The Posse Comitatus Act is a United States federal law (18 U.S.C. § 1385, original at 20 Stat. 152) signed on June 18, 1878 by President Rutherford B. Hayes. The purpose of the act – in concert with the Insurrection Act of 1807 – is to limit the powers of the federal government in using federal military personnel to enforce domestic policies within the United States. It was passed as an amendment to an army appropriation bill following the end of Reconstruction and was subsequently updated in 1956 and 1981.
The act only specifically applies to the United States Army and, as amended in 1956, the United States Air Force. While the act does not explicitly mention the United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps, the Department of the Navy has prescribed regulations that are generally construed to give the act force with respect to those services as well. The act does not apply to the Army National Guard or the Air National Guard under state authority from acting in a law enforcement capacity within its home state or in an adjacent state if invited by that state’s governor. The United States Coast Guard, which operates under the Department of Homeland Security, is not covered by the Posse Comitatus Act either, primarily because although the Coast Guard is an armed service, it also has both a maritime law enforcement mission and a federal regulatory agency mission.
The title of the act comes from the legal concept of posse comitatus, the authority under which a county sheriff, or other law officer, conscripts any able-bodied man to assist him or her in keeping the peace.
|Other short titles||
|Long title||An act making appropriations for the support of the Army for the fiscal year ending June thirtieth, eighteen hundred and seventy-nine, and for other purposes.|
|Nicknames||Army Appropriations Act of 1878|
|Enacted by||the 45th United States Congress|
|Effective||June 18, 1878|
|Statutes at Large||20 Stat. 145 aka 20 Stat. 152|
|U.S.C.sections created||18 U.S.C. § 1385|