Recently, as we all know, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was rescinded, and gay and lesbian military personnel have been allowed to serve openly in the ranks, and this included military personnel receiving recognition of same-sex marriages after the Supreme Court declared the Federal Defense of Marriage Act unconstituional. This has been one giant nothingburger for the most part, which was not terribly surprising to anyone who served in the armed forces for the last several years. Especially among recent combat veterans for whom the most important question was “can this person beside me do the job?” Almost all other considerations are subordinate to that. Competence is more highly valued than just about anything else when people’s asses are on the line.
Unless one happens to be a GOP governor of (surprise) a southern state.
Nine states have refused to issue ID cards to the same-sex spouses of military personnel. Those states are Florida, Georgia, Indiana (the one geographical outlier,) Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and West Virginia. Here in Oklahoma, Governor Fallin (R, Of Course) told the Guard in September that processing such requests would be a constitutional violation. The Guard had processed two such requests at that point.
A spokesman for Gov. Mary Fallin on Thursday night reiterated her stance that the Guard cannot legally process requests for benefits from same-sex couples.
“In 2004, Oklahomans voted to amend the state constitution to define marriage to be between a man and a woman,” spokesman Alex Weintz said in an emailed statement. “That measure, which passed with 75 percent support from Oklahoma voters, also specifically prohibited giving benefits of marriage to people who are not married. It is therefore prohibited by the Oklahoma Constitution for National Guardsmen, or other state employees or entities, to process benefits for gay couples.”
As a side note, I think Gov. Fallin didn’t read Article I, Section I of the Oklahoma Constitution, which states “The State of Oklahoma is an inseparable part of the Federal Union, and the Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the land.”
This is all coming to a head because the Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel has ordered the Chief of the National Guard Bureau to reiterate to the Adjutant Generals of those states that are in violation of federal law and DoD policy their duties under the law to treat all service members equally, and to specifically order them to do so.
The Adjutant General of the OK National Guard, MG Myles Deering, could not be reached for comment by the Daily Oklahoman. The Oklahoman noted that General Deering now has conflicting orders from both of his superiors. The Oklahoman, a newspaper so slanted that it should be printed as a tabloid and not a broadsheet, did not note in their story that federal laws trump state laws, the US Constitution trumps the Oklahoma State Constitution, or that 96% of the funding for the OKARNG (Army) and OKANG (USAF) comes from the Federal Government, and that all of the equipment the OK Guard uses is US (not OK) property. “Secretary Hagel expects these nine states to resolve this issue,” the official said. “He is prepared to take further action should the states not come into compliance with DOD policy.” South Carolina has decided to treat all National Guard members, gay and straight equally by not issuing ID cards to any family members at all and requiring them to travel to Federal installations like Fort Bragg to get their required ID. This is not what DoD has in mind, I think. These policy changes affect not just NG members, but also retired personnel of the active and reserve components.
So, what CAN the SECDEF do as the “further action?”
Federal law pertaining to the National Guard is Title 32, USC and Title 10, USC. The former pertains to peacetime, “non-federalized” forces, and the later pertains to federalized forces for whatever reason they might be called into service. While the National Guard is the modern militia and in peacetime is under the control of the several states, the fact is that it is almost entirely funded, organized, and equipped by the federal government. The NG has the same standards as the Regular Army. They use the same PT standards and marksmanship standards, for example. The rifles have “Property US Government” stamped on them, not “Property of the State of Oklahoma.”
Well, for starters, he can cut off Commissary and Exchange privileges to members of the National Guard of those states that do not fully comply with Federal law. This would affect every single member of the NG force, but the effects wouldn’t be that bad for Guard units that are remote from federal installations, whose personnel do not routinely use those services anyway.
He could lock down federal real property from use. Camp Gruber, OK is run by the OKARNG, but it is owned by the federal government, and the OKARNG personnel working on it are either Active Guard and Reserve (AGR) personnel, who are legally part of the active component, or they are Military Technicians who are nominally civilians who wear their uniforms to work and are paid by the Office of Personnel Management as federal civilian employees. If the OKARNG can’t train, they would quickly lose their unit proficiency rating, which would result in a decrease of federal funding. Those artillery units of the OKARNG could be barred from using the facilities at Fort Sill, OK.
