Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has proposed restoring a World War II-era force to protect his own state, the Western Journal reported Sunday.
DeSantis called for bringing back the Florida State Guard, a civilian volunteer force whose role will be to assist the National Guard, a press release on the governor’s website read.
“Today, Governor Ron DeSantis announced more than $100 million in funding proposals to support Florida’s National Guard and establish the Florida State Guard, a civilian volunteer force that will assist the National Guard in state-specific emergencies,” the release said.
The proposal included $3.5 million to establish the guard.
The news release continued:
The establishment of the Florida State Guard will further support those emergency response efforts in the event of a hurricane, natural disasters and other state emergencies. The $3.5 million to establish the Florida State Guard will enable civilians to be trained in the best emergency response techniques. By establishing the Florida State Guard, Florida will become the 23rd state with a state guard recognized by the federal government.
“We also want to make sure that we have the flexibility and the ability needed to respond to events in our state in the most effective way possible,” DeSantis said while unveiling the military funding plan on Thursday:
“And some of that will require us to be able to have access and be able to use support in ways that are not encumbered by the federal government or don’t require the federal government. So, I’m going to be recommending in the budget $3.5 million to reestablish the Florida State Guard,” he added.
In late 1940, over one year before the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt signed the State Guard Act, authorizing states to set up replacement forces for National Guards with members going into overseas service, according to Stars and Stripes:
With war on the horizon, Congress passed the act to allow states to maintain forces other than the National Guard, which had been federalized. Funded and trained by the states, the guards served under the command of governors. The state Legislature authorized the Florida Defense Force in 1941. It was rebranded as the Florida State Guard, and deactivated in 1947, two years after the war’s conclusion.
In a social media post on Thursday, DeSantis reiterated the proposal and his commitment to the state and its residents:
“I am committed to supporting our military and keeping our state safe,” he wrote.