Last week, state Sen. Tom Wright, R- Port Orange, and state Rep. Dan Daley, D- Coral Springs, have filed memorials in the Legislature to urge Congress and the United States National Guard Bureau to increase the force structure allocation of the Florida National Guard.
The Florida National Guard has deployed 25,000 soldiers since 9/11/01 (federal activations) and has responded to the fifth most FEMA declared disasters of all states in the past 70 years (state activations).
Even though Florida is the third most populous state, the Sunshine State ranks 53rd out of 54 (all states and territories with a guard component) in the Guardsmen-to-Citizen ratio. In the past year and a half, due to COVID-19, the Florida National Guard has expended the same number of workdays within the past 18 months as it has expended within the past 20 years. The Florida National Guard has been meeting its mission goals with just over 12,000 troops. However, this has meant several activations for the same soldiers repeatedly which could lead to excessive fatigue and issues with retention and readiness.
“Floridians have depended heavily on the brave volunteers of our National Guard over the years and we owe them a great debt of gratitude. We call on these men and women when disaster strikes. Now, they need our help. The National Guard needs proper troop numbers based on the size of our state and propensity for natural disasters,” said Daley. “We simply don’t have enough troops and are overworking these citizen-soldiers and putting our state and nation at risk.”
“It is my honor to work with Representative Dan Daley to support this much-needed memorial. Our current lack of guardsmen is based on the state of Florida’s 1958 population,” said Wright. “This effort has long been considered, and now Representative Daley and I are working together to get the results needed for our great state of Florida.”
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