Click to return to front pageCommittee Report on the New Jersey Naval Militia Joint Command (NJNMJC) to The Adjutant General
The Adjutant General Report to Legislature on the NJ Naval Militia Joint Command

5 April 2005
Honorable Richard J. Codey
Senate President
449 Mount Pleasant Avenue
West Orange, NJU 07052
Honorable Albio Sires
Speaker, New Jersey Assembly
303 58th Street
West New York, NJ 07093

Dear Senator Codey and Speaker Sires:

Subject: The Adjutant General Report to the Legislature on the New Jersey Naval Militia Joint Command

In January 2004, P.L. 2004 c. 300 was enacted requiring the New Jersey State Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMAVA) to determine whether a viable and clearly defined mission exists for the New Jersey Naval Militia Joint Command (NJNMJC). The statute requires that if a mission exists for the NJNMJC that it be explained and that personnel and material assets required to fulfill the mission be outlined. If it is determined that no mission exists, justification needs to be provided to the Legislature.

As The Adjutant General, I considered a number of reports in order to make my recommendation to the Legislature on the mission of the NJNMJC. The first was a report prepared by members of DMAVA who were primarily of members of the NJNMJC, a report prepared by the New Jersey State Police (NJSP) which was requested by the Domestic Security Preparedness Task Force, and the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) executed between the U.S. Coast Guard and the NJSP. All three reports are attached. Although the DMAVA review identified a waterborne mission for the NJNMJC, I have concluded that there have been a significant number of changes to the oversight and management of homeland security issues and that the NJSP do have primary responsibility for the waterborne mission. In addition, there are limited resources in the State’s budget which should not be divided between two entities (NJSP and NJNMJC) providing a similar waterborne mission. Therefore, I could not, in good faith, identify a clearly defined mission for the NJNMJC. Following is a detailed discussion of my review and conclusions.


The NJNMJC was re-activated in 1999 by Governor Christine Todd-Whitman in a letter directing the Adjutant General to form such an entity by organizing the New Jersey Naval Militia and the New Jersey State Guard into one body. Essentially, the NJNMJC is a hybrid organization with the 1st Battalion being a true naval militia comprised of 95% actively drilling Navy and Marine Corps reservists, the 2nd Battalion performing as an “operational Naval State Guard” and the 3rd Battalion providing support and auxiliary functions as multi-service State Guard. The NJNMJC maintains an MOA with the Coast Guard that gives permission for reservists to drill and cites broad support areas where the NJNMJC could be augmentees. During rescue and recovery operations for September 11, 2001, a number of NJNMJC personnel were activated and utilized extensively during the period of September 2001 through January 2002. Most of them were members of the State Guard (2nd and 3rd Battalions). Related costs were in excess of $1.4 million in 2001 and 2002. The justification for such a mobilization of this force at that time is unclear since that mobilization was contrary to the guidance set forth in National Guard Regulation (NGR) 10-4 (federal) in that the resources of the National Guard should be unavailable prior to the activation of state defense forces such as the New Jersey State Guard. This issue speaks to the heart of the NJNMJC’s ability to respond. Upon the assumption of my duties as Adjutant General in January 2002, I terminated the state active duty for members of the NJNMJC and stood down accessions.

DMAVA undertook an internal review of the basis for the establishment and utilization of the NJNMJC by convening a Committee of military members to assist me in my decision. In an effort to be all-inclusive, the Committee consisted primarily of members of the NJNMJC, but also included members of the New Jersey Army and Air National Guard, and DMAVA’s homeland security directorate. The internal Committee proposed the mission of the NJNMJC as: “Provide trained and ready components of the State defense forces to respond to the call of the Governor in the event of a natural disaster, manmade disaster, terrorist event, domestic disorder, and request for assistance from civil authorities, public service support or other missions as directed by the Governor or The Adjutant General.” The operations identified are primarily waterborne security and support to homeland security missions.

Because of the significant changes made in the New Jersey’s approach to homeland security operations since September 11, 2001, this initial study was submitted to the Governor’s office for further inter-departmental discussion. In accordance with the oversight of homeland security issues required by the Domestic Security Preparedness Act of 2001 (P.L. 2001 c. 246), the Governor’s office subsequently requested a review by the Domestic Security Preparedness Task Force (DSPTF). At two separate meetings, the Task Force discussed the internal Committee’s proposed mission for the NJNMJC. The DSPTF then delegated the final review to an Executive Committee consisting of a Governor’s office representative, the Attorney General, DMAVA, and the NJSP. Because the New Jersey National Guard primarily supports the State through the management of emergency operations by the NJSP, the State Police provided a review of the organization, structure, mission, resources and command and control of the NJNMJC.

