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The Governor's Military Force

Post # 199, Bob McKnight's Florida Commentary

The Governor has the National Guard, but now wants his own Florida Guard to "control disturbances" in our state.

With the 2022 Annual Legislative Session scheduled to start next month, the Governor, Cabinet and both chambers of the Legislature are floating their "wish list" of new projects. This list will not be as important as the 10 year Reapportionment Session, but it will be a main point of discussion for the 2022 elections.

I could not help but notice that Governor Ron DeSantis (R., Florida) proposes to create a volunteer based Florida State Army, which would report directly to him, alone. Although there are not many details available yet, the following seem to be a part of his legislative request:

1. This military force would be fully trained, equipped and armed "to assist civil authorities in maintaining law and order," as directed by the Governor.

2. The request will be for a volunteer force of 200 civilians and an initial appropriation of $3.5 Million.

3. This military force would be separate and apart from the existing Florida Highway Patrol, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and any local government law enforcement agencies.

Florida would still retain the Florida National Guard, jointly controlled by the State and the Department of Defense. The Governor would continue to direct the National Guard to assist in emergencies and Acts of God within Florida. But some administrative responsibilities would be retained by the DOD, like requiring vaccines for pandemics, which DeSantis opposes.

As expected, the Democratic candidates running for Governor against DeSantis have been quick to criticize the Governor's proposal. Former Governor and current Congressman Charley Crist described the idea as DeSantis having his own "secret police." Senator

Taddeo described the military force as what happened with Castro in Cuba. Commissioner Fried says the force is an unnecessary waste of taxpayer money. No Republicans are known to be critical of the proposal.

Some critics in the press point out a chilling parallel in World History from German in 1932. After German President von Hindenburg appointed Adolph Hitler Chancellor, a small emergency drove the President to assign sweeping powers to the Chancellor:

  • Suspension of Free Press, Right of Assembly and Freedom of Expression.

  • Transfer Police Power from Local Government to the Chancellor.

This is a discussion that bears careful watching by us all.


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