Lawmakers unveil Florida State Guard guidelines
Image via WEAR.

florida guard
A brainchild of Gov. Ron DeSantis, the WW2-era force is designed to supplement the Florida National Guard.

Lawmakers unveiled new language Thursday on the Florida State Guard, providing for the first time a road map on the reestablishment of Florida’s WW2-era volunteer force.

With an operating budget of $10 million, the Florida State Guard is permitted to enlist 400 troops and six full-time civilian employees.

Florida residents interested in enlisting into the force must satisfy several criteria, including a medical exam with standards similar to the Florida National Guard. 

They must also undergo a background check, possess no felony convictions and if they served previously in the military, must have separated under honorable conditions. 

Members of the Florida State Guard will be exempt from the federal draft, per the budget language. They’re also not subject to the Department of Defense’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, a decision proclaimed by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The language further tasks a sitting Governor with appointing a Florida State Guard leader, designated as the Adjutant General. 

They will oversee the force and will establish various training and fitness requirements — both of which must be “at least equivalent to National Guard standards.” 

Like active duty service members, Guardsmen attend a roughly 10-week basic training course and job school.  

It is unclear, though, how the Florida State Guard training would satisfy the requirement under the current operating budget for 400 troops. When asked, House Budget Chief Jay Trumbull said the need for more funds in the future is likely.

Budget writers consulted Florida National Guard Adjutant General James Eifert when drafting the language, Trumbull added.

Just like any other agency: “They can come back and ask for more resources,” he continued. 

Under the terms, a Governor may mobilize the Florida State Guard when a Florida National Guard is on federal orders during a state of emergency.

Such circumstances are more common than not, according to state data. The Florida National Guard has served more than 2.9 million federal workdays between 2016 and 2021, but only 834,000 on state missions. 

DeSantis announced plans to resurrect the volunteer force in November. It would assist the National Guard with hurricanes, natural disasters and other state-specific emergencies.

But unlike the National Guard, the Florida State Guard would answer solely to the Governor. No federal deployments. No federal missions. No federal dollars.

DeSantis’ initial vision for the force included 200 volunteers at a price tag of $3.5 million. Once enacted,  Florida will become the 23rd state with a state guard recognized by the federal government.

“We’ve got so many people that want to be in the mix to help other people,” DeSantis said at a campaign event in Tallahassee.

The Florida State Guard — established in 1941 — filled in for Florida National Guard troops as they deployed abroad during World War II.

Jason Delgado

Jason Delgado covers news out of the Florida State Capitol. After a go with the U.S. Army, the Orlando-native attended the University of Central Florida and earned a degree in American Policy and National Security. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. He'd love to hear from you. You can reach Jason by email ([email protected]) or on Twitter at @byJasonDelgado.


  • Downgrade

    March 10, 2022 at 8:43 pm

    The security guard version of the national guard

    • Dave

      March 11, 2022 at 6:09 am

      I would like to make the point that California and Texas both have state guards that exceed 1,000 troops. For that matter California has a Naval Militia and State Air Guard.

  • RonDeSantisSucks

    March 10, 2022 at 8:43 pm

    Nothing says “small government” like subsidizing 400 State Guard members we don’t need.

    • Republican guard

      March 11, 2022 at 1:53 am

      Can’t wait to see Ron’s personal guard fall to the Russian army in under 10 minutes

      • rfern

        March 11, 2022 at 10:12 am

        its not a military force.

    • Trevor Morris

      March 11, 2022 at 9:37 am

      Subsidizing it? Florida taxpayers are on the hook for the whole enchilada.

    • Antonio

      March 11, 2022 at 6:14 pm

      “Under the terms, a Governor may mobilize the Florida State Guard when a Florida National Guard is on federal orders during a state of emergency. SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES ARE MORE COMMON THAN NOT, according to state data. The Florida National Guard has served more than 2.9 million federal workdays between 2016 and 2021, but only 834,000 on state missions.”

      Your hate is so blind you can’t even read.

      Btw, since you oppose this, are you equally advocating for California to get rid of their state guard?

  • Edward Freeman

    March 11, 2022 at 9:48 am

    I wonder if anyone should tell them that there isn’t a federal draft and hasn’t been one for nearly 50 years. Also, I doubt our little Florida dictator and his pocket legislature can just decree that anyone doesn’t have to have a vaccine. DeSantis and crew are awfully large for the severe case of Nepolean complex they have.

    • Paper soldier

      March 11, 2022 at 10:05 am

      He was a navy seal


      • Veteran

        March 11, 2022 at 10:58 am

        DeSantis wasn’t a navy seal! He was assigned to Seal Team One as a legal advisory to the seal commander.

    • rfern

      March 11, 2022 at 10:14 am


    • Dave

      March 11, 2022 at 7:16 pm

      Does it matter? 23 other states operate their own state guards. Some states like California and New York even have their own navies and air forces. For that matter the California State Guard, State Naval Militia, and State Air Guard are integrated with their National Guard and Air National Guard counterparts. The California State Naval Militia works with the Coast Guard.

    • Craig R. Young

      March 11, 2022 at 10:47 pm

      No, there isn’t a Draft. But 18 year olds are still mandated by Fedreal Law to Register for the Draft should one be enacted.

      • Craig R. Young

        March 11, 2022 at 10:48 pm


  • just sayin

    March 11, 2022 at 2:21 pm

    I wouldn’t expect you to point out that the Biden administration recently denied yet another request to expand the Florida National Guard. But it would’ve been informative to at least mention that Florida is second-to-last in Guardsmen per capita.

    • Granny state

      March 12, 2022 at 8:35 am

      That’s Because no one would ever want to invade it

Comments are closed.


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