A re-activated Florida State Guard

Florida State Guard

“States have the power to create defense forces separate from the national guard, though not all of them use it. If Florida moves ahead with DeSantis’ plan to reestablish the civilian force, it would become the 23rd active state guard in the country, DeSantis’ office said in a press release, joining California, Texas and New York. These guards are little-known auxiliary forces with origins dating back to the advent of state militias in the 18th century. While states and the Department of Defense share control of the National Guard, state guards are solely in the power of a governor.”

“The proposal from DeSantis comes on the heels of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s directive warning that National Guard members who refuse to get vaccinated against the coronavirus will have their pay withheld and barred from training. Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, a Republican, had requested an exemption for guard members in his state, which Austin denied.” CNN

Comment: Well pilgrims, this CNN piece seems less hysterical than another one in The Guardian. What you are seeing is the gradual loosening of the “ties that bind.” Florida does not need the permission of the US to have organized militia not under federal control. That power was never constitutionally ceded by the states to the US. Remember, the states created the federal government, not the other way round. Florida disbanded its State Guard in 1947 when the National Guard returned from war service. It will now be the 23 state to have an active state guard. pl



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10 Responses to A re-activated Florida State Guard

  1. TTG says:

    Despite some of the hysterical headlines and equally hysterical ranting of some Florida democratic politicians, there is nothing unusual about reactivating the Florida State Guard. DeSantis is only asking for a 200 man force to assist in natural disasters. I’m surprised Florida didn’t already have an active state guard. Half the states have active state guards. Puerto Rico has the largest and best trained and organized guard including an air guard element, although it consists of flight support elements not aircraft. The Virginia Defense Force was expanded and reorganized this year with a cyber defense battalion and a communications battalion. Connecticut’s state guard traces back to its colonial lineage and retains the Governor’s Foot Guard and Governor’s Horse Guard names. It retains some ceremonial functions, but is also organized for disaster assistance including establishing a field hospital. Given the susceptibility of Florida to natural disasters, DeSantis is smart in reactivating his state guard. Taking advantage of the current Oklahoma National Guard controversy is just smart politics.

    • Sam says:

      DeSantis continues to demonstrate political savvy. What if he hires into his state guard all those that Austin fires? How will that play in the primary?

      • TTG says:

        A state guard position is not a full time or part time job. They are paid nothing for drills or annual training. They are paid by the state only while on active state duty. It’s voluntary duty for the most part. It was still politically smart for DeSantis if only to own the libs and cause them to say stupid things.

  2. Fred says:

    “If Florida moves ahead …. to reestablish the civilian force, it would become the 23rd active state guard in the country, DeSantis’ office said in a press release, joining California, Texas and New York.”

    “No Governor should have his own handpicked secret police.” Says Congressman Crist, soon to be gubenatorial candidate running against DeSantis. Perhaps he could enlighten us on whether the governors of California or New York have a ‘handpicked secret police’ because there is a state guard?

    The governor’s news conference is here:

    This is, as TTG points out, a rather modest endeavor. The symbolism isn’t, however. Given everything done by the federal government since Biden was sworn in it ought to send alarm bells all across the left that they are over reaching on the centralization of power into the hands of the federal government and especially amongst un-elected employees of the executive branch.

    • Pat Lang says:


      He is starting at 200. That does not mean it will not grow. The Texas State Guard has around 1700 people.

  3. RHT447 says:

    I served in the California State Guard (then known as the California State Military Reserve) from 1983 to 2001. We figured we were one of the best kept secrets around because we almost never encountered anyone who had ever heard of us. None of the governors I served under ever mentioned us. Prior to this, I was RA from ’74 to ’77.


    Go Florida.

  4. Leith says:

    WA state has a small State Guard. Unpaid but they get a free hunting license plus free tags for elk or deer. And they always seem to get an special hunt permit every year, and in the best hunting areas, while for the rest of us it is a crap shoot based on a raffle.

    I considered joining when I was younger. But I’m too old and cranky to spend time in the woods now. Plus there are reports that CWD (think the elk/deer equivalent of mad cow disease) is coming instate from Canada and/or Idaho.

  5. JK/AR says:

    I’m fairly uncertain what TTG is saying with his, “DeSantis is only asking for a 200 man force to assist in natural disasters.”

    Uhm … actually if I’m understanding that declarative correctly they [FL] already have that:

    “Those eight task forces are comprised of about 2,000 of the state’s emergency services personnel. Before I retired, I deployed more than a couple of times with one of those teams. The most notable was to Mississippi for Hurricane Katrina.”


    I think what DeSantis might be imagining implementing might be a *force not unlike what our [Arkansas Governor Hutchinson] has already “mostly” accomplished – I have to tread lightly here owing to I have a nephew directly answering to AR’s Special R T eam’s chain of command. (Gee I hope I didn’t mess up my intended capitalizing of the acronym.)

    *Some of Arkansas state government department[s] originating history is a might confusing to a great many people. Take our Game & Fish Commission for instance, it’s actually tied into the federal Department of Interior owing to the curiosity which was the WWII ‘Japanese Internment’ program – and then there was Eisenhower’s fiddling around with our State Militia in 1957. [I suppose for most of that *curious history the run-of-the-mill US citizen had to’ve been a product of a 1960s-70s especially Ozarks public school system. I imagine Colonel Lang might be passingly familiar with what I’m talking about owing to his Civil War expertise. For those less enlightened:


    (Or one might read the book ‘Josey Wales’ rather than watching the movie – the Ozarks was a woeful place to be roundabouts 150 years ago. Guerrilla warfare on your doorstep.)

    At any rate I wouldn’t find it so unbelievable to find Florida authorities may just well have consulted with their neighboring authorities – as is said ‘the devil is in the details.’

    • TTG says:

      The state guard augments what emergency services/first responder units are already in existence. I’m pretty sure that’s the same in most states. First responder personnel may apply for some of those state guard billets just like many first responders join National Guard units, but the Florida State Guard is a separate organization from those existing eight search and rescue task forces.

  6. Teddy says:

    Yes, it is surprising that Florida didn’t have an active state guard:

    For context: the FL National Guard is undersized and overworked.

    They’ve devoted more than 2.9 million federal work days between 2016 and 2021, but only 834,000 on state missions — per the approximate totals they shared with lawmakers in October.


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