A positive for Florida or political posturing?
At the end of December 2021, Florida's Governor Ron DeSantis announced his intention to reinstate Florida's State Guard - a private civilian military force of up to 400 volunteers that would sit under his control and which would be funded to the tune of $3.5 million.
On June 15 the Governor appeared at a press conference to officially unveil the newly established State Guard and to introduce its new director.
Reinstating a force that was disbanded in 1947
Florida joins 22 other states across the U.S. with an active state guard. The last time Florida had such a force was when it was established in 1941 after members of the Florida National Guard were diverted to fight in World War 2.
At the conclusion of the war, in 1947 the state guard was dismantled since it was felt there was no longer a need for such a force in the modern United States.
Commenting on reviving the force in December 2021, Governor DeSantis had this to say:
“We want to be able to have a quick response capability, and reestablishing 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.”
Since then, a recruitment website has been running to attract applications from a suitable director and to fill the 400 volunteer slots. With all places now filled, the state guard moves ever closer to being in place to assist in times of natural disasters and other states of emergency.
Are there other motives behind reviving the force?
Critics of Governor DeSantis have hinted at there being ulterior motives behind the reviving of Florida's State Guard. Democratic candidate for the gubernatorial election, Nikki Fried, has previously described DeSantis as "a dictator". The establishment of a private army under his direct control could be seen as the moves of someone with dictatorial ambitions.
The motto of the force too describes it's purpose as to "Protect Florida, Defend Freedom" which could be interpreted as having a purpose beyond helping the state through times of natural disaster or states of emergency. Time will tell how this plays out, and what uses the governor makes of the force.
Are you in favor of the re-establishment of the Florida State Guard? Do you think there could be sinister motives behind its creation or do you think it's needed? Let me know in the comments section below.