Michigan Volunteer Defense Force

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Michigan Volunteer Defense Force
Agency overview
Formed 2004
Preceding agencies
  • Michigan State Troops' Home Guard (1917-30 June 1952)
  • Michigan Emergency Volunteers (1988-1998)
Headquarters Lansing, Michigan
Employees 200 officers and enlisted members
Agency executive
  • COL William R. Ewald, Brigade Commander
Parent agency Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs
Child agency
  • 1st-7th Battalions
Website www.mivdf.org Michigan Dept. Military & Veteran Affairs Webpage

The Michigan Volunteer Defense Force (MIVDF) is a military force, duly constituted as a state defense force and an element of Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. The MIVDF was reorganized from the former Michigan Emergency Volunteers by Adjutant General Thomas Cutler in 2004 to fill a homeland security role in the State of Michigan. As of October 2011, the MIVDF is commanded by COL William Ewald, a retired United States Army colonel.


Michigan State Troops

Michigan's first state defense force was established as the Michigan State Troops' Home Guard along with the Michigan State Troops Permanent Force in Act No. 53 Public Acts of Michigan on 17 April 1917. The Michigan State Troops organizations served on in-state active duty during World War I, II, and the Korean War.

Michigan Emergency Volunteers

The Michigan State Troops were reconstituted as the Michigan Emergency Volunteers by Public Act 246 of 1988. The original intention for the MEV was to act as a force of trained emergency volunteers in the event that the National Guard was sent out of the state in a national emergency. The MEV was ordered to stand down in October 1998.

Michigan Volunteer Defense Force

On 20 September 2004, MG Thomas G. Cutler, the Michigan Adjutant General, and COL Michael McDaniel met with the then small interim staff to review and discuss various opportunities for a state defense force to again serve within the state's military establishment. At the conclusion of that meeting, Adjutant General Cutler authorized the reactivation of the new Michigan Volunteer Defense Force to undertake involvement in various homeland security concerns and other military support services as assigned.

Current activity

File:Retired U.S. Army Reserve and former Michigan Army National Guard Capt. Teresa Dobie, receives a retirement flag and pin from Michigan Volunteer Defense Force member, Chief Warrant Officer 3 James Jones.jpg
Retired U.S. Army Reserve and former Michigan Army National Guard Capt. Teresa Dobie, receives a retirement flag and pin from Michigan Volunteer Defense Force member, Chief Warrant Officer 3 James Jones.

Today the Michigan Volunteer Defense Force is organized as a statewide brigade composed of seven field battalions located within the former Michigan State Police and Office of Public Health Program districts. Each battalion is being developed to serve and support community needs across the State of Michigan. All seven battalions have one mission: - At the direction of Major General Gregory J. Vadnais the Adjutant General and the Director Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs,the Michigan Defense Force shall provide reliable personnel support to local and state agencies during declared emergencies.

The Seven Battalions also have 6 essential task's:[1]

•Support MI's Receipt, Store and Stage (RSS) of the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS)

•Support MI with certified Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT)

•Support the MING with county liaison officers (LNO)

•Support the MING with Joint Reception, Staging, Onward Movement and Integration (JRSOI) staffing

•Support the MING with Retirement Services Specialists

•Support the MING & county/local authorities with Search and Rescue/Recovery (SAR)

Members of the Michigan Volunteer Defense Force are trained to be called on to perform search and rescue duties, first aid, fire suppression or mass casualty triage.[2]

Members of the Michigan Volunteer Defense Force may be ordered to "..active service in case of riot, tumult, breach of peace, resistance of process or for service in aid of civil authority, weather state or federal in time of actual or imminent public danger, disaster, crisis, catastrophe or other public emergency within the state or respond to acts of threats of terrorism or to safe guard military or other vital resources of this state...(Michigan Military Act 150 of 1967)[3]


Membership is open to all citizens of Michigan between the ages of 17 and 75. Prior military service is not required for membership in the Michigan Volunteer Defense Force.[2]

Members follow a military chain of command, with the Governor of Michigan serving as Command-in-Chief through the state Adjutant General. The Michigan Volunteer Defense Force is currently structured as a brigade- level command. The brigade is constructed as to model a U.S. Army light infantry brigade with a headquarters section, seven battalion level commands throughout the state with subordinate companies serving underneath the battalions. Officers, who are commissioned by the Governor, hold the ranks of 2nd Lieutenant (O1) through Colonel (O6) who hold billets similar to those found in regular Army brigades. These duties include both command and staff duty positions throughout the state. The MIVDF also maintains a number of Warrant Officer positions performing specialty tasks, with ranks from Warrant Officer 1 through Chief Warrant Officer 3. Enlisted ranks perform duties similar to those in Army units, with ranks ranging from Private (E1) through Sergeant Major/Command Sergeant Major (E9). All positions are unpaid and promotions are authorized according to recommendation from MIVDF Commanders and direction from the Adjutant General.

Units typically meet once a month on Saturdays to conduct various training events, and the entire brigade meets once a year for approximately two days for annual training. Michigan Defense Force members can be deployed out of state, if another governor ask for assistance with approval of governor of the State of Michigan.


Training for guardsmen involves courses in fire-fighting, search and rescue, first-aid, and radio communications.[4] The MIVDF, in conjunction with the Citizen Corps, manages the Michigan Volunteer Defense Force CERT Program so that guardsmen can receive a standardized disaster relief training.[5]

Training for guardsmen involves Basic Training, Leadership, Drill and Ceremony, State Courses in: Incident Command System, Emergency Management, Search and Rescue, Radio Communications, Shelter Management, Community Emergency Response Teams. Federal Courses involve: Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives (CBRNE), Mass Casuality Incidents, Incident Response to Terrorist Bombings (IRTB).[citation needed] Other trainings with NGO's(Non Government Organizations) include Citizens Corps, Red Cross, American Heart Association, and others.[citation needed]

See also


  1. "Michigan Volunteer Defense Force". Michigan Volunteer Defense Force Official Website. Retrieved 29 November 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 Holladay, Cheryl (August 25, 2011). "Michigan Volunteer Defense Force train as second responders for times of need". The Houghton Lake Resorter. Houghton Lake, Michigan: Houghton Lake Resorter. Retrieved November 30, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Michigan Military Act" (PDF). 3rd Battalion, Michigan Volunteer Defense Force. Retrieved 5 March 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Sanderson, Dan (8 September 2010). "Michigan Volunteer Defense Force seeks to recruit additional members". Crawford County, Michigan: Avalanche.com. Retrieved 3 July 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Michigan Volunteer Defense Force CERT Program". Citizen Corps. Retrieved 3 July 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links