The Arizona Constitution (Article 16) provides for a militia of able-bodied male citizens of the state, between 18 and 45 years of age. “The organized militia shall be designated ‘The National Guard of Arizona,’ and shall consist of such organized military bodies as now exist under the laws of the territory of Arizona or as may hereafter be authorized by law.” A.R.S.§ 26-101 et seq. outlines state law regarding both military affairs as well as emergency management. Laws 1972, Chapter 192, established the current organization of the Department.
The Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs (DEMA) is an executive agency that has both emergency management and military responsibilities. The Department consists of three divisions: administrative affairs; emergency management; and military affairs. The Governor is the commander in chief and the adjutant general serves as the director of the Department.
The Division of Administrative Affairs administers the business operations of the agency and works with the Governor, state agencies and respective federal partners. The Division develops and maintains DEMA’s policies and ensures compliance with applicable state and federal laws, regulations, and directives.
The Division of Emergency Management develops disaster preparedness plans to prevent, respond to and recover from potential threats to the health and safety of Arizona residents, including natural and man-caused disasters and acts of terrorism. The Director of the Division of Emergency Management is responsible for administration of all funds made available by the State of Arizona or federal government as a result of a gubernatorial or Presidential declaration of emergency or major disaster.
The Division of Military Affairs consists of the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard, the respective military reserve components of the United States Army and the United States Air Force. The Arizona National Guard operates training centers and storage centers in the state. It also supports operations of the US Department of Homeland Security.
In times of emergency, the Director serves as the Governor’s authorized representative and administers funds allocated from emergency declarations. The Director also serves as chairperson for the Arizona Emergency Response Commission. Statutorily affiliated commissions and councils include: Arizona State Emergency Response Commission (A.R.S.§ 26-343); Military Affairs Commission (A.R.S.§ 26-261); and State Emergency Council (A.R.S.§ 26-304).
The agency was originally two separate entities. Over the years the name of the Department changed to reflect its responsibilities: Disaster Preparedness, Search or Rescue; Department of Civil Defense and Emergency Planning; Department of Civil Defense; Military Affairs and Civil Defense; Military Affairs and Emergency Services; Military Affairs and Emergency Management; and Department of Emergency and Military Affairs.
Laws 1912, Chapter 85 set forth the Military Code of Arizona, which specified the divisions of the militia, the organization of the National Guard and established the Governor as the commander in chief. The Military Code was amended by Laws 1921, Chapter 144; Laws 1929, Chapter 60; and Laws 1939, Chapter 6. Laws 1952, Chapter 95 repealed and rewrote the Military Code.
Laws 1951, Chapter 100 created a Department of Civil Defense (The Civil Defense Act of 1951) to carry out emergency functions related to disasters caused by enemy attack, hostile action, fire, flood or other causes. The Director was appointed by the Governor with advice and consent of the Senate. The Governor was authorized to take operational control of all civil defense forces in a state of emergency.
Laws 1971, Chapter 51 created the Division of Emergency Services in the Office of the Governor to coordinate the efforts of all government agencies, including the federal government, the state and its political subdivisions. The director, appointed by the Governor, oversaw civil defense and emergency preparedness. All property and funds were transferred from the Department of Civil Defense to the Division of Emergency Services as of April 12, 1971.
In 1972 the Department of Emergency and Military Affairs was established, consisting of a division of emergency services and a division of military affairs. The adjutant general served as the administrative head of the Department (Laws 1972, Chapter 192).
Laws 1988, Chapter 292 established the Emergency Response Commission within DEMA to supervise, coordinate and assist local emergency planning committees and to implement the provisions of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986 (P.L. 99-499, Title III).
Laws 1998, Chapter 134 authorized the Director of Emergency Management to appoint a Disaster Prevention Council. The legislation also allowed previously appropriated monies to be used in subsequent years for the use originally authorized.
Laws 2003, Chapter 2 required the DEMA Director to collaborate with the State Forester to develop a presentation to the legislature regarding forest management and wildfire suppression. The presentation is due during the first regular session of each legislature. (A.R.S.§37-622)
Laws 2015, Chapter 208 transferred the authority, powers, duties and responsibilities of the Arizona Emergency Response Commission from DEMA to the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ). The measure designated ADEQ as the lead agency with responsibility for developing a state hazardous materials emergency management program; modified the structure of the Commission, changing it to 12 members, and eliminated the advisory committee. The measure also eliminated the General Staff within DEMA, which had served as an advisory board to the Governor regarding military affairs of the state and modified administration of the National Guard Fund.
Arizona Constitution, Article 16
A.R.S.§§26-101 et seq.
- Laws 1912, Chapter 85
- Laws 1921, Chapter 144
- Laws 1929, Chapter 60
- Laws 1939, Chapter 6
- Laws 1951, Chapter 100
- Laws 1952, Chapter 95
- Laws 1971, Chapter 51
- Laws 1972, Chapter 192
- Laws 1988, Chapter 292
- Laws 1998, Chapter 134
- Laws 2003, Chapter 2
- Laws 2015 Chapter 208
Master List of State Programs www.ospb.state.az.us
Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs Annual Report (2014)
Related collections at Arizona State Archives: RG 98 – Department of Military and Emergency Affairs