[photo, Fifth Regiment Armory, 29th Division St., Baltimore, Maryland] Fifth Regiment Armory, 219 29th Division St., Baltimore, MD 21201 - 2288

Authorization for military force in Maryland began when the Maryland Charter of 1632 empowered Lord Baltimore to raise troops to put down insurrection or rebellion and subdue enemies of the province. It continued in the eighteenth century as Maryland militia units fought during the French and Indian War, and distinguished themselves in the American Revolution at the Battle of Long Island (1776), the Battle of Camden (1780), the Battle of Cowpens (1781), the Battle of Guilford Courthouse (1781), and the Battle of Eutaw Springs (1781).

Fifth Regiment Armory, 29th Division St., Baltimore, Maryland, January 2000. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

Under State government, the office of Adjutant General was authorized first in 1793 and made a Constitutional office in 1951 (Chapter 53, Acts of 1793; Const. 1851, Art. lX, sec. 2). The Adjutant General heads the Military Department and exercises powers and duties under the Militia Law of Maryland (Code Public Safety Article, secs. 13-101 through 13-905). The organization of the Military Department also conforms to Title 32 of the U.S. Code and regulations issued pursuant thereto.

The Military Department is responsible for the Maryland Air National Guard, the Maryland Army National Guard, and the Maryland Defense Force. The Maryland Emergency Management Agency also operates within the Department.

The Military Department builds and maintains the armories and other facilities used by the Maryland Army National Guard and Air National Guard. Units of the Guard have their own command structure. Operating expenses and equipment of the Maryland Army National Guard and Maryland Air National Guard are a federal responsibility provided for under the U.S. Department of Defense. Active members of the Guard units receive pay and allowances when they are in a drill status or are ordered to active duty for training. These expenses are the responsibility of the U.S. Department of Defense.

The Governor may call up the Maryland National Guard for state service in emergencies. During a call-up, salaries and expenses of these units are the responsibility of the State. When members of the organized military (National Guard) are ordered by the Governor to active duty for training or emergencies, they receive pay and allowances as prescribed (Code Public Safety Article, secs. 13-704, 13-705). No specific provision is provided in the State budget for these expenses. For State call-ups, the Board of Public Works makes mission-specific emergency allocation of funds.

All State forms and records required for militia use and the reports and returns required by the federal government are prepared by the Military Department. Service records of all officers and enlisted persons who have served or are serving in the Maryland National Guard are maintained by the Department as well.

The Military Department also operates programs for youth. To reduce violent behavior and substance abuse, the About Face! Program conducts after-school activities, weekend retreats, and summer camps for at-risk youth between the ages of 12 and 16. The Free State Challenge Program is a 22-week residential program for high school dropouts between the ages of 16 and 18. Participants live on the main post of Aberdeen Proving Ground in Harford County while they prepare for the General Education Degree (G.E.D.) test and learn job skills.


The Adjutant General heads the Military Department, is responsible for the Department's budget, and is custodian of all State and federal property used by the organized militia. The Adjutant General maintains all State-owned armories located in Maryland and all other properties that may be occupied, purchased, or leased by the Military Department. The Adjutant General also regulates the use of such facilities; applications for their use should be made to the Adjutant General. In addition, the Adjutant General is responsible for the administration, training, and supply of approximately 9,460 National Guard troops, including 1,487 full-time employees (310 State paid; 1,177 federally paid).

Appointed by the Governor with Senate advice and consent, the Adjutant General serves on the Governor's Executive Council. The Assistant Adjutant General for Army and the Assistant Adjutant General for Air are both appointed by the Governor (Const., Art. IX, sec. 2). The Adjutant General and two Assistant Adjutants General are selected by the Governor from among the commissioned officers of the National Guard. Salaries of these personnel are a State reponsibility and included in the Military Department administrative budget. They are essentially on the Governor's staff, not on active duty in the usual military sense.

The Military Department provides aircraft, ground transportation, and engineering services to communities. It also allows equipment and armories to be used for community events. Federal and State law enforcement agencies are aided by the Department in drug-related seizures and arrests.


State Operations oversees Finance and Administration; the Free State Challenge; State Equal Opportunity; and the Veterans Affairs Honor Guard.

Upon request, the Military Department organizes uniformed honor guards to attend burial services of deceased veterans (Chapter 421, Acts of 1998). Military funeral honors are available at all cemeteries in the State and are free of charge for Maryland veterans. Between October 1998 and September 2005, the Department performed over 17,000 such details.


