HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WDVM) — When the COVID-19 pandemic first started, the federal government called on the support of the National Guard to aid in matters such as Coronavirus testing, disinfecting nursing homes, and even removing bodies of victims in New York City. But now, governors, including Maryland governor Larry Hogan, are urging the administration to extend the order that would keep National Guard servicemen and women assisting the states.
Title 32 is one of two orders that activates the National Guard and places them under the authority of state government. The other order that mobilizes the National Guard is Title 10 which places the National Guard members under the authority of the president.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Guard has been mobilized in a number of ways to assist the state’s recovery and reopening measures. But now, some states face another threat: natural disasters. This prompted Governor Hogan and 41 other governors to pen a letter to the administration requesting the extension of Title 32.
“As states and territories move toward recovery and reopening, our National Guard will be critical in supporting operations such as testing, distribution of personal protective equipment, supply and food chain support, augmenting staff at nursing homes, and supporting warehouse operations. Finally, with natural disaster season on the horizon, we believe the consistency of Title 32 specifically for COVID-19 related missions will help to provide states and territories with flexibility for easier transitions to supporting local disaster-related crises.”Governor Larry Hogan on the importance of Title 32 and its extension
The current extension of Title 32 is authorized until Aug. 21. However, Hogan and the National Governors Association highlighted that duty status of the National Guard “cannot be changed on a dime.” The statement from the NGA stated that the forced start of the transition process placed undue stress on the states as they were trying to ensure the guard members stayed compliant with the required quarantine policy. Furthermore, states and territories will begin the paperwork and training of new guard members in state active duty starting on August 3rd, 2020.
The statement also emphasized that “Any further delay will make a challenging situation more challenging.”