Why does the USA seem to have no deployable Presidential Guard?

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Sid Guttridge
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Why does the USA seem to have no deployable Presidential Guard?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 17 Mar 2021 08:36

Most armies seem to have guard units and formations that can be deployed in the field.

The USA does not appear to have one.

There are assorted "honor" guards, but they do not seem to be standing units that can be deployed in their own right.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Kingfish
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Re: Why does the USA seem to have no deployable Presidential Guard?

Post by Kingfish » 17 Mar 2021 10:24

The US President is a civilian job, and although he is officially the CinC of all branches of our military there is a clearly defined line separating the two. Having a Presidential Guard that is capable of deployment alongside regular army formations runs counter to that established tradition.
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Sid Guttridge
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Re: Why does the USA seem to have no deployable Presidential Guard?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 17 Mar 2021 11:18

Hi Kingfish,

Tradition I get, but why was the tradition developed in the first place?

Other countries have civilian presidencies and a specifically designated Presidential Guard.

The USA's "founding fathers" were wary enough of a standing army anyway. Was the lack of a Presidential Guard an extension of this?

Was it, perhaps, to prevent the President having a monopoly of military power in the seat of Government?

Was the creation of a Presidential Guard ever discussed?

The "founding fathers" were classicists. Perhaps they had vision's of Rome's Praetorian Guard changing Emperors at will?

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Why does the USA seem to have no deployable Presidential Guard?

Post by OpanaPointer » 17 Mar 2021 13:15

The governors of Virginia and Maryland, IIRC, have recently stated that their Guards are responsible for the safety of the US Capitol and associated building. The posse comitatus issue will have to be sorted out.
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Re: Why does the USA seem to have no deployable Presidential Guard?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 17 Mar 2021 14:43

Hi Opanapointer,

I presume you mean "National Guard"?

Apart from its 2,000 man police force, I presume that Congress has never had a military guard of its own?

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Why does the USA seem to have no deployable Presidential Guard?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 17 Mar 2021 14:50

The Marine Corps provides a White House guard that is part of the Secet Service section that guards the President. US Army regiments stationed at FT Meade Maryland & other locations around or near Washington have claimed the task of presidential guard. I don't know if any currently have that on their resume. The Marines and nearby Army units have a reaction force for specific protection tasks around the Capitol, but those require specific circumstances and orders.

In the 19th Century and much of the 20th Century the Sailors at the Navy Yard & their Marines at the Eigth & I Street Barracks were the Federals at hand. I don't know the history of Army units posted in Washington DC, there there were peacetime posting during the 18th Century.

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Re: Why does the USA seem to have no deployable Presidential Guard?

Post by OpanaPointer » 17 Mar 2021 15:02

Sid Guttridge wrote:
17 Mar 2021 14:43
Hi Opanapointer,

I presume you mean "National Guard"?

Apart from its 2,000 man police force, I presume that Congress has never had a military guard of its own?

Cheers,

Sid.
National Guard/Army Reserves, things get foggy there when the shit hits the fan.

I've read that some Congressmen are pushing for "immediate deployment" of forces in states adjacent to the capital, with "adjacent" being a very flexible term.

And no, the Capital has never had a deployable force of military people. Capital security forces are listed under "civilian".
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Re: Why does the USA seem to have no deployable Presidential Guard?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 17 Mar 2021 15:18

Sid Guttridge wrote:
17 Mar 2021 14:43
Hi Opanapointer,

I presume you mean "National Guard"?

Apart from its 2,000 man police force, I presume that Congress has never had a military guard of its own?

Cheers,

Sid.
During assorted wars & insurrections the Military has posted units around the Caiptol. The largest deployment was during the Civil War, Previous in the 1830s a Baltimore gang, the Pug Uglies tried to extend their turf to Washington. They deployed in the streets to intimidate & establish their authority. Unlike Baltimore there were professional Federal Sailors and Soldiers who could not be co'opted like the Maryland militia. Sailors and Marines from the Navy Yard and some Army cleared the mob with bayonets, and deploying some light cannon. There were some moments playing chicken but I don't recall any mention of firing. Commandant of the Marine Corps Col Archibald Henderson put on his sword and led some of the Marine Navy detachments in their actions. Note that in the war of 1812 the Army abandoned the Capitol city & let it burn.

The most famous deployment of the military in Washington was to clear the Bonus Army from its camp along the Anacosta River. Politically that was a nasty can of worms as the Bonus Armys presence was popular with the Great War Veterans and some other demographic groups. Its opponents labeled it a Communist insurrection. The politics were further complicated when President Hoover failed to give any clear order for the action, making it look like General Mac Arthur acted on his own. Mac also was present, on the streets, photographed on a horse in front of soldiers. The Police Chief of Washington further poisoned the political aspect by initially opposing the Army action as unnecessary. He had personally negotiated and defused a couple on incipient riots involving Bonus Army members. The political results were:

Hoovers reputation was damaged.

