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Author Topic: State Defense Forces  (Read 3594 times)
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« on: August 30, 2009, 08:29:52 AM »

State Defense Forces


State Defense Forces (SDF) (also known as State Guards, State Military Reserves, or State Militias) in the United States are military units that operate under the sole authority of a state government, although they are regulated by the National Guard Bureau through the Army National Guard of the United States.[1] State Defense Forces are authorized by state and federal law and are under the command of the governor, as State Defense Forces are distinct from their state's National Guard in that they cannot become federal entities (all National Guard units can be federalized under the National Defense Act of 1933 with the creation of the National Guard of the United States). The federal government recognizes State Defense Forces under 32 U.S.C. § 109 which provides that State Defense Forces as a whole may not be called, ordered, or drafted into the Armed Forces of the United States, thus preserving their separation from the National Guard. However, under the same law, individual members serving in the State Defense Force are not exempt from service in the Armed Forces (e.g., draft). NGR 10-4 further states: "State regulations should provide for immediate discharge of SDF members who have been appointed, inducted, enlisted, ordered, or called in the Armed forces [sic] of the U.S., or a Reserve component thereof."

Although nearly every state has laws authorizing State Defense Forces, approximately twenty-two states, to include Puerto Rico, currently have active State Defense Forces, each with different levels of activity, state support, and strength. SDFs generally operate with emergency management and homeland security missions. Most SDFs are organized as Army units, but Air and Naval units also exist.

 
  Organization
Many states organize their State Defense Force in parallel to their National Guard force (both Air and Army), having it report to the governor through the state's adjutant general. State Defense Forces are usually not funded by the federal government, and in most states, members act on a volunteer basis, have to purchase their own uniforms and most, if not all, of their own equipment.

Because many members of State Defense Forces are veterans who have retained ranks received from service in the Armed Forces, some State Defense Forces appear to have an inflated grade structure. Advocates reply that the grades worn by State Defense Force members accurately reflect the many years of experience that veterans (often military or naval retirees) bring to the state forces. Some SDF soldiers use the two-letter state abbreviation in parenthesis after their rank to indicate the origin of their grade. For example, a major in the California State Military Reserve would give his or her rank as "MAJ (CA)." However, numerous states do not practice this notation due to the fact that many senior commissioned and noncommissioned officers acquired their rank while serving at the Federal level. Moreover, army regulations require the service branch title to appear after the rank and name (ie. COL John S. Smith, CSMR).

While in the past many State Defense Forces were organized as military police brigades or infantry brigades, the experiences of recent events such as Hurricane Katrina has changed attitudes and plans. Civil Affairs units and medical units now predominate in some states. Organization levels may be inflated: a battalion may have less than 100 members, and a State Defense Force brigade may have less than 300 soldiers. Advocates of State Defense Forces argue that organizational inflation is typical of "cadre" units and that ranks would be quickly filled in war time as citizens ineligible or unwilling to serve in Federal units would instead enlist in State Defense Force units.

Federal bills regarding use of State Defense Forces

2003 House Resolution #2787: Guard in relation to Homeland Security
2005 House Resolution #3411: Guard in relation to Homeland Security
2006 Senate Resolution #2767: Proposed use of Armed Forces and Guard in times of emergency
2007 House Resolution #826: State Defense Force Improvement Act

 Training
Training standards vary widely. The Military Emergency Management Specialist ("MEMS") qualification created by the SGAUS[2] has quickly become the single common training focal point among State Defense Forces. Alabama, California, Indiana, Texas and others have adopted the MEMS Badge as a basic qualification required of all members desiring promotion. Training is conducted through MEMS academies in each state, and includes course material provided online by FEMA and other agencies, as well as practical experience in local disaster planning and exercise management.

Community Emergency Response Teams ("CERTs") are being organized by several SDFs by utilizing training offered by FEMA's Citizen Corps. Some states follow the lead of the Army and offer a permanent tab (e.g., Army Ranger tab) as an incentive to become certified as part of the local or unit CERT team. CERT teams are open to any able-bodied citizen and are a good way for SDFs to integrate into their communities.

