|National Guard of the United States|
English colonial government militias: since December 13, 1636
|Allegiance||Federal (10 U.S.C. § E)
State and territorial (32 U.S.C.)
|Branch|| United States Army
United States Air Force
|Role||Reserve component of the U.S. Armed Forces
Militia of the United States
|Part of||National Guard Bureau|
|Garrison/HQ||All 50 U.S. states, as well as organized U.S. territories, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia|
|Motto(s)||"Always Ready, Always There!"|
|Chief of the National Guard Bureau||General Joseph L. Lengyel, USAF|
|Seal of the Army National Guard|
|Seal of the Air National Guard|
The National Guard of the United States, part of the reserve components of the United States Armed Forces, is a reserve military force, composed of National Guard military members or units of each state and the territories of Guam, of the Virgin Islands, and of Puerto Rico, as well as of the District of Columbia, for a total of 54 separate organizations. All members of the National Guard of the United States are also members of the militia of the United States as defined by 10 U.S.C. § 246. National Guard units are under the dual control of the state and the federal government.
The majority of National Guard soldiers and airmen hold a civilian job full-time while serving part-time as a National Guard member. These part-time guardsmen are augmented by a full-time cadre of Active Guard & Reserve (AGR) personnel in both the Army National Guard and Air National Guard, plus Army Reserve Technicians in the Army National Guard and Air Reserve Technicians (ART) in the Air National Guard.
The National Guard is a joint activity of the United States Department of Defense (DoD) composed of reserve components of the United States Army and the United States Air Force: the Army National Guard of the United States and the Air National Guard of the United States respectively.
Local militias were formed from the earliest English colonization of the Americas in 1607. The first colony-wide militia was formed by Massachusetts in 1636 by merging small older local units, and several National Guard units can be traced back to this militia. The various colonial militias became state militias when the United States became independent. The title "National Guard" was used in 1824 by some New York State militia units, named after the French National Guard in honor of the Marquis de Lafayette. "National Guard" became a standard nationwide militia title in 1903, and specifically indicated reserve forces under mixed state and federal control since 1933.
The first muster of militia forces in what is today the United States took place on September 16, 1565, in the newly established Spanish military town of St. Augustine. Appropriately enough, this muster occurred in the shadow of an oncoming hurricane. The militia men were assigned to guard the expedition's supplies while their leader, Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, took the regular troops north to attack the French settlement at Fort Caroline on the St. Johns River. This Spanish militia tradition and the English tradition that would be established to the north would provide the basic nucleus for Colonial defense in the New World.
The militia tradition continued with the first permanent English settlements in the New World. Jamestown Colony (established in 1607) and Plymouth Colony (established in 1620) both had militia forces, which initially consisted of every able bodied adult male. By the mid-1600s every town had at least one militia company (usually commanded by an officer with the rank of captain) and the militia companies of a county formed a regiment (usually commanded by an officer with the rank of major in the 1600s or a colonel in the 1700s).
From the nation's founding through the early 1900s, the United States maintained only a minimal army and relied on state militias, directly related to the earlier Colonial militias to supply the majority of its troops. As a result of the Spanish-American War, Congress was called upon to reform and regulate the training and qualification of state militias. The first national laws regulating the militia were the Militia acts of 1792.
In 1903, with passage of the Dick Act, the predecessor to the modern-day National Guard was formed. It required the states to divide their militias into two sections. The law recommended the title "National Guard" for the first section, known as the organized militia, and "Reserve Militia" for all others.
During World War I, Congress passed the National Defense Act of 1916, which required the use of the term "National Guard" for the state militias and further regulated them. Congress also authorized the states to maintain Home Guards, which were reserve forces outside the National Guards being deployed by the Federal Government.
