Trump Authorizes Title 32 Activation of Guard in 3 States Battling COVID-19

President Donald Trump on March 22 approved Title 32 activation of Guard troops in California, New York, and Washington to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

During Title 32 activations, the federal government—in this case, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security—funds Guard efforts, but troops are still serving within their home states. 

The price tag of this activation will ultimately hinge on how many Guard personnel are utilized for it and how long the tasking lasts, National Guard Bureau Chief USAF Gen. Joseph Lengyel told reporters on March 22, noting it averages between $8 million to $9 million a month to activate 1,000 Guardsmen, “depending on what they’re doing.”

Lengyel said these Title 32 forces could get to work immediately, noting that “they won’t be given any mission sets that they don’t have the appropriate equipment and personal protective equipment to engage with in a safe manner.”

Last week, Lengyel said he felt this type of Guard activation was preferable to a federal, or Title 10, activation in the fight against the new coronavirus, since it gives Guard personnel the ability to support law enforcement within their states.

As of early March 22, 7,300 Guard troops were activated in support of their states’ pandemic responses, the Bureau said.

Lengyel said he doesn’t expect the activation to impact the Guard’s other missions around the world, including operations in the U.S. Central Command and U.S. Indo-Pacific Command areas of responsibility.