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State Defense Force Manpower Remedy Ignored by National Leaders

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Conference paper

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Five years ago, I addressed the State Guard Association of the United States SGAUS Annual Conference. At that time I spoke to the urgent need for tens of thousands of organized, disciplined, trained, and armed militia members to augment the National Guards of their respective states. I said that there would be emergencies that would require large numbers of armed personnel to provide for crowd control, evacuation, and maintenance of law and order. I urged the White House, Department of Defense DoD, Department of Homeland Security DHS, and Governors of the several states to take advantage of low-cost State Defense Forces SDFs to provide additional troops when needed. I charged the SGAUS with the mission of reviving the SDFs for Homeland Security. But I have the unpleasant duty to tell you that we all have failed to accomplish the mission. In 2002, there were 11,000 active SDF personnel in 16 states and Puerto Rico. In 2007, there are 20,000 active SDF personnel in 24 states and Puerto Rico. This is some progress, but it is not enough. There are still 26 states without SDFs. Many of the existing SDFs still consist mostly of senior officers and senior NCOs. Most states do not permit their SDF members to bear arms. Some states keep their SDF units in cadre status. Not a single state has a SDF that can provide an adequate number of organized, trained, and armed troops to deal with a catastrophic emergency. Strangely, the most fervent opposition to a robust SDF came from the four groups that have most to gain from it the National Guard Bureau, DoD, the National Guard Association of the United States, and the Adjutant Generals Association. This paper discusses five potential catastrophic emergencies i.e., nuclear attack, an influenza pandemic, the New Madrid Earthquake, a prolonged power outage in a metropolitan area, and prolonged disruption of electronic communications, the response level they will require, and the role of SDF units in that response.

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  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Civil Defense
  • Unconventional Warfare

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