AZ Gets State Defense Force Law; Now It’s Time to Act

Jessica Zuckerman /

It sat on her desk for over a week, but yesterday Governor Jan Brewer (R–AZ) finally signed S.B. 1495 into law. The new law takes an important step and allows the governor to mobilize the Arizona State Defense Force (SDF) “for any reason” she sees fit.

Arizona’s constitution has long allowed for the creation of an SDF. This latest law, however, removes many of the restrictions on mobilizing this force. No longer is the governor required to wait for the Arizona National Guard to be physically located out of state before calling up the SDF. Whenever the need exists, the governor may act.

Brewer should certainly be applauded for not adding S.B. 1495 to the stack of vetoed bills yesterday afternoon. However, according to the Associated Press, it appears that while “Brewer believed it was prudent to sign the bill … [she] has no immediate plans to actually create the force.” The passage of S.B. 1495 does no good if it is not followed by action.

Arizona must now “Put Up [Its] Guard!” and create an SDF. With little to no cost to the state or its taxpayers, an SDF would be an invaluable force multiplier and homeland security resource for the state of Arizona. In today’s age of strained financial resources and budget cuts, states like Arizona can ill afford to ignore the capabilities of these forces.

To date, 23 states and territories have an SDF. It’s time that Brewer jump on board and make Arizona number 24.