Governor Ron DeSantis announced on Thursday morning his intention to allocate millions in the state budget to reinstate the inactive Florida State Guard (FSG).
$3.5 million will go towards the training of state guard members to quickly respond to situations around the state. The 200 individuals that the FSG would be composed of will report directly to DeSantis rather than the federal government.
“We want to make sure we have the flexibility and the ability needed to respond to events in our state in the most effective way possible,” said DeSantis. “So, I’m going to be recommending in the budget $3.5 million to re-establish the Florida State Guard.”
The FSG will act as a civilian volunteer force that will be able to quickly mobilize and if necessary, assist the National Guard in Florida-oriented endeavors, and provide aid following natural disaster events.
“We want to be able to have a quick response capability and re-establishing the Florida State Guard will allow civilians from all over the state to be trained in the best emergency response techniques and have the ability to mobilize very, very quickly,” said DeSantis
The directed funding covers guardsmen training and equipment to be used on duty.
DeSantis was joined by Major General James O. Eifert, The Adjutant General of Florida, who praised the governor for his proposal.
“This year the Governor is committing the most substantial investment to the Florida National Guard Facility Program in the entire history of the Florida National Guard,” said Eifert. “These investments will help us maintain our readiness and hopefully grow our force, ensuring the safety and security of the residents of Florida.”
The FSG first existed to serve as a stateside replacement for the Florida National Guard while the National Guard was deployed abroad during World War II, and was open to all men in Florida aged 18 to 63. The original FSG was largely comprised of World War I veterans and carried out duties that included guarding infrastructure, protecting against sabotage, calming riots, and aiding law enforcement.