Florida Reps. Kat Cammack (R) and Val Demings (D), with the help of the entire Florida House delegation, have directed a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III to address more equitable funding and allocation of resources for the Florida National Guard in the FY2022 Defense Budget.
Citing the deployment of Florida’s National Guard regarding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, their “response and vaccine rollout has supported the statewide delivery of vaccines and food distribution, ensuring more than five million Floridians have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to date.” Taking into account “a population expected to grow by five million in the next decade, the letter spotlights the inadequate guardsman to citizen ration for the state, which currently employs 12,000 guardsmen instead of the proportional 21,000.”
In the letter, Cammack details that “Florida is our nation’s 3rd most populous state yet when compared among other states our Guardsman to ratio places Florida at 53 of 54.” Moreover, “Florida is the nation’s fourth most disaster-prone State and as a result, our National Guard has experienced one of the highest Operation Tempos (OPTEMPO) with over 22,000 National Guardsmen deployed since 9/11 and over 1.1 million workdays supporting state disaster response.”
Ultimately, to “ensure that the Florida National Guard has the force structure and resources necessary to continue keeping the State of Florida safe and secure,” the lawmakers ask Secretary Austin to “carefully review the Force Structure Proportionality study required in the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act.”
Reps. Kat Cammack, Val Demings, Matt Gaetz, Neal Dunn, John Rutherford, Al Lawson, Michael Waltz, Stephanie Murphy, Bill Posey, Darren Soto, Daniel Webster, Gus Bilirakis, Charlie Crist, Kathy Castor, Scott Franklin, Vern Buchanan, Greg Steube, Brian Mast, Byron Donalds, Alcee Hastings, Lois Frankel, Ted Deutch, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Frederica Wilson, Mario Diaz-Balart, Carlos Gimenez, and Maria Elvira Salazar.