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Posted: 12:57 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013

Join the Georgia State Defense Force!


What is the State Defense Force?

The Georgia State Defense Force (GSDF) is the all-volunteer, uniformed, unpaid branch of the Georgia Department of Defense, which includes the Army and Air National Guard. The State Defense Force is unarmed and does not train with or use weapons. The State Defense Force allows veterans and those who have never served in the armed forces the opportunity for uniformed service to help their fellow citizens.

What does the SDF do?  
  1. The SDF serves as the replacement for the National Guard if the Guard is called into federal service. In that case, the SDF would expand its ranks and prepare to perform tasks within the state as required by the Governor.  
  2. In "peacetime," SDF provides support and assistance to the National Guard by assisting the training and administration of Guard units. A major task is to provide assistance to the families of Guardsmen ordered into federal service. It supports the National Guard's state missions by performing a variety of community support tasks. These range from ceremonial functions such as parade color guards and support for local public events to response during natural or manmade disasters and emergencies. During such emergencies, SDF volunteers may assist state and local emergency management offices and local law enforcement in search and rescue operations, evacuation and traffic control. Other duties may include assessing the extent of damage, isolating areas of potential hazard to the public and assisting service agencies operating emergency public shelters.

What training and benefits are available?
The State Defense Force conducts extensive training, including indoctrination for new members, mission task training for individuals and units and professional development training to enhance leadership and management skills. This training takes place in a classroom setting with hands-on training sessions, as well as individual study sessions using materials from the U.S. Armed Forces and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Subjects include CPR, first aid, communications and navigation, public speaking, computer skills and disaster management. Our units normally meet once a month at local National Guard armories, and at least one weekend a year for annual training. Professional development training sessions are scheduled as required.

Members performing active duty for the state are protected by Worker's Compensation. Although we purchase our own uniforms, state funds are sometimes available to reimburse members for selected travel and living costs during training or state active duty.

Who can join the State Defense Force?
No experience is required. We welcome all adult citizens between the ages of 18 and 64. Age waivers may be made for those over 64 who offer specialized skills. Membership is voluntary and non-binding. There is no specific length of service. You will be sworn in as required by state law, but you may resign at any time. All applicants undergo a background check. Prior military personnel enter at their former rank while non-prior service personnel are evaluated based on their education and experience.

Our ranks are filled with the young and old, men and women of all races, religions and creeds, doctors, lawyers, business people, clergymen and homemakers. A patriotic desire to serve their community and state is their common bond.

How can I join?
Learn more about joining Georgia's SDF at . If you contact the GSDF, include your name, mailing address, telephone number and a brief description of your educational, military and civilian experience. You may also e-mail questions to . Or call (678) 655-5417 or (678) 655-5403 to inquire about service with the GDSF.

Candidates can also submit their application electronically via -- there is an "APPLY" button that dynamically populates on top of the website landing page.

In each case, you will receive an application packet with additional information and instructions for completion. Once this has been processed, you will be directed to the unit nearest your home to meet with personnel and complete the application process.  

Georgia veterans who still reside in the state are eligible to get their driver's license for free. Certain restrictions apply.