Florida Governor Ron DeSantis wants to resurrect a World War II-era civilian military force that he would command rather than the Pentagon.
CNN reported that DeSantis ‘s idea aims to strengthen the Florida National Guard’s response to disasters such as hurricanes. During the epidemic, the Florida National Guard was also instrumental in providing COVID-19 tests and dispensing immunizations.
During a press conference on Thursday, DeSantis insisted that his $3.5 million proposal for a 200-person volunteer force would “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.,” surrounded by members of the Florida National Guard. While DeSantis stated in a news release accompanying the announcement that “Florida will become the 23rd state with a state guard recognized by the federal government” he also stated during his speech on Thursday that the force would “not be encumbered by the federal government.”
Although states have the authority to form defence troops independent from the national guard, not all of them do so. If DeSantis’ plan to restore the civilian unit goes forward, Florida will join California, Texas, and New York as the country’s 23rd active state guard, according to DeSantis’ office. These guards are little-known auxiliary forces that date back to the 18th century, when state militias first appeared. While the National Guard is jointly controlled by states and the Department of Defence, state guards are completely under the supervision of the governor.
During World War II, the Florida State Guard was established in 1941 as a temporary force to fill the hole left when the Florida National Guard was dispatched to help in US combat efforts. After the war, it was disbanded, but the governor’s authority to create a state defence force remained.
Florida law allows the governor to keep a defence force if it is “essential to assist the civil authorities in maintaining law and order,” which means DeSantis would have a backup force to deal with any future unrest. After protests and violence erupted in response to the death of George Floyd in Minnesota, DeSantis quickly dispatched the Florida National Guard to major cities.