National Guard

Entity: 694
Entity Type: State Government


The Utah National Guard was created in March 1894 by the territory's legislative assembly for the dual protection of nation and territory against all "enemies and oppressors". Prior to this time the territory was defended by various citizen militias--largely under the banner of the Nauvoo Legion, which continued until 1887. The National Guard traces its beginnings back to the earliest English colonies in North America. Following independence, the authors of the Constitution empowered Congress to organize, arm, and discipline the militia. However, recognizing the militia's state role, power to train the militia and to appoint officers was reserved to the states. Today's National Guard maintains a unique dual-mission that consists of both federal and state roles.

Biography/History Notes

The National Guard's federal mission is to maintain properly trained and equipped units available for prompt mobilization for war and national emergency. The National Guard's state mission is to support civil authorities in the protection of life and property. The Guard is also called upon to help preserve peace, order, and public safety. State service has included fire and flood control, air support, peacekeeping during labor strikes, and numerous construction projects across Utah. (Utah National Guard web-site, internet:, accessed 12/17/2001.)

The structure of the National Guard allows for command and control of units by the Governor or by the President of the United States, depending upon the nature of the call to duty. When National Guard units are not mobilized or under federal control, they report to the Governor. Conversely, the President serves as commander-in-chief for units mobilized for federal active duty. The Governor is responsible for appointing the Adjutant General, who functions as the Guard's chief of staff. The Adjutant General holds office for a term of six years, and is responsible for the Guard's training and readiness.

The Adjutant General's staff includes an Assistant Adjutant General for Army and an Assistant Adjutant General for Air.