On Thursday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis proposed reestablishing the Florida State Guard, which would act as a “civilian volunteer force” that he would control independently outside President Joe Biden’s control. If created, Florida will become the 23rd state with its own guard independent of federal control.
“I’m going to be recommending in the budget $3.5 million to reestablish 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 in state-specific emergencies,” DeSantis said.
The governor said the funding will support training, equipment and other necessary support functions for up to 200 volunteer 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 reestablishing 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 continued.
DeSantis noted that over 20 other states currently have their own civilian guards.
“Our National Guard, for how big our state is – and we’re working to expand the personnel – but they carry a big load,” DeSantis said. “You look at other states, much less population, and their guard is a larger percentage of their population than we are. So we have a massive state in terms of land, and we also have a huge population.”
According to The Hill, the Florida State Guard was first established in 1941 to step in as National Guard members were deployed overseas during World War II. The guard was later disbanded in 1947.
“We are proud of our veterans and active-duty military members and proud of what our communities do to support them,” DeSantis said in a statement. “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,” he added.
The idea was part of a broader budget proposal, which included $12.2 million in scholarships for children and spouses of deceased or disabled veterans, as well as $3.6 million to “improve base infrastructure and support projects that keep our military installations among the best in the nation.”