During the revolutionary war, volunteer soldiers known as Minutemen played a vital role the founding of the United States.

Today, volunteer state militias still play an active role in defense and security with more than 14,000 individuals volunteer for these forces in 22 states.

In a new Heritage Foundation report, Heritage experts Jessica Zuckerman and James Carafano join two retired state defense force officers to explain why these militias are so important:

Modern SDFs (state defense forces) now serve as auxiliaries to the National Guard units of their states, as well as force multipliers for state homeland security missions in disaster preparation, response, and recovery. This mission portfolio requires a different model than has been seen in the past, one that centers on building professional units capable of contributing substantial value added to the states and augmenting the National Guard’s capabilities.

State defense forces serve directly under the control of their governor, rather than a national organization. In states with a high risk of natural disasters or terror attacks, state militias play a vital role in alleviating the pressure on the Reserves or National Guard to respond to immediate state needs.

State militias are often underfunded and under-supported. But some states are working on making volunteer forces a core part of their state . This week Arizona passed legislation authorizing the Governor to establish a state guard unit. If Governor Janice Brewer authorizes the legislation, Arizona will then be able to offer a low cost and vital state defense force.

Carafano explains the Constitutional support of state militias,

State militias have been seen as an essential component of the defense of America since the time of its founding. Building on English and Colonial experience, and reflecting their concerns about maintaining a large standing federal army, the Founding Fathers inscribed their belief that a well-regulated militia was “the ultimate guardian of liberty” within the Constitution, proclaiming among the enumerated powers of Congress.

Do you think more states should fund State Defense Forces?

Comments (161)

scopedriver - March 6, 2012

YES! This is an excellent way for states to strengthen their defenses. Every border state especially should establish and adequately fund a volunteer SDF.

Roger Kennedy - March 6, 2012

Yes I think this is an excellent idea for no other reason than the federal Gov’t. will not protect America as shown by the Obama Administration.

Jim Johnson - March 6, 2012

Which states currently have such a Militia? It is ironic but I suggested a state militia to friends just this morning.

james winter - March 6, 2012

Absolutely. States need to do everything in their power else we will lose our republic. The current crop of Feds and their attempts to control our lives needs to be stopped now. State defence forces will give them pause.

Robert Taylor - March 6, 2012

Yes, if allowed by the Constitution.

Joseph Battista - March 6, 2012

Yes, as the country’s population continues to grow, it becomes to difficult for the federal government to respond in the way a local force can. I support it fully.

James Cheshire - March 6, 2012

Dear Heritage,

Great article. This may be the answer for border security.

Art Robinson - March 6, 2012

I do not believe the states should be trying to build a force that already exists in our National Guard. Laws passed with hardly a whimper from the states robbed them of a resource that they exercised control over. But since the federal government saw fit to rob the states of their guard forces which, in my opinion, was a sneaky way to supplement an under strength Army the feds didn’t want to pay for, I think the states would be better served if they expended their energies and fought to get control back over their state National Guards.

Sunny - March 6, 2012

Absolutely, positively, without a doubt. Our current government is tyrannical and anti our Constitution. Since we cannot rely on our government or trust our government, we must be prepared to protect ourselves from our government. This is heartbreaking but true. Keep your gun powder dry and your courage up. Let it not be said that America went the way of Germany because people were afraid or ignorant or passive. Give us liberty or give us death.

Donald Herrmann - March 6, 2012

We need more state wide minuentmen and women !!!!!!!!!
We need to protect our state from all outside forces (that includes government forces)

John Hayes - March 6, 2012

Yes. It is a very good idea. We have a very dedicated and growing militia in Maryland. I have worked with both the medical unit and the engineering unit at FEMA exercises and they are quite good, very experienced, and bring free labor, knowledge, and enthusiasm to the mission.

Papa Black - March 6, 2012

Ditto scopedrive’s comment:”YES! This is an excellent way for states to strengthen their defenses. Every border state especially should establish and adequately fund a volunteer SDF..” I’ve never heard of this , but I’ll check into it.

Barbara Cassel - March 6, 2012

This sounds wonderful, but to a 70 year old with some health issues it sounds way out of my league. I don’t have much $$$ so that is another problem. I would love to do something to help but have no idea what. I love this country and it breaks my heart to see Liberals deliberately and systematically trying to tear it down. They remind me of hyenas; stop them here and then they are over there and on and on it goes.

Paul Vestal - March 6, 2012

Yes, if the federal government will not enforce the laws the it is up to the states. Alot of codes and laws that are lasted by the feds require the states to help them enforce them

P D - March 6, 2012

We citizens bear arms in order to form our own militia, if needed, to oppose tyranny. Tyranny from the States AND federal government. The left will use these State sponsored militias to disarm the populace on the basis that the second amendment only protects the right of citizens participating in a State sponsored “militia” to bear arms. States could then conveniently limit the participation to a low number and to specific groups and then disarm the rest of us with the Federal govts help. The States have National Guards, NOT militias. Sheriffs/law enforcement may deputize if needed. Good grief its a lousy idea. Citizens carry arms in order to be ABLE to form a well regulated militia run by citizens.

Robert Rietz - March 6, 2012

It appears that President Obama is on a mission to weaken our country’s Military. State defense forces may become extremly important. Arizona is showing us the way to stand up to an unsupporting federal government.

