The use of U.S. military assets and capabilities in a domestic, civilian context is both politically and legally sensitive. A new Defense Department publication (pdf) defines military doctrine concerning such “civil support” missions, which might include disaster relief, emergency response or support to law enforcement.
“Introducing federal forces into an otherwise civil response situation requires a clear understanding of authorities and their limits.”
The new publication aims to provide such an understanding.
“DOD components do not perform any function of civil government unless authorized,” the document states.
See “Civil Support,” Joint Publication 3-28, 14 September 2007.