Monday, March 05, 2007

Updated: Arizona's "Homeland Security Force"?

The Yuma Sun reports that the Arizona State Senate has passed a bill authorizing the formation of an all-volunteer homeland security force, which would be separate from the National Guard:

But exactly who could join and what they would do remains unspecified.

SB 1132, given preliminary approval [March 1], would create what essentially amounts to a state militia, under the control of the governor. Sen. Jack Harper, R-Surprise, who crafted the measure, said they would be able to respond, on Napolitano's orders, to any natural or human-caused disaster.

Harper said they also would be available to be deployed along the border to help spot people coming into the country illegally.

Harper said the state needs a Homeland Security Force because Congress last year authorized the president to commandeer any state's National Guard in times of emergency, even without permission from the governor.
It sounds to me like this would muddy the waters in terms of disaster preparation and response. Surely they're not suggesting a "parallel National Guard," simply because in a few limited cases, the president can take control of a state's National Guard forces. Or are they?

And what about disaster preparation? You would have another agency in the mix, and responsibilities would become further diluted.

Seems like a bad idea to me - setting out to establish an agency without specifying what its function or purpose is.

Update 2007-03-06: I need to do some reading. Justin at The Logbook points out that Arizona is seeking to establish a State Guard, which is distinct from the National Guard. About half the states currently have them, though we don't in Illinois. Anyone with info on how the State Guard and National Guard work together - feel free to share.


KB3JUV said...

See my post:

Have a good one,

Anonymous said...

Check out Arizona Revised Statutes 26-174. This legislation is redundant.