-trained capable "minuteman" whom the government works with to provide homeland security - and there should be.

Darth Ruger
August 3, 2005, 08:56 PM
There is no place in our modern setting for a self-equipped self-trained capable "minuteman"...and there should be.
Bingo! Check out KISSATA, that's exactly what it is.
All that's required is for people to do it.

ctdonath
August 3, 2005, 09:18 PM
Went to the KISSATA website. Instant turn-off. The basic premise may be good, but ya can't take it seriously with that kind of page: all in-your-face attitude, screaming "armchair warrior".

ctdonath
August 3, 2005, 09:25 PM
What we need is for the government to take the armed upstanding citizen seriously. DCM/CMP was supposed to do that, at least to some degree, but is limited mostly to introductory training on using archaic leftovers. It SHOULD be updated to standard training on M4s & M24s, patrol activity, and introduction to a real civil defense plan - plus registration for "call up", assignment of call-up duties, and periodic training. All of it should be with an attiude of "the government is thankful for your tools and talent and volunteer effort", instead of "cripes, another citizen with a gun and an attitude."

What we need is for the government to recognize it already has a militia branch of >14 million snipers, fully self-equipped with arms and supplies and transportation. They're missing out by not tapping into "Operation Deer Season".

Darth Ruger
August 3, 2005, 11:57 PM
Went to the KISSATA website. Instant turn-off. The basic premise may be good, but ya can't take it seriously with that kind of page: all in-your-face attitude, screaming "armchair warrior".
It's supposed to be funny. You don't have to have an in-your-face, screaming armchair warrior attitude to do it. You just get the book (I think it's $8) that has recommended training outlines and do it your own way. The website is nothing more than a place to get information and training tips (with some humor thrown in). You don't have to change your personal attitude to implement the concept in your life. Everyone wants a self-equipped, self-trained, ready-at-a-moment's-notice Minuteman to defend the country against terrorists. Right there is a website chock full of advice on how to do just that. But when it's presented with a few laughs mixed in, suddenly the means to do what everyone is clamoring for is no longer what they're looking for. I'm not trying to pick a fight with this, I only mentioned it here because it seems to be a possible solution to what many people here see as a problem.


What we need is for the government to take the armed upstanding citizen seriously.
That's the problem. It'll never happen. Try to craft a plan to actually encourage the population to become a decently organized, self-reliant military force, and every anti-gun politician in the country (and probably more than a few pro-gun politicians) will make it their life's work to squash it. They would simply see something like that as too much of a threat. They would rather let the terrorists wreak havoc in our own country than allow the citizens to become organized and powerful enough to fight them.

All of it should be with an attiude of "the government is thankful for your tools and talent and volunteer effort", instead of "cripes, another citizen with a gun and an attitude."
I agree, but that will definitely never happen.

What we need is for the government to recognize it already has a militia branch of >14 million snipers...
That's exactly what the government and law enforcement agencies are afraid of. These are the reasons why a government-sponsored plan to do something like that is just wishful thinking. That's why it's up to the citizens who feel this is really necessary to do it themselves. Simply insisting that the government/law enforcement should do it (even though I agree that they should) is nothing more than waiting around for something that's never going to happen when the means to do it ourselves is sitting right there in front of us. We'll have no one to blame but ourselves if something big finally happens and we weren't prepared to deal with it when we could have been.

beerslurpy
August 4, 2005, 12:12 AM
I suggest Sling and the Stone by Thomas X Hammes. Awesome book. Changed my entire view of both politics and war.

Moondoggie
August 4, 2005, 12:37 AM
For starters, county sheriffs could organize military retirees, like me.

I can still shoot, move, & communicate. Have appropriate weapons, still care, got quite a few miles left on the odometer, got common sense...no Barney Fife complex. I could guard anything if need be, control traffic, help the SO dispatch during overload periods, mind the few inmates in the local pokey temporarily if the officers were needed elsewhere. I'm sure local LE could find a use for volunteers, if they wanted to.

I, and others like me, could easily make up the core of some type of local volunteer auxilary service group. During WWII, lots of old geezers were pressed into service in England in the Home Guard as air wardens and such.

ravinraven
August 4, 2005, 06:59 AM
"Frankly I'm beginning to think it was a mistake when they did away with the old militia structure and substituted the federalized National Guard structure."

It was all a part of neutering the people before removing their rights. This whole creeping facism thing started the minute the ink dried on The Document. It's as natural as breathing.

