Gov. Noem and Colleagues Defend Governors' Role as Commanders in Chief

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April 30, 2024

Contact: Amelia Joy


Gov. Noem and Colleagues Defend Governors’ Role as Commanders in Chief


PIERRE, S.D. – Today, Governor Kristi Noem and 52 of her fellow governors oppose legislation that disregards gubernatorial authority over the National Guard, Legislative Proposal 480. The bipartisan group of governors sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. The full letter can be found here.


Governor Noem understands the importance of her role as Commander in Chief of the South Dakota National Guard. In her address to a joint session of the legislature regarding the warzone at our Southern Border she said, “Governors are Commanders in Chief of our National Guards. These soldiers report to us, not the federal government. We understand our unique situations better than a distant federal authority can. I trust Governor Abbott to make the best decisions for his National Guard, just as I make the best decisions for ours here in South Dakota.”


“Ensuring the National Guard is adequately equipped with resources and capabilities to serve as the operational combat reserve for national security missions and to support domestic emergencies is among the National Governors Association’s highest priorities,” wrote Governor Noem and the other governors. “It is imperative that Governors retain the authority laid out in United States Code (U.S.C.) Title 32, Section 104.”


“Governors look forward to collaborating with congressional leaders and federal officials to ensure strong national security,” continued Governor Noem and the other governors. “Our top priority is the success of critical national security missions, both at home and abroad, which necessitates protecting Governors’ rights to lead as Commanders in Chiefs.”


Governor Noem was joined by Utah Governor Spencer Cox, Colorado Governor Jared Polis, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy, American Samoa Governor Lemanu Peleti Mauga, Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs, Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders, California Governor Gavin Newsom, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, Delaware Governor John Carney, Georgia Governor Briand Kemp, Guam Governor Lou Leon Guerrero, Hawaii Governor Josh Green, Idaho Governor Brad Little, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear, Louisiana Governor Jeff Landry, Maine Governor Janet Mills, Maryland Governor Wes Moore, Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Minnesota Governor Tim Waltz, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves, Missouri Governor Mike Parson, Montana Governor Greg Gianforte, Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen, Nevada Governor Joe Lombardo, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grishman, New York Governor Kathy Hochul, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, Northern Mariana Islands Governor Arnold Palacios, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt, Oregon Governor Tina Kotek, Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro, Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi, Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, U.S. Virgin Islands Governor Albert Bryan, Vermont Governor Phil Scott, Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, Washington Governor Jay Inslee, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, and Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon.