California State Military Reserve

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California State Military Reserve (CSMR)
Bear flag insignia
Abbreviation CSMR
Motto Always Ready, Always There
Formation 1846
Type State Militia
Legal status Title 32 USC Section 109(c), CMVC Sec 51, 120, & 550
Headquarters Sacramento, CA
Region served
State of California
Commanding General
BG (CA) Timothy E. Albertson
Parent organization
California Military Department
Affiliations California National Guard, State Guard Association of the United States
$634,000 for FY2014–15[1]

Mexican–American War[2]
American Civil War[3][4]
Indian Wars[5]
Spanish–American War[6]
World War I (home front)[7]

World War II (home front)[8]
Formerly called
California State Militia, California State Defense Guard, California Home Guard, California State Guard, California National Guard Reserve

The California State Military Reserve (CSMR) is the state defense force of California, and one of three branches of the Active Militia of the State.[9] The military reserve was formed to provide California a trained and organized military force in the event of a state security emergency when the National Guard is deployed. Its current mission is articulated in CA Military & Veteran's Code § 550:[10]

"... as the Governor may deem necessary to defend and for the security of this State ..."


The California State Military Reserve is authorized as a state defense force under the provisions of the Title 32, United States Code, Section 109(c) [11] and the California State Military Reserve Act (codified in the California Military and Veterans Code).[12] It is one of five components of the California Military Department [13] and has legal standing as part of California's Active Militia.[14]

Members and Recruiting[edit]

The force consists of citizens or individuals who have begun their naturalization process, who possess a variety of skills, and many members are veterans of other branches of the United States Military as well as former members of the California Army and Air National Guard. All citizens over the age of 18 who are not felons and possess a high school diploma or GED are eligible to apply for membership, although military veterans and those with special skills which materially contribute to the CSMR's mission are preferred.

Members are considered uncompensated State employees,[15] although when called to emergency State Active Duty, they become compensated employees at the same rate as National Guard members of the same rank.[16]

Unlike the Civil Air Patrol or the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, the CSMR is a statutory military entity of the State with each CSMR member subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) per CMVC § 560.[17]


As authorized by Table of Distribution and Allowances (15 APR 2011)

  • Headquarters, California State Military Reserve
    • Headquarters Company
    • State Surgeon Office
    • Chaplain's Office
    • Staff Judge Advocate Section
    • Provost Marshal's Office
  • Regional Support Command - North
    • 1st Task Force
    • 2nd Task Force
    • 1st Special Troops Battalion
    • 2nd Special Troops Battalion
      • Detachment #3, Small Arms Training Team, Camp Roberts CA
  • Regional Support Command - South
    • 1st Brigade (Army Support)
    • 2nd Brigade (Civil Support)
      • 1st Battalion State Military Police (not an authorized unit on the 15 APR 2011 TDA)
      • 2nd Battalion Civil Support (not an authorized unit on the 15 APR 2011 TDA)
    • 1st Signal Support Company
  • Installation Support Command
    • ISC, Camp San Luis Obispo
    • ISC, Camp Roberts
    • ISC, JFTB Los Alamitos
  • Center for Military History
    • Museum Support Unit
    • Military History Unit
    • 1st Field History Unit (North)
    • 2nd Field History Unit (Central)
    • 3rd Field History Unit (South)
  • Troop Command
    • Recruiting Task Force - North
    • Recruiting Task Force - Central
    • Recruiting Task Force - South
    • Inactive Reserve Control Group
    • Trial Defense Service Augmentation Detachment
    • Training Battalion - Youth Programs
    • Detachment A – CSLO
    • Detachment B – Los Alamitos
    • Detachment C – Oakland
    • Detachment D – California Cadet Corps Support
  • Headquarters, Air Support Command
    • ASD – 129th RW Support Unit
    • ASD – 144th FW Support Unit
    • ASD – 146th AW Support Unit
    • ASD – 162nd CC Support Unit
    • ASD – 163rd RW Support Unit

Federal Activation[edit]

Like other state defense forces, CSMR members are generally not susceptible to federal activation. However, 10 USC 331-333 may grant powers to the federal government to call up the CSMR, [18][19] because militia is defined as both organized (National Guard) and unorganized under 10 USC 311(b).[20] In addition, Article II, Section II of the United States Constitution further states:

"The President shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States"[21]


The CSMR accomplishes its Homeland Security Mission by providing individual soldiers and airmen as well as rapid response teams to Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) missions in the preparation, prevention, deterrence, preemption, defense, and mitigation of natural and man-made threats to California.

Members of the CSMR are required to serve a minimum of 200 hours annually. Part of that time is spent at Unit Training Assemblies (drills or meetings) which are usually eight to twelve hours on one Saturday each month. Many units require 2-day drills or more depending on their mission. These drills are used for training sessions, activity coordination, and to work with their National Guard counterparts. CSMR soldiers embedded with National Guard units for training purposes will drill the full weekend with their National Guard counterparts.


CSMR soldiers of the Army Component wear the standard Army Service Uniform (ASU) as well as the Army Combat Uniform (ACU) and CSMR airmen of the Air Component wear the standard U.S. Air Force Service Dress uniforms, as well as the Airman Battle Uniform (ABU). All uniforms have distinctive state insignia designating them as a member of the California State Military Reserve. All officers and enlisted members are responsible for purchasing their uniforms and accessories. This could require an investment of $300 or more. However, a yearly $125 uniform and travel allowance has been authorized for all CSMR soldiers and airmen who have maintained 100% attendance in a twelve-month period.[22]

The Center for Military History is unique within the CSMR in that it has a Distinctive Unit Insignia which is worn by members.

Naval Militia[edit]

The California Military and Veterans Code also provides for a naval branch.[23] The California Naval Militia was founded in 1891 and grew to have many ships and sailors at statewide ports, from San Diego to Eureka. It provided officers and sailors to the U.S. Navy during the Spanish–American War and World War I.[24] The California Naval Militia was reactivated in 1976 by the Governor of California.[25] Unlike New York and the few other states with ship-borne active naval militia units, the California Naval Militia is a small unit of military lawyers and strategists who provide advice and legal expertise in the field of military and naval matters for the benefit of California's state defense force. It has not been a branch of the California state militia since it was mustered into the Navy during World War I[26]


Operation Fall Blaze[edit]

A past large-scale operation of the CSMR was during Operation Fall Blaze in October/November 2007, where over 100 citizen soldiers of the CSMR were integrated with their National Guard counterparts to help firefighters fight the California wildfires.

Operation Lightning Strike[edit]

The CSMR took an active and vital role in the 2008 Operation Lightning Strike, when Governor Schwarzenegger called on over 2,000 troops from the California Army National Guard, Air National Guard, and SMR to help overwhelmed firefighters fight statewide wildfires.[27]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]