Figure 1-A.



This chapter presents a brief historical perspective and concept of Army domestic support operations, the principles of operations other than war that apply to these operations, and a description of the Army's role. The Army consists of the active component (AC), the Army National Guard (ARNG), the US Army Reserve (USAR), and Department of Army (DA) civilians. The National Guard (NG), in a state or territorial status, has primary responsibility for providing military assistance to state and local civil authorities.


A domestic support operation is the authorized use of Army physical and human resources to support domestic requirements.

Since the Army's inception, its mission has been to fight and win the nation's wars. At the same time, the Army has provided general military support to the nation, including participation in a wide variety of activities to assist civilian authorities. The Army has enforced laws, quelled domestic violence and insurrection, combatted terrorism, participated in public works and environmental projects, and assisted in recovery operations following disasters.

The dramatic end of the Cold War caused significant changes in the nation's domestic and foreign priorities. During the Cold War, national attention was directed to the external threat and related issues. Today, along with a shift from a forward deployed to a force projection strategy is a new awareness of the benefits of military assistance to improve the nation's physical and social infrastructure. The Army's focus on and continuing involvement in all aspects of domestic support operations identified the need for published doctrine.

The Army's roles and responsibilities in domestic support operations divide into four primary categories: disaster assistance, environmental assistance, law enforcement support, and community assistance, as depicted in Figure 1-1.


From the earliest years of the republic, the Army has provided assistance to the country in times of disaster. During the final year of the Civil War, Army officers provided disaster relief through the Freedman's Bureau. The Army also played a direct role in many disaster relief operations in the late nineteenth century, including the great Chicago fire, the Johnstown flood, and the Charleston earthquake.

In recent years, Presidential and Congressionally mandated federal disaster assistance programs have evolved. The Army actively participates with federal and state agencies in disaster assistance planning, exercises, and operations in response to both natural and man-made disasters.

Disaster assistance includes those humanitarian and civil defense activities, functions, and missions in which the Army has legal authority to act. The Army provides disaster assistance to states, the District of Columbia, territories, and possessions. Civil authorities must request assistance, usually as a result of disasters such as hurricanes, typhoons, earthquakes, or massive explosions.


Environmental assistance has been evolving since the 1960s. The Army has provided a variety of resources to meet environmental challenges that have emerged as a result of increased public concern and demands for the restoration, conservation, and protection of the environment. Typical

Figure 1-1. Domestic Support

missions are responding to hazardous material releases, restoring contaminated land and water, and conserving the nation's natural and cultural resources. With the passage of The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 and the later development of The National Oil and Hazardous Substances Contingency Plan, the Army became a member of the national and regional response teams that plan for and respond to hazardous substance spills.

The Army is inextricably linked to environmental stewardship. Its environmental assistance operations aid civil authorities in preserving, protecting, and enhancing the environment. Its strategy rests on the four pillars of compliance, restoration, prevention, and conservation.

Army support in these areas may be initiated under disaster assistance or executed under separate authority.


The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 severely restricts the use of federal forces to enforce public law. However, acting under Constitutional provisions, the Army has on many occasions been used to quell civil disturbances and restore order. Use of military force has ranged from the Whiskey Rebellion in 1794 to the urban riots of the 1960s and the Los Angeles riot of 1992.

In 1981, Congress passed The Military Cooperation with Civilian Law Enforcement Agencies Act to allow military collaboration with civilian law enforcement agencies. This act dramatically expanded the Army's participation in counterdrug efforts. Alliance and North Star are two examples of operations that use active and reserve component forces to halt the flow of contraband across United States borders.

Operations in support of law enforcement include assistance in counterdrug operations, assistance for civil disturbances, special security operations, combatting terrorism, explosive ordnance disposal (EOD), and similar activities. Some, by their nature, may become international in scope due to a linkage between domestic and international operations. Constitutional and statutory restrictions and corresponding directives and regulations limit the type of support provided in this area.


Throughout its history, the Army has been involved in community projects and operations, applying its skills, capabilities, and resources to the needs and interests of American communities. Efforts at the national level focus on contributions to the nation and generate public support for the Army. State and local efforts foster an open, mutually satisfactory, cooperative relationship among installations, units, and the local community.

The most frequently conducted domestic support operations involve community assistance. Army resources may be used to support civilian organizations to promote the community's general welfare. These missions and operations include public works, education, and training. Other examples include participation in minor construction projects and providing color guards for local events. In compliance with existing regulations and directives, the Army and local communities may establish mutual support agreements concerning medical, police, and emergency services.


The Secretary of the Army is the DOD's executive agent for most domestic support operations.