Current Homeland Security Operations

Under the auspices of the Domestic Security Preparedness Act, oversight to the State’s homeland security operations is provided by the Domestic Security Preparedness Task Force. Several departments participate and are involved in direct counterterrorism activities as well as protection of critical infrastructure—the Attorney General’s Office, the NJSP, the Office of Counterterrorism, DMAVA, the Department of Transportation, Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Health and Senior Services, and the Department of Agriculture, to name a few. The State Office of Emergency Management, which is administratively located within the Division of State Police, coordinates the state’s response to declared emergencies, coordinates state and local resources and supports local authorities under the Incident Command System (“ICS”).

In an effort to more fully manage homeland security operations on a 24/7 basis, the NJSP created a Homeland Security Directorate, increased their overall force composition, and enhanced several units including the NJSP Marine Services Bureau. The NJSP Marine Services Bureau currently has an MOA with the U.S. Coast Guard that provides the NJSP Marine Services Bureau with enhanced law enforcement authority and impacts on several of the potential operations identified by the NJNMJC.

In December 2002, the New Jersey National Guard opened a new Homeland Security Center of Excellence with a state-of-the-art Joint Operations Center (JOC). Response forces are task organized and managed by senior officers. A command cell structure oversees all planning and current operations. The stationing of a Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team-Heavy (WMD-CST) was awarded to New Jersey in March 2004.

There are many other statewide Homeland Security efforts underway, including:

• Target-hardening activities such as those undertaken by the Critical Infrastructure Advisory Committee and the best practices identified by sector.
• Specific mass transportation security initiatives
• Special interest items such as school and mall security.
• Participation in a comprehensive exercise program with the Department of Homeland Security such as TOPOFF—a national exercise.
• Technology assessment.
• Focus on urban initiatives.
• NJSP’s initiative with the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program which trains state and local volunteers to assist their communities during an emergency.

Force Multiplier Issues

The New Jersey National Guard is experiencing federal mobilizations at an historic pace to support overseas operations on the Global War on Terrorism. Even at today’s opstempo, the New Jersey National Guard (both Army and Air) is fully capable of maintaining a 24/7 Joint Operations Center (and have since July 2004), and fielding a National Guard Reaction Force in accordance with directives from the National Guard Bureau. (A National Guard Reaction Force must be capable of assembling a company-sized element within four hours and employ a battalion-sized follow-on element within 24 hours to perform critical infrastructure protection missions). New Jersey has been organized into two geographic task forces in order to comply.

An additional resource not available until 2004 is the stationing of a WMD-CST Heavy in New Jersey. This highly trained, specialized team consists of 22 fulltime Active Guard Reserve (AGR) members of the New Jersey Army and Air National Guard capable of responding 24/7 to any WMD event. The resources of this team have already been utilized extensively since 2002 in disaster preparations undertaken in response to specific threat intelligence as augmentees to out-of-state CSTs who were fully certified. It is anticipated that the New Jersey team will be fully validated this year.

Need Issues

Much has changed in port, waterway and overall homeland security since 2001 and 2002, which has greatly expanded the role for the NJSP Marine Services Bureau. The utilization of emerging technologies in tracking and sensor arrays assists both the U.S. Coast Guard and the New Jersey State Police Marine Services Bureau in ways not envisioned in 2001 and certainly not in 1999 when the NJNMJC was first re-organized and re-activated. The New Jersey State Police manage a statewide Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program that has produced over 4,300 volunteers in 160 teams all certified to augment the first responder community with an additional 1,100 in the training pipeline. Once trained and certified, these volunteers revert to supporting their local communities thus incurring virtually no overhead or centralized administration costs. In 2004, almost 100 New Jersey CERT volunteers were mobilized and sent to Florida to assist in hurricane recovery operations. Their costs were reimbursed by the federal government. At its peak, the NJNMJC had less than 400 members and currently there are 160 members actively drilling.

Command and Control Issues

NJSP identifies a conflict in that the bulk of the mission and operations identified by the NJNMJC are waterborne and already are provided by the State Police. Furthermore, in December 2004, the U.S. Coast Guard signed an agreement with the NJSP Marine Services Bureau delegating federal law enforcement powers on selected, critical portions
of our waterways to NJSP. By virtue of the fact that the NJNMJC was organized as a force multiplier for the New Jersey National Guard, the command and control of the NJNMJC would be in question. NJSP concluded that this dual and potentially distractive command and control posture may lend itself to conflicts and a diminished ability for the State Police to perform its mission. In fact, the NJNMJC may distract from the performance of this mission.

Organizational Issues

The DMAVA report identifies that for the NJNMJC to be viable and obtain some federal recognition for potential access to federal resources, the organization needs to dramatically change. If continued, the two entities of New Jersey Naval Militia and the New Jersey State Guard must operate separately.

