Florida Prepared to Send a Platoon of State Guardsmen to Texas Border

Florida Prepared to Send a Platoon of State Guardsmen to Texas Border

Though Texas has not requested it, Florida is prepared to send up to a platoon to assist in southern border security

Liv Caputo
Liv Caputo
February 26, 2024

TALLAHASSEE, FL—The newly confirmed Director of the Florida State Guard announced that only five members of the organization are currently at the Texas border, though the Guard is prepared to send up to a platoon to shore up the southern border.

"The support that we still think we may send is about a platoon-level: that's about 30 folks," Director Mark Thieme, a U.S. Marine veteran, said in Monday's Senate Committee on Ethics and Elections. "[They would] provide support to checkpoint operations, distributed logistics, support to public safety, whether on land or on water...there have been no formal requests made by the state of Texas, nor received and validated by the state of Florida for subsequent deployment."

The State Guard was utilized throughout World War II to assist the state while troops were abroad. It was disbanded in 1947 and went completely defunct until its 2022 revival by the Governor. DeSantis has since discussed his plans to send the State Guard to the Texas border, drawing criticisms that his state-run agency may be militarily deployed nationwide.

"There is a distinction, I believe, from having a military approach with good order and discipline, as opposed to preparing for combat," Thieme said, explaining claims that a series of State Guardsmen quit last year following military-style training, as opposed to working as an "emergency-focused civilian force", which had been the agency's original purpose.

"We are not statutorily authorized to deploy outside of the state under federal authority, and so the emphasis on the training that we're providing our soldiers in initial entry training and the advanced skills beyond that is focused on Crisis and Emergency Management," Thieme continued.

At the beginning of the Legislative Session, a State Guard bill made big waves throughout the Capitol, drawing immense controversy from Floridian onlookers. HB 1551's original form would have allowed DeSantis to deploy the State Guard during "periods of unrest" and "at any other time deemed necessary and appropriate" by the Governor. A strike-all amendment greatly watered down the bill, so that it now solely deals with Level 2 background checks for prospective State Guardsmen.

Thieme was unanimously confirmed by the Senate Committee on Ethics and Elections, and now must be confirmed on the Senate Floor.

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Liv Caputo

Liv Caputo

Livia Caputo is a senior at Florida State University, working on a major in Criminology, and a triple minor in Psychology, Communications, and German. She has been working on a journalism career for the past year, and hopes to become a successful reporter after graduation. Her work has been cited in Fox News, the New York Post, and the Daily Mail

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