Weapons qualification and training is provided in many of the SDF's. However, most SDF's lack sufficient training standards to maintain proficiency in weapons utilization. A 2006 study by the U.S. Freedom Foundation recommended minimum standards for State Defense Forces including weapons training, but the report has been largely ignored. Some SDFs have laws that in the event of deployment by order of the state legislature and/or governor, they will become armed.


 Special Units
SDFs include a variety of special units including medical, aviation, and ceremonial units. The following are examples:

Cavalry Troop A, Maryland Defense Force
Aviation Battalion, Virginia Defense Force
Governor's Foot Guard, Governor's Horse Guard & Band, Connecticut State Militia
Georgia State Defense Force Band
Oregon State Defense Force Pipe Band
Texas Medical Rangers
Quick Reactions Teams - Small units attached to a number of Texas State Guard regiments. QRT also compete in the Governor's Twenty competition.
Small Arms Training Team - Small arms and crew served weapons team of the California State Military Reserve
Search and Rescue Company, Puerto Rico State Guard

 Uniforms
As a general rule, State Defense Forces wear standard U.S. military uniforms with insignia closely matching those of their Federal counterpart, though state variations often stray far from the guidance of NGR 10-4[12]. SDF units generally wear red name tags on service uniforms (as specifically prescribed by AR 670-1 for SDF units), and name tapes on ACU or BDU uniforms use the State Defense Force name or state name rather than "U.S. Army." Standard U.S. Army corps insignia are often used (sometimes in violation of NGR 10-4), or a unique "State Guard" corps insignia consisting of a crossed musket and sword is used instead. Where berets are worn, some State Defense Forces use a beret flash identical to the one the U.S. Army uses, but in bright red thread instead of the current blue. Other states have beret flashes based on the state flag. Maryland Defense Force soldiers wear a black beret with a distinctive flash. State soldiers in the New York Guard wear a grey beret flash. Per NGR 10-4, states may prescribe their own distinctive uniforms without consulting the National Guard Bureau, provided no distinctive Federal items are worn.

Uniforms have become an uncomfortable subject in some states. In states where the State Defense Force integrates comfortably within the state structure of the National Guard, state uniforms tend to have only subtle differences not easily discerned by civilians. For example, in Texas, where State and Federal soldiers work side-by-side, the Texas State Guard wears standard U.S. Army camouflage uniforms (but do not wear a beret unless in dress uniform), a state guard unit patch, and the "U.S. Army" name tape replaced with one reading "Texas State Guard." Similarly, the California State Military Reserve wears a uniform almost indistinguishable from the U.S. Army uniform worn by its Federal counterparts in the National Guard except for the unit patch and beret flash. A similar pattern can be found in the New York Guard. The Georgia State Defense Force often works in tandem with and support of Federal troops. The Georgia State Defense Force wears the ACU with a unique Georgia SDF red flash on the U.S. Army's black beret and "Georgia" in place of the "U.S. Army" uniform name tape. The Tennessee State Guard can wear either BDU's or the "tactical response uniform" ("TRU") in the M81 Woodland pattern but whose cut and accoutrements match the ACU but cannot mix pieces.

In Alabama an opposite approach is taken. Members of the Alabama State Defense Force ("ASDF") wear subdued or brightly colored insignia on camouflage uniforms, along with bright (non-subdued) patches (similar to the Civil Air Patrol wearing blue insignia on camouflage BDU's); berets are not authorized. In their brightly colored uniforms, ASDF soldiers cannot be mistaken for Federal troops. Some argue that all SDFs should take this stand so they can't be mistaken for Federal troops.[citation needed] For a brief period, service uniforms were not authorized for ASDF troops, until members pointed out that the ribbons awarded them for Alabama service were therefore not authorized for wear on any uniform or civilian clothing (ribbons can only be worn on service or dress uniforms). Since State Defense Forces generally grant no pay and are entirely volunteer organizations, the award of a ribbon is one of the few acknowledgments state soldiers receive. The commanding general quietly lifted the ban on service uniforms in the next release of ASDF uniform regulations. Some members of the SDF also participate in military balls alongside federal and National Guard members, besides being awarded service ribbons, is one of the few instances of public recognition for their citizen-soldiery.

