On Feb. 15, 1864, the Legislature established the adjutant general’s office for the Nebraska Territory. The territorial militia was organized under an act approved in 1865. However, the initial organization of two regiments took place in 1854.
The militia was first organized in reaction to the Great Sioux and Cheyenne Indian War on the territorial border. The nature of the early militia changed to meet the state’s needs from 1854 until the end of the Indian Wars in 1890. By 1881, the office of adjutant general again was established as a separate entity after being part of the secretary of state’s office for 10 years. The office has continued in this capacity since that time. Legislation passed in 1974 formally changed the office’s name to the Military Department.
The Military Department functions as a state department for military and nonmilitary operations. The Army National Guard and the Air National Guard make up the state’s military forces. They conduct military operations and missions to support civil authority when authorized by the governor, who is commander in chief. The Nebraska Emergency Management Agency, a component of the Military Department, coordinates civil resources to support civil authority in an emergency.
The Nebraska National Guard is made up of the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard. The Army National Guard comprises three Major Subordinate Commands: the 67th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, 92nd Troop Command and the 209th Regiment (Regional Training Institute). Units are located in 23 Nebraska communities. The Air National Guard consists of one major command, the 155th Air Refueling Wing located in Lincoln, along with the 170th Group located at Offutt Air Force Base. Both the Army and Air National Guard also have elements in the Joint Force Headquarters.
Service members can be called to state active duty to execute missions within the state when authorized by the governor. The state mission of the Nebraska National Guard is to provide trained and equipped organizations to protect life and property and to preserve peace, order and public safety.
Service members are called to federal service for national defense missions, either in the United States or abroad, when authorized by the president. The federal mission of the Nebraska National Guard is to provide the armed forces with trained and equipped units ready for a national emergency or war, in accordance with U.S. Department of Defense plans.
Most fiscal support for the Nebraska National Guard comes from federal sources. The budget for pay and allowances for Active Guard Reserves, federal technicians and part-time Guard members exceeds $145.4 million annually. Other expenses paid by the U.S. government, such as fuel, travel, repairs and construction, supplies and equipment, amount to more than $76.2 million each year. The present equipment and real property for both the Army and Air National Guard is valued at more than $1.2 billion.*
*current as of Nebraska Blue Book printing in 2020