William Vessey - March 6, 2012

This is a core Constitutional function. With law abiding citizens being organized to protect their communities, they will take more ownership of it. Not only will this promote greater security, but greater respect for freedom and liberty provided by the Constitution, and provide another layer of defense within the U.S. should the time come. In addition this will help better link the law enforcement and state National Guard with the communities they represent.
Win, Win!

Thomas Cicero - March 6, 2012

Absolutely!! We can’t depend on this government to do anything that is not in their best interest.. we must !!! We must support our state National Guard with anything they need !

dave schwolow - March 6, 2012

Absolutely and I can think of nothing more Constitutional. We may not have realized the need in the last 100 years as WE slept. But today, waking from our slumber of believing that our elected representatives were looking out for us, our Freedom, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness..and our Constitution, you bet every state should have a well armed militia.

Sue - March 6, 2012

Terrific Idea! We need to take care of our own safety as our elected leaders are too busy meddeling in our lives to do it. Think about it.. who would be more invested in our safety: a Washington “lifer” or our local citizens?

Tom McClelland - March 6, 2012

Control and security at the state or below level is a best practice. Dependence on, or allegiance to, a federal only force is not a working solution to personal security.

Federal level takes care of national security only…below that level is the responsibility of We the People.

Michael P. Hrynkiw - March 6, 2012

Absolutely. With an administration that is destroying the DOD and corrupt politicians who do not support the constitution we have no choice but to defend the states rights. It is authorized by the constitution and is our last line of defense against enemies, both foreign and domestic.

Kyle Tuckness - March 6, 2012

Absolutely! A state defense force would contribute not only to the security of the state but in the assistance of the public in the case of a disaster. Additionally SDF’s would contribute to the security of the nation by providing another layer of defense which would dissuade any invasion or war by a foreign power.

Gary Shaw - March 6, 2012

Given the way that things are going at the Federal level, it is a sobering thought that State Defense Forces might find themselves on the other side on some issues from their own National Guard.

Ed Fritz, Jr. - March 6, 2012

It’s a great idea. Anything that can help our overtaxed military works for me.

Ken Clausen - March 6, 2012

State militias with state controls would be most valuable in these times. Those individuals who have concealed carry permits would be a natural to help with the militia. Also, there are plenty of seniors that would volunteer as minutemen or women!

John D Nelson - March 6, 2012

I echo Donald Herrmann’s comments. I think a State Defense Force is needed in every state, especially Arizona, for the reasons he stated.

LOUIS DUKE - March 6, 2012

Yes would keep state militia out of control of the feds,now when they are trying to take control of every aspect of the states.

Brad Kelley, Severna Park, MD - March 6, 2012

I do think states need defense forces. I used to belong to the Maryland Guard, which has since disbanded. While I believe states should monitor local defense forces through its police departments, I do not believe states should fund them. Most politicians in my area never served in the military, know nothing about fire arms and would only present a problem to an all volunteer unit or units.

The Maryland Guard worked fine and was run by veterans along with volunteers like myself. We paid for our uniforms and owned our own guns. There’s the difference.

G.A. Jurko - March 6, 2012

Yes, as the gentlemen emailed earlier, if allowed by the state’s constitution, we will definitely need them to protect our rights should Obama make it to a second term.

Mark Brown - March 6, 2012

Definitely. Maybe they couldn’t be sued by OBama for border state issues.

M. Tracy - March 6, 2012

YES, I think its a dandy, comforting plan for further securing our populace against either foreign or domestic anarchists.

Robert - March 6, 2012

In view of the adversarial environment that is overtly cultivated by some in our government, a state run militia is crucial.

LtCol Willard Lochridge - March 6, 2012

As founder of the New York Naval Militia’s Military Emergency Boat Service (MEBS) following the events of Sep 11, 2001, our state in 2002, formed MEBS, with eventually 10 high tech patrol boats. These boats crewed Navy, Marine and Coast Guard reserve personnel aguemented both USCG and state law enforcement agencies to help safeguard state waterways and our Atlantic coastline. I can attest to militia’s value to help safeguard our states and country.

patrick - March 6, 2012

What a great idea!! A more localized militia means a much quicker response, with no delay of a federal disaster declaration. It would also be much more sensitive to local needs. I think anything that lessens the need for federal troops within the U.S. border is a good thing!!

Karl Day - March 6, 2012

The Constitutionality of a citizen militia is unquestioned. Given that our current government is leading us down the path to socialism and ultimately Communism, it is only reasonable that we arm ourselves, train ourselves and form organized forces to effectively resist the coming tyranny that will likely be imposed on us by Obama and his henchmen. Our Democratic Republic is in great peril from enemies both foreign and domestic.

Ron Lovick - March 6, 2012

YES !!

Shirley J Hurley - March 6, 2012

Absolutely! Given the sorry responses given by the Federal Government to lawmakers requesting aid & assistance on the southern border it would benefit each state to have a group they can count on. Each state should form one and fund one.

Leslie Cahill - March 6, 2012


Del Chase - March 6, 2012

Yes, definitely! They also should be called a “Regulated Militia”. This may blow the smoke out of the sails of those well meaning individuals that disagree with the meaning of our Second Amendment. Having it both ways may not be bad as a member and an individual.