Mac became the darling of the anti Communists

Congress was able to cave in to the fiscal conservatives and not authorize a large Bonus payout for the Great War veterans.

All that hungover into the 1932 election. When a second Bonus Army came to Washington Roosevelt & Eleanor were driven out to their camps & photographed chatting with the veterans and passing out sandwiches. Nervous Secret Service agents can be seen in the background.

In the post Pearl Harbor panic a relatively heavy military guard filled the streets and lawns around the Federal districts.

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Re: Why does the USA seem to have no deployable Presidential Guard?

Post by Rob Stuart » 17 Mar 2021 17:41

Sid Guttridge wrote:
17 Mar 2021 11:18
Other countries have civilian presidencies and a specifically designated Presidential Guard.
Could you please give some examples.

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Re: Why does the USA seem to have no deployable Presidential Guard?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 17 Mar 2021 17:55

Hi Rob Stuart,

Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela and Colombia spring to mind in the Americas and there are others. Mexico had one until a couple of years ago. Some of the Argentine presidential guard were apparently attached to other units in the Falklands Conflict. The Grenadier Guard of Canada, although a territorial unit, combines ceremonial and military functions.

Cheers,

Sid.
Last edited by Sid Guttridge on 17 Mar 2021 18:05, edited 2 times in total.

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Loïc
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Re: Why does the USA seem to have no deployable Presidential Guard?

Post by Loïc » 17 Mar 2021 17:56

some and even many begining by almost all your Latinoamerican neighbours from México to Argentina has in their respective armies a Presidential Guard

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Re: Why does the USA seem to have no deployable Presidential Guard?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 17 Mar 2021 18:07

Hi Carl S.,

Many thanks for an interesting trawl through several things of which I knew nothing.

In appreciation,

Sid.

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Re: Why does the USA seem to have no deployable Presidential Guard?

Post by LineDoggie » 17 Mar 2021 18:09

Sid Guttridge wrote:
17 Mar 2021 08:36
Most armies seem to have guard units and formations that can be deployed in the field.

The USA does not appear to have one.

There are assorted "honor" guards, but they do not seem to be standing units that can be deployed in their own right.

Cheers,

Sid.
Special "Guards" units were formed for personal loyalty to the executive or head of state

The US does not fear military units going rogue and storming the White House.

the closest army unit would be 3rd US Infantry Regiment known as the Old Guard which is assigned to MDW/ Arlington national cemetery has deployed

to South Vietnam-
2nd bn 1966-1970, 4th bn 1966-1968 (in RVN the units trialed the "Tropical Tricorn", a jungle hat modeled after the Continental army's hat)

to Iraq-
2nd bn 2003-2004, 1st bn Charlie co. 2009-2010

to Africa-
1st bn Bravo co. Djibouti 2003-2004, 1st bn Delta co. Djibouti 2007-2008

to Afghanistan-
2011 2nd bn Kandahar (Assigned to CJ-SOTF)
"There are two kinds of people who are staying on this beach: those who are dead and those who are going to die. Now let’s get the hell out of here".
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Re: Why does the USA seem to have no deployable Presidential Guard?

Post by LineDoggie » 17 Mar 2021 18:16

OpanaPointer wrote:
17 Mar 2021 13:15
The governors of Virginia and Maryland, IIRC, have recently stated that their Guards are responsible for the safety of the US Capitol and associated building. The posse comitatus issue will have to be sorted out.
Posse Comitatus does not affect State troops only Federal ones. Federal Can be used if the POTUS invokes the Insurrection act as in these examples-

aftermath of a hurricane in the US Virgin islands in 1989
the LA riots 1992 E.O. 12804
1967 Detroit
1968 3 times in 2 days in Chicago and DC, Baltimore
"There are two kinds of people who are staying on this beach: those who are dead and those who are going to die. Now let’s get the hell out of here".
Col. George Taylor, 16th Infantry Regiment, Omaha Beach

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Re: Why does the USA seem to have no deployable Presidential Guard?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 17 Mar 2021 18:18

Assorted web sources place the Plug Uglies incursion into Washington DC two decades later than I'd thought. Those connect them to the 'Know Nothing' Riot of 1857. They are also connected to political & criminal activities in Philadelphia and New York, including the draft riots in New York. Currently the name is used by a upscale bar & restaurant in New York City.

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