General SDF Questions (18)
Are State Defense Forces / State Guards similar to the Coast Guard Auxilary or Civil Air Patrol, civilian organizations that assist the US Coast Guard & US Air Force?
In many ways yes they are, except for one critical difference. All three organizations, State Defense Force / State Guard, Coast Guard Auxilary, Civil Air Patrol, support & assist US Military Forces, however the State Defense Forces / State Guards are labeled under State Law as a State Military Force and subject to the same rules & regulations that the Army National Guard & Air National Guard are held to. So when a State Defense Force / State Guard soldier is activated, assigned a mission they are required to perform that mission and obey the orders given to them by the Officers appointed over them. If a State Defense Force / State Guard soldier abandons their post or refuses to follow an order they may have criminal charges applied to them and/or face a prison sentence. The Coast Guard Auxilary & Civil Air Patrol are civil organizations and so their members are not subject to the same military law & regulations. Other differences between the organizations are: State Defense Forces / State Guards require Non-Prior Service recruits to undergo an Initial Entry Training Program (Basic Training) to get acquainted with military customs, drill & ceremony, military verbiage, physical fitness, and other specialties. Coast Guard Auxiliary & Civil Air Patrol members do not go through such a program. During Times of War, such as World War I & World War II, State Defense Forces / State Guards were tasked by the Governor of the State & Adjutant General (Senior National Guard Commander) to assume the duties and responsibilities of the Army National Guard & Air National Guard while these forces were deployed overseas for combat duties. The Coast Guard Auxilary & Civil Air Patrol cannot be not assigned such duties.
What happens if Im on Active Duty during an emergency and violate the UCMJ / State Military Law by going AWOL (Absent WithOut Leave)?
The State Military can issue a warrant for your arrest.
Yes, State Defense Force soldiers are required by law to adhere to the State’s Uniform Code of Military Justice. The same state military laws that apply to National Guard troops that are under State Active Duty also apply to State Defense Force troops.
During my service I was wounded and have a amputated limb, can I still serve in The State Defense Forces?
Yes, State Defense Forces currently have Veterans serving, who have amputated limbs.
State Defense Forces are activated during times of emergency. Incidents such as hurricanes, flooding, large scale rioting, terrorist attacks and other large scale events.
While on duty you are subject to The State Uniform Code of Military Justice. If you abandon your post you will be subject to the penalties of such a action.
State Defense Forces require at least 1 weekend a month.
Yes. Since they are military entities, the members of a State Defense Force are known as Soldiers.
Yes. Some State Defense Forces have military velichle’s that carry equipment, gear and troops.
State Defense Forces did serve on the home front during World War 1, World War 2, The Korean War, The Cold War and currently The War on Terror. They have been used to provide military security throughout the state in times of war. State Defense Forces have been used during riots in WW2, foiled german sabotage of The NY State Aqueduct, and provided troops to defend against a Japanese invasion in WW2. Currently State Defense Forces are involved in Homeland Defense operations in The War on Terror.
During World War 1 and World War 2, some State Defense Forces were involved in conflict with Axis forces on the Home Front. For example, In World War 1, the New York Guard was tasked with defending vital resources and infrastructure throughout the state. They exchanged fire with enemy agents who were trying to sabotage these facilities.
No, State Defense Forces are support and augmentation forces for The National Guard.
States can only deploy you out of state if you volunteer for such a mission. One example of this is the Maryland State Defense Force 10th Medical Regiment did Volunteer for a Medical / Humanitarian mission with the Maryland Air National Guard to Bosnia – Herzegovina in 2006.
No, State Defense Forces do not receive firearms training as they are support elements for the National Guard and are not deployed to combat zones.
Enlisted are issued uniforms and gear, but officers have to purchase them. However rules and regulations vary from State to State. Contact your local State Defense Force for more information.
The State Defense Forces are true military entities under State law and are under The command of The Governor of The State and Adjutant General (Senior National Guard Commander of the State). They are subject to the same Military Law & Regulations as the Army National Guard, Air National Guard or Naval Militia (US Navy Reserve & US Marine Corps Reserve). *Florida State Guard (State Defense Force) has been classified by the Governor of Florida as a civilian agency, not as a military organization.
Pay & Benefits (6)
Most States have laws protecting service members from discrimination based on military service, and job protection if called to Active Duty
Yes, many State Defense Forces have full time active duty staff and troops on duty. Some may have less than a dozen, others like The Texas State Guard have hundreds of troops on current Full Time State Active Duty assisting in a multitude of National Guard missions. It depends and varies on each State Defense Force and their missions.