Darren Hitch - March 6, 2012

Yes, absolutely I think this is a good Idea. This is core tradition of the country and it has been diminished over the years. The local militias could be a valuable tool to a state in times of emergency although they really couldn’t replace a professional military force, police or rescue services they could provide a valuable low cost supplement to such units, especially at times of war when large segments of the Military, National Guard and Reserve are deployed depleting both the state guard units but also police and firemen who often are members of the guard.

Gary Hannah - March 6, 2012

Each State must have a means to enforce its laws, just witness what the current administration is doing to Arizona. Every Militia must, of course, be properly trained. I guarantee you will have no shortage of volunteers. If we do not learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it!

Diane Winston - March 6, 2012

Yes. As the Federal government continues to usurp more of the States’ rights and expand its power, I believe the States must act to protect their citizens and their Constitutional rights. The Founders understood all too well the value of a militia and now the “king” is on this side of the Atlantic we may find we need them again.

HENRY TRIPPE - March 6, 2012

Great idea! I am a retired member of the Maryland Defense Force and enjoyed helping the various programs of the NG and community organizations.

Gloria Mayes - March 6, 2012


John Tirrell - March 6, 2012

The resurrection of this idea is long overdue! I look forward to Governor Brewer signing this state guard unit into law.

graham thompson - March 6, 2012

In general no. There are far too many “enforcement” agencies in this country now. Adding more to the “mission creep” mentality of government can only add to the loss of freedom we’ve already experienced. However I could visualize a beneficial function of such organizations in border states. It is clearly apparent that the federal government refuses to enforce one of their most important functions…border security. As far as natural disasters are concerned, it is the responsibility of the individual citizen to be prepared as much as possible for such occurances and cease relying on “big brother” to handle every inconvenience that comes “down the pike.”

Dewey Switzer - March 6, 2012

Yes, I think all States should have these and support them.
Our Government HAS shown that its interest lies in retaining power(Re-election) above all else.

Sharon Minton - March 6, 2012

My State/City has long held an established unit of the National Guard. This unit has been activated on a number of valiant occasions, and has always shown as bright as any military unit. They are a distinguished bright star to our community and our State, and I – for one – have always felt safer knowing their presence is there as I pass their airfield while traveling Interstate 65.

Robert Finkel - March 6, 2012

Agree with scopedriver. Even other states should consider having a volunteer SDF.

Jeff Nickelson - March 6, 2012

Yes. I believe every state should have a volunteer militia that is not controlled by the Feds. I love the idea that a bunch of citizens are willing to stand up qnd risk their lives for our freedoms. I joined the New Mexico Militia when I was younger, in the 1980s. I am older, don’t move well, blind in one eye, and am missing part of my scull now, but would join and fight if I where allowed.

Stephen hammann - March 6, 2012

Yes, This would give Statess some autonomy outside the federal govt.

Earl Taylor - March 6, 2012

In regards to the comment”if allowed by the constitution”My feelings are: if the Federal government is going to ignore the same, the states must be prepared to protect the constitution and their rights.

philip schiebout - March 6, 2012

Absolutely, anything the federal government does costs a fortune. I believe the states need to step up to the plate with their own balanced budget and defense force. The federal government wants to control everything in our lives and we are all getting very tired of it. The federal governments job is to defend our borders which they are not doing. god help us all.

Dona Hogge - March 6, 2012

I may not be in the best of health but I can shoot and am more than willing to defend our country to the best of my ability. Count me in!!

krys - March 6, 2012

Yes – this would also keep the Government under control from over extending it’s powers on the people in situtations they purposly cause.

Gary Truelove - March 6, 2012

Maybe it is time to move to AZ. They seem to be leading the country (as an example) in the right direction whereas my home state of CA drifts further left and in the wrong direction.

Ruth C Costea - March 6, 2012

I am in favor of having a state militia like our Founding
Father’s supported and like our Constitution allows.
It is the only way for states to have state rights and
protect themselves for the oncoming tragedies to come,
foreign and domestice,

David L. Ballard - March 6, 2012

Yes I think state militias could be a vital part of the defense of the state against terror attacks and natural disasters. As long as they are controlled by the state and not the federal government it is a good thing.

Cam Varner - March 6, 2012

Absolutely, in addition to traditional roles they may be the last chance to protect states rights. I would volunteer immediately. And they (we) may be required to counter this administrations civilian force that will be “as well armed as our military”

James J. Laughlin - March 6, 2012

Yes…States Rights First…we created the Feds, and must take care to insure our right to control them from injuring/inuring us.

And, be aware of the risks…of lists, confiscation, detention, imprisonment. Revisit: Waco, Ruby Ridge, etc.


William - March 6, 2012

This may be the only way to for states to defend their

Lee Butrico - March 6, 2012

I think it’s a great idea. What a support to the 10th. And what a great idea for my border state of Texas!! Which states currently have active militia?

Dan Schlosser - March 6, 2012

Yes ! To protect us from the Federal Govt !

Jim Griggs - March 6, 2012

Hell yes. This federal government cannot be depended upon by the states. Any administration will act in a self-serving manner to please its base, regardless of the consequences to the majority of the population. This particular administration is proving daily that the rights of citizens mean nothing. It will be the only sure way to protect the borders.

Diana Barton - March 6, 2012

YES, I think every state should have a Militia, under the command of the Governor, just to protect their citizens from what might come our way. Do you remember the 600,000 man force our current president spoke about before he took office? Could that be what happened to our National Guard?