The few states with SDF Air and Naval units wear modified USAF and USN/USMC uniforms. Currently, only Ohio and New York have uniformed Naval Militia, and only Texas has an Air Wing, though Indiana formerly had an Air Guard Reserve.

In all cases, the state adjutant general has final say on uniforms worn by State Defense Forces, though Federal service regulations generally shape the policies of each state.

Partial List of State Defense Force ground unit BDU/ACU Uniform Variances from Federal force uniforms.

Force Name Tape Reads Name Tape colors Insignia Head Covering Uniform Type
Alabama State Defense Force ALSDF Red on Olive drab Bright metal or gold on olive drab patrol cap only BDU & TRU
Alaska State Defense Force ALASKA Black on ACU Black on ACU ACU Patrol Cap ACU
California State Military Reserve CALIFORNIA Black on Olive Drab/ACU Black on Olive Drab/ACU Black beret with California hexagon flash ACU
Georgia State Defense Force GEORGIA Black on ACU Black on ACU Black beret with red GSDF flash ACU
Indiana Guard Reserve INDIANA Black on ACU Black on ACU Black patrol cap ACU
Maryland Defense Force  MARYLAND Black on ACU Black on ACU Black beret with state flash ACU
Michigan Volunteer Defense Force  MICHIGAN Black on Olive Drab Black on Olive Drab Black beret with red flash  
Mississippi State Guard  MISSISSIPPI Black on Olive drab Black on Olive Drab Patrol cap & subdued insignia/Black Beret w/Red Flash BDU
New York Guard  NY GUARD Black on Olive Drab (Army) Black on Olive Drab (Army) Black beret & grey flash BDU
Ohio Military Reserve OHIO Black on Olive Drab Black on Olive Drab patrol cap ACU & BDU
Ohio Naval Militia  O. N. M. Black on Olive Drab Gold/Silver on Olive Drab (E-4 & up) Naval style 8-point cover  
Oregon State Defense Force  OREGON Black on Olive Drab Black on Olive Drab  BDU
Puerto Rico State Guard  PRSG ARMY Black on ACU Black on ACU Black beret with yellow & red flash reminiscent of Spanish heraldry ACU
South Carolina State Guard  S.C. STATE GUARD Gray on black Black on Olive Drab patrol cap BDU
Tennessee State Guard  TN ST GUARD Black on Olive Drab Black on Olive Drab Black beret with red flash TRU
Texas State Guard  TEXAS STATE GUARD Black on Olive Drab/ACU (Army) Black on Olive Drab/ACU patrol cap ACU
Texas State Guard Maritime Regiment  TEXAS STATE GUARD Black on MARPAT Black on MARPAT Eight-point naval cover  
Vermont State Guard  VT STATE GUARD Black on Olive Drab Black on Olive Drab patrol cap BDU
Virginia State Defense Force  VA. DEF. FORCE Black on Olive drab Gold on Olive drab patrol cap BDU
Washington State Guard  WASHINGTON Black on ACU Black on ACU patrol cap or beret with green flash ACU


 Federal activation
The U.S. Constitution, coupled with several statutory and case laws, details the relationship of state defense forces to the federal government. Outside of 32 USC 109, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled: "It is true that the state defense forces 'may not be called, ordered, or drafted into the armed forces.' 32 U.S.C. 109(c). It is nonetheless possible that they are subject to call under 10 U.S.C. 331-333, which distinguish the 'militia' from the 'armed forces,' and which appear to subject all portions of the 'militia' - organized or not - to call if needed for the purposes specified in the Militia Clauses" (Perpich v. Department of Defense, 496 U.S. 334 (1990)). The following is an extract of the laws which the U.S. Supreme Court cited giving the federal government authority to activate the state defense forces:

10 USC 331 - “Federal aid for State governments”

Whenever there is an insurrection in any State against its government, the President may, upon the request of its legislature or of its governor if the legislature cannot be convened, call into Federal service such of the militia of the other States, in the number requested by that State, and use such of the armed forces, as he considers necessary to suppress the insurrection.

