As the President invoked Title 32 for National Guard call-ups in Washington, New York, and California, he stressed that the states would remain in control, and the federal government would foot the bill. It was made clear that this was NOT a precursor for Martial law.
Military Times reported,
More states are expected to seek Title 32 status as the need arises, Air Force Gen. Joseph L. Lengyel, Chief of the National Guard Bureau, told reporters Sunday night.
As of this morning, governors across all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Washington D.C. have each mobilized components of their Army and Air National Guard to assist in their state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking to reporters via a telephone conference, Lengyel again tamped down rumors that the Guard troops will be used to enforce martial law.
“There is no truth to this rumor that people are conspiring, that governors are planning, that anyone is conspiring to use the National Guard, mobilized or not, Title 32 or state, to do military action to enforce shelter in place or quarantines.”
The move is important, said Lengyel, because “governors and adjutant generals know the best use of what’s needed in their states,. This will help with unity of effort and speed of responses.”
The President waived the normal 75-25 split for costs between the states and federal government for the National Guard call-up. The federal government will foot the bill for it all.
Gen Lengyel stated that the Guard will assist with
*Delivering food in hard-hit communities; *Manning call centers to be a knowledgeable and calming voice; *Providing critical Personal Protective Equipment training and sample collection to first responders and hospital personnel; *Supporting local emergency management agencies with response planning and execution; *Providing support to testing facilities; *Serving as response liaisons and support to state Emergency Operations Centers; *Proving transportation and assessment support to healthcare providers; *Assisting with disinfecting/cleaning of common public spaces; *Collecting and delivering samples.
The National Guard is frequently used for national security duties, such as during hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes. They are local people – our neighbors, friends, and those who understand a locality better than regular military. We are not China, who welded their own people into their apartments.
Though now federalized for the COVID-19 response, they are to remain under the control of their respective governors. Hopefully, those governors will exercise the use of the Guard with wisdom.
Featured photo: General Lengyel at a press conference on March 19.