State Defence Forces (United States)

Country: United States
Details of Formation: The group was established in the early 1980s as volunteer auxiliaries of state National Guards, amid fears that a state's entire National Guard could be sent to a conflict overseas, leaving the home front unprotected. The unarmed state "defense force" or "state guard" units were modeled after citizen brigades organized during the two World Wars to patrol armories and to handle the absent National Guard's duties in the event of a riot or natural disaster. Only the Alaskan forces are armed, although evidence suggests many units armed themselves.
Details of Termination: The State Defence Force Improvement Act was introduced in the House of Representatives in June 2009 recognizing the group as an official military component of the United States, but was not signed into a law. Therefore, the group is not coded as terminated.
Purpose: The group’s main task is to assist the National Guard, especially to perform its duties when it is absent, in case of riots or natural disaster. When there is no such emergency situation, it is mainly responsible for public security (e.g. in the event of civil disturbances, by controlling crowds and protecting citizens) and guarding state armories. The PGM is only active on the state level.
Organisation: The State Defence Forces are controlled by the state governor and can only be deployed at the state level. They cooperate with the National Guard and sometimes local police.
Weapons and Training: Members are usually not armed sometimes armed themselves. The group is normally trained one day per month.
Size: After previously decreasing in size, the group gained new momentum after September 11, with its membership growing to about 11,000.
Reason for Membership: Members are mainly regular citizens.
Treatment of Civilians: As a stated purpose, the group is meant to protect civilians, though there is no information about its effectiveness at doing so.
Other Information: --
References: Information was taken from news sources listed in the PGMD.