Florida Governor Ron DeSantis proposed creating a 200-member civilian military force that would report directly to him. The Florida State Guard would assist the National Guard during emergencies such as hurricanes or other disasters.
DeSantis said that the force would "not be encumbered by the federal government," giving it "the flexibility and the ability needed to respond to events in our state in the most effective way possible."
"Reestablishing the Florida State Guard will allow civilians from all over the state to be trained in the best emergency response techniques and have the ability to mobilize very, very quickly," DeSantis said.
DeSantis is asking lawmakers for $3.5 million to train and equip the new civilian force.
The proposal comes after a directive issued by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin barring members of the National Guard who are not vaccinated from training. They will also have their paychecks withheld.
The Florida State Guard was first created in 1941 after the Florida National Guard was deployed to assist the Allied forces in World War II. Once the war was ended, the Florida State Guard was disbanded.
Florida isn't the only state that controls its own civilian military force. Currently, 22 other states, including California, New York, and Texas, have a civilian force to supplement the National Guard.