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National Guard

National Guard, U.S. militia. The militia is authorized by the Constitution of the United States, which also defines the militia's functions and the federal and state role. Article 1, Section 8 provides that Congress shall have the power to call forth "the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions." Congress was entrusted with organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia, but the appointment of officers and the training of the militia were reserved to the states. Further provisions were made in the Second Amendment. In peacetime the National Guard is placed under state jurisdiction and can be used by governors to quell local disturbances, as in Newark and Detroit riots in 1967, and to help in times of local disasters, such as floods and hurricanes. In times of war or other emergencies the National Guard is absorbed into the active service of the United States and the president is commander in chief. The National Guard has been partially mobilized during the Korean War, the Berlin crisis of 1961, and the Persian Gulf War and for peacekeeping in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The National Guard's equipment and personnel are standardized to conform with U.S. army regulations. Enlistment is voluntary; compensation, paid by the federal government, is given for periods of drill and field training. The Air National Guard was formed in 1947.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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