The quote in the Army Times about the non-lethal weaponry was taken out of context. A correction at the bottom of the article reads,
A non-lethal crowd control package fielded to 1st Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, described in the original version of this story, is intended for use on deployments to the war zone, not in the U.S., as previously stated.
and has been there for quite some time. The article itself was first published on Sept. 30, 2008.
That article when coupled with Dennys first link to the MOUT training in Arcadia, Iowa, may seem to be something other than it is, but only at first glance.
Military Operations on Urban Terrain (MOUT) has been in the planning stages from the mid to late 1990's. Among the first MOUT training facilities (not at the time called this), were those built at places like Camp LeJeune, NC back during the Vietnam war. This in response to the Tet Offensive of 1968, and was a mock-up of Hue city. They were used to regain the house-to-house fighting skills used during WWII and subsequently lost.
In 2002, under a directive that stemmed, in part, from the PATRIOT Act, but mostly from actions in Croatia, several urban mock-ups facilities were established as training centers to further the MOUT objectives. Starting in 2004, several US cities were contacted and with their approval, were used in live action exercises. This has been an ongoing live training exercise since then.
For those of us that have had sons and daughters, wives and husbands, etc., in the military since the mid 90's to the mid 00's, this is no surprise or secret. Perhaps the general public is surprised, but again, it has been no secret.
For those that paid attention, the creation of the Department of Homeland Security has always had, as part of its operational creation and goal; the setting, training and staging of regional US Troops to respond to terrorism.
The abysmal Federal response, during and after hurricane Katrina, have only heightened the need to have a fast mobile response, to augment and help local authorities
in time of extreme crisis.
Can the current speculation of mission creep,
occur? Absolutely. Will it occur? Always a possibility. If not watched, definitely.
Am I truly worried about this? Not as worried as I am over the proposed (during the election campaign) increase in Federal Law Enforcement (increased by 20K to 30K).