He could order the return or sequester of federal property such as the aforementioned rifles, and cannon, trucks, night vision systems, radios, and even personally issued equipment such as helmets and body armor. This happens all the time anyway, as National Guard units frequently transfer property from one state NG force to another for deployment prep, disaster relief, and so on.
But the real big stick is this–he can, pretty much at will, decertify a state command and its subordinate units, also known as withdrawl of federal recognition. This is the death penalty for NG commands. This is doing everything I’ve mentioned above, and also not paying the personnel of the command, because they would no longer be recognized as being part of the National Guard of the United States. For the Commissioned Officers, their commissions wouldn’t be worth the paper they were printed on outside the state, and no other state would be bound to respect the rank earned by Enlisted personnel who moved there, just as two personnel-level examples.
The US Constitution, Article I, Sec. 8; Powers of Congress:
To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
Congress has seconded that authority to the Secretary of Defense. And in the immediate time frame, the Pentagon is preparing to realign the National Guard to better fit within the over all force structure. There have been rumblings for some time that DoD is going to disestablish the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, the principle command of the OKARNG, or make it tactically and operationally subordinate to a command in another state, such as the 35th Infantry Division (Kansas) or more likely the 36th Infantry Division (Texas) which already has some responsibility for overseeing training standards for the 45th IBCT. The 45th IBCT is also being considered for total inactivation, leaving only the 45th Fires Brigade intact. The 45th FB had already been cut by a third in the realignments that took place from 2004 to 2007. But if the OKARNG is significantly reduced or realigned, then several units outside the two brigades would be disestablished, and the Headquarters would be severely reduced. The amount of money flowing into the state through the National Guard Bureau would be reduced to a trickle. In this day of reduced military spending, that’s a big stick that the SECDEF has to beat the offending states into submission.
Now, all of the above are extreme remedies for what I’m sure will turn out to be a relatively minor issue. The integration of African Americans, and later women into the armed forces did not proceed totally smoothly, especially in the National Guard which tends to be more hidebound and resistant to change, but nobody today remembers the road bumps and hiccups because the federal force pretty much saluted and moved out when given their orders, and this too shall pass (although it may feel to some like a kidney stone) into history.
Indiana is the outlier geographically, but its Guv is Mike Pence. Asshole credentials firmly established.
I think the Feds need to whack them hard for this. Best way to do it is financially.
You know, sanctions, just like with Iran.
Bob In Portland
Good. Do something, Hagel.
@BGinCHI: Seconded. Would love to see them bounced hard and with full cause.
Remember all the wailing and gnashing of teeth by various self-appointed True Progressives when it became known that Obama was goi to pick Hagel for SecDef?
Some mea culpas would be nice right now. Not expected, mind you.
I think this might set off Civil War II.
I have to say, when I saw this in your post:
my brain read it as “SECEDE.” And I figured, “Yeah, all those red states are going to try to secede over this.”
Separated geographically but not in spirit:
A rich neo-Confederate tradition.
@dmsilev: I thought the choice was fecking brilliant. Didn’t care for him much as a Senator but putting a grunt in charge of the military was a brilliant move. Officers tend to get too far removed, though I know a few who insist on interacting with their subordinates regularly.
@dmsilev: Come on. This is, once again, all President Dissappointing’s fault.
For a further example, see the thread immediately below.
Seriously, the federal govt and constitution isn’t a part of their mix and match all you can eat but not expect to pay for buffet. (Having managed that trick for their God and Religion, is it any wonder they’re doing it to their State and Nation?)
And Indiana is seriously weird.
Moscow Eddie reveals that Germany, France, Spain all engage in massive surveillance.
No way dudebro. Only Obama does that. Europe never hurt anyone!
