Crises in public order, both real and potential, often
evoke comments concerning a resort to martial law. While some ambiguity exists regarding the
conditions of a martial law setting, such a prospect, nonetheless, is disturbing to many Americans
who cherish their liberties, expect civilian law enforcement to prevail, and support civilian control
of military authority. An overview of the concept of, exercise of, and authority underlying martial
law is provided in this report, which will be updated as events warrant.