The Rise of the National Security State: FEMA and the NSC
by Diana Reynolds
A STATE OF NATIONAL EMERGENCY
Since the advent of changes which took place during the Reagan regime,
America has been a presidential directive away from a civil security state
of emergency which, if ever enacted, could create a constitutional crisis
equal in severity to the American Civil War.
A national state of emergency can be declared by a concurrent resolution
of both houses of Congress or by the President in the case of natural
disasters, nuclear war, a massive mobilization in anticipation of an
enemy attack on U.S. territory, or domestic civil unrest.
A disturbing shift in policy occurred during the Reagan years which
could have profound consequences with respect to civil liberties. Whereas
civil defense planning in the past had focused on disaster relief, the
national security focus of the Reagan administration meant implementing
new ways to expand police powers in times of nuclear war, domestic unrest,
or civil disorder.
Bending under pressure brought by the Reagan Administration, Congress
gave the president and his executive agencies sweeping emergency powers.
This article will examine how those powers came to be, and will explore
a possible scenario--the U.S. government's war on drugs--in which these
powers might be used.
1. A STATE OF NATIONAL EMERGENCY
2. CIVIL SECURITY PLANNING
3. MILITARY RULE
4. THE FALL OF FEMA
5. THE NATIONAL SECURITY STATE AND THE DRUG WAR
6. ODDS & ENDNOTES