PENSACOLA, FL – Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has proposed on Thursday the re-establishment of a civilian military force – originally active in the state during World War II – that would be under his direct control, as opposed to the Pentagon.
DeSantis noted that the move to earmark $3.5 million in the state’s budget to restore the Florida State Guard would act as a means of supporting Florida’s National Guard during emergency events, including natural disasters and other dire events.
“The Florida State Guard will act as a civilian volunteer force that will have the ability to assist the National Guard in state specific emergencies,” he said. “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.”
The Florida State Guard, DeSantis said, would allow the state to respond quickly to any issues that could unexpectedly arise. And to illustrate the deep divide that continues to grow between DeSantis and the Biden Administration, the Florida Governor noted that the new military force would be “not encumbered by the federal government.”
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“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,” he said. “This is something that many other states have utilized and I think Florida is in the minority of states that are allowed this to go defunct. So we’re happy to be able to bring that back and I think it’ll be something that’ll be good.”
State defense forces are military units that operate under the sole authority of a state government. All U.S. states have the ability to create their own defense forces, apart from the National Guard; however, not all of them chose to do so. If DeSantis’ proposal comes to fruition, the Florida State Guard will become the 23rd active state guard in the country.
“As somebody who’s a veteran, I really appreciate what everyone who wears the uniform does in the state of Florida,” DeSantis said.
The Florida State Guard was originally established during World War II in 1941 when the Florida National Guard was sent into active combat overseas; it was disbanded at the end of the war.