Acute public health problems, emergencies, and recent disasters have highlighted weaknesses in the general capabilities of non-uniformed civilian volunteers in the United States. Their lack of uniformity, organization, and chains of command limits their efficiency and usefulness, especially in light of new emergent crises of the post-Cold War. Indeed, the uncoordinated, undisciplined, and spontaneous convergence of medical volunteers is part of the problem. Sufficient and reliable, well-trained , and highly disciplined uniformed volunteer medical personnel familiar with the areas of operations are needed to augment full-time public health and medical personnel. State Defense Force (SDF) medical units can provide just such a volunteer paramilitary medical and public health resource. To show how SDFs can do this, the purpose of this article was to report on the work of an important, yet little known, force for public health and emergency/disaster response preparedness that has been “flying under the radar” for years in terms of the public health literature. Specifically, this article describes the Texas State Guard (an SDF) and its Operation Lone Star. In so doing, the article will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of SDFs, offer recommendations, and suggest future avenues for research inquiry.
For the article by LTC Raph J. Johnson III, U.S. Army Reserve, 1st BDE, 1 Southern Training Division, 75th Training Command … Article