DeSantis proposes a new civilian military force in Florida that he will control

DeSantis floated the idea Thursday as a way to add extra support to the Florida National Guard during emergencies, like hurricanes. The Florida National Guard has also played a key role during the pandemic in administering Covid-19 tests and distributing vaccines.

But in a nod to growing tensions between the Republican states and the Biden administration over the National Guard, DeSantis also said the unit, known as the Florida State Guard, would ” unencumbered by the federal government.” He said the force would give him “the flexibility and ability to respond to events in our state in the most effective way possible.” DeSantis is proposing to bring it back with a volunteer force of 200 civilians, and he’s seeking $3.5 million from the state legislature in startup costs to train and equip the surname.

DeSantis’ move comes later Directive of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin warned that National Guard members who refuse to be vaccinated against the coronavirus will have their wages deducted and banned from training. Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt, a Republican, asked for an exemption for protection members in his state, but Austin refused.

Democrats in Florida immediately expressed concern at DeSantis’ announcement. US Representative Charlie Crist, who is running as a Democrat to challenge the governor in 2022, tweeted, “No Governor should have his own handpicked secret police. only me.”

State Senator Annette Taddeo, another running candidate, wrote on Twitter that DeSantis is a “dictator who wants to try to make his move for his own vigilante militia like us.” seen in Cuba.”

The Florida State Guard was formed in 1941 during World War II as a temporary force to fill the void left by the Florida National Guard deployed to support the war effort. United States fight. It was disbanded after the war ended, but the authority for a governor to establish the state defense remained.

States have the right to establish a defense force separate from the national defense force, although not all countries use this force. If Florida goes ahead with DeSantis’ plan to re-establish its civilian force, it will become the 23rd active state defense force in the nation, DeSantis’ office said in a press release, along with with California, Texas and New York.

DeSantis said during a visit to Pensacola on Thursday, “The re-establishing of the Florida State Guard will allow civilians from across the state to be trained in the best emergency response techniques and have the ability to mobilize very fast.

The State Guard is a little-known auxiliary force whose origins can be traced back to the emergence of state militias in the 18th century. While the states and the Department of Defense share control of the National Guard. National Guard, the state guard forces are subordinated to only one governor.

The state guard is often deployed to respond in disasters, though governors have found other reasons to call them to action.

In 2015, Republican Governor Greg Abbott used the Texas state guard to oversee federal military exercises in his state, reacting to a rapidly growing conspiracy theory in the United States. At the time, the federal government was using Walmart parking lots to prepare for a future state. martial law. Abbott said the guards were just gathering information to keep Texans safe during the weeks-long drills.

Florida law that allows the governor to maintain a defensive force is “necessary to assist the civilian government in maintaining law and order,” which means that DeSantis will have a different force to respond to unrest. may flare up in the future. DeSantis quickly deployed the Florida National Guard to major cities after protests and violence erupted in response to the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota.

DeSantis also stationed Florida National Guard troops at the Texas-Mexico border and sent them to Washington, DC, to help secure the U.S. Capitol during President Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Thursday’s announcement comes in a broader rollout of DeSantis’ plan to support the Florida National Guard, which includes $100 million in funding for proposals to create three new militaries. , building new headquarters for the National Guard’s Narcotics Program and providing support to the Florida National Guard seeking higher education degrees.


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