Obama’s Ready Reserve Corps vs Regular Corps: Manufactured Chaos?

There has been a lot of discussion since the Affordable Health Care Act (ObamaCare) was signed into law concerning Obama’s desire for a Civilian National Security Force. One of the provisions of ObamaCare was the establishment of a “Ready Reserve Corps,” in addition to the 60-year-old Regular Corps, with the Public Health Service Act being amended. After the following commentary, my last question is: Are the New Black Panthers non-commissioned officers in the Ready Reserve Corp?

I’ll start with this article at Hot Air dated March 27, 2010. Ed Morrissey says the Ready Reserve Corps is over 60 years old, and in the Affordable Health Care Act, the words “is amended” should tip us that the Ready Reserve Corps is nothing new and already existed in law. But the question is, are they really one and the same, since one seems newly established, and is a “reserve” force?

What I see that is different, is that Reserve Officers will immediately meld with Regular Officers, with the Reserve Officers not being chosen with the advice and consent of Congress, as the law requires for Regular Corps. See the ObamaCare Bill, Section 5210 here.”

Without the legal-speak, it says:

1) A commissioned Regular Corps (which is already 60 years old) and a commissioned Ready Reserve Corp will be available to Health and Human Services.

2) Commissioned Officers of the Ready Reserve Corps are to be appointed by the President WITHOUT the input of Congress, but the Regular Corp Commissioned Pfficers must be appointed by the president solely WITH the advice and consent of Congress.

Obama, through this memorandum published in the Federal Register, dated May 31, 2011, delegated the job of appointing Ready Reserve Corps officers to Kathleen Sebelius, the head of Health and Human Services. Once she appoints them, the officer’s commission expires at the end of 6 months.

By virtue of the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, including section 301 of title 3, United States Code, I hereby assign to you the functions of the President under section 203 of the Public Health Service Act, as amended by Public Law 111-148, to appoint commissioned officers of the Ready Reserve Corps of the Public Health Service. Commissions issued under this delegation of authority may not be for a term longer than 6 months. Officers appointed pursuant to this delegation may not be appointed to the Ready Reserve Corps of the Public Health Service for a term greater than 6 months other than by the President or to the Regular Corps of the Public Health Service other than by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate. This authority may not be redelegated.

On the day the Affordable Care Act became law, Sec. 203 of the Public Health Service Act called for “Assimilating Reserve Corp Officers into the Regular Corps,” according to the the provisions of the Act, on the day BEFORE the new Affordable Care act became law. How would the Reserve Corp be established the day before ObamaCare became law?

          (b) Assimilating Reserve Corp Officers Into the Regular Corps- Effective on the date of enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, all individuals classified as officers in the Reserve Corps under this section (as such section existed on the day before the date of enactment of such Act) and serving on active duty shall be deemed to be commissioned officers of the Regular Corps.

So, that would mean those appointed only by Obama or his designate, and NOT by law, with the advice and consent of Congress, are now assimilated with those, by law, legally chosen WITH the advice and consent of Congress. In otherwords, unlawfully commissioned officers are serving in the Regular Corps. Can that be right?

In the National Archives, Federal Register, it says that the President has ordered that the head of Health and Human Services has the power to appoint commissioned officers of the RESERVE CORPS, not the Regular Corps. (the linked document is undated). So once again, why is Congress not involved if the Reserve Officers are moving into the Regular Corps?

Cornell University Law School, on Sec. 245d. National Health Service Corps, U.S. Code, confirms the National Health Service Corps consists of the Regular and Reserve Corps, but says the Secretary of Health and Human Services has all authority to designate officers. No mention of Congress.

Oh but wait. It’s not at all what it seems, but still, there is nothing to indicate Congressional oversight into the appointment to the Regular Corps:

Most newly-appointed officers in the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service (Corps) are commissioned in the Reserve Corps. Assimilation is the process in which Reserve Corps officers are appointed into the Regular Corps. The Regular Corps is the career service of the Corps and is comprised of officers who have expressed and demonstrated a long-term commitment to the missions and goals of the Corps.

The Regular Corps is currently limited by statute to 2,800 officers….

A Reserve Corps officer must successfully complete 2 years of continuous active duty service before applying for assimilation into the Regular Corps. Furthermore, a Reserve Corps officer must complete 3 consecutive years of continuous active duty before he or she is eligible to be reviewed by an assimilation board. A former Regular Corps officer may apply for assimilation immediately upon reappointment into the Reserve Corps if the application is made within 2 years of his or her termination or inactivation.

