Obama’s Blue Shirts: Homeland Security graduates 1st class of FEMA Youth Corps

Obama’s Blue Shirts: Homeland Security graduates 1st class of FEMA Youth Corps

The United States has the most powerful military in the world, comprised of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard. If that formidable military is insufficient to defend America, then nothing is.

Despite that, Barack Obama uttered these astonishing words during the 2008 presidential campaign. On July 2, 2008, in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the POS deviated from his pre-released speech script and said the following:

“We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that 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.

Obama never explained what he meant by “a civilian national security force.” But Rahm Emanuel, who was Obama’s first White House Chief of Staff, did say in a 2006 interview with the New York Daily News that all Americans aged 18-25 should be inducted into ”universal civil defense training” — in effect, a civilian army. Emanuel’s idea is also contained in his co-authored book, The Plan. Here’s the audio of the interview:

All of which is not only evocative of the Hitler Jugend (Hitler Youth Movement) and the Soviet Union’s Leninist Young Pioneers, it is also against a federal law, the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878. Here’s what Wikipedia says:

“The Posse Comitatus Act is a United States federal law (18 U.S.C. § 1385) passed on June 18, 1878, after the end of Reconstruction, with the intention… of substantially limiting the powers of the federal government to use the military for law enforcement. The Act prohibits most members of the federal uniformed services (today the Army, Air Force, and State National Guard forces when such are called into federal service) from exercising nominally state law enforcement, police, or peace officer powers that maintain ‘law and order’ on non-federal property (states and their counties and municipal divisions) within the United States. The statute generally prohibits federal military personnel and units of the National Guard under federal authority from acting in a law enforcement capacity within the United States, except where expressly authorized by the Constitution or Congress. The Coast Guard is exempt from the Act during peacetime.”

Fast forward four years from Obama’s 2008 civilian-army speech.

On September 13, 2012, the Obama administration’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) graduated its first class of FEMA Corps. On that day, 240 young adults ages 18 to 24 were sworn into service at an induction ceremony in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

Since FEMA Corps specifically recruits young people, we may just as well call them the FEMA Youth Corps. And since they all wear royal-blue t-shirts, I suggest we call them Obama’s Blue Shirts.

What is FEMA Corps? This is what DHS says (I’ve embedded links to Wikipedia entries on CNCS and NCCC):

“FEMA Corps is an innovative partnership between the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) to enhance disaster response and recovery capacity while expanding career opportunities for young people.

Established as a new unit within the existing AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC), FEMA Corps engages young adults ages 18 to 24 to provide ten months of full-time service on disaster response and recovery projects. Members will be deployed to assignments ranging from working directly with disaster survivors to supporting disaster recovery centers to sharing disaster response and mitigation information with the public.”

At the September 13 induction ceremony, members of the inaugural FEMA Corps class took the AmeriCorps pledge to “get things done for America” and heard from agency leaders about the important work that lies ahead.  FEMA Deputy Administrator Richard Serino and CNCS CEO Wendy Spencer were on hand to welcome the members and thank them for their commitment to service (see pic below).

This is the AmeriCorps pledge taken by the FEMA Youth Corps:

“I will get things done for America – to make our people safer, smarter, and healthier.
I will bring Americans together to strengthen our communities.
Faced with apathy, I will take action.
Faced with conflict, I will seek common ground.
Faced with adversity, I will persevere.
I will carry this commitment with me this year and beyond.
I am an AmeriCorps member, and I will get things done.”

Contrast the AmeriCorps/FEMA Youth Corps pledge to the oath taken by everyone who enlists in the U.S. military:

I, (NAME), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.

On May 24, 2002, Representatives Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) and Tim Roemer (D-IN) introduced the 2002 Citizen Service Act (HR 4854) to add to the AmeriCorp pledge references to God and the Constitution. AmeriCorps members would be called upon to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States…without any mental reservation…So help me God.” But  the proposal stirred an outcry among current and former AmeriCorp participants who argued that the proposed pledge was divisive, “militaristic and religious,” and might deter recruitment. Although the Citizen Service Act was approved by both the Subcommittee on Special Education and the Committee on Education and the Workforce in June 2002, the House of Representatives took no further action on the Measure, and the AmeriCorps pledge remains unchanged.

According to DHS, the first class of FEMA Youth Corps had taken one month of AmeriCorps NCCC training and FEMA position-specific training. The Blue Shirts will now be deployed to their first assignments, supplementing existent reservist workforce in assisting citizens and communities who have been impacted by disasters.

After completing 1,700 hour of service, FEMA Youth Corps members will receive a $5,550 Segal AmeriCorps Education Award to pay for tuition or pay student loans.  Members will gain significant training and experience in disaster services that can serve as a pathway to employment in the emergency management profession.