The Maryland Air National Guard started on June 29, 1921 when the 104th Observation Squadron was recognized federally in Baltimore. The Squadron was the first National Guard unit after World War I to be equiped with its own aircraft. With the rest of the Maryland National Guard, the Squadron was mobilized for federal service on February 3, 1941. From 1941 to 1942, it flew anti-submarine patrols out of Atlantic City, New Jersey, before personnel were transferred to other units. In late 1942, the Squadron was inactivated and its personnel transferred to the 517th Bombardment Squadron (later designated the 12th Anti-Submarine Squadron) at Langley Field, Virginia.

Today, the Maryland Air National Guard is a separate reserve component of the U.S. Air Force. The Guard is composed of the 175th Wing (including the 104th Fighter Squadron, the 135th Airlift Group, and the 235th Civil Engineer Flight). It provides air combat forces and airlift aircraft, as well as emergency support, to the U.S. Air Force and other unified commands.


The Maryland Army National Guard provides combat troops to the U.S. Army, and engineer, transportation and medical units, and military police for State service. The Guard consists of five major commands. These include the 58th Troop Command; the 70th Regiment (Leadership), a military training academy; and under the 29th Infantry Division (Light): the Combat Aviation Brigade, and the 58th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade.

Origins of the Maryland Army National Guard trace to 1634 when two militia captains disembarked with the early settlers at St. Clement's Island in St. Mary's County. All able-bodied men were obliged to serve in the militia, and volunteers were organized to protect the settlement. The militia expanded as the colony grew and volunteer units, known as "Maryland Forces", fought with the British from 1756 to 1763 to secure the frontier during the French and Indian War. By the end of the conflict, participation in the militia lapsed but was revitalized in 1774 as relations between the colonies and England became more strained. Several Maryland militia units fought with Washington's Continental Army and later became known as the Maryland Line.

After the Revolution, Maryland maintained a militia force which saw action in the War of 1812, distinguishing itself at the Battle of North Point (1814).

From 1846 to 1848, many members of the militia enlisted in the army to form a Maryland Battalion in the Mexican-American War. Later, Maryland militiamen were among those troops who stopped John Brown at Harper's Ferry in 1859.


Pikesville Military Reservation
610 Reisterstown Road, Pikesville, MD 21208 - 5197

The Maryland Defense Force originated in 1917 as the Maryland State Guard (Chapter 26, Acts of 1917). To make way in the armories for the return of the Maryland National Guard, the State Guard was disbanded in 1920. It reformed as the Maryland State Guard in 1941 (Chapter 33, Acts of 1941). As the Maryland Defense Force, it reorganized in 1990 (Chapter 239, Acts of 1990).

As commander-in-chief of the militia, the Governor has the power to organize and maintain additional military forces, known as the Maryland Defense Force. The Force is separate and distinct from the Maryland National Guard. The Force is composed of officers, commissioned or assigned, and all able-bodied citizens of the State who volunteer and are accepted for service. They may be ordered to active duty in the State by the Governor whenever the National Guard has been called into the military service of the United States. Members of the Force are uniformed as prescribed by the Governor, who also may reduce or disband such forces (Code Public Safety Article, secs. 13-101, 13-501 through 13-508).


State Emergency Operations Center
Camp Fretterd Military Reservation, 5401 Rue Saint Lo Drive, Reisterstown, MD 21136

The Maryland Emergency Management Agency provides for a civil defense system to protect life and property from attack and offer relief and assistance to people struck by natural disasters. Although it is organized within the Military Department, the Agency reports directly to the Governor (Chapter 24, Acts of 2010).

Functions of the Agency originated during World War I when the Preparedness and Survey Commission and the Maryland Council of Defense organized in 1917. They continued under the Council of Defense and Resources, formed by the Governor in August 1940. That council was followed by the Maryland Council of Defense created by statute in 1941, which operated during World War II (Chapter 567, Acts of 1941).

In 1950, duties of the Council devolved to the Maryland Civil Defense Agency (Federal Civil Defense Act of 1950; P.L. 920). In 1970, it reorganized as the Maryland Civil Defense and Emergency Planning Agency within the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (Chapter 401, Acts of 1970). The Agency was renamed the Maryland Civil Defense and Disaster Preparedness Agency in 1975, and became the State Emergency Management and Civil Defense Agency in 1981 (Chapter 666, Acts of 1975; Chapter 505, Acts of 1981). As the Maryland Emergency Management Agency, it transferred to the Military Department in 1989 (Chapter 674, Acts of 1989).

From 1950 to 1970, the Agency was concerned primarily with statewide nuclear attack preparedness (Chapter 563, Acts of 1949). Later, it addressed disaster relief and emergency resources management. Duties covered floodplain management, flood insurance initiatives, community preparedness for weather emergencies, earthquake hazard reduction, dam safety, emergency broadcast system, emergency warning, and terrorist incidents.