The assimilation process begins with an application and ends with an issued official personnel order….

Has Congress abdicated power once again, or do members of Congress sit on the assimilation board?

The Ready Reserve Corps is to be immediately available to “meet BOTH routine public health for a public health emergency AND [unnamed] emergency response missions.”

      (1) PURPOSE- The purpose of the Ready Reserve Corps is to fulfill the need to have additional Commissioned Corps personnel available on short notice (similar to the uniformed service’s reserve program) to assist regular Commissioned Corps personnel to meet both routine public health and emergency response missions.

So clearly, the Ready Reserve Corps could be used for OTHER emergencies outside of public health emergencies. We can only guess what that may mean.

I don’t know if there is any hint of a Civilian National Security Force, “just as strong and just as well funded as our military” (as Obama said he wanted in 2008) in this.

“We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives we’ve set. We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.” ~ Barack Obama 2008.

In January 2009, The Reserve Officers Associations (ROA) posted this on their website:

The new administration is interested in creating a National Civilian Assistance Corps of 25,000 personnel. This corps of civilian volunteers with special skill sets such as doctors, lawyers, engineers, city planners, agriculture specialists, and police.  The DHHS already has health care volunteers in a Medical Reserve Corps, which has been fielded with mixed results.  With volunteers the challenge is keeping professionals in the field, who become frustrated with lack of resources, prevalence of bureaucracy, and duration.  A contracted Reserve must obey orders, where volunteers haven’t.

I can’t find any numbers on the non-commissioned Ready Reserve Corps unless it is the 25,ooo shown in the above paragraph. Searching for Civilian Assistance Corps doesn’t yield much but shows that others are also talking about a Civilian Response Corps.

Who are the “commissioned officers?” Here’s what the U.S. Public Health Service website says:

The U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps is an elite team of more than 6,500 full-time, well-trained, highly qualified public health professionals dedicated to delivering the Nation’s public health promotion and disease prevention programs and advancing public health science. Driven by a passion for public service, these men and women serve on the frontlines in the Nation’s fight against disease and poor health conditions.

There is a plan to almost double the Corps by adding 6,000 officers. No word of how those 6,000 will be paid for. The Ready Reserve Corps was allotted $5 Million dollars annually for 5 years.

An officer in the commissioned corps pays nothing for their health or dental care, but they do pay something for their family. They have tax-free housing and meal allowances. On the fifth year of employment, they get 30-days vacation, and the retirement plan benefits begin after 20-years of service. In additional benefits, since the Corps is one of the 7-uniformed forces of the country, they enjoy what our military enjoys, base privileges, veterans benefits, space available on military aircraft, etc.

I suspect that the Reserve Corps is just that, a reserve force, but that officers will serve as reserves under the Regular Corps, when on a mission. I also suspect that the Commissioned Corps includes both the Reserve and the Regular, and are simply known as the Officer wing of both Corps. Both Corps appear to be expanding with the addition of Warrant Officers.

The Citizens Corps, serving under the Department of Homeland Security, is designed to respond if there is a domestic “disaster” or “terrorist attack” They teach us to be prepared, through first aid and CPR, search and rescue, crime prevention and reporting. The Citizens Corps partners with familiar programs like Neighborhood Watch, Medical Reserve Corps (yep, not the same as the Reserve Corps or Regular Corps under Health and Human Services), the Fire Corps, Police Volunteer programs and the Corporation for National and Community Service (which includes AmeriCorps (80,000 of them, and we give them billions). There programs are familiar names for the most part.

If you go to Facebook and search for Civilian National Security Force, you’ll have the option to click it and it takes you to…AmeriCorps!

There is a Civilian Response Corps under the Department of State to respond to emergencies around the world. This one includes diplomats. In fiscal year 2006 this program cost us $110 Million. Recipient countries were Lebanon, Colombia, Haiti, Nepal, Somalia, Theiopia, Kenya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Yemen.

In 2008 $75 Million “initial” funding. What does that mean?

In 2009 G.W. Bush set aside $248.6 Million  for the Civilian Response Corps (another new name), which supplies a “response” across all the administrations departments and agencies, including the Department of Justice.

In 2010, in Obama’s budget (I know, there wasn’t a budget in 2010) he upped it to $323 Million.

If any president wants his own National Civilian Security Force, I think it has been in place for awhile now under the guise of multiple names. If the bugle is sounded, no telling who will come running. Maybe the New Black Panthers?