FEMA Youth Corps members will be based out of five AmeriCorps NCCC campuses across the country: Sacramento, Calif.; Denver, Colo.; Vinton, Iowa; Perry Point, Md.; and, Vicksburg, Miss. The program will engage 1,600 members annually when fully operational next year.

The blog FromTheTrenches observes that:

“While the idea of having a volunteer force of tens of thousands of volunteers scattered across the country to aid in times of natural disasters sounds great, the details and timing of this new government army is somewhat curious, if not disturbing. [...]

Unlike most local disaster response teams who are volunteers, training periodically and only showing up when there’s a disaster, the FEMA Corps will be a paid, full time, standing army of government youth. [...]

Over the past two years, President Obama has signed a number of Executive Orders suspending all civil and Constitutional rights and turning over management of an America under Martial Law to FEMA. Also in that time, domestic federal agencies under DHS, including FEMA, have ordered billions of rounds of ammunition as well as the corresponding firearms. Admittedly, these new weapons and ammunition aren’t to be used in some far-off war or to fight forest fires in California, but right here on the streets of America.

Individuals around the US have begun reporting the site of strange, new, heavily-armed FEMA fighting vehicles. What would a disaster relief agency like FEMA need with 2,500 brand new GLS armored fighting vehicles? According to the agency’s own mandate, as well as President Obama’s recent Executive Order, the answer is ‘population control’ during a time of Martial Law. [...]

What is the US federal government preparing for? And why does it feel it needs an army of brainwashed youth, millions of guns, thousands of armored fighting vehicles and literally billions of rounds of ammunition, just to provide relief to the American people during a natural disaster? Any historian will tell you it sounds more like the arming of the Hitler Youth than an army of first responders fighting forest fires and hurricanes.”

H/t FOTM’s beloved Maziel and Joseph.

See also:

UPDATE (Nov. 12, 2012):

Where was the newly-graduated class of FEMA Youth Corps in all the cities and places devastated by Hurricane Sandy? There was not even a single reported sighting of an Obama Blue Shirt. Not one.


Views: 1504

Replies to This Discussion

DTOM: Only fair that I should post the following 'spin'...

But as the update in the above article asks: UPDATE (Nov. 12, 2012): Where was the newly-graduated class of FEMA Youth Corps in all the cities and places devastated by Hurricane Sandy? There was not even a single reported sighting of an Obama Blue Shirt. Not one.




Did FEMA Create a Youth Army?

Q: Did the Department of Homeland Security create a “standing army of government youth” known as FEMA Corps.

A: No. FEMA Corps is a civilian operation within AmeriCorps, a federal community service program. FEMA Corps prepares and responds to disasters. Its members, ages 18 to 24, carry no weapons.


Tell me this is not true.

Homeland Security Graduates First Corps Of Obama’s Brown Shirts – Homeland Youth

Monday, October 15, 2012 18:51

October 7, 2012. Vicksburg . The federal government calls them FEMA Corps. But they conjure up memories of the Hitler Youth of 1930’s Germany . Regardless of their name, the Dept of Homeland Security has just graduated its first class of 231 Homeland Youth. Kids, aged 18-24 and recruited from the President’s AmeriCorp volunteers, they represent the first wave of DHS’s youth corps, designed specifically to create a full time, paid, standing army of FEMA Youth across the country.

On September 13, 2012, the Dept of Homeland Security graduated its first class of FEMA Corps youth, aka the Homeland Youth. Image courtesy of DHS.gov.

⬐ Click to expand/collapse the full text ⬏


A few readers sent us this email, which dresses up conspiracy theories with unrelated photographs and selected snippets from a government press release.

The gist of the email is that the federal government is stockpiling bullets, instituting martial law and arming youths in President Barack Obama’s army of “Brown Shirts” — none of which is true.

The email attributes the source of the information to an article on www.itmakessenseblog.com. The site’s “We Believe” page claims that “Left wing progressives have infiltrated both the Democrat and Republican Party.” It also says: “modern liberalism and progressivism may still both support many of the same Socialistic, Communistic or Maoist policies.”

The email’s link to the article is broken. And the site no longer carries the article. But the blog has published other pieces that similarly warn of Obama’s ” ‘brown shirt’ brigades” or “civilian national security force.”

This email is the most recent incarnation of a claim we debunked in 2008 and 2010. The conspiracy theory stems from a 2008 speech that then-candidate Obama gave in Colorado. He talked about building up “a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded” as our military force.

But the doomsayers leave out the context: Obama was proposing strengthening civilian programs such as the State Department’s foreign service, the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps. Not surprisingly, this latest claim describes FEMA Corps, a new unit of AmeriCorps, as an “army.”

‘Army of Government Youth’?

The email says the Department of Homeland Security created a “paid, full time, standing army of government youth.” And the email quotes — correctly — from a DHS press release announcing FEMA Corps’ first graduating class. But that’s about all the email gets right.

It contains a photo of young persons dressed in blue uniforms and holding air-soft guns, replicas that fire plastic pellets and are identifiable by their federally required orange tips. That’s the first sign this is no “standing army.”