Rafael Jerman - March 6, 2012

It is totally constitutional and I say YES, though I’m only a militia of ONE. ONE, only because I’ve not found a way to be part of a legitimate group. I know what it’s like to live under communism and therefore have a deep appreciation for the fragile nature of freedom much more so than those who’ve lived in relative freedom all their lives. Freedom, when taken it for granted, is soon lost. It saddens me to say that I’ve come to fear the very government that, in the eyes of so many, stands as the only place of refuge against tyranny. For me, this fear has been amplified under this administration. A well-regulated and trained civilian force is a great benefit to any state, but more importantly, it can serve to prevent the unthinkable; total population disarmament.

Barry Beverage - March 6, 2012


Nick Siener - March 6, 2012

This is an absolutely great idea. It will give opportunity to those who wish to serve their community, and prehaps provide surgical manpower where needed in time of turmoil. The force would give opportunity for those most concerned about their community and Nation. There multiple ideas that wash across my mind for uses for such a force. May I ask that you publish which states have such a force?

Chester Lynn Lyon - March 6, 2012

I think its a good idea, as long as the milita is in step with the constituion. With the govt’s. action concerning Arizona’s right to defend its borders, it really make you think about where such actions will stop. My father served in WWII and he believed the US possibly would be taken over without a shot being fired. It is my belief that without faith, we are loosing our freedom. A lack of faith determines many things. Overall, I think a milita would be good.

George Becker - March 6, 2012

Yes, this is an excellent way to keep the federal government in check. “When the government fears the people there is liberty, when the people fear the government there is tyranny.”

Gunther Winkel - March 6, 2012

If these forces will not be subject to federalization, YES.

Cheri Hughey - March 6, 2012

This is an excellent idea and in keeping with what our Forefathers envisioned. Every state in the union needs to be involved with this, if for nothing else than to protect us against an over-reaching and ever oppressing federal government.

Lewis Green - March 6, 2012

Yes, states and even local municipalities should prepare for the inevitable in the event of a federal breakdown. The federal government (in it’s current structure) will not support each state in the event of a national breakdown. The states and local municipalities will be on their own and will be defenseless unless they are prepared.

jack britton - March 6, 2012

Every state should have a well trained volunteer militia
Each county should be able to produce a trained company size detachment.
Like the minute men,they should be able to deploy in the same manor.We can no longer depend on the fed’s to protect us from everything that we need protection from.our constitutional founders warned us of these things

John La Noue, Sr. - March 6, 2012

Great Idea! We have one in Texas.

bob williams - March 6, 2012

Yes, It would represent an excellent alternative to the national guard and I can’t help but think would serve individual states interests better.

marvin entrekin - March 6, 2012

the problem today is the enemy is in the white house with no one to challenge his authority or truly define the limit of this course of action. where is our congress and the law branch??? surely the constitution doesn’t give this much power to one leader.!!! GOD help us

Linda Nolan - March 6, 2012

They could be a good source of manpower in securing the border between us and Mexico!

Ken Marx - March 6, 2012

Yes. A volunteer militia (meaning without the usual pay and benefits) would be a great way for states to be prepared during both man made and natural emergencies. As a retired Air Force officer, I would be willing to serve in such a force.

Tim Lorenz - March 6, 2012

I have felt for the last two years that I would be willing to volunteer for a two week stint at the border to prevent illegals from crossing Arizona’s border. If this was expanded, and thousands of volunteers were positioned every 1/4 mile in groups of two, our illegal immigration problem would stop immediately. But then, that would be outrageous to the left – vigilante militarism. But it would stop the bleeding (so to speak), and give our Governor time to put a permanent solution in place.

Jude Richardson - March 6, 2012

I agree with P.D., and his arguements. Terrible idea.

Ken - March 6, 2012

This country is made up of individual states. First, each state must preserve its freedoms and second, they must adhere to the constitution as it was written by the framers

Roy Don Vardeman - March 6, 2012

Yes I believe in the value of State Defense forces to their states and thus to our nation. Texas has a very active and effective volunter force called The Texas State Guard of which I have been a member since 1995. In the past few years the Texas State Guard has been invaluable to the people of Texas with their expertise in providing food water, and shelter during hurricanes, tornadoes, fires and floods.
Yes.State Defense Forces(Militias), properly trained, outfitted and supplied, are very valuable to and for their respective States.
Chaplain(LTC) R. Don Vardeman

Shannon Roe - March 6, 2012

I think we need to be alert to Obama’s resolve to create a domestic force—and the likelihood that he would nationalize these ready-made units for that purpose. Yes, it would be unconstitutional, but that doesn’t appear to hinder him, and the other branches are not calling him to account as his overreaches grow more and more outrageous.

Elaine Kawada - March 6, 2012

Absolutely! Yes, who will protect us against our government. Anyone remember Waco, Texas?

Eugene Geraldo - March 7, 2012

We never hear anything about Obama’s private Army that are trained to quell any civilian uprising. We need a State Militia that is organized and trained also. Obama does not pay any attention to the Constitution that he swore to follow, and he will not protect our Border States either. We spend $380 Billion on illegal aliens every year but he wants to increase payments for our Veterans Health care and other benefits.
Yes, we need a Militia, in every State.

