The Department of Army National Guard Bureau has drawn up a plan for a network of armed volunteer “state defense forces” as a backup to the National Guard. The plan, proposed by the Pentagon, calls for each of the 50 states and three territories to have its own military force under the authority of its governor.
The plan is in the form of an Army regulation titled “Policy and Guidance for State Defense Forces.” Secretary of Defense and Congress must approve the plan before creation of the state militia.’
The plan calls for a $4 million budget and two full-time staff members in all the states and territories. The plan allows for the state defense forces to be used in many ways including:
— Maintaining law and order and protecting life and property.
— Copying with “domestic emergencies.”
— Guarding power plants and other facilities when police or private security forces are “inadequate.”
— Assisting federal, state or other local law enforcement agencies in preventing or suppressing terrorism.
— Cooperating and coordinating with federal military authorities and forces engaged in active military operations within a state.
— Use in other “cooperative missions .., as may have been previously planned by mutual agreement or which the state may undertake on request of a federal military commander or agency.”
The state defense forces would be eligible for tuition-free training at military schools and military bases would be made available to the state defense forces for training. The Defense Department also would arm, train, and assist the new forces with surplus weapons, uniforms, and equipment.
Colonel William Florence of the National Guard Bureau, said the state guards would be a “pragmatic, patriotic bunch” that would not pose any threat to civil liberties. “I suppose it could raise that kind of ‘Big Brothers’ specter, but so could the National Guard,” he added.
Before any more life is breathed into this specter, we should publicly discuss the need and dangers of yet another “defense” force. In fiscal 1983, we already had 1,003,400 members in all branches of the U.S.A.’s military reserves.
AMERICAN-STATESMAN (Austin, Texas), 10/9/83, “State militia plan urged at Pentagon,” by Gary Thomas.