Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) last week introduced legislation that would provide states with additional flexibility to allow full-time Active Guard and Reserve (AGR) National Guard members to respond to emergencies such as wildfires, flooding and pandemics.
“The National Guard has been vital to our COVID-19 response, and in California we rely on the National Guard every wildfire season, but states are hamstrung on how they can utilize full-time members of the Guard,” Senator Feinstein said.
“This bill would provide states with additional flexibility to use their full-time National Guard members in the most effective manner during emergencies.”
General Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, told Senator Feinstein last month that state emergencies have revealed the need for states to have flexibility in using Title 32 AGR members during emergency response operations.
What the bill would do:
- Permit the commander of a state’s National Guard to authorize AGR members to perform duties during a state emergency response that go beyond their primary duties of organizing, administering, recruiting, instructing and training. This would be done under regulations laid out by the Chief of the National Guard Bureau.
- Require the state National Guard commander to determine that the activities would provide a training benefit.