With the coronavirus continuing to wreak havoc on the world, the implications of this are becoming more evident. The financial systems are collapsing and unemployment is skyrocketing, leaving room for drastic measures to be put in place.
National Guard Deployment
Currently, there are more than 18,500 United States National Guard members spanning across 50 states. The deployment of defense measures of this scale has never been seen to this extent before. Among their duties to combat the coronavirus pandemic include removing bodies, assisting in COVID testing centers, and disinfecting areas.
— Adrienne Robbins (@ARobbinsTV) April 3, 2020
According to Defense Secretary Mark Esper declared that there is the option of using troops to be enforcers of the stay-at-home orders.
“That would be an option for the governors,” Esper said on CBS News. “Again, the guard is active in all 50 states and territories. I’m very proud of what our guardsmen are doing, but we have a whole lot more capacity out there in the guard right now to do more.”
The Rarity of Martial Law
Despite these drastic measures, Vice President Mike Pence stated, “I want it to be understood that this is not martial law.” Even with these reassurances, many are questioning how far the government will go to attempt to provide safety and order.
Martial law is a very rarely used measure that is outlined in Article 1, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution. It basically can only be enacted in “cases of rebellion or invasion” in order to maintain “the public safety.”
On a national level, only the president can declare it through an act of Congress. However, on a state or local level, a governor has the authority to impose lockdown measures through the use of the state National Guard.
While martial law has been a topic of discussion in times of uncertainty, it has only been enacted once on a national level during the Civil War. While history seems to be on the side of showing the unlikelihood that martial law will be used, the current worldwide state of events brings about uncertainty.
Public Safety, Rebellion & Invasion
In terms of enacting martial law for “public safety and rebellion,” there are many reasons that could back up the government’s use of this. Food and critical supplies have reached a shortage, with many projecting that hostility will rise if this continues. Hospitals are hit with increasing numbers of virus patients, and medical supplies are becoming more coveted than gold. Firearms and ammunition are almost impossible to buy since wholesalers have been wiped out due to increased demand. Unemployment has reached levels much higher than times during the Great Depression.
With the United States, along with the rest of the world, in a weakened state, an invasion is something consider as well. Though once again unlikely, the prospect of an attack from China or another hostile enemy to America is a concern that is mounting.
Leaked Military Plans Involving Martial Law
Leaked military control plans uncovered national lockdown plans. The plans named, “Octagon, Freejack and Zodiac”, appear to have the ability to go against Constitutional provisions and allow the military commanders to be in a position of control.
Newsweek.com reported: “The three most compartmented contingencies – Octagon, Freejack, and Zodiac – call upon various military units in Washington DC, North Carolina and eastern Maryland to defend government operations if there is a total breakdown.”
— William M. Arkin (@warkin) March 18, 2020
If President Trump does decide to implement martial law, there is hope that our brave men and woman in uniform will uphold citizens’ constitutional rights and help reduce the strain presented by the pandemic. President Trump’s leadership during this time has been strong, and his pristine economic record is a plus to have during this trying time. Time will tell what will happen with the uncertain times ahead.