When the Defense Civil Preparedness Agency was established in the U.S. Department of Defense in 1972, the Population Protection Program (PPP) also was developed. The Program is adaptable to natural disasters, peacetime emergencies, and nuclear attack.

In 1979, the Three Mile Island Incident turned federal attention to radiological emergency planning. In 1980 and 1981, the Agency produced radiological emergency plans to cope with accidents at Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant in Maryland, and Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station near Maryland's northern border in Delta, Pennsylvania. These plans were tested in 1981 and 1982. Annually, the State Radiological Plan is tested with a full-scale operational exercise.

Since 1981, the Governor has been responsible for emergency management in Maryland. The Governor has emergency powers to suspend State statutes temporarily, direct evacuations, control access, clear debris, and use private property if necessary. When the Governor declares a state of emergency, the Agency Director coordinates the emergency acts of State government and those local governments included in the declaration. The Agency plans and executes the disaster and emergency preparedness response between State and local agencies. It coordinates emergency services with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), other state emergency management agencies, and public utility and other private agencies.

To aid another state in time of emergency, the Governor may authorize the use of State and local resources (Chapter 193, Acts of 1993). In the event of an emergency in Maryland, the Governor also may accept aid from another state.

Maryland Emergency Prepardeness Program. The Maryland Emergency Management Agency develops and coordinates emergency prepardeness policy through the Maryland Emergency Prepardeness Program . At all levels of government statewide, the Program outlines emergency preparedness, response and recovery responsibilities for natural, technological, terrorist and attack-related emergencies and disasters. The Program consists of four components: preparedness; response; mitigation; and recovery.

Bi-annually, the Agency reviews and updates the Program, and ensures that State agencies understand their responsibilities during times of emergency. The Agency also coordinates emergency preparedness activities and operations among State and local agencies, the federal government, other states, and private and nonprofit agencies (Executive Order 01.01.2013.06).

The Director of the Maryland Emergency Management Agency is appointed by the Governor (Chapter 24, Acts of 2010; Code Public Safety Article, sec. 14-104).

Under the Maryland Emergency Management Agency are the Emergency Management Advisory Council, the Maryland State Emergency Response Commission, and three directorates: Administration, Operations, and Preparedness.


Administration started as the Budget, Fiscal, and Logistics Division. The Division became Personnel, Fiscal and Logistics in 2002. Reformed at the Logistics Directorate in 2004, it was abolished in 2007. Functions of the Logistics Directorate were restructured in 2008 to form Administration.

Administration oversees four branches: Budget and Finance, Grants Management, Human Resources, and Public Assistance.

Grants Management oversees the distribution of federal Homeland Security Grants to local governments and first responders. Assistance is provided to build emergency response capabilities and is used to buy protective equipment for emergency personnel, improve critical infrastructure, and build interoperable communications systems.


Operational Support organized as the Operations Division, and was renamed the Readiness Division in 2002. The Division reformed as the Operations Directorate in 2004, became Operations in 2008, and received its present name in 2012.

Operational Support oversees the Maryland Joint Operations Center, the State Emergency Operations Center, and the Regional Liaison Officer Program.

The Maryland Joint Operations Center was initiated in 2004. The Center is staffed continuously by emergency management professionals and members of the Maryland National Guard who coordinate communications for first responders, and monitor local, State, national and international events for indications of hazardous situations that could threaten Maryland.

The Center functions as a communications, warning, and message center by providing a way to disseminate emergency information to local emergency managers and to alert decision makers when a threatening situation arises.

In response to an event that requires large-scale State involvement and support, the Director may activate the State Emergency Operations Center as a command and control station for emergency and disaster management. Representatives of federal and State agencies, as well as private and volunteer organizations, assemble at the Center to coordinate action and allocate resources for emergency response.


Preparedness was created in November 2012. It oversees three branches: Active Learning and Exercise; Adaptive Planning; and External Outreach.

Active Learning and Exercise provides education and training opportunities to State and local emergency management professionals. The branch also participates in exercises which simulate real-life emergency situations and allow emergency managers to identify and resolve problems prior to a real event.

Originally formed as the Planning Division, Adaptive Planning reorganized as the Planning Directorate in 2004. It was dissolved in 2005, and was reconstituted as Planning in 2009. As Adaptive Planning, it reorganized under Prepardeness in 2012.

Mitigation & Recovery Program. To reduce or eliminate the impact of future disasters, Adaptive Planning oversees the Mitigation and Recovery Program. It works with local jurisdictions and other State agencies in developing responsible land-use programs, upgrades to building codes, and suitable routes for transporting hazardous materials in the State. With federal agencies, the Agency seeks to identify actions that over the long term can avoid repeated damage and loss.

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