On Friday, the Administration of Barack Obama released the details of an executive order (National Defense Resource Preparedness) that set cyberspace abuzz with reports that the President had put the final mechanisms in place to enact martial law in the United States.
Though the President’s signing of the order riled many Americans who are already more than a bit concerned about the administration’s ongoing expansion of powers, experts say being concerned now is too little too late. The action in question is essentially an update of a similar order put into place by President Dwight D. Eisenhower (EO 10789) in 1958, which was amended in 1994 by President Bill Clinton (EO 12919) in 1994 and later by George W. Bush (EO 13286) in 2003.
Cornell Law School professor William A. Jacobson told WND Americans should worry about Obama’s other vast abuses of power.
“If someone wants to make the argument that this is an expansion of presidential powers, then do so based on actual language,” Jacobson said. “There is enough that Obama actually does wrong without creating claims which do not hold up to scrutiny.”
Despite frightening language in the order that calls for government acquisition of resources and the ability of the government to “foster cooperation between the defense and commercial sectors for research and development and for acquisition of materials, services, components, and equipment to enhance industrial base efficiency and responsiveness,” experts contend that it simply freshens up language about powers the government claimed long ago. In the name of national security, the order lays forth a plan for the Federal government to:
- “Identify” requirements for emergencies,
- “Assess” the capability of the country’s industrial and technological base,
- “Be prepared” to ensure the availability of critical resources in time of national threat,
- “Improve the efficiency” of the industrial base to support national defense,
- “Foster cooperation” between commercial and defense sectors.
In modern history, justification for the Federal government to carry out any of the above-mentioned tasks would have been reserved to extreme scenarios, such as military attack on the country or the complete collapse of financial markets. The first item mentioned, however, should come under particular scrutiny, due in part to recent laws and rhetoric from the Federal government that make it possible for the bureaucracy to claim nearly any scenario an emergency and nearly any person an enemy of the State.
Though the President’s recent executive order appears to be fairly innocuous on its own, those even marginally concerned about its language would likely consider its implications when discussed alongside:
- The National Defense Authorization Act.
- A continued push to make Americans believe the enemies are domestic.
- Inability of lawmakers and the Presidential Administration to interpret what a Constitutionally declared war is and whether the President answers to Congress or to international powers such as the United Nations and NATO.
- The passage of H.R. 347, the Trespass Bill.
Though Jacobson told WND the order is likely no cause for concern, he added, “I’m not ruling out the possibility that this is more than it seems, but unless and until someone [demonstrates any expansion of powers in the order], I’ll consider this to be routine.”
Critics would argue that Jacobsen is misguided in his assertion, and that the expansion of powers is taking place elsewhere while the timing of Obama’s latest executive order is simply a reinforcement of Federal supremacy.
The New American speculates, “Perhaps the President is taking the first few steps necessary to cloak himself in the powers required to ‘legally’ (albeit unconstitutionally) step outside the boundaries of his constitutional authority and ascend to a level of supervision witnessed in all the former republics of history just before their devolution into mobocracy and mayhem.”