In 1933, with passage of the National Guard Mobilization Act, Congress finalized the split between the National Guard and the traditional state militias by mandating that all federally funded soldiers take a dual enlistment/commission and thus enter both the state National Guard and the National Guard of the United States, a newly created federal reserve force. The National Defense Act of 1947 created the Air Force as a separate branch of the Armed Forces and concurrently created the Air National Guard of the United States as one of its reserve components, mirroring the Army's structure.
The National Guard of the several states, territories, and the District of Columbia serves as part of the first-line of defense for the United States. The state National Guard is organized into units stationed in each of the 50 states, three territories, and the District of Columbia, and operates under their respective state or territorial governor, except in the instance of Washington, D.C., where the National Guard operates under the President of the United States or his designee. The governors exercise control through the state adjutants general. The National Guard may be called up for active duty by the governors to help respond to domestic emergencies and disasters, such as hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes.
The National Guard is administered by the National Guard Bureau, which is a joint activity of the Army and Air Force under the DoD. The National Guard Bureau provides a communication channel for state National Guards to the DoD. The National Guard Bureau also provides policies and requirements for training and funds for state Army National Guard and state Air National Guard units, the allocation of federal funds to the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard, as well as other administrative responsibilities prescribed under 10 U.S.C. § 10503. The National Guard Bureau is headed by the Chief of the National Guard Bureau (CNGB), who is a four-star general in the Army or Air Force and is a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Prior to 2008, the functions of Agricultural Development Teams were within Provincial Reconstruction Teams of the US Government. Today, ADTs consist of soldiers and airmen from the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard. Today, ADTs bring "an effective platform for enhanced dialogue, building confidence, sharing interests, and increasing cooperation amongst the disparate peoples and tribes of Afghanistan." These teams are not only affiliated with the military, they frequently work across agencies, for example with USAID and the Department of State. ADTs provide education and expertise on the ground, while also providing security and order that is traditionally affiliated with the military. These teams have been essential to the counterinsurgency efforts in Afghanistan as a public diplomacy tool to build relations with the local people in the tribes and provinces of the country.
ADTs provide classroom instruction and teachings to Afghans about how to improve their farming practices during non-seasonal growing months, which allows the farmers to use skills in the winter to prepare for farming in the summer and fall. This enhances agricultural production and the Afghan economy as a whole. Agricultural education also improves lines of communication and builds trust between the people, the US government, and the Host Nation. Additionally, through word of mouth in the provinces ideas are spread that inform others about these farming techniques, that may not have had direct interaction with the ADTs. The National Guard ADTs also introduce their US civilian colleagues to the Afghan University personnel, which further strengthens relations and trust in the US efforts in Afghanistan.
ADTs also enhance public diplomacy in Afghanistan by providing security to the local provinces they are working within. This tool has provided the teams with the civilian-military partnership that is needed to conduct public diplomacy and defeat the insurgents in Afghanistan. President Barack Obama said that the US will enhance agricultural development instead of big reconstruction projects to build Afghanistan's economy, to have an immediate impact on the Afghan people. Today, these projects include "...basic gardening practices, to large watershed and irrigation projects. There are also projects that teach bee keeping and livestock production: all of which will have a positive impact on unemployment, hunger, and the ability to sustain future generations."
More and more Afghan tribal leaders have been requesting additional ADTs, which illustrates how important the use of public diplomacy has been in the efforts to win the trust of the Afghan people. The case study from Nangarhar Province in Afghanistan serves as an excellent example. This province is one of the most stable and secure provinces in Afghanistan. For example, over 100,000 Afghans have returned to province; the province has also been declared poppy-free in 2007 by the UN. Additionally, most districts within the province have all-weather paved roads and it is also one of the most productive agricultural regions in Afghanistan. ADT should further its progress within the provinces of Afghanistan in agricultural education, technical support, and logistics. To defeat the insurgency in Afghanistan public diplomacy is an essential force, ADTs help the US educate the population of Afghanistan with the hope of strengthening Afghan trust in the American mission in Afghanistan.
