Governors oppose change to Insurrection Act

The nation’s governors sent a letter to leaders of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees urging them to remove provisions from the fiscal year 2009 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would limit governors’ authority over forces engaged in disaster relief or domestic emergencies within their states.

Specifically, Sections 591 and 594 of this legislation would modify the Insurrection Act by expanding the President’s power to order Reserve component forces other than the National Guard to active duty for domestic emergencies.

The letter, signed by North Carolina Gov. Michael Easley and South Carolina Mark Sanford, National Governors Association co-leads on the National Guard, asked Congress to remove the provisions and hold hearings on this proposed change to the Insurrection Act.

The letter also urged Congress to give governors tactical and operational control over federal forces while they are engaged in emergency response in a state, as recently recommended by the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves. This would provide for a unity of effort in delivering emergency services within a state.

For more information, please contact Jodi Omear at 202-624-5346 or visit

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