I doubt that this militia idea will get ANY legs from any level of gov't. Too many public "servants" have too much to lose is we should go back to a Republic type of gov't.

rr

El Tejon
August 4, 2005, 08:15 AM
FWIW, many states define their militias in their state constitutions. E.g. Indiana defines "the militia" as all persons 17 and over.

Moon, "help out"? Shouldn't a guy with your experience be in charge? :)

shield20
August 4, 2005, 08:58 AM
As some have touched on above - you have to keep it 'civilian'; no sheriff (atleast in an official capacity), no government intervention at all, no public funding. The militia is US - you and me - any official involvement opens it up to offical regulation and control. An organized & well-regulated (meaning well trained and equipped) militia is possible, 'we' just have to do it ourselves.

Darth Ruger
August 4, 2005, 04:38 PM
I doubt that this militia idea will get ANY legs from any level of gov't. Too many public "servants" have too much to lose if we should go back to a Republic type of gov't.
Exactly. You'd have better luck asking Richard Simmons to become a spokesman for Ben & Jerry's.


An organized & well-regulated (meaning well trained and equipped) militia is possible, 'we' just have to do it ourselves.
Yup.


Here are some interesting militia FAQ's I came across on a search, although they pertain more to State-run and regulated groups rather than individuals training on their own without outside regulation:
http://www.fortliberty.org/militia/militia-faq.shtml

Darth Ruger
August 4, 2005, 04:45 PM
As some have touched on above - you have to keep it 'civilian'; no sheriff (at least in an official capacity), no government intervention at all, no public funding.
I also agree with that. Local law enforcement wouldn't welcome the idea of civilians arming themselves and training in military tactics. It's something that you would just have to do on your own without trying to get the blessings of the local LE agency. Not to imply doing any illegal stuff, just don't expect your local Sheriff to smile and pat you on the back when you tell him you and some friends are training for homeland defense and would like to set up a plan to work with his office. Only after something big happened here and the need for this sort of thing makes itself evident would they be willing to accept our assistance, not before.

chaim
August 4, 2005, 07:05 PM
Went to the KISSATA website. Instant turn-off. The basic premise may be good, but ya can't take it seriously with that kind of page: all in-your-face attitude, screaming "armchair warrior".

I have to agree, especially when you go to the "sniping" page. There are plenty of public domain pics of WWI British, American Marine, and other sniper photos. What did they chose to head the page? A painting of two SS snipers, not even WWII German Army but SS snipers!

chaim
August 4, 2005, 07:13 PM
As for the post starting this tread, I think it is a good idea. I'd probably join up. However, I don't see it ever coming to fruition. I doubt the feds would pass the legislation to allow it. Even if it did, I doubt many states would go for it. The legislation allowing State Guards/Defense Forces back during the Reagan administration has been on the books for quite some time now, how many states have State Guard/Defense Forces units? How many that do take them seriously (I think NY, CA, and CO do and CA and CO often use them for forest/grass fires).

BTW- I am fairly familiar with State Guards. I was a member of the Maryland Defense Force in the early 90s.

NMshooter
August 4, 2005, 07:31 PM
It is interesting to see Bill Lind arguing for something like this.

His idea looks sound, seems to fill in some of the missing portions of his ideas on dealing with 4GW enemies.

I do not believe it will get the necessary support to make it a reality, however. The folks in DC do not seem interested in involving Joe Citizen with the war effort in any way, and that is going to backfire on them.

Sometimes I am reminded of Fredrick the Great, and how he believed that the peasants in the fields should never even be aware of any on going wars. After the Thirty Years War (1618-1648) that was no longer possible.

another okie
August 9, 2005, 06:03 PM
"Just wondering, did the act that spurred the National Guard have anything to do with the US being able to deploy troops to fight in World War I? I don't know much about the act or situation and would like to know more."

It was a very complicated development and impossible to summarize in a paragraph. A good book is John K. Mahon, History of the Militia and the National Guard, published by MacMillan. It's from 1983 and reflects a lifetime of research.

The simplest explanation is that the states didn't want to spend their own money and wanted the feds to take over.

Another important fact is that the militia can only be called out for certain limited purposes under the Constitution, and invading foreign countries is not one of them, so the federal government wanted a reserve component they could send abroad. Since 1898 the United States has been committed to global military action, and a militia doesn't really match that mission.

The National Guard is technically still part of the Constitutional militia, but they can be drafted into federal service as a unit, and then the Constitutional limits don't apply, at least not according to our Supreme Court.