And the photo comes not from DHS — as the email claims — but from a 2009 New York Times article. The story is about a law enforcement education program that is affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America and has nothing to do with FEMA Corps.

The Law Enforcement Exploring program teaches crime-fighting skills to persons between the ages of 14 and 20 who are considering a career in law enforcement. The Times profiled a southern California chapter that partnered with U.S. Border Patrol and local police. They simulated a raid on a marijuana field, which the newspaper photographed.

FEMA Corps, on the other hand, is a civilian operation for persons between the ages of 18 and 24. It is a unit within AmeriCorps, a community service program.

FEMA Corps, which will grow to 1,600 members, is solely devoted to preparing for and responding to disasters. Corps members work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which dispatches them to disaster areas. They recently helped Hurricane Sandy victims in Long Beach, N.Y., registering them for federal assistance.

They do not carry guns — much less travel in armored fighting vehicles. In fact, the AmeriCorps handbook, which applies to FEMA Corps, prohibits members from possessing firearms or any other weapon.

The email, nonetheless, attempts to connect FEMA Corps to an overblown claim about the government’s recent ammunition purchases.

Bullet Baloney

The email cites a “drastic spike” in the Department of Homeland Security’s bullet purchases and asks: “What is the US federal government preparing for?” The email also claims that “federal management agencies are looking more and more like a military army every day.”

DHS has indeed ordered hundreds of millions of rounds of ammunition. But there is less here than meets the eye. And that’s according to the National Rifle Association and the office of Republican Congressman Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia.

The Department of Homeland Security recently contracted to buy up to 450 million rounds over the next five years. But DHS was making a first-time bulk order for all of its law enforcement agencies to save money. Those agencies include the Secret Service, the Transportation Security Administration and U.S. Customs and Border Enforcement, among many others.

The NRA describes the assertion as “incendiary.” It says the suggestion that the Obama administration is “preparing for a war with the American people” displays “a lack of understanding of the law enforcement functions carried about by officers in small federal agencies.” The NRA, which is no fan of the Democratic president, concludes that “there is no need to invent additional threats to our rights.”

‘Martial Law’ Malarkey

The email also links FEMA Corps to the false claim that Obama issued executive orders that institute martial law and give unchecked powers to FEMA.

As we’ve written before, Obama’s orders do no such thing. He issued one executive order that exercised his office’s power to prepare the nation for an emergency.

Since the Korean War, Congress has granted the president the authority to make sure national resources — such as the food supply and various industries — will be available to meet national security needs in times of war and other emergencies. That power is granted under the Defense Production Act, a law that dates to 1950 and must be reauthorized by Congress every few years. (The act expires in 2014.)

Like presidents before him, Obama issued an order updating the resources covered under that act while delegating authority over those resources to various federal departments and agencies. For example, the order authorizes the secretaries of Defense and the Interior “to encourage the exploration, development, and mining of strategic and critical materials and other materials.”

The order doesn’t institute martial law. It doesn’t even mention FEMA.

– Ben Finley


Press release. “Welcome to the FEMA Corps Inaugural Class.” Department of Homeland Security. 14 Sept. 2012.

U.S. Code, 2003 Edition. “15 U.S.C., Title 15, Chapter 76, Section 5001, penalties for enteri....” 2003.

Steinhauer, Jennifer. “Scouts Train to Fight Terrorists, and More.” The New York Times. 13 May 2009.

Program and Resource Guide for Adult Leaders.” Law Enforcement Exploring program. July 2011.

AmeriCorps NCCC FEMA Partnership.” About AmeriCorps. Accessed Nov 2012.

FEMA Corps FAQ’s.” FEMA. 20 June 2012.

Stilts, Josh. “Sandy victims helped through FEMA Corp by Pittsfield man.” The Berkshire Eagle. 18 Nov 2012.

AmeriCorps NCCC Memeber Handbook.” AmeriCorps. Jan 2011.

Federal Law Enforcement Agencies Buy Ammunition.” National Rifle Association Institute for Legal Action. 17 Aug 2012.

Doran, Kevin. “DHS Buys in Bulk to Save You Money.” Office of U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland. Accessed Nov 2012.

Finley, Ben. “Obama’s Executive Orders.” FactCheck.org. 25 Sept 2012.

Jackson, Brooks. “Obama’s ‘National Security Force.’ ” FactCheck.org. 11 Nov 2008.

Novak, Viveca. “Obama’s ‘Private Army.’” FactCheck.org. 7 April 2010.

Obama, Barack. Executive Order 13603. 16 Mar 2012.

Posted by Ben Finley on Friday, November 30, 2012 at 1:16 pm Filed under Ask FactCheck. tagged with , , , .

My thoughts exactly - where were all these FEMA volunteers during Hurricane Sandy, and this winter's snowstorms???


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