The Mississippi State Guard (MSSG) is the constitutionally authorized State Defense Force of the state of Mississippi. Operating under the authority of the Mississippi Military Department, it is on an equal constitutional basis with the Mississippi Army National Guard, (MSARNG) and the Mississippi Air National Guard (MSANG). The Commanding General of the State Guard is appointed by the Adjutant General of the State of Mississippi, and answers directly to him. Further, all Commissioned Officer appointments and or promotions must be approved by the Adjutant General.
The Mississippi State Guard is an all-volunteer organization tasked with supplementing the forces of the Mississippi Army National Guard and/or Air National Guard upon the order of the Governor of the State of Mississippi through the Adjutant General of the State of Mississippi. While its primary mission is to assist in coping with any man-made or natural disaster, the MSSG trains to be ready to meet any assignment. As a State Guard Unit, it is not subject to any federal authority, with regard to assignment and/or control.
Mississippi State Guard members are volunteers, self-equipped (armed only under special circumstances, as defined in law), can only operate within the borders of the state, and are unpaid unless activated to assist or backfill the MSARNG.
The mission of the Mississippi State Guard is to establish and maintain an all-volunteer formal military organization as the state's reserve to the Mississippi National Guard (MSNG). The MSSG is to assist the MSNG with in-state missions as directed by the Governor and the Adjutant General of Mississippi. The MSSG is tasked with assuming the mission of the MSARNG should they be fully mobilized outside the state. The MSSG is similarly tasked with securing armories, assistance to Guard families, and assuming other duties until the full mobilization ceases. MSSG personnel may, at the request of the Adjutant General of Mississippi, be trained in the protection of the life and property, of the citizens of Mississippi due to natural or man-made disasters.
The Mississippi State Guard was initially established as the Home Guard by executive order in 1941, during World War II, after the Mississippi National Guard units were called to federal active duty. In 1986, when the United States Army adopted the "Total Force Concept" in which the National Guard of all states are trained as, and considered an integral part of, the active duty forces of the United States military (though remaining under State control unless activated to Federal Service), the MSSG was re-activated and re-organized as a cadre force to augment the state's National Guard Forces, as necessary, in the event of their federal deployment. U.S. Code, Title 32, Section 109, authorized the states to organize a State Defense Force (SDF) as provided by its laws. The Mississippi Code of 1972, Chapter 5, paragraph 33-5-1 thru 33-5-53 authorizes the establishment of the Mississippi State Guard.