Both the Army National Guard and Air National Guard are expected to adhere to the same moral and physical standards as their "full-time" active duty and "part-time" reserve federal counterparts. The same ranks and insignia of the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force are used by the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard, respectively, and National Guardsmen are eligible to receive all United States military awards. The respective state National Guards also bestow state awards for services rendered both at home and abroad. Under Army and Air Force regulations, these awards may be worn while on state active duty or while on Title 32 federal activation. Regular Army and Army Reserve soldiers are also authorized to accept these awards, but are not authorized to wear them.
The respective state National Guards are authorized by the Constitution of the United States. As originally drafted, the Constitution recognized the existing state militias, and gave them vital roles to fill: "to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasion." (Article I, Section 8, Clause 15). The Constitution distinguished "militias," which were state entities, from "Troops," which were unlawful for states to maintain without Congressional approval. (Article I, Section 10, Clause 3). Under current law, the respective state National Guards and the State Defense Forces are authorized by Congress to the states and are referred to as "troops." 32 U.S.C. § 109.
Although originally state entities, the Constitutional "Militia of the Several States" were not entirely independent because they could be federalized. According to Article I, Section 8; Clause 15, the United States Congress is given the power to pass laws for "calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions." Congress is also empowered to come up with the guidelines "for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress" (clause 16). The President of the United States is the commander-in-chief of the state militias "when called into the actual Service of the United States." (Article II, Section 2).
The traditional state militias were redefined and recreated as the "organized militia"--the National Guard, via the Militia Act of 1903. They were now subject to an increasing amount of federal control, including having arms and accoutrements supplied by the central government, federal funding, and numerous closer ties to the Regular Army.
Many states also maintain their own state defense forces. Although not federal entities like the National Guard of the United States, these forces are components of the state militias like the individual state National Guards.
These forces were created by Congress in 1917 as a result of the state National Guards' being deployed and were known as Home Guards. In 1940, with the onset of World War II and as a result of its federalizing the National Guard, Congress amended the National Defense Act of 1916, and authorized the states to maintain "military forces other than National Guard." This law authorized the War Department to train and arm the new military forces that became known as State Guards. In 1950, with the outbreak of the Korean War and at the urging of the National Guard, Congress reauthorized the separate state military forces for a time period of two years. These state military forces were authorized military training at federal expense, as well as "arms, ammunition, clothing, and equipment," as deemed necessary by the Secretary of the Army. In 1956, Congress finally revised the law and authorized "State defense forces" permanently under Title 32, Section 109, of the United States Code.
Although there are no Naval or Marine Corps components of the National Guard of the United States, there is a Naval Militia authorized under federal law.10 U.S.C. § 7851. Like the soldiers and airmen in the National Guard of the United States, members of the Naval Militia are authorized federal appointments or enlistments at the discretion of the Secretary of the Navy.10 U.S.C. § 7852. To receive federal funding and equipment, a state naval militia must be composed of at least 95% Naval Reservists or Marine Corps Reservists. As such, some states maintain such units. Some states also maintain naval components of their State Defense Force. Recently, Alaska, California, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, Texas and Ohio have had or currently maintain naval militias. Other states have laws authorizing them but do not currently have them organized. To receive federal funding, as is the case in the National Guard, a state must meet specific requirements such as having a set percentage of its members in the federal reserves.10 U.S.C. § 7851.
National Guard units can be mobilized for federal active duty to supplement regular armed forces during times of war or national emergency declared by Congress, the President or the Secretary of Defense. They can also be activated for service in their respective states upon declaration of a state of emergency by the governor of the state or territory where they serve, or in the case of Washington, D.C., by the Commanding General. Unlike U.S. Army Reserve members, National Guard members cannot be mobilized individually, except through voluntary transfers and Temporary Duty Assignments (TDY).