I read a great diary about this at Kos a few days ago. It seems to me, however, that all this “big sticking” rather feeds into the hands of the extreme anti-government wing of the current republican party and red state vortex. It needs only for Hagel to demand back the OKNG weaponry for the shit to hit the fan and a thousand would be Timothy McVeigh’s to be reborn, as well as just rumors of Obama’s final solution to sweep the country.
@dmsilev: Don’t expect that crowd to admit that they were wrong. On the other thread you have people questioning whether the President has appointed any liberals / progressive minded people in the first term and the second. Though there is plenty of facts that show that he has appointed those type of people.
@aimai: At some point, catering to their every fear backs us all into doing everything they say. I’m getting whiplash from their Passive Aggressive Pearl-Clutching Macho-posturing topping from the bottom whiney my way or the highway BS.
@Jeremy: Yeah, those people never agree with things they ask questions about.
@dmsilev: In your opinion, what do you think any other SecDef , not named Hagel, would be doing at this point?
@Jeremy: If only that blah guy would just do what they think is right.
Fucking Indiana. I wish they’d just hurry up and fucking secede already.
@scav: Oh, I’m not saying Hagel shouldn’t do it. But that we should get ready for a massive rhetorical backlash, if not any real action. I mean: these assholes are already buying guns and ammo to the saturation point for fear of Obama’s black helicopters and gun grabbing. I’m not sure they can crank it up past 11 at this point.
scott (the other one)
I was wondering if the Adjutant Generals of those states would simply be court martialed. Would that be an option and, if so, would it be successful politically or an utter disaster? I mean, I understand they’ve currently got conflicting orders, but the federal orders would very clearly supersede the state, I’d think, and they’re in clear violation of the federal orders, which certainly seems like an offense worthy of a court martial.
Revoking commissary and PX privileges would cause a massive shit fit in the ranks of those Guard units.
The mention of “federalized forces” is in the OP. As I don’t know, I am asking, can’t the AdjG’s all just be essentially “called up” and instructed what to do?
@aimai: Sun rise on a Dem in a position of authority? Rhetorical backlash. Same sun rise on a non-approved citizen behaving in a non-approved fashion to their minds? Massive rhetorical backlash. Don’t need alarm clocks any more. (slight breaks in the blaring are far more disconcerting.)
the sad part is that most of the actions actually hurt the military personnel (who are essentially blameless) and not the politicians who run the state who take up these asinine positions. If Hagel really wants to hurt these folks, we remove bases from these states and (unfortunately) move those personnel to friendlier states that will follow the federal guidelines and regulations. Then remove certification from those states so that they have no guards units recognized and when disaster strikes, well, figure it out yourselves, assholes.
It’s what Eisenhower did when Orval Faubus tried to use the Arkansas national guard to prevent public school integration.
should be “principal.
@aimai: My BIL took a state job in corrections last summer (Midwest area). He’s been telling me stories from work, where the most troublesome aspect of the job is other guards. In between the long termers who shove all their work off on the newbies so they can search Craigslist all day (why the have open and unmonitored internet connections for workers inside the prison is a mystery to me) is the guy who is convinced that the President “is going to set off a small nuclear device in South Carolina”. I wanted to know why this guy thinks the President wants to do this and what he hopes to gain from it, but he said if you ask this loon any questions he thinks it means that Jebus has sent you to him personally for saving and it would be even more unbearable to work with the idiot.
@Cacti: Yes, that’s why I asked. Didn’t see it listed as an option but I may have misread what SG was laying down.
@StringOnAStick: And if the SECDEF went after the NG as suggested, the crazies my BIL works with would go absolutely insane. Unfortunately, I suspect there is truly a greater 11 they can crank it up to, and they are, as aimai pointed out, armed to the teeth.
Also, shouldn’t we suspect that the NG people in charge of accepting these decisions from the state government might partially be doing so because they agree with it?
@Infamous Heel-Filcher: Is there a snappy rule for remembering which to use? Beyond the one about the one about the one in school being your pal, which doesn’t apply. Also, finding my old Divali playlist is providing a really odd background to me getting pissed. It’s all cheery with ringy bits and I’m spitting nails.
