Headline NGB Change v2

National Guard Bureau About To Make Shocking Change to State Defense Forces, Possibly Marking The End of State Defense Forces *UPDATED

Over the past few weeks The National Guard Bureau has been working to re-evaluate CNGBI 5500.01, this is the directive that specifies National Guard Interaction with State Defense Forces. During this process they have been working with The TAG Council (A membership of Adjutant Generals – Senior National Guard of Each State) on updating specific directives and regulations within this documentation. The expected release of this documentation is set for this month.

During this process The State Guard Association of The United States (SGUAS) has been included in these discussions. Recently SGAUS has released some very disturbing information contained within the directive that would affect State Defense Forces nationwide. One of the changes would be a complete change to the uniform policy of every State Defense Force. Instead of State Defense Force troops wearing the current Army uniform, they will transition to a new uniform that drastically differentiates them with a Red Cover (Cap), Red Nametapes, and a Red Rank featured on their uniform.

The National Guard Bureau also suggested the use of a new civilian type uniform which will be a Red Polo blouse and Tan Khaki pants.

Here is an example of the current uniform proposal:

This would be in stark contrast to current State Defense Force uniforms which you can find here. Typically State Defense Force uniforms are similar in scope to US Army National Guard uniforms with a few differentiations. One of those differentiations include instead of stating US Army on their uniforms, State Defense Forces list the name of their State or in Texas’s case ‘Texas State Guard’, here is an example:


On top of this differentiation, most State Defense Forces wear their State Flag on their right shoulder instead of The US Flag. Here is an example:

These are distinctions that clearly differentiate The US Army National Guard and State Guard / State Defense Forces. Unfortunately The National Guard Bureau wishes to make this differentiation more drastic. We at StateDefenseForce.com believe this represents a significant misstep this will drastically drive down morale in every State Defense Force nationwide. Many join The State Defense Forces to get back in uniform, to serve their National Guard, State and Country. To reduce them to a uniform that would not only confuse the citizens they serve, as well as other National Guardsmen, but it would drastically reduce State Defense Forces in size and possibly eliminate them altogether.

Such a change has already been charted by a few State Defense Forces like The Oregon Defense Force and Alabama State Defense Force. These organizations had their military uniforms removed and in their place a polo and khaki pants. Following such a change both State Defense Forces saw a drastic reduction in troop strength, eventually drawn down to a basically complete shut down due to lack of troops. They in essence ceased to exist following such a change. If such a recommendation be implemented for current State Defense Forces, we believe they will also suffer this similar fate.

Now The National Guard Bureau cannot directly order State Defense Forces to change their uniform due to Federal law 32 U.S.C. s.109 which gives full authority of State Defense Forces / State Guards to The Governor of the State, however The Adjutant General is the individual who supervises The State Guard / State Defense Force and can recommend to The Governor to implement such a directive.

The draft directive is nearing completion and is pending final approval. But there is still time to intervene. You can contact your congressman or woman at This Site, as well as your Senator at This Site and provide your feedback regarding this upcoming directive.

Here is the full email from The State Guard Association of The United States:



Red ballcaps, white-on-red State Commission rank insignia, and white-on-red SDF shoulder patches are part of National Guard Bureau’s proposed Army uniform guidelines for State Defense Forces, now nearing approval.


The NGB uniform draft will “recommend to States not wearing the Army utility uniform, wear khakis and a red polo style shirt…”


According to a recent public slide presentation, almost all the “go boxes” on the SDF uniform guidance, have been checked at NGB.

The SDF uniform changes appear to be in response to Army Uniform Regulations AR 670-1, chapter 2-7(k), revised in February of 2021.


For those SDF’s impacted, criticism has been swift and fulsome.


Almost all echoed one SDF Colonel’s prediction: “This proposed uniform change will have a disastrous impact on recruiting if it is implemented and followed.”

The Colonel continued: “The senior leadership of the majority of the State Guards are retired military, primarily from the National Guard of their state.  A large percentage are Academy graduates with an accumulated wealth of military knowledge.  They will not look kindly upon being relegated to dressing as a militia wannabe.”

An SDF Commanding General pointed to the confusion — and the heightened risk — the differing uniforms will have in responding to a State emergency.  He explained: “The local police and firefighters, and, yes, ordinary citizens, will look at these uniformed folks with red hats and red insignia and think they’re either trainees or fakes.  They won’t instantly respond to commands to move, seek cover or evacuate.  They’ll hesitate, and that extra second to respond, will guarantee extra deaths, extra rescue mistakes and miscues.”

Lawyers who have examined NGB’s scope of authority under the Militia Act of 1903, say it cannot order or compel National Guard or State Guard soldiers when they are in Title 32 status as part of the Military of the individual states.  NGB only has authority over Guard members when they are federalized as part of The National Guard of the United States.

In short, NGB has no authority over State Guards.  Congress in 32 USC 109(c) specifically provides that each state has the right to keep an INDEPENDENT State Guard, reporting to the Governor.  This was reaffirmed in the Supreme Court’s unanimous 1990 decision in Perpich v. Department of Defense.

Still, as one State Commanding General sees it: “NGB may not have legal authority to tell a TAG what uniforms his or her State Defense Force soldiers should wear.  But it’s a little like your other half telling you dinner is on the table.  You will sit at the table.”

SGAUS leadership will be working with NGB and our military partners to engage a re-thinking of NGB’s draft Army uniform guidelines for SDF’s.

Tim Ingram

President, SGAUS


Joining SGAUS is easy: forward this email to a colleague and ask them to follow the link to the SGAUS Membership Page.

*Update, we included a section covering the transition to Red Nametapes, Red Cover and Red Rank.

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