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The State Guard Experience and Homeland Defense

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Journal article

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In the recent past, both the United States and other great powers have faced the issue of how best to meet the challenge of domestic security in support of homeland defense. The State Guards are uniquely American in their concept. These forces originate from an earlier concept of social organization which flourished before the growth of the nation state and mass armies. Unlike the British Home Guard or the German Volkstrum, these forces reflect a military policy based on a decentralized separation of powers. As long as our Constitution is in force this will be an issue. How we provide defense for the homeland and at what institutional price was answered in the last century by installing a dual nature to the National Guard. Now we face a similar problem in the allocation of missions relating to local and internal security in the face of the War on Terrorism. The War on Terrorism has rightfully focused our attentions on terrorism and Consequence Management of terrorist acts. While critical, this focus must not be allowed to cloud our vision for the potential of other threats and of threats to our ability to fight terrorism. We must ensure that defense of the homeland addresses other contingencies from other Theaters to the potential disruption of the home base from natural or manmade disasters. The challenge, therefore, is and has been historically to conduct defense of the homeland within the constraints imposed by the very institutions we seek to preserve. Should the Federal Government take responsibility for Homeland Security If conducted at the federal level the expense will be both fiscal and Constitutional. There is no guarantee that domestic security, as a part of the overall homeland defense effort, will be improved proportionate with the cost. Rather, the historic record of the State Guards in the last century document a model for the current War on Terrorism that is both legally and fiscally supportable.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Civil Defense
  • Unconventional Warfare

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