President Obama enjoys the sport of golf way too much to nuke South Carolina. Maybe OK?
Yet we also cannot let them get away with flauting the law. That has gone entirely too far already.
I think they’re probably holding onto a direct order from the CINC as a last resort.
This. First thing you learn in PLDC (sergeant’s school, for the non-military types)….if you need to get a service member’s attention, take away their free time or their money. You’ll have their attention, right quick.
Edited to add…I like the idea of calling the state AGs up to active service as a first response. Comply or court martial…you choose.
I always liked Hagel, even when he was a senator. I might not have always agreed with him, but he struck me as someone who was both honorable and pragmatic, which are two of the most important attributes of a politician, but also the two you’re least likely to see in evidence. I say he whacks these states with whatever sticks he has at his disposal. The time for coddling all the WATBs is long past.
@scott (the other one): No. In a court-martial it would be taken into account that they were stuck between two opposing, yet mostly equal chains if command.
Chuck Hagel is one of my favorite people. He has an R by his name, so my mom LOVED him until he became a turncoat (forever cementing my admiration for pissing off my mom) and he and my dad (a strong D) served together in Vietnam (different units, same area). My dad proudly hung a photo of the two together in his business for years, further pissing off my mother.
This whole thing only makes me like him more.
Mmmm…chicken flautas for dinner does sound kind of good, now that you mention it.
There’s a shitload of money attached to military spending — are there options for attaching choke-chains on the non-base indirect spending so it goes preferentially (to the verymost possible) to compliant states? Getting the business end of the MIC on-board could entirely be useful I’d hazard a guess.
Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader
@dmsilev: What the fuck are you even talking about? Are you suggesting a Democratic DEF SEC wouldn’t be enforcing the law?
Shit. This is the kind of stuff that borders on dangerous, because Hagel’s only available tools are too much.
Bob In Portland
@Cacti: I’m waiting to see Snowden’s bitcoin account. I’m guessing someone’s been shoveling Euros into it.
@BGinCHI: @Corner Stone:
I am unfortunate enough to live in Indiana.
For not much longer though. Once my kids are through college I am getting the fuck out.
IMO, compliance is inevitable. However, personally, I would hope and expect this SecDef and admin to not escalate through options that hurt those NG that are not in the command structure.
IOW, don’t hurt the little guy if we can somehow put the vice on the top level dipshits.
@TaMara (BHF): Your dad was 9th ID huh? I was down in his AO at that time.
Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader
@Corner Stone: In much the same way as Only Nixon Could Go To China, Only Hagel Can Gay Battle Red State Governors.
@Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader: Let me be the first to offer a mea culpa on Chuck Hagel. I completely misunderestimated him and did not realize he was the only potential SecDef a Democratic president could nominate who would follow the law and the admin’s chosen policies.
OT.. Please don’t mock me because this made me smile. Denver Nuggets Mascot
He is fortunately okay, or else I would not have snickered. He got dizzy and passed out.
Whatever happened to perpetual war?
Since earmarks are no longer, just have the executive redirect all defense contracts to states that are in compliance.
Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader
@Corner Stone: It’s not your fault. It’s never entirely clear who will be up to the awesome task of Gay Battling until one is in the trenches with an actual Gay Battle on one’s hands.
Indiana has had very mixed politics since it approved its second constitution. At the same time the KKK controlled the state’s democratic party Eugene Debs was active – promoting unions and outright socialism. Even prior to the civil war Indiana had both slave catchers and an active underground railroad.
Recently (2008) Indiana cast electoral votes for Barack Obama.
As for Governors, yeah Mike Pence is an idiot with tea party sympathies.
@jharp: Born and raised but never to return (to live anyway).
@efgoldman: I won’t be on this sissy ass blog then. It’s hard enough watching the Illini and the Hokies at the same time now.
Doesn’t that describe a lot of the Midwest, period? Equally strong right wing and left wing populism, sometimes from the same people?
Heck, Illinois and Nebraska gave us William Jennings Bryan – left wing radical who sort of kicked off the age of anti-robber-baron economic populism, right wing radical whose last major act in politics was to make a stand for creationism.