The New Jersey National Guard is a unique organization with its mix of federal and state response missions and capabilities. When called upon by the Governor to assist, the New Jersey National Guard can be mobilized to support operations in conjunction with the New Jersey State Police. However, the infrastructure of the National Guard in all states is borne by the federal government. They support the accession, equipping and training of all military members. Any military organization requires significant infrastructure such as a standing headquarters component. In the case of the NJNMJC, all costs would fall to the State of New Jersey.

Reference is made to the New York model. New York has two separate and distinct entities in their organizations—the New York Naval Militia is completely separate from the New York State Guard both in headquarters management and in membership. This means that the preponderance of their members (95% of the 4,000 by regulation) of the New York Naval Militia are already actively drilling federally recognized Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard Reservists. By contrast, approximately 40 members (1st Battalion) of the NJNMJC are actively drilling Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard reservists. And although New Jersey has the same 95% requirement, it was only ever applied to the 1st Division because of the merged structure between the New Jersey Naval Militia and the New Jersey State Guard. It is important to note that the New York State Police do not have any waterborne service units, thus the New York Naval Militia does fulfill that mission for areas other than New York City where active marine coverage is provided by the city police and fire waterborne units. Finally, the New York Naval Militia has been in existence without interruption for over 100 years, is an integral part of the New York Department of Military and Naval Operations with an annual budget of over $300,000 and costs allocated to boats of $1-1.5 million.

Funding Issues

The issue of funding cannot be underestimated. DMAVA’s internal Committee review projected costs at $706,800 for Years 1-3. These costs are for initial start-up only and do not include any mobilization costs as incurred in 2001-2002 ($1.4 million). Given today’s fiscal environment, if resources are directed to the NJNMJC, an assumption can be made that the diversion of these resources will directly impact the New Jersey State Police budget. Limited state resources available for waterborne security would then be diluted by having two separate entities performing the same mission and competing for similar funding.

Unresolved Issues

There have been a number of issues regarding the utilization and management of the NJNMJC that have surfaced since 2002. There are significant concerns regarding the lack of security clearances and background checks among the members, the lack of fitness requirements, the lack of training guidance, the lack of accession criteria, integrity in the rank assignments, and overall liability issues. Bottom line, no regulations governing the NJNMJC were ever adopted by the previous Adjutant General prior to their mobilization. Draft regulations were finalized in 2003 but have not been adopted by DMAVA pending this review. A legal review indicates that a statutory change is needed in order for the NJNMJC to participate in what the internal Committee proposed as part of the NJNMJC mission in homeland security, aid to localities (N.J.S.A. 38A:3-6.1 Appendix C). In summary, these policy issues would need to be resolved with appropriate legislation and regulations.


The utilization of the New Jersey Naval Militia and the New Jersey State Guard are clearly outlined in New Jersey Statute (N.J.S.A. 38A:1-1, and 38A:1-3) to assist the New Jersey National Guard in the State mission. However there have been a significant number of changes in how New Jersey manages homeland security issues since 2001.

1. The Domestic Security Preparedness Act outlines responsibilities of the Domestic Security Preparedness Task Force to include oversight of homeland security, critical infrastructure, WMD management, etc.
2. The New Jersey State Police have re-organized and enhanced their infrastructure both in personnel and equipment with a focus on homeland security and counter-terrorism activities. Their waterborne mission as provided by the New Jersey State Police Marine Services Bureau has broadened and they now have federal law enforcement powers in an MOA with the U.S. Coast Guard. This is in significant contrast to the NJNMJC MOA with the Coast Guard that only allows for support and permission for reservists to drill with the NJNMJC.
3. In accordance with NGR 10-4, the NJNMJC is a resource of last resort—only after New Jersey National Guard resources are unable to fulfill their mission. The New Jersey National Guard is still fully capable of meeting State mission requirements.
4. To be effective, significant changes would need to be made to the organization of the NJNMJC. Statutory and regulatory changes and a structural re-organization would need to be made. Members need to comply with fitness requirements and background checks would need to be initiated. Not addressed in any attached review is the administrative burden this would place on DMAVA. Changes aside, there are still concerns from the New Jersey State Police regarding the command and control of the organization during operations.
5. Funding would need to be provided and competing interests would be the New Jersey State Police and potentially the first responder community as well.
6. The CERT Program and other infrastructure developed since September 11, 2001 provide significant volunteer resources to the management of emergency operations. This was done efficiently and cost effectively without the overhead costs that a military organization would incur such as in a headquarters staffing.

Notwithstanding the internal DMAVA Committee report, but taking into account New Jersey’s well defined and comprehensive plan to respond to homeland security emergencies, and the New Jersey National Guard’s capability to support the State mission, I could not conclude a clearly defined mission for the NJNMJC as required by P.L. 2004 c. 300.


Major General
New Jersey National Guard
The Adjutant General