Jerry Vautrot - March 7, 2012

These militias should be funded by the states. I trust my Governor and state authorities a lot more than I trust the DC bunch, especially the current administration.

Gaylon George - March 7, 2012

Yes! Nothing beats the patriotic volunteer in defending their state against any outside influence, whether it be natural disasters or an encroachment by an armed enemy, including the fed’s trying to overstep their constitutional bounds. Having an organized armed citizenry is the best solution to stop tyranny from any source.

Don Merchant - March 7, 2012

Yes. Joining a militia may be the only wat to protect our right to bear arms.

jaye - March 7, 2012

i fear for the nation i was raised in, i fear too many young people chose not to be involved in the fight to take our nation back, they are unaware of the misfortune coming thier way. i fear these young people will wake up one morning to find all thier freedoms have been frettered away.i am 66, i was raised in anAmerica that was free, and when we woke up[ came of age] we found some of our brothers and sisters were not free, and we changed our world so all people were free… but that was a cake walk compared to what young people face today..a nation 16 trillion dollars in debt, a socialised nation were all rights are gone…look at russia, pution[sp] was elected with 60% of the vote [it was so rigged it sucks]. that’s what you are heading for and you don’t even know it. the communist have been growing right under your noses…krushev , president [or prime minisre] once said, ‘ we will defeat you without firing a shot , we will over come you from within…look around young people, your country is slipping away,WAKE UP YOUNG PEOLPE..you must in force take this nation back….please

Mavis Henricksen - March 7, 2012

Yes, I believe a State Militia is a good idea, but not a new idea. I believe the National Guard started out as a state militia and got nationalized, I believe in World War II. National Defense is Constitutionally the duty of the Federal Gove rnment, but if they aren’t protecting our borders, it seems each state has the right to protect theirs. According to the Constitution any right not specifically given the Federal Government is a right of the States to regulate. Half the things the Federal Government are into are not their business, and they are not taking care of the things that are their business.
The biggest threat to our country has never been Russia and a Cold War or even the Terrorists, it is threats from within, a facist government or even worse, a government that sells us out economically.

Mac - March 7, 2012

I am with Art Robinson on this issue!

Donald L.R. Bowman - March 7, 2012

Hell Yes!

Wayne Renz - March 7, 2012

Lets look at this in another way. Members of a Militia not only safe guards our community with arms, but also with their eyes and ears. A member of a Militia will recognize something in their community that mite be out of the norm or may be a threat, and they would be more likely to sound the alarm rather than pretend nothing is wrong (I don’t want to get involved). The Militia would know how and where to report a problem. A Militia is not only guts, guns and a big ego. Its working together and using your brains and fallow the Law.

Zachary Cook - March 7, 2012

I am a member of the Viriginia Defense Force. It was nice reading this article because no one seems to have heard of us. I think state militias are awsome, and Virginia will be ramping up the capabilities of the defense force within the next four years. Perhaps our numbers will swell as a result of the Federal troop reductions.

Edward Blau - March 7, 2012

With the likes of Eric Holder ACTING as out chief law enforcement officer, and the regime suing Arizona, I believe that a state militia is a good thing to have, so that states can be more independent and self reliant, than having to count on the regime for permission to utilize the National Guard for any reason.

John Smith - March 7, 2012

Anything that is on a lower ‘tier’ down from the national level is good. This is because making something more local increases accountability since more of those you serve could be next door to you.

This has been proven in the past with several services and other things. It seems that any time something is moved out of the local domain and made into something national, it goes to pot. This is because the DC crowd doesn’t know how to do it and don’t care.

This state guard idea is good. I support it.

JB Brown - March 7, 2012

YES, Provided that rules are enacted to keep the federal govt. from co-opting these militia’s into it’s own,as our president has expressed a desire to build a “defense force more powerful than the U.S military” for homeland security ?

Lauren - March 7, 2012

As long as the state does not use the militia to disarm the people, regrettably oaths do not seem to matter to public officials any longer. I hold property in the state of MD and let me tell you that there is a criminal cabal running that state. As long as a representative from the leadership of the militia has equal or greater station with the State with regard to power, this would be an effective means to guard our nation and one I would fund and participate. Free people must always be careful with police powers.

John W Smith Jr - March 7, 2012

YES………..and the sooner the quicker !

Lauren - March 7, 2012

I agree with P.D. on this topic-It is best that the militia be free and independent from the State as well, as much as this may be problematic for Jan Brewer for whom I have great admiration. Didn’t BO say he wanted a “civilian army just as well-funded as our military”? What did that mean? I think it best if those of us who wish to defend our constitution organize well, stay mentally alert and well educated, and gather on our own peacefully. It may be best that our militia be territory oriented rather than “State” oriented, that way the people stay in control.

Chaeles Theriot - March 7, 2012

I think this is an excellent idea because in the end it’s the people who will have to take back our country. We are and should be the ones responsible to protect our borders and our families.

John Stair - March 7, 2012

For numerous obvious reasons, yes, I fully support such state militias and sooner the better! Who is keeping up with the development of a massive “civilian army” our president invisioned in 2008? Is it happening? I’ve not seen nor heard from any true Patriot “watchdogs” on the status of this “Obama army.”