The National Guard Bureau is headquartered in Arlington County, Virginia, and is a joint activity of the Department of Defense to conduct all the administrative matters pertaining to the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard. The current chief of the National Guard Bureau is Air Force General Joseph L. Lengyel. The chief is either an Air Force or an Army 4-star general (flag) officer, is the senior uniformed National Guard officer, and is a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In this capacity, he serves as a military adviser to the President, the Secretary of Defense, the National Security Council and is the Department of Defense's official channel of communication to the Governors and to State Adjutants General on all matters pertaining to the National Guard. He is responsible for ensuring that the more than half a million Army and Air National Guard personnel are accessible, capable, and ready to protect the homeland and to provide combat resources to the Army and the Air Force. He is appointed by the President in his capacity as Commander in Chief.
The term "activated" simply means that a unit or individual of the reserve components has been placed on orders. The purpose and authority for that activation determines limitations and duration of the activation. The Army and Air National Guard may be activated in a number of ways as prescribed by public law. Broadly, under federal law, there are two titles in the United States Code under which units and troops may be activated: as federal soldiers or airmen under Title 10 ("Armed Forces") and as state soldiers or airmen performing a federally funded mission under Title 32 ("National Guard"). Outside federal activation, the Army and Air National Guard may be activated under state law. This is known as state active duty (SAD).
When National Guard units are not under federal control, the governor is the commander-in-chief of the units of his or her respective state or territory (such as Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands). The President of the United States commands the District of Columbia National Guard, though this command is routinely delegated to the Commanding General of the DC National Guard. States are free to employ their National Guard forces under state control for state purposes and at state expense as provided in the state's constitution and statutes. In doing so, governors, as commanders-in-chief, can directly access and utilize the Guard's federally assigned aircraft, vehicles and other equipment so long as the federal government is reimbursed for the use of fungible equipment and supplies such as fuel, food stocks, etc. This is the authority under which governors activate and deploy National Guard forces in response to natural disasters. It is also the authority under which governors deploy National Guard forces in response to man-made emergencies such as riots and civil unrest, or terrorist attacks.
Title 10 service means full-time duty in the active military service of the United States. The term used is federalized. Federalized National Guard forces have been ordered, by the President to active duty either in their reserve component status or by calling them into Federal service in their militia status. There are several forms:
In the categories listed above, Army and Air National Guard units or individuals may also be mobilized for non-combat purposes such as the State Partnership Program, humanitarian missions, counter-drug operations, and peacekeeping or peace enforcement missions.
The Virginia Army National Guard traces its history back to 1607, to the Jamestown settlement, making it the oldest and the official start of the Army National Guard.
The claim that the National Guard is older than the nation itself, with over three and a half centuries of service, is based on the claim that the modern-day 101st Field Artillery Regiment, 182nd Infantry Regiment, 101st Engineer Battalion and 181st Infantry Regiment of the Massachusetts Army National Guard are directly descended from Massachusetts Bay Colony regiments formed over 375 years ago. On December 13, 1636, the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony had ordered that the Colony's scattered militia companies be organized into North, South and East Regiments--with a goal of increasing the militias' accountability to the colonial government, efficacy, and responsiveness in conflicts with indigenous Pequot Indians. Under this act, white males between the ages of 16 and 60 were obligated to possess arms and to take part in the defense of their communities by serving in nightly guard details and participating in weekly drills. The founding date of 1636 refers to service of the colonial government; the Massachusetts Bay Colony regiments were formed by reorganizing local militias that preceded the 1636 date and dated back to the founding dates of the various Massachusetts towns of the time.
The Massachusetts militia began the American Revolutionary War at the Battles of Lexington and Concord, The Massachusetts militia units were mobilized either during or shortly after the above battles and used to form, along with units from Rhode Island, Connecticut and New Hampshire, the Army of Observation during the Siege of Boston. On July 3rd, 1775 General George Washington, under the authority of the Continental Congress, assumed command of the Army of Observation and the new organization became the Continental Army from which the United States Army traces its origins.
