Missouri State Defense Force

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Missouri State Defense Force
Active 2012 - Present
Country  United States
Allegiance  Missouri
Type SDFBranchInsigniaColor.jpg  State defense force
Role Military reserve force
Size 50+
Part of Missouri Department of Public Safety
Garrison/HQ Ike Skelton Training Site
Website MRF Public Affairs Website
Civilian leadership Governor Mike Parson
(Governor of the State of Missouri)

The Missouri State Defense Force (MSDF), originally known as the Missouri Reserve Military Force, is the official state defense force of Missouri. As a state defense force, the MSDF is a reserve military force which serves parallel to the Missouri National Guard. MSDF members serve as reservists and therefore can hold full-time jobs while serving, like their National Guard counterparts. As the MSDF falls solely under the command of the state of Missouri, it cannot be federalized or deployed outside the borders of Missouri, unlike the National Guard. Although the MSDF and the Missouri National Guard are separate organizations, the MSDF's primary scope is to work alongside the National Guard during stateside operations, or in lieu of the National Guard when the National Guard is deployed outside of Missouri. Along with the Missouri Army National Guard, the Missouri Air National Guard, and the Missouri Naval Militia, the Missouri State Defense Force is recognized under Missouri law as part of the organized militia of Missouri.[1]

Legal basis

All U.S. states and territories are allowed to create and maintain their own military forces, independent of the federal military, under Title 32 of the U.S. Code.[2] State defense forces are allowed under Missouri law as well, under Chapter 41, Section 41.070 of the Missouri Revised Statutes.[1] On Sept. 9, 1982, Governor Christopher “Kit” Bond signed Executive Order 82-17 creating a Missouri Reserve Force and ordering the state's adjutant general to organize the force.[3] However, the adjutant general did not execute this order at that time.[4] It was not until 2012 that the force was officially organized.

In May of 2018 former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens signed HB 1469 into law which modifies provisions of the Missouri military code by changing the name of the “Missouri Reserve Military Force” to the “Missouri State Defense Force”.[5]


Maj. Gen. Stephen Danner, Adjutant General of Missouri, administers an oath to the initial members of the Missouri Reserve Force at the Ike Skelton Training Site.

As of 2016, the MSDF is still in development, with three steps of recruiting planned to bring the MSDF to full force. The first step, currently in progress, is to establish a cadre of former Missouri National Guardsmen to serve as an organizational foundation for the MSDF, and so membership is currently limited to former members of the Missouri Army and Air National Guard. This is ostensibly to ensure that the officers of the MSDF are familiar with the procedures of the National Guard and can better develop the organization to work more seamlessly with the National Guard.[6]

Once this cadre of former Missouri National Guardsmen has been fully established, membership requirements are loosened under the second step, in which former veterans of all branches will be actively recruited, as well as certain civilian licensed professionals such as doctors, dentists, attorneys, engineers, counselors, emergency responders, among others. Lastly, membership will be open to civilian volunteers.[6]

There is no physical examination required for membership, but members must guarantee they are able-bodied citizens, in good health, and capable of performing moderate physical activity.[6]


The MSDF carries the same stateside responsibilities as the Missouri National Guard, including assisting the National Guard on recovery operations following natural disasters.[6] In the event of the National Guard deploying outside of the state, the MSDF is assigned to assist in the mobilization process and assume the stateside duties of the National Guard for the duration of the deployment, including:[7]

  • protecting life and property in times of emergency
  • assisting the adjutant general in preparation of the mobilization of the Missouri National Guard for active duty
  • assisting family members at home during deployments
  • assisting the adjutant general in control and operation of state military property left behind following Missouri National Guard mobilizations.

Legal protection

Members of the Missouri State Defense Force are given the same legal protections under Missouri law as federal reservists are entitled to under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). This guarantees, among other protections, that employers of MSDF members are required to give those employees a leave of absence when they are activated for training or to perform emergency services, and to reinstate these employees to their positions of employment when they return.[8]

See also


  1. ^ "National Guard Regulation 10-4: National Guard Interaction with State Defense Forces" (PDF). National Guard Bureau Publications & Forms Library. National Guard Bureau. 2 November 2011. 
  2. ^ "EXECUTIVE ORDER 82-17". Missouri Secretary of State Official Website. Retrieved 27 April 2014. 
  3. ^ Fitts, John P. (1 May 2009). "Voices: Activate reserve force". The Joplin Globe Online. The Joplin Globe. Retrieved 27 April 2014. 
  4. ^ "Greitens signing dozens of bills into law begore leaving office". Fox2STL. May 2018. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Missouri National Guard 2012 Annual Report" (PDF). The Missouri National Guard Official Website. Missouri National Guard Public Affairs Office. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 March 2013. Retrieved 18 April 2014. 
  6. ^ Lupescu, Sarah E. "Missouri's Reserve Military Force holds first muster". The Missouri National Guard Official Website. Missouri National Guard Public Affairs Office. Archived from the original on 2 May 2012. Retrieved 18 April 2014. 
  7. ^ "MO Rev Stat § 40.490". Justia. Retrieved 24 November 2017. 

External links

  • Official website
  • Public Affairs/Contact website

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