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DeSantis proposes civilian volunteer force

Staff Reports

Last week, during a visit to the Pensacola National Guard Armory, Governor Ron DeSantis announced more than $100 million in funding proposals to support Florida’s National Guard and establish the Florida State Guard, a civilian volunteer force that will assist the National Guard in state-specific emergencies.

The Governor’s budget proposal includes:

    ▪ $87.5 million to expand the existing readiness center in Miramar and to establish three new armories in Homestead, Gainesville and Malabar;

    ▪ $8.9 million for existing armory maintenance;

    ▪ $2.2 million for a new headquarters for the National Guard Counter Drug Program;

   ▪ $5.1 million to support Florida National Guardsmen seeking higher-education degrees; and

    ▪ $3.5 million to establish the Florida State Guard.

     “We are proud of our veterans and active-duty military members and proud of what our communities do to support them,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “Florida is one of the most veteran friendly states and I think there are very few places that you would rather be on duty than in the state of Florida. As a veteran, I really appreciate what everyone who wears the uniform does in our state and am excited about these proposals – they will go a long way and have a meaningful impact. In Florida, we are going to continue our momentum of supporting our military, supporting our veterans and being good stewards of our military installations.”

     “Gov. DeSantis’ budget this year is yet another example of his deep commitment to our Soldiers, Airmen, and residents of our state,” said Major General James Eifert, Adjutant General of Florida. “These investments will help us maintain our readiness, enabling us to continue to ensure the safety and security of our citizens. We simply cannot thank the governor enough for his ongoing leadership and dedication to our Guardsmen, and we look forward to proudly continuing our 456-year legacy of service to this great state.”

     The military spending budget for the Florida National Guard supports vital emergency response services that the National Guard provides.

     The establishment of the Florida State Guard will further support those emergency response efforts in the event of a hurricane, natural disasters and other state emergencies. The $3.5 million to establish the Florida State Guard will enable civilians to be trained in the best emergency response techniques. By establishing the Florida State Guard, Florida will become the 23rd state with a state guard recognized by the federal government.

     The budget proposal also includes $12.2 million in scholarships for children and spouses of deceased or disabled veterans, and $3.6 million to improve base infrastructure and support projects that keep our military installations among the best in the nation.

     This budget announcement is in addition to other announcements of items that will be in Governor DeSantis’ proposed budget to support law enforcement, education, Everglades restoration and water quality projects.