Throughout the war, militia units were mobilized when British forces entered their geographic areas and participated in most of the battles fought during the war.
The early United States distrusted a standing army, and kept the number of professional soldiers small. During the Northwest Indian War, the majority of soldiers were provided by state militias. There are nineteen Army National Guard units with campaign credit for the War of 1812.
The Marquis de Lafayette visited the U.S. in 1824-25. The 2nd Battalion, 11th New York Artillery, was one of many militia commands who turned out in welcome. This unit decided to adopt the title "National Guard," in honor of Lafayette's French National Guard. The Battalion, later the 7th Regiment, was prominent in the line of march on the occasion of Lafayette's final passage through New York en route home to France. Taking note of the troops named for his old command, Lafayette alighted from his carriage, walked down the line, clasping each officer by the hand as he passed.
Militia units provided 70% of the soldiers that fought in the Mexican-American War, and also provided the majority of soldiers in the early months of the American Civil War The majority of soldiers in the Spanish-American War were from the National Guard.
Labor unrest in the industrial and mining sections of the Northeast and Midwest led to demands for a stronger military force within the states. After the Great Railroad Strike of 1877, calls for military suppression of labor strikes grew louder, and National Guard units proliferated. In many states, large and elaborate armories, often built to resemble medieval castles, were constructed to house militia units. Businessmen and business associations donated monies for the construction of armories and to supplement funds of the local National Guard units. National Guard officers also came from the middle and upper classes. National Guard troops were deployed to suppress strikers in some of the bloodiest and most significant conflicts of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including the Homestead Strike, the Pullman Strike of 1894, and the Colorado Labor Wars.
Throughout the 19th century the Regular U.S. Army was small, and the state militias provided the majority of the troops during the Mexican-American War, the start of the American Civil War, and the Spanish-American War. With the Militia Act of 1903, the militia was more organized and the name "National Guard" recommended. In 1933, the state National Guards were required to join the National Guard of the United States, a reserve force for the U.S. Army; this is the official founding of the present National Guard. In World War I, National Guard soldiers made up 40 percent of the U.S. combat divisions in France. In World War II, the National Guard made up 19 divisions. One hundred forty thousand Guardsmen were mobilized during the Korean War and over 63,000 for Operation Desert Storm. They have also participated in U.S. peacekeeping operations in Somalia, Haiti, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bosnia, and Kosovo as well as for natural disasters, strikes, riots and security for the Olympic Games when they have been in the States.
Following World War II, the National Guard aviation units that had previously been part of the U.S. Army Air Corps and its successor organization, the U.S. Army Air Forces, became the Air National Guard (ANG), one of two Reserve Components of the newly established United States Air Force.
At this time, the National Guard consisted of 27 Divisions; 25 Infantry and two armored, plus scores of smaller units.
On September 24, 1957 President Dwight D. Eisenhower federalized the entire Arkansas National Guard to ensure the safe entry of the Little Rock Nine to Little Rock Central High School the following day. Governor Orval Faubus had previously used members of the guard to deny the students entry to the school.
The New York National Guard were ordered by Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller to respond to the Rochester 1964 race riot in July of that year, the first such use of the Guard in a Northern city since the Civil War. The California Army National Guard were mobilized by the Governor of California Edmund Gerald Brown, Sr. during the Watts Riots, in August 1965, to provide security and help restore order.
Elements of the Ohio Army National Guard were ordered to Kent State University by Ohio's governor Jim Rhodes to quell anti-Vietnam War protests, culminating in their shooting into a crowd of students on May 4, 1970, killing four and injuring nine.
During the Vietnam War, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara created the Selective Reserve Force (SRF) in October 1965. Since funding was not available to train and equip the entire National Guard adequately, the SRF would be a core group of 150,000 National Guardsmen available and ready for immediate overseas deployment if needed. SRF units were supposed to be authorized at 100% strength, receive priority training funds and modern equipment as well as having more training and doing 58 hours of drills of four hours each a year rather than the standard 48 hours of drills.
