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'Home Guard' debate.

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 mini-monographs 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 FEMA's 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.

The article's authors note that "the poor federal response" to Hurricane Katrina "underlines the need for a Home Guard." I would like to refer them to an Oct. 2005 research memorandum < 84.cfm> by the Heritage Foundation, entitled "Katrina's Forgotten Responders: State Defense Forces Play a Vital Role." The document describes the invaluable contribution made by different SDFs in the response to Katrina.

Instead of advocating the creation of a new "Home Guard" under the dubious auspices of the federal government, I would encourage the authors to support legislation that promotes the Home Guard concept within the existing SDF framework, such as the State Defense Force Improvement Act of 2005 (HR 3401). The act would increase available resources for existing SDF units, and encourage states that currently do not have SDF units to implement them.

G. Garry Moon

Georgia State Defense Force

As the U.S. military and National Guard is being over extended, should a Home Guard be established? I would like to bring to the attention of the authors the existence of 24 legislated State Guards, different from the State National Guards. As a member of the New Mexico State Guard under the orders of Gov. Bill Richardson, our volunteer personnel has served our communities since the establishment of the state from a territory. Most recently, 1,200 State Guard personnel served in the relief effort following Hurricane Katrina. About a dozen of the New Mexico State Guard were activated for this relief effort. I understand there is current legislation in the House of Representatives to address the need for federal support of state guards.

Lt. Col. George Clever

Las Cruces, NM

We already have a "Home Guard." It is in Title 32 U.S. Code section 109, "State Defense Forces."

I am proud to be a soldier in one of these, the New York Guard (http://www.dmna.

What needs to be done is to support legislation that is now in the U.S. Congress, H.R. 3401 State Force Improvement act of 2005. This would help the SDFs across the country because what we need is a better equipped and better manned and better trained "Home Guard."

PFC C. Catts

New York State Guard
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Title Annotation:LETTERS
Author:Catts, C.
Publication:National Defense
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Mar 1, 2006
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