WHAT IS THE MICHIGAN VOLUNTEER DEFENSE FORCE?
"The organized militia of this state taken collectively shall be known as the state military establishment and constitutes the armed forces of this state. The organized militia consists of the army national guard, the air national guard, and the defense force..." (32.509)
The Michigan Volunteer Defense Force is recognized as the non-federal, officially sanctioned state defense force (SDF) of Michigan and a component of the State of Michigan’s authorized military forces. The defense force functions under the command of the Governor (as Commander-in-Chief) and is directed by the Adjutant General. This force is authorized by Federal law, Title 32 of the United States Code and by Michigan law, the Michigan Military Act 150 of 1967.
All defense force soldiers take an oath of allegiance to the United States of America and to the State of Michigan. Members agree to obey the orders of the Governor of the State of Michigan and of the officers appointed over them. Unlike the Michigan National Guard, a state defense force currently cannot be called, ordered, or drafted into the federal armed forces of the United States. The primary service area for the state defense force falls within the boundaries of the State of Michigan.
HOW MUCH TIME AM I OBLIGATED TO GIVE EACH MONTH?
All defense force soldiers are required to attend drill/training once per month and to attend annual training once per year. Depending upon duty assignments, additional hours may be required to organize and/or complete additional tasks.
AM I PAID FOR MY TIME?
Under certain conditions, including an activation by the Governor of the State of Michigan or the Michigan Adjutant General, troops shall be paid at the same rate of pay as their National Guard counterparts of equivalent rank or grade.
AM I REIMBURSED FOR OUT OF POCKET EXPENSES?
At this time, defense force soldiers are not reimbursed for expenses. The only reimbursable expenses are those for which prior approval is given (check with your accountant for tax benefits related to non-reimbursed expenses).
AM I REQUIRED TO PASS A PHYSICAL EXAMINATION?
While there is not an official physical exam currently, defense force soldiers must be able to perform all assigned tasks without endangering themselves or others.
WHAT UNIFORM WILL I WEAR?
Pursuant to United States Army Regulation 670-1, paragraph 30-8c, state defense soldiers wear approved uniforms similar to standard United States Army uniforms, but with distinctive insignia designating them as members of state military forces. (see MCL 750.401) Uniforms may be worn only to, at, and from drills, trainings, other authorized and/or pre-approved functions. While in uniform, all rules of military courtesy must be observed.
AM I ISSUED UNIFORMS OR EQUIPMENT?
Presently, officers and enlisted personnel are required to purchase and maintain their own uniforms and accessories upon enlistment or appointment.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO JOIN?
Any United States citizen who is a resident of the State of Michigan and is between the ages of 17 and 65. Prior federal military service is not required. The complete list of requirements is as follows:
Applicant must be a citizen of the United States and a resident of the State of Michigan.
Applicant must have a demonstrated understanding and
proficiency in the English language.
Applicant must be a high school graduate or have passed the
Applicant must be medically qualified.
WHY SHOULD I JOIN THE MICHIGAN VOLUNTEER DEFENSE FORCE?
The majority of defense force soldiers join in order to contribute their time and talent for the benefit of their community. The defense force is not a civic club, it is a USC Title 32 Subsection 109 State Defense Force that functions for the benefit of the people of the State of Michigan and requires an obligation on the part of its members. Furthermore, defense force soldiers carry on the unique American tradition of volunteer militia service dating back to 1636 before the creation of the United States. Our members serve their communities with other patriotic citizens who have a knowing respect for military preparedness. Upon enlistment or appointment, you will work with others to accomplish missions important to the safety and security of the people and communities of Michigan.
Lastly, but perhaps most challenging, you will have the opportunity to utilize the training that you have acquired in military and civilian life to develop, maintain, and build this organization as the officially recognized and sanctioned Michigan state defense force. Simply stated, you should join because you are a patriot and you live what you believe.
WHERE WILL I SERVE?
Soldiers are assigned to one of seven battalions across the state. You will be assigned to a battalion that is in close proximity to your place of residence. If activated, you may be stationed anywhere in the State of Michigan that best serves the emergency needs of people in the affected community.
HOW DO I ENLIST?
Please use the contact information form provided on this website. Download the application, fully complete it, and e-mail to the address thereon. If you have prior federal or state service, attach an official copy of your military discharge or release form. If you are 17 years of age, you must include the parental consent form signed by your guardian.
HOW IS MY RANK BE DETERMINED?
Applicants are interviewed, evaluated, appointed, or enlisted to an appropriate rank based upon the availability of an authorized billet (job position) for the applicant within a unit or staff function. Other factors such as: prior federal or state military service, education, and civilian occupation are also considered in accordance with established laws and regulations and without regard to race, religion, gender, or national origin.
ARE THESE “REAL” OFFICER AND ENLISTED RANKS?
According to Michigan law,“Officers and enlisted personnel of the defense force shall be appointed in the same manner, and with like duties, responsibilities and authority as prescribed by law and regulations governing the national guard” (32.671). All appointments, commissions, warrants, and enlistments are subject to recognition by the governor through the Adjutant General. All members may be called to State Active Duty to participate in missions when ordered by the governor through the Adjutant General or designee.
IS THERE ANYONE WHO IS INELIGIBLE TO JOIN?
The following persons are considered ineligible for enlistment or appointment:
Convicted felons; Persons adjudged as a youthful offender.
Persons on parole or probation.
Persons with prior federal military service who have an RE-4 re-enlistment code on their DD-214 characterized.
Persons with prior federal or state military service whose discharge is
as other than “Honorable”.
Persons adjudged as a security risk.
Person not meeting acceptable height and weight standards.
Current members of any active or reserve component of the U.S.
Persons convicted of any offense involving moral turpitude.
Persons with significant medical disorders that could endanger themselves or others.
Persons with medical disabilities which exceeds an RE-3 profile.
Persons required for Selective Service registration, but who have failed to do so.