Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), the ranking democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, talked with Rumsfeld last week on President Bush’s position that the military needs a larger role in disaster relief operations—namely helping to restore civil stability. The upshot: The Pentagon “has no plans to recommend changes to the Posse Comitatus Act, which prohibits the participation of active duty military forces in domestic law enforcement activities.” Skelton said that does not rule out greater military participation. Rumsfeld told Skelton the Pentagon has recommendations in the works that do not include changes to the Posse Comitatus law.
While some of the Air Force's newly announced changes will happen quickly, it may take most of Chief of Staff Gen. David W. Allvin's tenure in the job to accomplish the rest, he said in a Brookings Institution event Feb. 28.