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Defend the Guard legislation would prohibit a state’s National Guard units from being deployed into active combat without a formal declaration of war by Congress, as provided by the U.S. Constitution.
Click on your state to see if it has a Defend the Guard bill already introduced.
A project of
National Guard units should not be deployed into combat without a vote by the people’s elected representatives.
ACLU ENDORSES DEFEND THE GUARD!
WEST VIRGINIA LEGISLATURE
House Bill 2732
Increase public awareness that the states and their voters have a role in deciding when our sons and daughters go to war.
Pass “Defend the Guard” legislation in a requisite number of states to compel Congress, out of military necessity, to reassert its authority under the U.S. Constitution and take charge of when, where, and how our nation goes to war.
Return to a constitutional foreign policy of a limited-government republic by bringing our troops home, ending our endless wars, and only using military force when required to protect the lives, liberty, and property of Americans.
The goal of Defend the Guard legislation, a project of Bring Our Troops Home, is to have states use their inherent, sovereign authority to rebalance war powers between the branches of the federal government
State legislators have an essential, civic obligation to their constituents to demand that the federal government adhere to congressional wars powers as mandated by Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution. Without an official declaration of war by the U.S. Congress, states have a duty to withhold their troops from active combat.
The sole objective of the Defend the Guard movement is to obligate the federal government to obey the U.S. Constitution before sending our sons and daughters to fight more endless wars.
Do the states have a role in the decision to send U.S. troops overseas?
Under our system of federalism, the role of states is grounded in the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It affirms that “the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” It was the intent of the Founding Fathers that the states could and should weigh in on significant matters of policy.
“Defend the Guard” legislation does not nullify federal law. It only obligates the federal government to follow what is already federal law — Congress’ duty to declare war — as outlined in Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution.
How can state legislatures participate in the movement to bring our troops home and restore constitutional war powers at the federal level?
By passing “Defend the Guard” legislation, state governments can block the use of their National Guard units from being deployed into active combat overseas unless such action has been sanctioned by a formal declaration of war by the U.S. Congress.
Over 45% of the soldiers deployed in the Global War on Terror have been National Guardsmen. By withholding this resource of manpower, states can obligate the federal government to reign in its endless wars and ensure that the U.S. Constitution is followed.
How does this legislation respond to the currently accepted method of Congress adopting an Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF)?
The enactment of an AUMF is a shameful political dodge that defers ultimate decision-making to the Executive branch. By abdicating their responsibility, Congress is refusing to exercise its duty under the U.S. Constitution.
Under “Defend the Guard” legislation, an open-ended AUMF is not considered to be an Article I declaration of war.
Has such legislation ever been introduced or passed by any state?
“Defend the Guard” legislation, to prevent the deployment of National Guard units into active combat absent a formal declaration of war by Congress, was first introduced in 2015 in the West Virginia House of Delegates by Pat McGeehan (R-Hancock) and has been introduced in that chamber every year since. Del. McGeehan, who formulated the concept of “Defend the Guard,” is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and served as an Air Force Intelligence officer across the Middle East.
In 2019, a motion to bring the legislation from committee to the House floor for final action received bipartisan majority support. However, the Speaker of the House refused to bring the bill up for a final vote, and it died when the Legislature adjourned later that year.
In 2020, “Defend the Guard” received a tied vote on the House floor, 50-50. The bill was adjourned sine die due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.