10 USC 332 – “Use of militia and armed forces to enforce Federal authority”

Whenever the President considers that unlawful obstructions, combinations, or assemblages, or rebellion against the authority of the United States, make it impracticable to enforce the laws of the United States in any State or Territory by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings, he may call into Federal service such of the militia of any State, and use such of the armed forces, as he considers necessary to enforce those laws or to suppress the rebellion.

10 USC 333 – “Interference with State and Federal law”

The President, by using the militia or the armed forces, or both, or by any other means, shall take such measures as he considers necessary to suppress, in a State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy, if it -

(1) so hinders the execution of the laws of that State, and of the United States within the State, that any part or class of its people is deprived of a right, privilege, immunity, or protection named in the Constitution and secured by law, and the constituted authorities of that State are unable, fail, or refuse to protect that right, privilege, or immunity, or to give that protection; or

(2) opposes or obstructs the execution of the laws of the United States or impedes the course of justice under those laws.

In any situation covered by clause (1), the State shall be considered to have denied the equal protection of the laws secured by the Constitution.


 List of active State Defense Forces
There are currently twenty-two active State Defense Forces. A 2005 Department of Defense report reported twenty-three active SDFs in the United States and Puerto Rico. Since this time, New Jersey has suspended its State Defense Force. Per National Guard Regulation 10-4: "An SDF is a component of the executive department of each State, and is under the exclusive control of the governor or his/her authorized representative." The following is a list of active SDFs, recognized by their respective states, in the United States and Puerto Rico:

State or Territory Military Division Naval Division 
Alabama Alabama State Defense Force  none 
Alaska Alaska State Defense Force  Alaska Naval Militia 
Arizona none 
Arkansas none  
California California State Military Reserve  California State Military Reserve Naval Militia
Colorado none* none 
Connecticut Connecticut State Militia Units  none  
Delaware none none 
District of Columbia none 
Florida none   
Georgia Georgia State Defense Force  none 
Hawai'i none   
Idaho none   
Indiana Indiana Guard Reserve  none 
Illinois none Illinois Naval Militia   
Iowa none  
Kansas none   
Kentucky none 
Louisiana Louisiana State Guard none 
Maine none 
Maryland Maryland Defense Force  none 
Massachusetts Massachusetts State Guard  none  
Michigan Michigan Volunteer Defense Force  none  
Minnesota none   
Mississippi Mississippi State Guard  none  
Missouri none   
Montana none 
Nebraska none  
Nevada none   
New Hampshire none
New Jersey none    
New Mexico New Mexico State Defense Force  none  
New York New York Guard  New York Naval Militia   
North Carolina none
North Dakota none  
Ohio Ohio Military Reserve  Ohio Naval Militia   
Oklahoma inactive none  
Oregon Oregon State Defense Force  none  
Pennsylvania none   
Puerto Rico Puerto Rico State Guard  none  
Rhode Island none   
South Carolina South Carolina State Guard  none  
South Dakota none 
Tennessee Tennessee State Guard  none  
Texas Texas State Guard  Texas State Guard Maritime Regiment   
Utah none   
Vermont Vermont State Guard  none  
Virginia Virginia State Defense Force  Riverine Detachment 
Washington Washington State Guard  none  
West Virginia none  
Wisconsin none
Wyoming none 

* Colorado does not operate an active state defense force, but rather has a statutory state defense force staffed by one individual appointed by the governor.


 

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