The June 1 Order
Questions about Changes in Intercept Authority Prior to the Attack
There has been a great deal of interest in locating a "stand-down order" to explain the failure of NORAD to respond effectively to the attack. Some researchers thought they had found such an order in Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Instruction CJCSI 3610.01A, a directive issued by S.A. Fry, Vice Admiral of the US Navy and Director of the Joint Staff, on June 1, 2001. 1 That directive states that intercepts must be approved by the Secretary of Defense
Reference D refers to Department of Defense Directive 3025.15, dated February 18, 1997. 2 That directive allows commanders in the field to provide assistance in emergency situations to save lives. However, that exception to the Secretary's approval may be moot in the case of September 11 because of language in the Directive that appears to require approval of lethal support:
That conclusion is subject to question given apparent contradictions in the policies described by the documents.
A review of the history of military orders governing response to hijackings casts doubt on the idea that the June 1 order was instrumental in hobbling the military's response on September 11. The June 1 order superseded the 1997 directive CJCSI 3610.01. 3 The 1997 directive also stipulated that the NMCC "forward all requests or proposals for DOD military assistance for piracy (hijacking) to the Secretary of Defense for approval."
The 1997 directive cancels three earlier ones:
- MCM-102-92, 24 July 1992, "Hijacking of Civil Aircraft"
- CJCS MOP 51, 13 April 1992, "Aircraft Piracy (Hijacking) of Military and Military Contract Aircraft"
- MCM-- 173-90, 14 September 1990, "Destruction of Derelict Airborne Objects"
These earlier documents do not appear to be archived on dtic.mil. It would be interesting to learn what policy they mandated for military response to hijackings, and, in particular, whether it required approval by the Secretary of Defense.
2. Military Assistance to Civil Authorities, dtic.mil, 2/18/1997 [cached]
3. Aircraft Piracy (Hijacking) and Destruction of Derelict Airborne Objects, dtic.mil, 7/31/1997 [cached]