Pentagon pressed to change program arming police with military gear

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In the six years of Obama’s presidency, America has become increasingly militarized — not our troops abroad, but right here at home — and transforming before our eyes into a police state. (See “Police State U.S.A.”)
40 civilian agencies of the federal government now have armed divisions. Those of us who are not low-information voters are familiar with the alarming purchases of guns, rifles, and lethal hollow-point bullets by the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies, including the Department of Education!
The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution states:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Increasingly, however, police across America are violating the 4th Amendment by storming into homes, armed to the teeth in military gear, under the pretext of apprehending some suspected criminal. (See “Obama regime supplies military-grade arms to police”)
The most egregious example took place on April 19, 2013.
During a manhunt in the Boston suburb of Watertown, MA, for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, heavily-armed SWAT police and federal agents spent the day storming people’s homes and performing illegal searches, ripping people from their homes at gunpoint, marching the residents out with their hands raised above their heads in submission, and then storming into their homes to perform warrantless searches. (See “Boston Bombing: Getting the sheeple used to the police state”)
Charles Hoskinson reports for the Washington Examiner that last Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014, reacting to images of heavily armed police amid the Ferguson racial protests, a House Armed Services subcommittee looked into the issue of the militarization of police.
“In light of these and other disturbing events around the country, it is incumbent on us to review this Department of Defense program,” said Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-Mass.), referring to Ferguson.
But Pentagon officials and representatives of national law enforcement groups told the committee that although the Defense Department is overhauling the program that gives surplus military equipment to local police departments, there is good reason to keep it going.
Alan Estevez (principal deputy undersecretary of defense for acquisition, logistics and technology) and Vice Adm. Mark Harnitchek (director of the Defense Logistics Agency) said that 96% of the equipment transferred under the program is non-lethal items such as commercial vehicles, office furniture and supplies, generators, tents, tarps, tool kits, first-aid kits, blankets, safety glasses and hand tools — not the small arms and armored vehicles such as the MRAPs used by troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.


Translated, that means at least 4% of the equipment “transferred” to local police are LETHAL (see below). Don’t you feel better now? /sarc

police state
Harnitchek said that the program does not include items that have only offensive military value, such as belt-fed machine guns. “None of those are authorized for transfer.” He said Pentagon officials have removed some items that were previously provided after determining they were not appropriate for police use, such as military helmets, body armor and camouflage uniforms currently used by U.S. troops.
I don’t like seeing any of the police agencies in my state in military-style uniforms. I think that’s un-American,” responded Rep. Austin Scott (R-Ga).
But the program remains controversial, and lawmakers have been putting pressure on the Pentagon for further changes and stricter accountability of how the equipment is used. Some want the program eliminated outright, a proposal that drew pushback from representatives of national police groups.
1. Mark Lomax, executive director of the National Tactical Officers Association, said, “The 1033 program has provided the necessary equipment to protect our brave officers and provide security and effective response to our communities.”
2. Jim Bueermann, president of the Police Foundation and the retired chief of the Redlands, Calif., police department, said, “Completely eliminating it could have substantial impact on public safety and local budgets.” Bueermann proposed a number of reforms that would make the program more accountable to local communities, including:

  • Public input and approval of a local governing body before police receive any surplus military equipment.
  • Public disclosure of how and how often the equipment is to be used.
  • Requiring police officers be trained on the proper use of the equipment.

Though the Pentagon requires police departments to demonstrate eligibility for transfers and to maintain control of inventory, the program as it is today does not include local oversight, and the Defense Department does not dictate the ways in which they are used by local police.

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0 responses to “Pentagon pressed to change program arming police with military gear

  1. With all due respect, Dr. Eowyn, that hyperbolic comment about police agencies using “lethal hollow-point bullets” displays New Jersey-quality ignorance of firearms, ballistics, and the requirements of civlian as opposed to military ammunition. Police have been using hollow point handgun bullets for decades. They are recommended for civilian self defense as well. The reasons include a much reduced tendency to overpenetrate and injury an innocent party beyond the intended target as well as an improved likelihood of requiring fewer shots to stop the lethal threat against which they were deployed. The hollow point rifle bullets employed by both police and military snipers have thick jackets and are not designed to expand. Rather, by swaging the bullet to close the opening in the jacket around the core at the nose rather than the base, any irregularities are minimized and the effect is concentrated near the center or the axis of rotation rather than at the outside edge. Target shooters have known this for roughly a century and it would take a simple email or phone call to the manufacturer of these sniper/target bullets, Sierra Bullets in Sedalia, MO. to confirm what I’m saying.

    • Thanks for the info, Chris. Here’s what Dr. Eowyn said: “40 civilian agencies of the federal government now have armed divisions. Those of us who are not low-information voters are familiar with the alarming purchases of guns, rifles, and lethal hollow-point bullets by the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies, including the Department of Education!” That statement is fact, not hyperbolic.

