Magazine article National Defense


Magazine article National Defense


Article excerpt

'Home Guard' Debate

Editor's Note:

The following letters refer to the January 2006 commentary, "With an Overstretched Military, U.S. Should Create 'Home Guard, " by David Abshire and Jonah Czerwinski.

Surprisingly, the "Home Guard" currently exists. It is in the Title 32 U.S. Code approved State Defense Force (SDF), a military organization manned by volunteers and reporting to the state governor through their adjutant general.

You can get a feel for the activities of the various SDF brigades currently activated by going to the recently established State Defense Force Publication Center, which digitally publishes a SDF Journal and a SDF monograph series.

The forthcoming SDF Journal will contain a summary of after-action reports from various SDF brigades that deployed in response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the SDF monograph series on medical support will contain a number of minimonographs detailing some of the SDF deployments in response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

The SDF Publication Center website address is

Martin Hershkowitz

Editor, SDF Publications Center

I do very much agree that the National Guard should be reinforced by civilian volunteers to bolster homeland security. However, in about half the states, there are volunteer organizations which, to quote from the article, "wear uniforms, train on weekends, and help prevent the chaos from a natural disaster or a weapon of mass effect." They are the State Defense Forces. I am a member of the Georgia State Defense Force, a uniformed organization comprised of volunteers with "critical skills" as well as "individuals retiring out of the National Guard, active military and the Reserves" that is an "immediately deployable group of trained citizens from each community under control" of the Georgia governor.

The GSDF organization is modeled on the U.S. Army command structure, and it operates under the Army's regulations and security doctrine. This permits our more than 700 members statewide to seamlessly act as a force-multiplier for the Georgia Army National Guard whenever necessary. The GSDF operations also incorporate the principles and concepts of FEMAs incident command system, so we can effectively perform joint operations with civilian first responders. We train one weekend a month on our own, with the regular Guard, and/or with state and local medical and law enforcement agencies. …

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