The disasters that have occurred across the world this past year illustrate that current structures are inadequate to deal with many of them. There needs to be something more. I suggest creating a national militia to aid and support local, state, and federal agencies in the face of emergency situations.
Who would be involved?
At first the National Militia should be comprised of all retired veterans of military service, regardless of branch of service. The Retired Reserve already has many of the skill-sets necessary to respond to national emergencies, and have a continuing military committment. Once the concept of a National Militia has been refined and properly developed, it can be opened to other veterans and non-veteran individuals on a case-by-case basis.
All military retired veterans would be required to participate in the National Militia until age 65, and may continue on a voluntary basis after age 65 until they are no longer capable of performing their assigned duties. Exceptions may be made for those physically unfit for any duties, or who are emotionally or psychologically unfit for such duties, all on a case-by-case basis.
All military retired veterans except those specifically exempted due to religious beliefs will be issued weapons, and required to maintain both the weapon and their proficiency in its use. National Militia members would be available to assist government at all levels. Specific training in operations necessary to support local government would be provided by that local government entity.
In the event of a local or national emergency from either natural disaster or acts of violence, the National Militia would be called to duty on an individual or group basis, consistent with the type of support needed and the required area of deployment.
Duties of a National Militia
The first duty of the National Militia is to support the defense of the United States within the nation's boundaries. This includes responding to local situations (local disasters, riots, acts of terrorism, catastrophic accidents, etc.), and response to national defense requirements (border security, security of transportation and communications nodes, natural disaster recover operations, reconstituting civil government in areas affected by natural or manmade disasters, etc.). The National Militia would also have the responsibility of maintaining neighborhood security in the event of natural or manmade catastrophies.
The National Militia would first be accountable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and secondly under the local or national jurisdiction which have called them to duty. The National Militia would be under the supervision and management of the United States Department of Defense in time of war or national crisis, and under the Federal Emergency Management Administration in response to natural disasters and catastrophic accidents.
National Militia members may participate in duty either on a voluntary basis, or upon a designated basis, depending upon the type of response and the needs of the government. Some duties (I.E., border control) may involve both voluntary and designated duty. Other, such as response to disasters similar to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans or the tornadoes in Illinois and Indiana, would include primarily designated deployment of needed skilled individuals and voluntary deployment of individuals in a general support role. Individuals may or may not be required to be armed during their deployment, but should deploy with their weapons in all instances.
Individuals recalled for duty who have not been issued appropriate uniforms may draw them from the nearest miltiary supply point or military clothing sales store. Individuals may also purchase military clothing issue from other sources at their own expense. ALL SUCH UNIFORMS WILL CLEARLY INDICATE THE INDIVIDUAL IS A MEMBER OF THE NATIONAL MILITIA. Former rank insignia should be removed, unless the individual is being recalled in response to an attack upon the government and people of the United States.
Many retired military veterans find other employment after leaving military service. The National Militia will develop and institute an "opt-out" policy that will allow individuals otherwise employed and unable to participate in response to a particular incident to indicate they are not available for duty during that event. Individuals who consistently refuse to accept any duty will be dropped from the roles, and not allowed to rejoin. Loss of some military retirement privileges (purchases from the clothing sales store, Class-6 store, etc.) and other punishments may be applied on an individual basis to those who chronically fail to participate.
National Militia members should be compensated for any loss of income that occurs due to directed deployment. All National Militia personnel will be credited with one duty-day creditable for retired pay for each 24 hours of duty performed on either a directed or voluntary mission. Additional compensation may be awarded by Congress on a specified-mission basis (i.e., disaster response, border security, riot control, etc.).
Diseases and injuries incurred during duty in response of a National Militia assignment would be considered service-related, and treated in local military or Veterans Administration hospitals or other facilities at the expense of the government initiating the assignment.
The Government of the United States, and each of the political divisions at lower levels (i.e., state, county/parish/borough, city/community) will establish training requirements for individual mission response, and make this training available to National Militia members. National Militia members will be required to attend some training, and will be encouraged to complete other training. That training that is compatible with Internet usage will be made available on the Internet at no cost to the National Militia member. Specific training requirements that must be completed in person (drills, emergency medical training/recertification, etc.) will also be provided at no expense to the National Militia member, but expenses in providing the training may be compensated for by the Department of Defense or the Federal Emergency Management Administration.
Release from Duty
All military retirees and other designated members of the National Militia will be automatically released from required duty at age 65. Continued service on a voluntary basis will be allowed in an individual decision process.
Normal first-responders (police, fire, emergency medical personnel) are adequate for day-to-day operations. Hurricane Katrina, the earthquake in Pakistan, the tsunami in South Asia, and the events in France provide incontrovertable proof that both first-responders and local government are immediately overwhelmed in catastrophic events, and require assistance. National crisis events, whether single-action or ongoing, also require additional, trained personnel in order to respond adequately. The retired military contingent in the United States contains more than six million individuals between the age of 37 and 65. A large percentage of these individuals have skills and training that would be invaluable in such emergency situations. What is lacking is any organized method of identifying and using these skilled individuals. The National Militia organization would provide such a method usable by local, state, and national government.
Many military consider their duty hasn't ended upon their retirement, and wish to continue to serve in some capacity. Many do this through the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Disabled American Veterans service organizations. The National Militia would provide an additional means of continuing to serve the United States and its people. It will also allow the individual veteran to continue their education and training in a military atmosphere, and would provide a legal means to respond as necessary to disasters on the local, state, and national scene.
A National Militia would not be limited in its duty by the Posse Cometitus
laws that limit active-duty military personnel. At the same time, they remain under the jurisdiction of the UCMJ, both as retirees and as members of the militia. The use of National Militia personnel would relieve some of the pressure on the current active duty military, and allow it to spend more of its efforts in other activities more compatible with federal requirements.