Gov. Ron DeSantis announces plan to re-establish the Florida State Guard

The guard, if implemented, will allow Florida to have the means and capability to deal with major disasters such as hurricanes without relying on federal assistance.

Gov. Ron DeSantis announces plan to re-establish the Florida State Guard
AP Photo/Chris O'Meara
Remove Ads

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is proposing to revive the Florida State Guard many decades after it was disbanded in 1947. The move will effectively provide the state of Florida with the same independence afforded to the 22 other states with active forces.

The Florida State Guard, as the governor announced on Thursday, comes at an initial cost of $3.5 million in funding, enabling civilians to be trained in emergency response techniques.

DeSantis brought about the proposal to re-establish the civilian military force that was used in the Second World War as the National Guard’s ranks were diminished by the war effort in Europe and the Pacific. Should the proposal be adopted, Florida will become the 23rd state with a civilian military force of its own.

The governor’s push to revive the state guard comes amid Florida’s efforts to lessen its reliance on resources from the U.S. federal government, which has become increasingly at odds with the Sunshine State over DeSantis’ opposition to the Biden administration’s federal vaccine mandate.

The guard, if implemented, will allow Florida to have the means and capability to deal with major disasters such as hurricanes without relying on federal assistance. The state guard could also assist Florida police in enforcing the law in the event of widespread riots and social upheaval.

Numerous other states already have civilian military forces of their own, including the Louisiana State Guard (LSG), which is part of the state militia of Louisiana, and serves as a stateside replacement of the Louisiana National Guard while the National Guard is deployed. As with the proposed Florida State Guard, Louisiana’s state militia cannot be federalized or deployed outside of Louisiana, so soldiers will always be available to the governor to deploy in response to crises.

The legislation to create the Florida State Defense Force (now called the Florida State Guard) originally passed in 1941.

“We also want to make sure that we have the flexibility and the ability needed to respond to events in our state in the most effective way possible,” said DeSantis at the press conference.

“That will require us to have access and be able to use support in ways that are not encumbered by the federal government or don't require federal government,” he added. “So I'm going to be recommending in the budget $3.5 million to re-establish the Florida State Guard.” 

“The Florida state guard will act as a civilian volunteer force that will have the ability to assist the national guard and state-specific emergencies,” said DeSantis. “This funding will support the necessary training equipment and other support functions for up to 200 members who can aid in the response to hurricanes, natural disasters, and other state emergencies. We want to be able to have a quick response, capability and re-establishing the Florida state guard will allow civilians from all over the state to be trained in the best emergency response techniques and have the ability to mobilize very, very quickly.”

DeSantis made the statement at an event announcing more than $100 million in funding proposals to support the state’s National Guard, expanding its military readiness, and building three new armouries.

The breakdown of costs is as follows:

  • $87.5 million to expand the existing readiness centre in Miramar and to establish three new armouries in Homestead, Gainesville and Malabar;
  • $8.9 million for existing armoury maintenance;
  • $2.2 million for a new headquarters for the National Guard Counter Drug Program;
  • $5.1 million to support Florida National Guardsmen seeking higher-education degrees; and
  • $3.5 million to establish the Florida State Guard.

“We are proud of our veterans and active-duty military members and proud of what our communities do to support them,” said DeSantis. “Florida is one of the most veteran-friendly states and I think there are very few places that you would rather be on duty than in the state of Florida. As a veteran, I really appreciate what everyone who wears the uniform does in our state and am excited about these proposals — they will go a long way and have a meaningful impact. In Florida, we are going to continue our momentum of supporting our military, supporting our veterans and being good stewards of our military installations.”



Remove Ads
Remove Ads

2024 Student Journalism Conference

Applications are now open for The Democracy Fund's third annual Student Journalism Conference. This is a one-of-a-kind, all-expenses-paid opportunity for young aspiring journalists in Canada!

TDF Student Journalism Conference 2024

Don't Get Censored

Big Tech is censoring us. Sign up so we can always stay in touch.

Remove Ads