JK - March 7, 2012

Absolutely! States should enable able bodied men and women of good conscience to serve in a voluntary protective capacity. Merely receiving a paycheck from a government entity does not magically transform a policeman, sheriff, or soldier into a protector that an ordinary citizen cannot do equally well, or even better in some instances, with proper training. Especially considering that many “ordinary citizens” are retired policemen, sheriffs, or soldiers. It is the training that is significant and that should be provided to qualified volunteers. Here in Florida, it is actually your next door neighbors that significantly outperforms FEMA after a hurricane strikes. Likewise, an SDF could have almost instantly and easily provided the order and structure needed in the aftermath of Katrina in New Orleans after local police forces where rendered ineffective. Mayor Nagin should have empowered law abiding citizens to protect themselves and their neighborhoods rather than disarming them which instead effectively empowered the criminal elements.

Lou Rose - March 7, 2012

Without a doubt. The more proactive we are about protecting ourselves, the stronger we will become. Forget what the Federal Government might say they can or will do for us. They have more than they can handle now!!!

Norman - March 7, 2012

Definitely! During the Revolutonary War the militia served chiefly as a local defense force, while the Continental Army was the major force in the war. Things have changed since then, however. The American middle class is under seige from unions, bureaucrats, the IRS, college professors, lawyers, etc. This is due to several factors: 1) Collectively, the middle class possesses great wealth and earning power, whether it be from a business, investments, or a job. 2) Members of the middle class are especially vulnerable to harrassment and confiscation of their assets due to their having to devote almost full time to their jobs, families, and businesses. Due to 1 and 2 above, they can’t afford lawyers, and they are “easy pickings” for harassment by government and intimidation by unions.
This great mass of wealth is what Obama and his colleagues covet in order to finance “Obamacare” and other foolish programs. So it all boils down to a definite need for a common defense – a militia.

David L. Aune - March 7, 2012

Yes I think it would be very advantageous for states to fund these forces not only monetarily but also training them to do the job.

Lauretta - March 7, 2012

OH YES! Especially here where WE LIVE in the corrupt State of Illinois. Pray for Us. We NEED IT. Thank you Heritage very much.

ALVIN GRIFFIN - March 7, 2012

Sounds like a great idea. Don’t depend on the U.S. Gov. for anything. I Hope that will change someday.

Eustace R. Lake - March 7, 2012

Yes, I believe that they shall not be subject to any Federal involvement. Each State should provide a system that allows their units to operate without political involvement.

Joyce Swanson - March 7, 2012

I can think of no other thing that would please me more! Every state needs to protect it’s rights from a government that wants to make us all alike. That’s why we live in different locations. The landscape, people, way of life suit different folks. Yes, let’s promote state militias!

Ken Carter - March 7, 2012

In the early 1980’s we tried to establish such a unit in Albuquerque, N.M. There is an already massive force of trained and experienced ex-military types like myself from all branches with a wealth of abilities which could, if organized with minimal funds, step right into a number of roles that the National Guard & Reserve forces are being tasked with at present. The vast number of officers and non commissioned officers available would make mustering and organizing such units a truly easy thing to accomplished if only given the word to act on it and the backing to make it legally legitimate. These units could also relieve law enforcement agencies of tasks better suited to military type organizations. They would also, as James Winter points out, give Those People in D.C. pause if the believed they could use force against the states. These type units are authorized under the Second Amendment already and should be pursued quickly if at all.

Phyllis West - March 7, 2012

ABSOLUTELY…..STATES CAN NO LONGER DEPEND ON OUR FEDERAL GOVERNMENT …as a matter of fact, states need to be able to protect themselves fromthe Federal Government as demonstrated with this Obama administration. I was discussing this very thing with my souse tyesterday. How do we get in touch with our state militia in TN? I fear with the “small arms treaty” that Obama has now commited to, our State Sovereignty is under threat. All he needs is a small crisis (aka Iran) to to implement a Police State and take our weapons.

Aric - March 7, 2012

Yes! Since our extra-Constitutional (and therefore illegitimate) Federal Government has become public enemy number one through debt and tyranny, it is foolish for States not to have some defense against it.

Joseph H. Schooff - March 7, 2012

I heard couple years ago obama was getting his own militia. what happened to that. Probably going on under cover.

Richard Gaskill - March 7, 2012

This president is cutting or defence soo deep,that a minuteman or a state militias is NOT going to be enough to protect america.It`s going to boil down to the average armed american to defend ones selfs,and one another from any and all threats to the american people.

Lura L Hacker - March 7, 2012

Yes, every border state should fund an SCF, and also others. Especially in this day and age when one is not sure that the federal government will act in the best interests of the American people, and with traditional constitutional values. I hasten to add that the state militias should operate under these same principles.

Robert Kroning - March 7, 2012

Yes. But be prepared to answer charges of ‘vigilantism’.

Gilbert Gervasi - March 7, 2012

Absolutely, especially today when our national heritage is under threat perhaps more than qt any other time in our history. I would be willing to pay additional taxes to see that this happens.

David Andree - March 7, 2012

I am hesitant becaue these unts could be more easily subverted and taken over by people with evilintent.
On balance I would favor it, if it can be properly organized with adequate safeguards

WaupacaPatriot - March 7, 2012

I was not aware of this type of volunteer group. I am goiong to cantact my state (WI) assemblyman and ask him to sponsor legislation to create a force here. GREAT concept…quick response and first line of defense against a federal gov’t takeover.