The chance to serve your country and give something back to your country. Some states offer college assistance, scholarships for college, no cost for state licenses for fishing or hunting, as well as other benefits. Visit out Benefits Section for more information.
Some State Defense Forces provide their troops with discounted tuitions rates & scholarships for college.
Nearly all State Defense Forces are paid during times of emergency, you will receive pay based according to your rank.
No. State Defense Forces do not pay for weekend training or missions.
Florida State Guard (5)
The designation of the Florida State Guard as a civilian entity, devoid of a traditional military hierarchical structure and not subject to Florida’s Military Law & Regulation, inevitably generates a substantial amount of ambiguity and risk during mission operations. The lack of a standardized military rank system and the corresponding rules that govern such an organizational structure could foster an environment where Florida State Guard ‘volunteers’ may choose to disregard commands or desert their assigned responsibilities without any significant consequences.
Numerous State Defense Forces are tasked with very important missions, such as Search & Rescue operations or Shelter Management in the face of natural disasters or extreme weather emergencies. Within these circumstances, a soldier’s directive to patrol or safeguard evacuees is a mandate enforced by military law. Any refusal or desertion of their post could potentially lead to criminal penalties.
However, this level of accountability may not hold true for a Florida State Guard ‘volunteer’ given a comparable assignment. There exists a tangible risk that such individuals may dismiss the assigned orders or abandon their post, jeopardizing the safety of the evacuees. This potential breach of responsibility underscores a critical vulnerability and impedes the efficacy of disaster management initiatives.
The Florida State Guard, distinguished as the ‘state’s civilian defense force,’ consists largely of individuals commonly referred to as ‘volunteers.’ Unlike conventional military organizations, the Florida State Guard does not adopt a military rank structure, nor does it abide by the guidelines outlined in Florida’s State Military Law & Regulation, which governs the Florida National Guard. Furthermore, its operations do not fall under the purview of The Adjutant General of Florida, the senior official responsible for the National Guard, nor is it regulated by The Florida Department of Military Affairs.
In contrast, State Defense Forces across the country are universally recognized as integral branches of their respective state militaries. These State Defense Forces adhere to the same military rank structure as that of their associated National Guard. In addition, they are subject to the same Military Law & Regulation as their National Guard counterparts. Their activities fall within the jurisdiction of The Adjutant General of the State and are monitored by their state’s Department of Military Affairs.
Until these vital differences are addressed we will not list or associate our website with The Florida State Guard.
The troops of the State Defense Force must follow and uphold the same standards and behavior as the Army National Guard & Air National Guard of the State. State Defense Force troops must follow the orders of their NCO’s and Officers appointed over them otherwise they may face legal ramifications, including jail or prison. State Defense Force troops cannot just quit their job while on State Active Duty, they must follow any order given to them by the Adjutant General, National Guard, or the Officers appointed over them. We believe this is crucial for a State Defense Force to be an effective force especially during a State emergency.
Yes, all other State Defense Forces are categorized as part of the military forces of their State and so subject to the Military Law of that State. The National Guard & State Defense Forces troops are both subject to the same Military Laws of the State.
No, the Florida State Guard (State Defense Force) has been classified by the Governor of Florida as a civilian agency, not as a military organization. As a civilian agency they are not subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice / Military Laws of the State.
Initial Entry Training (Basic Training) (5)
You go back to your local home unit that recruited you.
Yes. State Defense Forces provide a ‘Basic Training’ to recruits who have never served in the military. If you served in The US Military you will not be required to attend Basic Training
This varies in length from State To State. Recruits usually attend receive their basic training on weekends for months then finish with a full week on base.
You will learn Basic Military courtesy, military discipline, how to follow The State UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice), undergo Physical Training, Drill & Ceremony, First Aid and Land Navigation. They DO NOT undergo firearms training.
Be Prepared for some Shouting.
For Prior Service (3)
The Rank that you were Discharged with, or higher, depending on the education you received after leaving The US Military.
As a Prior Service Soldier, Can I wear my CIB (Combat Infantry Badge) and other medals I achieved during my time in The US Military?
Yes, State Defense Forces honor the achievements you accomplished during your US Military service.
Yes, State Defense Forces will allow you to wear your combat patch that you earned while in the National Guard or US Armed Forces.