With British Prime Minister David Cameron authorizing the use of rubber bullets and water canons in wake of the turbulent London riots spreading through Britain, questions have been raised about how authorities in the U.S. would respond to a similar domestic disturbance threatening the nation's stability. According to National Journal's White House correspondent Marc Ambinder the U.S. already has a game plan in place. "If what happened in London ever happened in the US, the military has plans -- CONPLAN 3501 and 3502 -- to suppress the 'insurrection,' he tweeted. The mysterious reference to a numbered military plan generated a flurry of interest on Twitter as NPR host Michele Norris shot back:"I want to know more about the military's plan to suppress any potential 'insurrection.'-- CONPLAN 3501 and 3502????"
Interestingly, the CONPLAN (which stands for an "operation plan in concept format" at the Pentagon) Ambinder referenced is a popular subject among conspiracy theorists and critics of martial law. According to the public policy organization GlobalSecurity.org, CONPLAN 3502 is the U.S. military's plan for assisting state and local authorities in the event of a riot or major civil disturbance: "Tasks performed by military forces may include joint patrolling with law enforcement officers; securing key buildings, memorials, intersections and bridges; and acting as a quick reaction force."