About the Maryland Military Department


Origin of the Military Department

Authorization for military force in Maryland began when the Maryland Charter of 1632 empowered Lord Baltimore to raise troops to put down insurrection or rebellion and subdue enemies of the province. It continued in the eighteenth century as Maryland militia units fought during the French and Indian War and distinguished themselves in the American Revolution.
Under State government, the office of Adjutant General was authorized first in 1793 and made a Constitutional office in 1951. The Adjutant General heads the Military Department and exercises powers and duties under the Militia Law of Maryland.

Functions and Responsibilities

The Military Department is responsible for the Maryland Air National Guard, the Maryland Army National Guard, the Maryland Defense Force, and the Maryland Emergency Management Agency. The Military Department also builds and maintains the armories and other facilities used by the Maryland National Guard.
All State forms and records required for militia use and the reports and returns required by the federal government are prepared by the Military Department, and service records of all officers and enlisted persons who have served or are serving in the Maryland National Guard are maintained by the Department as well.


The Military Department is controlled by the Office of the Adjutant General, and is made up of the following agencies:

State Operations

The State Operations section manages many of the fiscal and administrative duties of the Military Department. The Freestate ChalleNGe program and Honor Guard also fall under this group.

Maryland Air National Guard

The Maryland Air National Guard provides air combat forces and airlift aircraft, as well as emergency support, to the U.S. Air Force and other unified commands.

Maryland Army National Guard

The Maryland Army National Guard provides combat troops to the U.S. Army, and engineer, transportation and medical units, and military police for State service.

Maryland Defense Force

The Maryland Defense Force is separate and distinct from the Maryland National Guard, and is composed of officers, commissioned or assigned, and all able-bodied citizens of the State who volunteer and are accepted for service. They may be ordered to active duty in the State by the Governor whenever the National Guard has been called into the military service of the United States.

Maryland Emergency Management

The Maryland Emergency Management Agency provides for a civil defense system to protect life and property from attack and offer relief and assistance to people struck by natural disasters. Although it is organized within the Military Department, the Agency may report directly to the Governor in emergency situations.

More Information

For more detailed information on the Maryland Military Department, see the Maryland State Archives informational site at http://www.msa.md.gov/msa/mdmanual/25ind/html/51mil.html