LT Alan D. Briley, RN - March 7, 2012

I am currently a serving member of the Commonwealth of Virginia’s State Guard, known as the Virginia Defense Force. We are part of the Virginia Department of Military Affairs, just as is the Virginia National Guard and Air Guard. We are held to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, but our Commander in Chief is the Governor of Virginia, not the POTUS. We are not paid, unless the governor calls us to State Active Duty. We supplement the Guard in Virginia, acting as support troops.

Chris McGreer - March 7, 2012

ABSOLUTELY! Constitutional the States are part of Federal Republic and are not to be entitlements to the Federal Government. The States birth the Federal government and not the other way around. It means they are responsible for their own responses to natural disasters and other harmful forces and events upon their state and peoples. (Unless it is country on country) (Is FEMA Constitutional? It encourages entitlement mindset, just look how governor’s ask for Federal help during a snowstorm or worse.) This principle of responsibility goes down to the Sheriffs and they deputizing citizens as needed for both natural and man threats upon their people and property in their respective counties. It goes down to the basic unit of government and economics, which is the family. The family has a responsibility to respond to natural and man made threats on their families and property – that do not allow timely response by the Sheriffs and the courts to straighten out the event. All need the means to respond to the different types of threats and are responsible to provide for those means from emergency food, sheltler/heat/ and weapons (2nd Amendment plus). Freedom – personal responsibility VS Freely put oneself in bondage – entitlements (and false security). True Federal Republic of Sovereign States VS Central Government of Elite Oligarchy of Statist.

Steve Mitchell - March 7, 2012

This sounds like an excellent idea for every state. Especially since our Federal Gov’t seems to do little but play politics and I actually fear for the survival of the Union.

J. Hillman - March 7, 2012

Thank you for this information. I was not aware that the National Guard units were no longer under state control

Norman Gerring - March 7, 2012

Some border states might be wise to defund thier National Guard and fund their own SDF. If the federal government won’t honor the constitution and defend our borders then it is up to the states.

Trevor - March 7, 2012

Yes! A well regulated state militia being necessary to protect freedom and liberty within the homeland both from enemies foreign and domestic. It is constitutional, and may well prove useful someday. However, also by the Constitution, the States are not allowed to keep troops or Ships of War in time of Peace, and the President of the United States is the Commander in chief of the Militia of the states. In order to comply, a State Militia must be not be a constant standing force, but more like the National Guard. I do however support the ability to use the Militia for disaster relief and certain extraordinary situations of enforcement, as well as protection of liberties by enemies domestic, and be funded by the state if it desires.

James shiplry - March 7, 2012

The more I see , the More I see a need for this Yes I think every state should have volunteer Militia

Roy W. Brown - March 7, 2012

I am a retired Lieutenant Colonel from the Indiana Guard Reserve (IGR). It is an excellent force and I believe each state should have such a military force.
The IGR has accomplished much in many ways for the state of Indiana, especially the Indiana National Guard.
There are MANY other things the IGR can do if allowed. I also think there should be more money authorized and appropriated, in these uncertain times, to offer a bit of pay, and for needed items for the IGR.
I will offer my advise and or additional information if you would like it.
Roy W. Brown
LTC (ret) IGR

rowley - March 8, 2012

YES. We are not being Protected domestically by the Federal Gov.
We, who live on the Border, are having to survive with a Federal Gov. that is actually blocking our local and self Protection.
WH has determined that “We the People” are expendable.

Randell M Broussard - March 8, 2012

yes, I believe in light of an overbearing federal government it as important to have a state contingent of regulated civilian defense forces to protect the state as it was back in the beginning of our country. States rights have been teampled on ever since the civil war, which was the primary reason for that war, not slavery.

Diane Wolf - March 8, 2012

Yes, absolutely! It is imperative that all Americans unite and having a state militia will allow them a sense of security they do not have with the current administration.

joe garrett - March 8, 2012


Lawrence Schreiber - March 8, 2012

Why not? This brings it down to the grass roots level not unlike the tea party movement. This enlists those real patriots, those who do the work everyday.

Irene Munzer - March 8, 2012

Absolutly. Especially in these scary times!

Tom Kilcoyne - March 8, 2012

I would agree as long as the Federal Gov’t cannot take them over as they do now with the National Guard. Remember Obama has promised in his 2008 campaign to establish a civilian force equal and funded just as well as the Armed Forces. A scary concept for a free people !! Yet he is well on his way to doing this with Homeland Security Forces who are now trying to expand their powers by obtaining law enforcement powers as is being demonstrated in the State of Tennessee (see 2/29/12 op ed by Rep. Marsha Blackburn). Very scary indeed !!!

c t blomstrom - March 8, 2012

yes-it may be our last line of defense against a federal government out of control

Richard Walker - March 9, 2012

I definitely think that localmilitias under direct control of the state should become a greater part of our resources. If necessary, I’d support a separate tax to fund for thier support/creation. The further we get from Federal control, the better our states will be run. I am very concerned about the direct link between the President and the National Guards. My only consolation is that I believe that the state guardsmen will not turn their wepons on their own citizens unless the situation is dire – such as the Los Angeles riots of 1966

Joseph McKennan - March 10, 2012

Yes. Every state should have a militia but only if the members are guaranteed to be native citizens. This will remove the danger of terrorist ‘plants’ like in the military with that army officer who turned out to be a muslim extremist sympathizer.

