Rioters in Kenosha, Wisconsin shot industrial strength fireworks and hurled dozens of bottles and other objects at National Guard troops who were stationed in front of a courthouse.

Breitbart reports that the Guardsmen were called in by Governor Tony Evers to help local authorities quell an explosion of violence that beset the city after an officer-involved shooting of a black man on Sunday afternoon. By Monday evening, the Guardsmen were in place and helping to secure several local facilities.

“This is a limited mobilization of the National Guard focused on supporting the needs of local first responders to protect critical infrastructure, such as utilities and fire stations, and to ensure Kenoshians are able to assemble safely.   The National Guard is prohibited from blocking people from protesting peacefully.” Governor Tony Evers

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The National Guardsmen came under attack by the rioters as the evening turned into further violence and chaos.  Reports coming in are saying that the rioters launched fireworks and threw rocks and bottles at the National Guard soldiers.

Shooting breaks out in Kenosha as rioters torch entire businesses.”

The main question is- What is the National Guard authorized to do in response? Well that is a complicated answer and we will do our best to break it down.

 Rules of Engagement and Rules for the Use of Force (ROE/RUF)

a. Rules of engagement generally do not apply to National Guard forces conducting domestic law enforcement support missions. National Guard forces follow rules for the use of force instead.

b. Use of force by members of the National Guard serving in state active duty status or under Title 32 will be governed by state law, usually criminal law. Rules for the use of force will be developed by a state staff judge advocate in accordance with state law. RUF will vary from state-to-state because each state has a unique constitution, laws, and legal opinions on the use of force and how it is to be used. Most rules for the use of force by Title 10 federal forces are based on DOD and Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff promulgations which do not apply to National Guard forces serving in a state status during a National Guard domestic law enforcement support operation.

c. States that provide National Guard forces serving in state active duty or Title 32 status to another state normally will adopt the rules for the use of force of the supported state while deployed to the supported state. Before deployment, states involved will normally negotiate an agreement on which rules for the use of force the supporting units and forces will follow.

d. Appearing below are subjects to consider when drafting state RUF for National Guard law enforcement, law enforcement support, or security missions conducted in state active duty or Title 32 status. They are not directive or regulatory by this National Guard Regulation. Consult the state staff judge advocate for the rules for the use of force applicable to your specific National Guard support to civil law enforcement mission. DOD policy and guidance is summarized below to provide a basic understanding of the use of force.

(1) The right of self defense. Military forces have the right of self defense.

(2) The use of force must be restricted to the minimum degree consistent with mission requirements. The use of deadly force can be justified only by extreme necessity. Use criteria will be established by the state staff judge advocate.

That boils down to whatever Rules the State of Wisconsin have put together for the deployment at the time.

Chris “Badger” Thomas is a Veteran who served our country as an Army Combat Medic.

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