The Military's Role in Disasters: What's the Right Answer?
Recorded on October 3, 2005
Location: The Heritage Foundation's Lehrman Auditorium
The government response to Hurricane Katrina renewed debate over
the efficacy of the Posse Comitatus Law that prohibits the Pentagon
from conducting domestic law enforcement. Amending the legislation
to grant federal troops greater authority in restoring order in the
wake of a domestic emergency is a bad idea. Establishing ways to
ensure the military is better prepared to respond to disasters
makes sense, but changing Posse Comitatus would be a mistake.
We can do better than changing a law that safeguards the liberties
of our citizens, the principles of federalism, and the balance of
civil military relations.