Earlier this month, ArmyTimes.com reported that the 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team (1st BCT) is being trained as an on-call federal response within the US.

Their new domestic mission, called a “dwell-time” mission, is set to begin Oct. 1.

This will mark “the first time an active unit has been given a dedicated assignment to NorthCom, a joint command established in 2002 to provide command and control for federal homeland defense efforts and coordinate defense support of civil authorities.”

After spending 35 months in Iraq, the 1st BCT has been training at Ft. Stewart, Georgia. In addition to responding to “potentially horrific scenarios such as massive poisoning and chaos in response to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive, or CBRNE, attack,” the 1st BCT may be called upon to “help with civil unrest and crowd control.”

According to the Army Times, the soldiers have also “learned how to use ‘the first ever nonlethal package that the Army has fielded,’ 1st BCT commander Col. Roger Cloutier said, referring to crowd and traffic control equipment and nonlethal weapons designed to subdue unruly or dangerous individuals without killing them.”

This is not the first time that active duty units have been called upon for a domestic assignment.

During Hurricane Katrina, units of the Army National Guard were mobilized in New Orleans.

Historians point out that if mobilization of soldiers leads to Martial Law, or the US Military policing the citizenry, constitutional rights are often violated, such as when soldiers went door-to-door confiscating legally-owned firearms during Hurricane Katrina.

Army Times notes that “after 1st BCT finishes its dwell-time mission, expectations are that another, as yet unnamed, active-duty brigade will take over and that the mission will be a permanent one.”

Top photo: Preparing for Hurricane Gustav in New Orleans, by soldiersmediacenter

Right-hand photo: Soldiers patrol flooded streets after Hurricane Katrina, by pingnews.com