@Chris: And Wisconsin had LaFollette and Tailgunner.
I expect to return to Indiana at some point, and to work on public policy there again as well. I guess the campaigns in ’94 and ’98 didn’t teach me anything about futility.
Indiana is unique in having had two constitutions. WJB is a good example of the contradictions.
@wmd: And that goofy ass time zone thing.
@raven: That’s like code to me. I was 4-5 when he was in Vietnam. Old enough to know it was bad that he was gone, but that’s about it. I know his barracks got blown up once and the snakes were awful. I also know he came back to me safe and sound and I had friends who were not so lucky. Also, there is foot locker in our attic that still smells the same as it did the day he came home.
@TaMara (BHF): Chuck was in the 9th Infantry Division that was based in Dong Tam. Your pop was probably in another infantry battalion in that outfit. Dong Tam is now a snake farm so, yes.
I allus said “Libertarians pretend they need state’s rights because the Federal government (SocSec, Medicare, the Taylor Act, the GI bill) introduced generations of Americans to the concept of retirement in something besides abject poverty”.
The allusion to OK’s federally-funded “state militia” is obvious: Spit, meet fan. Oklahoma, keep those uniforms–folks are already wearing them–but pay for all that State’sRightsMilitia stuff yourself.
Both sides do it!
One set of authorities is telling the Guard to violate federal law. The other set is telling the Guard to comply with federal law. One order is illegal; the other is not.
Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader
Honestly, I’m not bothered at all by it. I know I’m supposed to give a crap but I don’t.
@Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader: You aren’t bothered by states going for nullification? Essentially, these states are arguing that they don’t need to follow federal laws with which they don’t agree.
The change in the democratic party in the 60s, and to some extent earlier with Truman’s integration of the armed forces is important history. Without the influx of Dixiecrats it’s doubtful to my mind that Nixon’s use of white resentment would have worked as well politically.
Interesting connection between William Jennings Bryan and Eugene Debs – Deb’s lawyer for his union activities with at American Railroad Union was one Clarence Darrow, who later went on to defend John Scopes for teaching evolution to Tennessee schoolchildren. Bryan of course was on the other side of that trial.
@Violet: I read it as “SECEDE” too. Those retrograde are messing with our minds.
Indiana is the south’s middle finger. I was born in Kentucky but lived most of my life in Indiana (except for 13 years in San Diego). I’ve always claimed to be a Hoosier but with the state refusing medicaid expansion and suing to prevent those eligible to access the insurance subsidies, I may rethink it and acknowledge my Kentucky roots.
Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader
Reasonable people can disagree.
Here, chew on this”
WASHINGTON, Nov 1 (Reuters) – British authorities claimed the domestic partner of reporter Glenn Greenwald was involved in “terrorism” when he tried to carry documents from former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden through a London airport in August, according to police and intelligence documents.
Mike in NC
Only nine? Frankly that’s surprising given the number of states banning gay marriage through their constitutions.
@Mike in NC:
This may be more about who the Commander-in-Chief is than gay soldiers.
@efgoldman: By biting my ass!
@Corner Stone: Well, their positions are granted by the Governors under the clause that gives the states the power to appoint the officers, but if federal recognition were withdrawn the AGs would essentially become simply state officers with no authority or responsibility for federal affairs. Doing that would essentially reduce those officers automatically to the last rank they held on active duty, in MG Deering’s case, that would revert him one step in rank to Brigadier General.
So, yeah, the Chief of the National Guard Bureau can give them an order to conform their commands to Army/AF regulations, but if they don’t, they can’t be really court-martial’ed. Also, fwiw, the current ongoing court-martial of BG Jeffrey Sinclair at Fort Bragg, NC has proven very problematic for the Army because so many of the General Officer corps knows each other either personally or second-hand, and it was extremely difficult to get a full panel for the trial because so many of them had to be dismissed for personal prejudice.
Not that I’m overly full of sympathy–Adjutants General are frequently very political people, and being Generals are supposed to be able to deal with hard problems–but the AGs here are between a rock and a hard place, regardless of their personal leanings.
