Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

AGO 1953 No. 36 - May 8 1953
Attorney General Don Eastvold


 Civil defense funds may not be expended for the purpose of equipping a proposed state guard reserve.

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                                                                     May 8, 1953

Admiral D. E. Barbey
Director of Civil Defense
Legislative Building
Olympia, Washington                                                                                                                Cite as:  AGO 53-55 No. 36

 Dear Sir:

             In your letter of April 29, 1953, you enclose copies of a memorandum and a letter from the adjutant general of the Washington National Guard addressed to you under date of February 17, 1953.  These documents relate to a proposed plan to establish a state guard reserve to be equipped through the use of civil defense funds.  Subsequent to our discussion with you on May 6, 1953, you have forwarded a copy of the adjutant general's supplemental letter to you under date of April 30, 1953.

             You ask our opinion as to whether state civil defense funds may be used for such purpose.

             It is our conclusion that civil defense funds may not be expended for the purpose of equipping a proposed state guard reserve.


             The Washington Constitution authorizes the organization of the state militia subject to the constitution and laws of the United States.  Section 2, Article X, Washington Constitution.  The military code of the State of Washington requires that the organization of the militia be in conformity with the laws and regulations of the United States, RCW 38.08.010.

              [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            Federal law prohibits the maintenance of troops by states in peace time except as authorized in accordance with the organization prescribed by the National Defense Act, Title 32, U.S.C.A. § 194.  This same section, as amended in 1950, permits the organization and maintenance of such military forces, other than a national guard, as may be provided for by state law.  This amendment was effective only while any part of the National Guard of the state was in active federal service.  This amendment expired two years after September 27, 1950, and has not been extended or reenacted.

             At the present time therefore there is no provision in the National Defense Act for the organization or maintenance of military forces, other than the National Guard, within the state.  The organization of the state guard reserve at this time would not be authorized and we are of the opinion that civil defense funds may not be used for the procurement of equipment of such an organization.

 Very truly yours,
Attorney General

Assistant Attorney General