The professional soldiers (we're talking 1900-1920 here) wanted to do away with the Guard and subsitute a federalized reserve. The National Guard Association is very powerful politically, many Congressmen are Guardsmen, and as is often the case with federal legislation, they compromised by having both Guard and Reserves, which is both more expensive and less efficient.

I guess the most efficient and Constitutional thing to do would be to turn the National Guard back to the states, do away with the federal command structure and end the possible federalization of the Guard, and enlarge the Reserve, so the Guard could concentrate on stopping riots, protecting homes from flood, and feeding people after disasters. I can safely preduct, however, that such a thing will never happen.

rms/pa
August 9, 2005, 06:48 PM
keep in mind , while you are "do it yourself" militia organizing. PA (at least) has a law on "illegal paramilitary training".

what this covers is not clear to me.

rms/pa

Dex Sinister
August 9, 2005, 07:56 PM
The militia, we also decided, would not have powers of arrest unless deputized.

Well, Lind's point on arrest powers seems a little silly, as the only difference between a "civilian" and police officer's arrest powers is that a police officer can arrest for a witnessed misdemeanor or on suspicion of a felony, and the "civilian" can arrest on a witnessed felony.

[Well, aside from immunity from prosecution for false arrest, anyway.]

Presumably, one wouldn't want such an organization arresting people for misdemeanors in any case.

Dex }:>=-

Hawkmoon
August 9, 2005, 08:02 PM
As for the post starting this tread, I think it is a good idea. I'd probably join up. However, I don't see it ever coming to fruition. I doubt the feds would pass the legislation to allow it.
They don't need to pass a law. The Militia Act has been updated, but it is still included in the U.S. Code.

keep in mind , while you are "do it yourself" militia organizing. PA (at least) has a law on "illegal paramilitary training".

what this covers is not clear to me.
I don't know what that law covers, either, but I believe PA state law also includes a provision for a militia. If you are organizing a militia with the avowed and express intent of being a "backup backup" to the Reserve and NG under the provisions of the Militia Act, and you proceed accordingly, I think they would be hard pressed to convict you of "illegal paramilitary training." (That's not to say they might not try, of course.)

stevelyn
August 10, 2005, 02:03 AM
Wouldn't the Minuteman Project be a model of the militia concept as discussed here even though MMP is mission specific?

chaim
August 10, 2005, 02:21 PM
They don't need to pass a law. The Militia Act has been updated, but it is still included in the U.S. Code.

The Militia Act defines who is militia. However, rightly or wrongly, the government has decided that it needs to give the states approval to organize a militia.

The State Guards and Defense Forces (which are considered state militias) were only legally authorized after Congress passed a law during the Reagan years to authorize them. No state even attempted to organize such a thing before the law.

Now, what would happen if a state would organize a militia without federal approval, citing the Constitution as their authorization? I don't know. I'm sure the Feds would strongly protest, and I'm sure it would get to the Supreme Court eventually (plus possibly federal occupation of the state in question). What the Court would decide, no idea.

I suppose what they could do to cover themselves is organize a State Guard/Defense Force under the law pertaining to the State Guard but imbue it with more power and responsibility than most State Guards have (I don't know if the current law would allow anything like what we are talking about however).

Hawkmoon
August 10, 2005, 07:53 PM
You're missing the point, chaim -- or else I am.

I served in the military a long while ago, and my active and stand-by reserve commitments are likewise long since expired. I don't want or need any state to "organize" me -- I'm a member of the UNorganized militia, by authorization of the Federal Militia Act. I don't need a state to tell me I can be a member of this militia -- I already am (okay, technically I was, since I am now over the age limit, but pretend I'm 44 years old as I write this).

How can a state or any other level of government claim either a right or a duty or authority to "organize" that which is established in the U.S. Code as "unorganized"?

another okie
August 11, 2005, 03:01 PM
"The State Guards and Defense Forces (which are considered state militias) were only legally authorized after Congress passed a law during the Reagan years to authorize them. No state even attempted to organize such a thing before the law."

This is incorrect. Some State Guard units were created as early as World War I in response to the overseas use of National Guard units, leaving the states without any armed force of their own. Mahon, History of the Militia and the National Guard, page 172.

The Real Hawkeye
August 11, 2005, 07:42 PM
When John Brown and his followers raided the Harpers Ferry Armory in 1859, which armed force do you suppose was the first, by a long shot, to respond? It was the local militia, i.e., just regular folks. They had the place surrounded already, and Brown and his men pinned down, when the regular army finally showed up. Back then, the first responders were the men of the militia. That was as the Founders intended.

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