DeSantis sends letter to Lloyd Austin and others after federal request to audit Florida National Guard squadron

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis sent a letter addressed to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and other congressional officials, following the Air Force’s request to federalize a Florida National Guard squadron without DeSantis’ approval.

The governor’s office said the Air Force has sought congressional approval to take control of the Florida National Guard’s 114th Electronic Warfare Squadron without consulting the state.

The goal was to bring the squadron under the direct control of the US Space Force.

“If adopted, the proposal would flout more than a century of precedent and undermine federal legal protections for state control of their National Guard forces,” DeSantis wrote in the letter.

He said U.S. law prohibits the reorganization of National Guardsmen by the federal government without the governor’s approval.

“This common-sense legal requirement ensures that National Guard personnel and resources, necessary for domestic crisis response and recovery and under the command and control of governors, are not diverted without regard to state and local interests,” he added.

DeSantis noted the dependence the state has on its National Guard and the potential consequences of losing direct access to them, especially when natural disasters threaten to strike.

“While Florida is committed to the success of Space Force and our national security, it is not possible to effectively protect our nation from foreign enemies if we cannot ensure the safety and security of our communities here at home,” he wrote.

“I urge you to withdraw or reject Bill 480,” he concluded.