MI-VDF Frequently Asked Questions
Q: WHAT IS THE MICHIGAN VOLUNTEER DEFENSE FORCE?
A: A state defense force is authorized by Federal law, Title 32 of the United State Code and in Michigan, by the Michigan Military Act 150 of 1967. The State of Michigan Volunteer Defense Force is an all-volunteer, uniformed public service organization which serves under the command of the Governor as Commander-in-Chief and is directed by The Adjutant General.
The Michigan Volunteer Defense Force is a non-federally recognized component of the authorized military forces of the State of Michigan. It is a separate command from the National Guard but is under the direction of The Adjutant General of Michigan. Unlike the National Guard, the MI-VDF is to be used for service exclusively within the State of Michigan. All MI-VDF members take an oath of allegiance to the United States of America and the State of Michigan to obey the orders of the Governor of the State of Michigan, and the officers appointed over them. Members serve for a period of not less than one year.
Q: WHO CAN JOIN THE MIVDF?
A: Any United States citizen who is a resident of the State of Michigan between the ages of 17 and 65 whether or not a prior service veteran. Current members of the Active or Reserve Components of the United States Armed Forces and individuals who have been convicted of a felony or who have received a less than honorable discharge from the Armed Forces are excluded from membership.
Q: WHAT OBLIGATION OF TIME WOULD I BE EXPECTED TO GIVE?
A: Members are required to attend scheduled meetings. Meetings may last several hours and are usually held on Saturdays. Your particular assignment may require additional hours of work to organize your section or staff, complete necessary projects, or recruit. These additional hours may be done at home according to your own schedule and at your leisure. In addition, there may be Annual Training for a two-day period.
Q: WILL I BE PAID FOR MY TIME AND OUT OF POCKET EXPENSES?
A: No. However, if the Governor activates the MI-VDF, members are paid at the same rate of pay for their rank or grade as their National Guard counterparts. However, the only reimbursable expenses are those to which prior approval is given. The MI-VDF does have a budget from which approved reimbursements are deducted. While there may be certain tax benefits for non-reimbursed expenses, you should check with your tax adviser.
Q: AM I REQUIRED TO PASS A PHYSICAL EXAMINATION?
A: NO. However, you must be able to perform all assigned tasks without endangering yourself or others.
Q: WHAT OTHER OBLIGATIONS WOULD I HAVE?
A: Your oath of office coupled with the orders of the officers and/or senior non-commissioned officers are your guides regarding obligations. The MI-VDF is a volunteer organization. Members are free to submit their resignations. It is reasonable to expect member to participate in scheduled meetings and training sessions. You must wear the assigned uniform correctly and otherwise conform to the personal and grooming standards according to established MI-VDF which mimic US Army Regulations. You may only wear your uniform to, at and from drill or other authorized or pre-approved functions. While in uniform, all rules of military courtesy must be observed.
Q: WHAT UNIFORM WILL I WEAR?
A: Pursuant to Army Regulation 670-1, paragraph 30-8c, you will wear the approved uniform as designed by the Cdr, MI-VDF. Currently the approved uniform is the Army ACU, see photos of uniformed volunteers as depicted in the photo portion of this Website.
Q: AM I ISSUED UNIFORMS OR EQUIPMENT?
A: All officers and enlisted personnel are required to purchase and maintain their own uniforms and accessories upon appointment.
Q: HOW WILL MY RANK BE DETERMINED?
A: Applicants are interviewed, evaluated and appointed or enlisted to an appropriate rank based on the availability of an authorized billet (job position) for the applicant within a unit or staff function, as well as on the basis of prior military service, education, civilian occupation, and other factors in accordance with established laws and regulations and without regard to race, religion, sex, or national origin.
Q: ARE THESE “REAL” OFFICER AND ENLISTED RANKS?
A: According to Michigan law, MI-VDF “officer and enlisted personnel shall be appointed in the same manner, and with like duties, responsibilities and authority as prescribed in special regulations” (32.671). All appointments, commissions, warrants, and enlistments are subject to recognition by the Governor through The Adjutant General. All members may be called to State Active Duty to participate in missions when ordered by the Governor through The Adjutant General.
Q: CONSIDERING THAT I AM NOT PAID, PROVIDE MY OWN UNIFORMS AND EQUIPMENT AND HAVE TO DO SOME ACTUAL WORK—WHY SHOULD I JOIN THE MICHIGAN VOLUNTEER DEFENSE FORCE?
A: The majority of MI-VDF members join and continue to serve in order to contribute their time and talent– for the benefit of their community. The MI-VDF is a military uniformed public service organization constituted by Michigan law for the benefit of the people of the State of Michigan and requires an obligation on the part of its members. You will be carrying on the unique American tradition of volunteer militia service which dates back to 1636 before the creation of the United States. You will serve with other patriotic people who have a knowing respect for military preparedness. You will work with other MI-VDF members to accomplish missions important to the safety and security of the people and communities of Michigan. Lastly, but perhaps most challenging, you will have the opportunity to utilize the training you acquired in the military and in civilian life to develop, maintain, and build the cadre of the MI-VDF as the officially recognized and sanctioned Michigan state defense force. Simply stated, most members have joined because they consider themselves to be patriot citizens who act on what they believe.
Q: WHERE WILL I SERVE?
A: Our personnel are generally assigned to one of our seven battalions (currently six) across the state as near your home as possible. If activated you may be located anywhere in the State of Michigan to best serve the emergency needs of our people and their communities.
Q: HOW DO I APPLY?
A: Please use the contact information provided on this website, download the application, fully complete it, and mail to the address thereon. If you have prior service, attach an official copy of your military discharge or release. If 17 years of age, you must include the parental consent form signed by your guardian.
Q: WHO IS ELIGIBLE?
A: The following persons are eligible for enlistment or appointment:
- Applicants who are between 17 and 65 years of age, whether or not a prior service veteran;
- Applicants who are a citizen of the United States* and a resident of the State of Michigan (*Applicants who are aliens must show proof that they have made a legal declaration to become a United States citizen and must present a United States Department of Homeland Security, BCIS Form N-300, authenticated by a Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services Local Office);
- Applicants who have a demonstrated understanding and proficiency in the English language;
- Applicants who are either a high school graduate or have passed the GED test;
- Applicants who are medically qualified.
Q: WHO IS INELIGIBLE?
A: The following persons are considered ineligible for enlistment or appointment:
- Convicted felons; Persons adjudged as a youthful offender;
- Persons on parole or probation.
- Persons with prior military service who have an RE-4 re-enlistment code on their DD-214.
- Persons with prior military service whose discharge is characterized as other than “Honorable”. Persons adjudged as a security risk; Conscientious objectors.
- Persons not meeting acceptable height and weight standards.
- Current members of any Active or Reserve Component of the U.S. Armed Forces;
- Persons convicted of any offense involving moral turpitude.
- Persons with significant medical disorders which could endanger themselves or others.
- Persons with a medical disability which exceeds an RE-3 profile.
- Persons required to register for Selective Service, but who have failed to do so.