The 2 Battalion 138th Field Artillery of the Kentucky Army National Guard was ordered to service in Vietnam in late 1968. The unit served in support of the regular 101st Airborne Division. The Battalion's C Battery lost 9 men killed and thirty-two wounded when North Vietnamese troops overran Fire Base Tomahawk on June 19, 1969.
During the 1992 Los Angeles Riots, when portions of south central Los Angeles erupted in chaos, overwhelming the Los Angeles Police Department's ability to contain the violence, the California Army National Guard and selected units of the California Air National Guard was mobilized to help restore order. The National Guard were attributed with five shootings of people suspected of violating the curfew order placed on the city.
During the 1993 Waco Siege of the Branch Davidians, elements of the Alabama and Texas Army National Guard were called in to assist the ATF and the follow on effort by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the National Guard's involvement was limited to several specific areas; surveillance and reconnaissance, transport, maintenance and repairs, training and instruction, helicopters, unarmed tactical ground vehicles. The Army National Guard helicopters were also used to do photographic reconnaissance work. Training for ATF agents included such subjects as Close Quarters Combat, and combat medical instruction, and a mock up of the Mount Carmel complex was constructed at Fort Hood, Texas for rehearsals. ATF also received several surplus helmets, flack vests, canteens, first aid dressings, empty magazines, and some night-vision equipment, in addition to MREs and diesel fuel. The FBI would request and receive the use of Bradley Armored Fighting Vehicles, and tank retrieval vehicles, as well as overflights by UH-1 and CH-47 helicopters.
As a result of the Bottom Up Review and post-Cold War force cutbacks, the Army National Guard maneuver force was reduced to eight divisions (from ten; the 26th Infantry and 50th Armored were consolidated in the northeastern states) and fifteen 'enhanced brigades,' which were supposed to be ready for combat operations, augmenting the active force, within 90 days.
National Guard units played a major role in providing security and assisting recovery efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, in September 2005.
In 2005, National Guard members and reservists were said to comprise a larger percentage of frontline fighting forces than in any war in U.S. history (about 43 percent in Iraq and 55 percent in Afghanistan). There were more than 183,366 National Guard members and reservists on active duty nationwide who left behind about 300,000 dependents, according to U.S. Defense Department statistics. In 2011, Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey, Jr. stated that "Every Guard brigade has deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, and over 300,000 Guardsmen have deployed in this war."
In January and February 2007, National Guard troops from 8 states were activated to go help shovel snow, drop hay for starving cattle, deliver food and necessities to stranded people in their houses, and help control traffic and rescue stranded motorists in blizzards dropping feet of snow across the country.
In the first quarter of 2007, United States Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates announced changes to the Guard deployment policy aimed at shorter and more predictable deployments for National Guard troops. "Gates said his goal is for Guard members to serve a one-year deployment no more than every five years... Gates is imposing a one-year limit to the length of deployment for National Guard Soldiers, effective immediately." Prior to this time, Guard troops deployed for a standard one-year deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan would serve for 18 or more months including training and transit time. During the transition to the new policy for all troops in the pipeline, deployed or soon to be deployed, some will face deployments faster than every five years. "The one-to-five year cycle does not include activations for state emergencies."
Prior to the attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001, the National Guard's general policy regarding mobilization was that Guardsmen would be required to serve no more than one year cumulative on active duty (with no more than six months overseas) for each five years of regular drill. Due to strains placed on active duty units following the attacks, the possible mobilization time was increased to 18 months (with no more than one year overseas). Additional strains placed on military units as a result of the invasion of Iraq further increased the amount of time a Guardsman could be mobilized to 24 months. Current Department of Defense policy is that no Guardsman is involuntarily activated for more than 24 months (cumulative) in one six-year enlistment period.
