This week, two members of the Florida delegation on Capitol–U.S. Reps. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., and Michael Waltz, R-Fla.–helped lead a letter to U.S. Defense Sec. Lloyd Austin, calling on more support for the Florida, California and Texas National Guards.
More than 60 members of the U.S. House from those three states signed the letter which U.S. Reps. Ken Calvert, R-Calif., Ronny Jackson, R-Tex., Jimmy Panetta, D-Calif., and Marc Veasey, D-Calif. also helped lead.
“Whether it was COVID, civil unrest, natural disasters or overseas deployments, the National Guard was ready and prepared to protect Americans over this past year,” Waltz, the first Green Beret to serve in Congress, said on Wednesday. “Oftentimes, these missions mean National Guardsmen and women are deployed for months on end, leaving their day jobs and families to serve and putting an incredible strain on the Guard and their families.
“Florida’s population continues to grow, along with its mission sets. The current force allocation structure limits the Florida Guard’s ability to rotate personnel, putting greater demands on our Guard and their families. This ultimately affects recruitment and retention of qualified personnel, and mission readiness. We must address this growing problem to ensure the safety of Florida’s citizens,” Waltz added.
“The Florida National Guard is succeeding despite its inadequate manpower, but we are doing our guardsmen—and our state—a disservice by not properly resourcing the force,” said Murphy who worked at the Pentagon under then-President George W. Bush. “I’m proud to co-lead this bipartisan letter to the Department of Defense seeking to ensure that the Florida National Guard is appropriately sized to conduct its many vital missions on behalf of our country and our state.”
Noting that “California at 54th, Florida at 53rd, and Texas at 52nd, have the lowest Guardsmen-to-population ratios in the nation,” the House members asked “for what resources are necessary to increase the ratios of these states so their Guard Bureaus can better serve the needs of their populations.”
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.