Business as Usual

/ January 22, 2009 at 5:00 AM

Pentagon officials today said they are not stopping the clock on a proposed December 2008 rule that would set out new guidelines governing the employment of federal military forces during domestic crises.

Shortly after President Obama's inauguration on Tuesday, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel sent a memo to all government agency chiefs, ordering them to temporarily suspend action on certain Bush-era rules in the rulemaking pipeline until Obama officials have had a chance to review them.

ABC News published that memo here.

The proposed Pentagon rule, published in the Federal Register on Dec. 4, 2008, seeks to implement a series of guidelines, known under the umbrella term "Defense Support of Civil Auhorities (DSCA)," that script what federal troops may and may not do when asked for help by a civilian agency after a domestic natural disaster or terrorist attack.

The proposed rule includes an "emergency conditions" provision that allows uniformed or civilian Defense Department officials to quickly spring into action after a crisis without immediate approval from Pentagon leaders. More details are in our story here.

According to Pentagon spokeswoman Air Force Lt. Col. Almarah Belk, Emanuel's memo has no effect on the proposed DSCA rule.

"The memo applies to new and pending rules that have not (been) published and to published final rules for which the effective date has not passed," she said in an e-mail today.

The comment period for the DSCA rule ends on Feb. 2.

-- Sebastian Sprenger