Turf War

By Christopher J. Castelli / August 20, 2009 at 5:00 AM

The National Governors Association complained again today about efforts to give the Pentagon expanded authorities to respond to domestic disasters.

"Governors remain concerned regarding proposed changes to the military’s authority to engage independently in domestic emergency response situations," the group writes in an Aug. 20 letter to Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) and Ranking Republican John McCain (AZ). The proposal should not be included in the final version of this year's national defense authorization bill, the governors argue.

"We strongly believe the consideration of any such proposals should be preceded by a discussion regarding the tactical control of forces serving inside a state during a disaster response," the letter adds.

On Aug, 7, the group sent a similar letter to Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Americas’ Security Affairs Paul Stockton. Both missives urge DOD to quickly establish the Council of Governors, as required by the Fiscal Year 2008 National Defense Authorization Act, to foster talks and coordination on homeland defense and emergency response issues between DOD, the Department of Homeland Security and governors.