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The secretary of defence, Mark Esper, and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, General Mark Milley, are testifying to the House Armed Services Committee, on the subject of the military role in civilian law enforcement, in the wake of the George Floyd protests, during which Donald Trump had threatened to invoke the Insurrection Act to deploy active duty troops to US cities.

Esper repeated his early resistance to using the act:
“As a former soldier and member of the National Guard, I’m a firm believer that in these situations the [national] guard is best suited to provide domestic support to civil authorities in support of law enforcement. Using active duty forces in a direct law enforcement role should remain a last resort, and only in the most urgent and dire situations.”

Gen Milley echoed Esper, in his account of the events at the end of May and beginning of June.

“I continually assessed and advised that it was not necessary to employ active duty troops in response to the civil unrest occurring in our nation was my view then and remain so now that local, state and federal police backed up by the National Guard under governor control, could and continually can effectively handle the security situation in every case across the country,” Milley said.

“However, I recommended to the secretary of defence, and he ordered, about 1700 active duty troops to an increased alert posture, in the vicinity of Washington DC, but none of them were ever used.”




























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