    • Chris Meissen,
      Re-read my post. The hollow-point bullets were purchased by DHS, not police , not military. Jeez.

      • My objection was to the portrayal of the use of hollow points as especially lethal and, by implication, indicative of especially deadly intent on the part of those using them, whether police, DHS, or average citizens such as myself. There are states (New Jersey is one) and cities (I *think* Chicago is one that ban the possession of them under that misconception. In reality, hollowpoints are actually safer; they reduce the risk of over-penetration and reduce the risk of needing multiple shots to stop an attacker. My objection to the routine portrayal of them as extra deadly or extra lethal is also, in a way, personally involved. I had a home invasion last July and I’d just as soon not have to defend the fact that my gun was loaded with hollow points to a jury had I been forced to shoot the man. Another personal gripe, not pertinent here, the constant affirmation that a gun is “legally registered.” That was heard most recently on a major news program interviewing a notoriously anti-gun Missouri legislator who told the newsman that her gun was legally registered when asked. It is impossible in this state to legally register a gun; there is simply no provision for doing so. Yet news media personnel based in New York, Los Angeles, or Washington, DC continually raise that issue as though registration is the norm rather than the exception. These sorts of misrepresentations may seem inconsequential but they have a deleterous long term effect in the minds of the uninformed public with regard to our right to keep and bear arms.

        • It was my understanding, Chris, that hollow-point types of bullets are designed to “splatter” and “tumble” once in the body, causing considerable damage in what they rip through (rip vs clean cut doesn’t heal as well), and that there are problems in removing them as well. Is that incorrect?

          • The ideal performance goal for a hollow point is to “mushroom,” i.e., have the nose flatten out and expand to a larger diameter, while retaining as much of its original weight as possible in order. There are a few designed as you suggest but they are a gimmick for the gullible, resulting in very messy, very shallow wounds similar to shotgun birdshot pellets, The ones normally used in handguns, those purchased by the various government agencies, are designed to expand to about 1.5 times the nominal caliber diameter and penetrate roughly 12 to 14 inches of tissue. Here’s a typical example fired into 10% ballistic gelatin test medium with the expanded .40 caliber Speer hollowpoint on the right at the end of the wound channel.

  2. “The 1033 program has provided the necessary equipment to protect our brave officers and provide security and effective response to our communities.”
    I don’t think I am reading this right. Who are our “brave officers” supposed to be protecting? I must be mixed up, because I thought the “brave officers” were supposed to be protecting the citizens. Am I wrong about our tax dollars paying their salaries?
    “Mark Lomax, executive director of the National Tactical Officers Association”
    Who is this bozo and are we paying his salary also?

  3. But how will the elite make money? Common sense should tell anyone that this is a deliberate buildup otherwise why are these things being given away as they start new wars and continue the old? A rational person would think use equipment until it has no use. A greedy elite would say now we need more money for these wars the troops need equipment. Lest ye not forget how heavily benefited congress is in this incestuous relationship either.

  4. The 2010 census for Brevard, NC was a little more than 7,600. It’s a nice little town with a community college and known for some really nice waterfalls. Tourism is big there. There are no reasons they need a militarized vehicle.

  5. This really makes me wonder if the “heavy military equipment” is being provided to liberal states and not to conservative. If that were the case, I think we will be placed under martial law, shortly…

  6. Judy;
    The Police isn’t set up to “protect” anyone,unless they just happen upon a violent crime in progress. It is WE,THE PEOPLE,who must protect ourselves,and if we DO have to defend ourselves,the Police will handle the follow-up for whatever happens. I’ve been told by our Sheriff that with the number of square miles he has to cover and the small number of Deputies he has,he can’t always be here,or get here quickly enough to be of any assistance,so it’s in our best interest to get weapons training and arm ourselves. I appreciate his candor and wisdom about this and agree whole-heartedly.

    • Don’t worry, I’m not counting on the “brave officers” to protect or defend me or my home. We are prepared to take care of ourselves.

      • Speaking of the DoD, has anyone gone through the NDAA for 2015 lately? (a couple versions can be found here: and ) Whoever is able should sift through the stuff (be sure to check the amendments as well… things often “piggyback” on legitimate bills that way.), as we know congress isn’t very likely to ferret out anything disagreeable to the public etc. Remember the more people that look through this carefully the more chance there is we can find problems and get them smoked out before the thing passes obomber’s desk.

  7. As we point the finger toward the current Administration for its Policy of Crime, let us never forget that these policies and events began under the Clinton Administration and continued under Bush, Jr.’s Administration. FOTM is a high-information site; I am hoping you could somehow team up with other sites in some way and get yourself more publicity and coverage. (Dr. Henry Makow tweets your posts fairly often). Is appearing on Alex Jones program an option? Just asking.


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