Traditionally, most National Guard personnel serve "One weekend a month, two weeks a year", although personnel in highly operational or high demand units serve far more frequently. Typical examples are pilots, navigators and aircrewmen in active flying assignments, primarily in the Air National Guard, and to a lesser extent in the Army National Guard, and special operations airmen and soldiers in both. A significant number also serve in a full-time capacity in roles such as Active Guard and Reserve (AGR) or Air Reserve Technician or Army Reserve Technician (ART).
The "One weekend a month, two weeks a year" slogan has lost most of its relevance since the Iraq War, when nearly 28% of total US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan at the end of 2007 consisted of mobilized personnel of the National Guard and other Reserve components. In July 2012, the Army's top general stated his intention to increase the annual drill requirement from two weeks per year to up to seven weeks per year.
The Army National Guard consists of 28 fully capable brigade combat teams with combat support and combat service support components. The Army Reserve is mostly Combat Service Support and Combat Support with only one infantry unit (the 100th Infantry Battalion).
The senior National Guard Officer in each state is called the Adjutant General (or "TAG" for short) and is either appointed or elected in accordance with state laws. The National Guard may receive state funding, however in most states it is primarily funded through the federal government.
The Army, Navy, Marine, Coast Guard, and Air Force Reserve components are not under state control and are solely funded by the federal government. Unlike the state guard, the Reserve forces, with the exception of the Coast Guard, are restricted from civilian law enforcement operations by posse comitatus.
The United States Congress has enacted various laws that control the National Guard
Militia service was a common trait among presidents of the United States. Eighteen of America's 45 presidents have served in colonial or state militias and two have served in the National Guard since it was established in 1903. Among these, three served in colonial militias (George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison), 15 served in state militias (James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, William Henry Harrison, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James Garfield, Chester A. Arthur, William Henry Harrison, William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt), one in the Army National Guard (Harry S. Truman) and one (George W. Bush) served in the Air National Guard.
A member of the NG, often called a "guardsman," is a person who has signed an Enlistment Contract and has subscribed to an Enlistment Oath, is still alive, or has not yet been discharged. The subscription to the oath (typically a recitation) and the signature must be witnessed by a person, typically a Guard officer, authorized as an official witness. The term of the enlistment, or membership, runs from the date on the contract through the date on the discharge or the death certificate.
The "number of guardsmen" is a statistic generated by the Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC), an agency of the DoD tasked with tracking the identities of all persons in the active military, its reserves, and civilians employed by it. Membership in the Guard may be regarded as an independent variable. It changes constantly. Its value at any instant cannot be known exactly. It can, however, be estimated from the records of the DMDC. Its data and reports are for the most part inaccessible to the general public, but it does make available some reports under the category "DoD Personal, Workforce Reports & Publications."
The series "Military and Civilian Personnel by Service/Agency by State/Country (Updated Quarterly)," containing the statistics on membership in the NG by state, territory, and D.C., is updated every 3rd month at the end of the month. For example, one was generated on June 30, 2017. Like all statistics, these numbers of guardsmen are a sample culled according to a certain method. The report states that it uses the sources: "Active Duty Master File, RCCPDS, APF Civilian Master, CTS Deployment File, Civilian Deployment." The probabilities of the statistics being accurate to various percentages are not stated.
Below is a sample summary of a profile of Guard membership taken from the file of June 30, 2017. Only the non-total columns come from the source. The totals are calculated from the data.
|State/Territory||Army National Guard||Air National Guard||Total|
|District of Columbia||1,358||1,248||2,606|
"I do hereby acknowledge to have voluntarily enlisted this __ day of ____, 19_, in the ______ National Guard of the State of ______ for a period of __ year(s) under the conditions prescribed by law, unless sooner discharged by proper authority. I, ________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and of the State of ______ against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to them; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the Governor of ______ and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to law and regulations. So help me God."