Jenni - March 10, 2012

Amendment II.
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Cary Reprogle - March 10, 2012

I have always agreed with the concept of state militias, if my memory of our history is correct, it was the minutemen who kicked hell out of the British, we may need them again. ” INVITE VETS to JOIN”

Jeff Hayes - March 10, 2012

Yes, I think they will become very necessary in the very near future. Its obvious to me that the federal government is not going to protect us. It is becoming the enemy of our freedom loving society and will seek our destruction or bondage.

John Woltz - March 10, 2012

Yes, it is the only way that we can insure against the type of usurpation of States’ rights that the current admin is presently attempting on so many fronts. Please write more on who and how States can add this important feature to their defenses against border crossings and an out of control fed govt!!!

Gerald Beaudet - March 10, 2012

No. Any adversary, either foreign or domestic, seeks to create an atmosphere of fear and frustration such as we are now experiencing. They want us to start turning on one another. Arming the populace in groups would only create chaos. Americans should not be killing Americans. If a particular State, e.g., AZ, TX, WA, finds need for a militia, then let the governor raise that body for protective purposes. Otherwise let us use the ballot box to alter public policy.

Ronald DuBois - March 11, 2012

Every state should encourage a well-trained and well-armed militia. Our Founders viewed them not only as a rapid response to foreign intervention, but as a restraint on those with tyrannical motives. Thomas Jefferson said, “What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that the people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms.”

Bernard P. Giroux, Dartmouth, MA - March 11, 2012

No. Not unless these forces are clearly under the command and control of state governors who can negate any federal calls for placing these men under federal jursidiction.

Robert F Johnson - March 11, 2012

There have been times in our country when a milita was necessary. Remember in 1946 when a the sheriff in Athens, Tennessee tried to win the election by stealing the ballot boxes. A group of WWII veterans saved the day by storming the jail and returning the ballot boxes to the court house where they could be counted by the proper authorities
in the presence of the public.

rufus pearson - March 11, 2012

yes when the gov. falls to forces unknown states have to step up and protect it people

Sharon - March 12, 2012

A well-regulated militia, being NECESSARY for a FREE state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms (any weapon) shall not be infringed. 2nd amendment, US constitution. Nothing to do with hunting, everything to do with maintaining freedom.

Dave Gell - March 12, 2012


RG - March 12, 2012

Now is the time. The National Guard and Air National Guard are being cut. The USAF has a strangle hold on the states and is stripping their assets. A state guard is the solution. The USAF could in no way control the deployment and alignmnet of these forces. A State Guard network with MOUs with other states could supply Emergency Response to the entire nation. The defense of this country is what matters: not which service or which contractor gets the biggest slice of the pie.

Jean Cross - March 12, 2012

Yes; ditto to James Cheshire i.e. may be answer to border security.

Lawrence Medow - March 13, 2012

This is a excellent program. With the state of the country and world today, it is imperative. Our current government is doing less and less to protect us, forgetting the Constitution!

Clemente D. Catts - March 16, 2012

More should be done for the SDF’s by the states and the federal governments. The federal government should grant leave right as they do for the National Guard when called to state active duty to members of the State Defense Forces who are federal employees. The New York Guard is one of the best SDF in the country, but like all SDF’s needs more support from both state and federal government in areas of equipment and training. In WW1 and WW2 the New York Guard came to the aid not just the state of New York, but also the federal government by guarding critical installations such as water supply, transportation systems and war plants. http://dmna.ny.gov/historic/articles/NYG_Prov_Bde_WW1.pdf And today we can still filled that need if only given the chance to do duties such as being members of Task Force Empire Shield and other such operations around the country.

Not much is given to the memory of those who unselfishly gave of their time and some who gave their lives serving at home in the New York Guard and other SDF;s around the country, I would invite you to the memorial services hosted by the 56th BDE NYG at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Sleepy Hollow, N.Y. on the 1st Sunday in May. If your State has a SDF please consider joining. http://WWW.SGAUS.ORG

George Amthor III - April 16, 2012

Absolutely! When states’ rights and our personal freedoms are at stake, we need to have a plan for defending ourselve and our state from a tyranical Federal Government.

that guy - May 5, 2012

For those that are interested in joining a State Defense Force, Texas has the largest SDF to date (more than 2,000 and counting).

Link here: http://www.txsg.state.tx.us/

Tom R - May 8, 2012

Yes, if our revoluntionary patriots in the late 1700’s who were fighting for our independence and freedom didn’t have the militia and guns we would not be the United States of America today. We must protect ourselves against our Federal leaders who lead us down a path of destruction and abolition of all our freedoms. The Constitution, freedom and capitalism works. Proof is in our position in the world and at home before Obama took office.

Stephen - November 25, 2012

Thank you, Gerald Beaudet for being the only voice of reason I heard here.

Jim - July 18, 2017

An SDF is NOT the militia. An SDF is controlled by the governor of the state. A Constitutional militia may choose if the call by the governor is just and worthy, or refuse to comply. A militia is the whole of the people. With an SDF if the governor were to call for the confiscation of all firearms, they would have to comply. Whereas if that were the case, the actual militia would be fighting against the SDF. Heritage loses a huge chunk of credibility with this misinformation.

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