The National Command Authorities (NCA) direct the Army to conduct domestic and international operations. The Secretary of Defense has designated the Secretary of the Army as the executive agent for most domestic support operations. During these operations, military support supplements, rather than replaces, civil agency responsibilities.

The Army provides domestic support through Army posts, camps, installations, armories, and stations as members of the communities in which they are located. Commanders should maintain close liaison with local elected and appointed officials.

Domestic support ranges from disaster assistance to more frequently conducted community assistance activities. All domestic support operations share the common characteristic of using Army human and physical resources to enhance national security, thus contributing to the nation's overall well-being. These operations, which usually draw extensive media attention, must consider public affairs implications.

Environmental missions and operations are directed at the physical infrastructure of the nation. National and local efforts may be supported by Army organizations, activities, and units.

Law enforcement support helps civil law enforcement authorities maintain law and order. Laws, directives, and regulations restrict the Army from assuming the civil law enforcement mission.

Community assistance operations help meet national, state, or local community objectives. Intended to fill needs not met, they should avoid duplication or competition with the civilian sector.

The Army offers assistance, such as providing equipment or personnel to accomplish a specific task, to other federal, state, or local agencies. The Army's goal is to use its assets prudently for domestic support operations while providing a significant benefit to the nation.

Civilian emergency management is almost universally organized on the "unmet needs" philosophy. Local jurisdictions, responsible for the security and welfare of their citizens, request assistance only when their resources are insufficient to meet requirements. Most states conform to the general outlines of this emergency management concept, as do their constituent county and local jurisdictions. Normally the state directs large-scale efforts, and commanders should establish liaison at that level. Disaster or emergency declarations are associated with legal and funding requirements.

A final facet of this concept is that Army commanders should be aware that exercising Army core competencies and demonstrating Army values are vital aspects of providing domestic support. Basic soldier skills in logistical support, engineering, medical care, and communications are but a few examples of competencies that can be exercised in both wartime and peacetime operations. Commanders should, when possible, use domestic support requirements to exercise basic soldier competencies, thereby enhancing individual and unit wartime capabilities. Additionally, domestic support operations provide excellent opportunities for soldiers to interface with the civilian community and demonstrate traditional Army values such as teamwork, success-oriented attitude, and patriotism. These demonstrations provide positive examples of values that can benefit the community and also promote a favorable view of the Army to the civilian population.


Domestic support operations occur under various scenarios and conditions. Regardless, the six principles for the conduct of operations other than war--objective, unity of effort, legitimacy, perseverance, restraint, and security--apply. A discussion of each follows.


The National Guard in a nonfederal status has the primary responsibility for providing military assistance to state and local governments.

In domestic support operations, the Army recognizes that National Guard forces, acting under the command of their respective governors in a state (nonfederal) status, have the primary responsibility for providing military assistance to state, territorial, and local governments. When state and National Guard resources need supplementation and the governor requests it, the Army will, at the direction of the NCA, assist civil authorities.

During massive flooding of the Mississippi River and its tributaries in the summer of 1993, more than 7000 National Guardsmen from the states of Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Wisconsin were called to state active duty to provide relief to flood victims. Their duties included providing fresh water, security, evacuation, reconnaissance and traffic control, plus sandbagging, hauling, and dike reinforcement support for the duration of the emergency.

The Army provides this support at federal, state, and local levels. For example, it may help a state or local community by providing disaster relief or it may provide medical personnel and transportation for a state's firefighting effort. Another example is aiding governmental agencies in cleaning up the environment. The Army may also be designated a lead agent for a specific operation, such as urban search and rescue (US&R) under the Federal Response Plan (FRP), the document that directs federal response to natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, typhoons, tornadoes, and volcanic eruptions; technological emergencies involving radiological or hazardous material releases; and other incidents requiring federal assistance as prescribed by law. The FRP provides standing mission assignments to selected governmental and nongovernmental organizations to carry out specific emergency support functions (ESFs). Each type of assistance may require an extensive commitment of resources, depending on the nature and scope of the operation, and close coordination with federal, state, or local officials.

Army commanders will frequently coordinate with civilian emergency managers, both professional and volunteer. They are often referred to as the "coordinators of emergency services" or similar titles and, in smaller jurisdictions, may be the fire chief, police chief, or other official. The Army will--


The Army, composed of the AC, ARNG, USAR, and DA civilians, has a long and proud tradition of providing domestic support to the nation. It ranges from less demanding operations such as community activities to high-intensity crisis situations. Principles of operations other than war provide the Army a conceptual foundation on which to conduct domestic support operations. Although the National Guard has primary responsibility for developing plans and providing support to state and local governments, the national shift from a forward deployed to a force projection strategy has brought a new awareness of the benefits the Army can provide to America.

Figure 2-A.