Garden Plot & Rex 84
Operation Garden Plot is a general U.S.
Army and National Guard plan to respond to major domestic civil
disturbances within the United
States. The plan was developed in response to the civil disorders
of the 1960s and is now under the control of the U.S.
Northern Command (NORTHCOM). It provides Federal military and law
enforcement assistance to local governments during times of major
Garden Plot was last activated (as Noble
Eagle) to provide military assistance to civil
authorities following the September
11, 2001 attacks on the United States. The Pentagon also
activated it to restore order during the 1992
Los Angeles Riots.
Under Homeland Security restructuring, it has been suggested that
similar models be followed.
"Oversight of these homeland security missions
should be provided by the National Guard Bureau based on the
long-standing Garden Plot model in which National Guard units are
trained and equipped to support civil authorities in crowd control
and civil disturbance missions." Testimony of Major
General Richard C. Alexander, ANGUS (Ret.), Executive Director,
National Guard Association of the United States, Senate
Appropriations Committee Hearing on Homeland Defense, April 11,
Rex 84, short for
Readiness Exercise 1984, is a plan by the United
States federal government to test their ability to detain large
numbers of American citizens in case of civil unrest or national
According to scholar Diana Reynolds:
The Rex-84 Alpha Explan
(Readiness Exercise 1984, Exercise Plan; otherwise known as a
of government plan), indicates that FEMA
in association with 34 other federal civil departments and agencies,
along with other NATO nations, conducted a civil readiness exercise
during April 5-13, 1984. It was conducted in coordination and
simultaneously with a Joint Chiefs exercise, Night Train 84, a
worldwide military command post exercise (including Continental U.S.
Forces or CONUS) based on multi-emergency scenarios operating both
abroad and at home. In the combined exercise, Rex-84 Bravo, FEMA and
led the other federal agencies and departments, including the
Intelligence Agency, the Secret
Service, the Treasury,
Bureau of Investigation, and the Veterans
Administration through a gaming exercise to test military
assistance in civil defense.
The exercise anticipated civil
disturbances, major demonstrations and strikes that would affect
continuity of government and/or resource mobilization. To fight
subversive activities, there was authorization for the military to
implement government ordered movements of civilian populations at
state and regional levels, the arrest of certain unidentified
segments of the population, and the imposition of martial law.
Existence of a master military contingency
Plot" and a similar earlier exercise, "Lantern Spike"
were originally revealed by journalist Ron
Ridenhour, who summarized his findings in "Garden Plot and
the New Action Army."
Rex 84 was
mentioned during the Iran-Contra
Hearings in 1987, and subsequently reported on by the Miami
Herald on July 5, 1987. 
Nonetheless, the basic facts about Rex 84 and other contingency
planning readiness exercises--and the potential threat they pose to
civil liberties if fully implemented in a real operation--are taken
seriously by scholars and civil
Exercises similar to Rex 84 happen
Plans for roundups of large numbers of persons in the United States
in times of crisis are constructed during periods of increased
political repression such as the Palmer
Raids and the McCarthy
For example, from 1967 to 1971 the FBI
kept a list of over 100,000 persons to be rounded up as subversive,
dubbed the "ADEX" list.
This list contained many labor leaders, scholars, and public figures
of the time.
In 2008, for the first time an active
military unit has been given a dedicated assignment stateside for
civil unrest containment. It is assigned to Northcom,
a joint command established in 2002 to provide command and control
for federal homeland defense efforts and coordinate defense support
of civil authorities.
Ridenhour, Ron (1975). "Garden Plot and the New Action
Chip Berlet, Right Woos Left, 
Berlet and Reynolds
Diana Reynolds, "The
Rise of the National Security State: FEMA and the NSC,"
CovertAction Information Bulletin, issue #33 (Winter 1990).
Donner, Frank (1980). The Age of Surveillance: The Aims &
Methods of America's Political Intelligence System. New York:
Alfred Knopf. pp. 166.
Cavallaro, Gina; "Brigade homeland tours start Oct. 1";
Army Times, online, Monday Sep 8, 2008 
Aides and the 'Secret' Government," Alfonso Chardy, Miami
Herald, July 5, 1987. Also available as photoscans in PDF
Law Concerns," Congressman Jim McDermott, House of
Representatives, March 11, 2003
about Operation Garden Plot, the larger operation of which Rex 84
was a part
are in place for martial law in the US," Ritt Goldstein, Sydney
Morning Herald, July 27, 2002
Model State Emergency Health Powers Act: An Assault on Civil
Liberties in the Name of Homeland Security," Sue Blevins,
Heritage Foundation Lecture #748, June 10, 2002
Names on Terrorism List, Rights Groups Say Database May Include
Innocent People," Walter Pincus and Dan Eggen, The Washington
Post, Wednesday, February 15, 2006; Page A01
Berlet, Right Woos Left, Discussion of Rex 84 conspiracy