Nobody I know has any idea what MG Deering’s personal position on this mess is, btw.
Brazil will never extradite him, but Miranda is now effectively blocked from any travel outside South America.
Same for Griftwald.
Long time fan first time commenter. I followed you on Kos with interest during your deployments as I am a former member of the 45th. Your governor is a fool. The AG is in a tough spot however the UCMJ allows him to refuse her illegal order forcing her to accept the inevitable or to fire him. That’s the course that the late AG and Chief NGB LG Laverne Weber would have taken I am certain.
@Soonergrunt: It wouldn’t make any sense for SecDef to give a further order the AG’s have a choice not to comply with. And as removing federal certification is a big blanket I doubt it would be invoked. Or revoked, as it were.
They won’t remove status, or request supplies and materiel be returned, nor will they withhold funds.
I wonder what it is they actually will do. Maybe we could get these guys in a room and sit ’em down and tell them to stop all the bullshit.
As long as every single god damn traitor who takes up arms against his or her country is hanged for treason when it is over.
Bob In Portland
@raven: I’d choose the word espionage myself.
I swear, with each day he looks more and more like a BND operator and this looks more and more like a psyops.
I don’t know what would start Civil War II at this point as far as the righties are concerned. Wasn’t the ACA supposed to be the ultimate government theft of individual liberty, the lynchpin of socialism in America? Why aren’t they throwing a civil war about that? Or about the gay marriage thing spreading from state to state (remember when Orson Scott Card said that would be grounds for another revolution?) Or about Obama stealing two elections in a row, as they seem so convinced that he’s done? Answer: because they’re all full of piss and wind and not much else, and not about to jeopardize their comfy and state-subsidized lifestyle (Medicare scooters and all) over a philosophical argument.
(And yes, to be clear, that is a good thing. Bismark’s system is working).
Yeah, they are a lot of bluster and hot air, and I agree it’s a good thing. I am not at all eager for us to start shooting at each other again.
GHayduke (formerly lojasmo)
I did to, but I don’t think s/he was talking about us.
College football open thread? Betty C., if you’ll do it, I promise not to gloat — much.
@Dolly Llama: She’s busy drowning her sorrows in champagne.
Raven should be gloating anytime, though.
@Bob In Portland:
Bundesnachrichtendienst? Seems unlikely.
@Bob In Portland:
What does the BND have to gain from the whole scandal? I mean, considering that the stuff he’s leaking is now revealing stuff about their own intelligence gathering efforts too (as well as those of DGSE, GCHQ, etc…)
@Corner Stone: I happen to agree with you. The big sticks usually have carrots of some type nearby. As I said in my original post, I don’t see Hagel going nuclear, but coming up with a solution in there, but I’m sure the DoD Office of Legal Counsel is looking at options right now. Perhaps a lawsuit?
As far as orders go, they really don’t have a choice. As Omnes Omnibus pointed out above, they’ve been given two contradicting orders. One of those orders is plainly illegal.
I think a case could be made that Governor Fallin’s order could be considered illegal under the Oklahoma Constitution as well as under the US constitution, but IANAL, so what the hell do I know?
@Bob In Portland: BND? The German intelligence service that is so closely aligned with our own that losing access to NSA would pretty much shut them down, according to Der Spiegel? More likely FSB, the Russian intel shop.
@StringOnAStick: Doesn’t matter what they agree with or don’t agree with. They took the army’s shilling, and now they have to do the army’s work.
I had to do my job whether I “agreed with” the organization or not. So do they.
What about the courts? Could this be the wedge by which all the state Constitutional referenda get invalidated by SCOTUS?
@efgoldman: Eh, that’s a little simplistic, but not worth arguing about.
@aimai: Good. The sooner these assholes go into full-treason mode the sooner they wind up in the federal pen instead of in the voting booth.
If the good Gov. Goodhair ends up facing a federal court over this, it would be one of the best things to happen to TX since Ann was elected. Then let Abbot try to defend Goodhair’s position and the two can share a cell.