Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Thursday he's recommending $3.5 million be used to re-establish the Florida State Guard.
DeSantis spoke from the National Guard Armory in Pensacola with Major General James O. Eifert, the Adjutant General of Florida.
"We also want to make sure we have the flexibility and the ability needed to respond to events in our state in the most effective way possible and some of that will require us to be able to have access, and be able to use support in ways that are not encumbered by the federal government or don't require federal government," DeSantis said. "So, I'm going to be recommending in the budget $3.5 million to re-establish the Florida State Guard."
DeSantis said the state guard would act as a civilian volunteer force that can assist the National Guard in state-specific emergencies. He said the money would support training and equipment for up to 200 members.
"We want to be able to have a quick response capability and re-establishing 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 also announced additional funding to support the Florida National Guard on Thursday.
"I'm proud to say that this budget is gonna have major investments to support Florida's National Guard," DeSantis said.
He said he's recommended more than $100 million for the National Guard to have the means to carry out their missions.
In addition, DeSantis announced the following funds:
- $87.5 million to expand the National Guard Readiness Center in Miramar and build three new armories, which cause house up to 1500 soldiers when complete
- $8.9 million for existing armory maintenance
- $2.2 million for the National Guard Counterdrug Program
- $5.1 million to support Guardsmen seeking higher education
- $12.2 million in scholarships for children and spouses of deceased or disabled veterans
- $3.6 million to improve base infrastructure and support projects