Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

A Miami Police officer watches protestors from an armored vehicle during a rally in Miami, Florida on May 31, 2020 in response to the killing of George Floyd. (Photo: Ricardo Arduengo/AFP via Getty Images)

A Miami Police officer watches protestors from an armored vehicle during a rally in Miami, Florida on May 31, 2020 in response to the killing of George Floyd. (Photo: Ricardo Arduengo/AFP via Getty Images)

Anti-War Group Releases Activist Guide to End Militarized Policing in US

"We must end state violence and knee-jerk militarism, wherever it occurs. Ending the 1033 program is a small but necessary step toward that."

Jenna McGuire

In an effort to curtail police militarism, anti-war group Win Without War on Thursday released an activist guide titled Stop Militarizing Our Communities: 5 Things You Need to Know About the 1033 Program.

The activist guide was authored by Tanaya Sardesai, a student at Pomona College and a former intern at Win Without War, and centers on the Department of Defense's 1033 program, which is responsible for supplying military weaponry to domestic law enforcement.

"One of the key ways our endless wars have blown back to exacerbate violence and undermine human security in the United States is through the DoD's 1033 program." 
—Win Without War
"Foreign policy and domestic policy are intertwined," said Sardesai. "Violence committed against communities of color abroad fuels violence against communities of color at home. We must end state violence and knee-jerk militarism, wherever it occurs. Ending the 1033 program is a small but necessary step toward that."

The 1033 program, also referred to as the Law Enforcement Support Office Program, is characterized by Win Without War as a byproduct of colossal U.S. Pentagon budget and a hyper-militarized foreign policy that perpetuates ongoing conflicts around the world.

"Militarism abroad and militarism at home are inseparable," explained the group in a statement. "One of the key ways our endless wars have blown back to exacerbate violence and undermine human security in the United States is through the DoD's 1033 program."

The guide elucidates the correlation between U.S. foreign policy and police militarization and concludes both systems are designed to sustain weapon manufacturers profits, the prison system, and the defense industry—at the expense of the working class and marginalized communities.

According to the guide, the 1033 program provides free military-grade weapons to local police officers and incentivizes their use by contractually requiring the weapons be used within a year or returned to the federal government. There is little oversight required under 1033 contracts and equipment often goes missing or is used improperly without accountability.

Police officers do not receive mandatory federal training under the program, leaving local agencies to train weapon recipients with little guidance.

"This further reinforces the 'us vs. them' mentality that is responsible for such devastation around the world," explains the guide. "A lack of instruction exacerbates these issues by imbuing officers with the confidence to use deadly weapons without training."

Sardesai notes that militarization has also expanded its reach to the U.S. education system, as school districts across the country have received millions of dollars of equipment from the 1033 program, including firearms, utility trucks, and rifles.

In 2017, the Government Accountability Office created a fictitious law enforcement agency and was able to obtain $1,200,000 worth of military gear from the 1033 program, suggesting a grossly inadequate vetting system.

In response to these issues, grassroots organizations are mobilizing around the U.S. to end the 1033 program and small legislative strides are being made.

The FY 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (pdf) included a provision to provide more oversight of the 1033 program and limit particular weapons from being used by police forces. The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act (pdf), which the House passed in March 2021, included a section that would limit the 1033 program.

"This must only be the beginning," said Win Without War. "The Senate must act now. President Biden must put a moratorium on the 1033 program."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Peace Advocates Sound Warnings as Progressive Lawmakers Go All-In for $40 Billion Ukraine War Package

"Russia's invasion of Ukraine must be condemned," says one activist. "But the administration has been telegraphing for weeks that its war aims now go well beyond defending Ukraine."

Brett Wilkins ·


Oklahoma Lawmakers Pass Strictest US Abortion Ban While Roe Still Stands

Reproductive rights supporters vowed to fight against the ban that begins at fertilization and, like legislation in Texas, "creates a bounty-hunting scheme" for enforcement.

Jessica Corbett ·


Judy Blume, Mo Willems Among 1,300 Children's Authors to Condemn 'Wave of Book Suppression'

"Reading stories that reflect the diversity of our world builds empathy and respect for everyone's humanity."

Kenny Stancil ·


Now Do Windfall Tax, Say Climate Groups After Passage of Big Oil Price Gouging Bill

"Voters will reward politicians who stand up for people, not polluters," said one campaigner, "and taxing windfall profits is wildly popular in every part of the country."

Brett Wilkins ·


Ocasio-Cortez: Maloney Should Quit DCCC Post If He Runs Against Mondaire Jones

"It's completely inappropriate" for Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney to be in charge of the House Democrats' campaign arm "if he's going to challenge another member," said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo