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Title: Senate rejects broad limit on military equipment going to police
Source: [None]
URL Source: https://www.defensenews.com/congres ... -military-equipment-to-police/
Published: Jul 22, 2020
Author: Joe Gould
Post Date: 2020-07-22 07:56:46 by Ada
Keywords: None
Views: 19
Comments: 1

WASHINGTON ― The Republican-controlled Senate rejected a bipartisan measure to block the military from giving offensive surplus equipment to state and local U.S. police departments.

The Senate voted 51-49 on the proposed amendment to the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act. The action comes amid civil unrest and a national debate over race and policing in the wake of George Floyd’s death ― and amid lobbying from police organizations to maintain the program.

The amendment from Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, was to ban transfers of grenade launchers, bayonets, drones, tracked armored vehicles, and high-powered firearms and ammunition, but not prohibit defensive equipment, like body armor.

The Senate voted 90-10 to adopt a narrower amendment that would would ban some lethal equipment — like weaponized, tracked vehicles and drones as well as lethal grenades. The amendment also added training requirements in deescalation techniques and protecting citizens’ constitutional rights for those who receive the equipment. Lawmakers want must-pass defense bill to protect protesters from the military Lawmakers want must-pass defense bill to protect protesters from the military

Outraged Democrats plan to use the massive defense budget and policy bill to fight President Donald Trump’s push to use the U.S. military to quell days of riots, and they may seek defense cuts to do it. By: Joe Gould

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe sponsored that measure, arguing the program has successfully transferred more than $7 billion in equipment to police over the past few decades.

“Defunding and de-equipping our law enforcement agencies simply won’t fix anything,” said Inhofe, R-Okla. “Making sure they have the right equipment and the right training will.”

In 2017, President Donald Trump reinstated the “1033 Program” after his predecessor, President Barack Obama, curtailed it in the wake of protests in Ferguson, Missouri, over the death of an unarmed black teenager. It’s named for the section of the provision of the 1997 National Defense Authorization Act that established it. Sign up for our Early Bird Brief Get the defense industry's most comprehensive news and information straight to your inbox

Schatz and others argued that militarizing police damages relations between the public and law enforcement agencies. Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska; Kamala Harris, D-Calif.; and Rand Paul, R-Ky., co-sponsored his amendment.

“The last month has made clear that weapons of war don’t belong in police departments,” Schatz said. “We saw the terrifying images: police in military gear storming the streets, combat vehicles rumbling down city blocks, rounds and rounds of tear gas shot at peaceful protesters, frequently without warning and often unprovoked. None of this helps anyone deescalate a crisis.”

Though the equipment was initially supplied through defense contracts, the impact of the program on the defense industry is debatable. When the military holds onto older surplus items, it’s less able to replace them, said Mackenzie Eaglen, a defense budget analyst with the American Enterprise Institute.

“If there are vast sums of ghost fleets, bone yards, and full motor pools with old stuff, Congress is less likely to replenish as quickly,” Eaglen said.

On the other hand, if police departments were to lose access to this equipment from the federal government, they probably won’t buy it out right due to cost, said Andrew Hunter, a former Pentagon acquisition official now with the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“If this equipment didn’t go to law enforcement, it might modestly increase the amount of used equipment available on the international market, but I don’t think it moves the needle for industry much,” Hunter said.

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#1. To: Ada (#0)

I think the local police should probably continue to get surplus military stuff. It’s a mixed blessing, admittedly, and I am very conscious of Whitehead’s work in Rockwell laying out the negatives of a militarized police force. On the other hand, your local police chief or sheriff is local, and not some blue helmet imposed by the UN or some federal commissar. We’ve seen especially sheriffs standing up for the rights of citizens in the face of oppression and stupidity. We need them to be armed sufficiently.

"It does not take a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brush fires of freedom in the minds of men." -- Samuel Adams (1722-1803)‡

"Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God." -- Thomas Jefferson

ghostdogtxn  posted on  2020-07-22   8:13:03 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


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