On Tuesday, the Arizona State Senate passed the Defend the Guard Act, legislation that would prohibit the deployment of Arizona’s National Guard to combat zones without a declaration of war from Congress, as required by the Constitution.
The bill passed in a vote of 16-13 along partisan lines, with Republicans supporting the legislation. The lead sponsor of the bill was Arizona Sen. Wendy Rogers (R), a retired lieutenant colonel who served in the US Air Force for 20 years.
“If the president wants to use the Arizona National Guard to fight wars halfway across the world, then it can only be done after a majority of the people’s representatives vote to send them there. If Congress refuses to vote, then it’s a war the Arizona National Guard should not be fighting,” Rogers said in a closing speech on the bill.
The Defend the Guard Act now heads to the Arizona House of Representatives, where the bill already has 10 cosponsors (the chamber has 60 members). Arizona residents are encouraged to contact their representatives (find your legislator here).
The Arizona State Senate is the first state legislature to pass the Defend the Guard Act. “Yesterday was historic. Exactly twenty years and one day after the US invasion of Iraq, the Arizona State Senate has passed legislation that will ensure their National Guard will never again participate in unconstitutional wars that Congress refuses to take accountability for,” said Dan McKnight, a combat veteran and chairman of Bring Our Troops Home, a group founded in 2019 to advocate for ending unconstitutional wars.
“My team and I have laid the groundwork for four years to reach this point. We could not be more proud of all the Arizonans who called their legislators in support of the Defend the Guard Act. Through education, we can move mountains and together end our endless wars,” McKnight added.
According to Bring Our Troops Home, a version of the Defend the Guard Act has been introduced in 18 states so far this year, and more are expected. On Tuesday, the bill was introduced in Maine by Sen. Eric Brakey (R).
“Over these last twenty years, the men and women of the fifty state national guards have accounted for nearly half of the active duty troops in Washington, DC’s undeclared forever wars in the Middle East,” said Brakey. “The Constitution requires Congress to declare war before sending our guardsmen into foreign battlefields.”
Visit DefendTheGuard.US to see if the Defend the Guard Act has been introduced in your state and to get involved in the growing movement to help end unconstitutional wars in the Middle East and Africa.