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

On January 14, 2004, the Governor signed P.L. 2004 c.300 requiring that “the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs review the activities of the New Jersey Naval Militia Joint Command (NJNMJC) and determine whether a viable and clearly defined mission exists for that command.” That legislation also emphasized the increasing importance of ensuring that the roles of the various security and safety related agencies are clearly defined to facilitate coordination in the prevention of and response to emergencies. The results of the review, including a description of the activities of the NJNMJC and an assessment of whether or not the NJNMJC has a viable and clearly defined mission, were to be included in a report prepared by the Adjutant General (TAG). If it was concluded that such a mission exists, the report is to contain (1) an explanation of the mission and (2) specify what personnel and material assets are required to adequately fulfill the mission. If there is no such mission, the report is to include an explanation of why such a mission does not exist. The report is to be submitted to the Governor, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the General Assembly, and the Chairpersons of the Senate Law and Public Safety and Veterans’ Affairs, Assembly Homeland Security and State Preparedness and Assembly Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committees.

The Naval Reserve of New Jersey was organized by an act of the New Jersey Legislature in 1895. The stated purpose of this organization was to defend the coast, harbors, and waterfront property. Following the passage of the Federal Naval Reserve Law of 1916, the name was changed to the Naval Militia of New Jersey. Ultimately, the unit evolved into a brigade composed of three divisions, each having several divisions. Members of the Naval Militia fought in the Spanish-American War, World War I, and World War II reaching a peak strength of 3,590 during the Korean Conflict. By 1963, the command had been deactivated and absorbed into the U.S. Naval Reserve.

In a memorandum dated February 21, 1999, Governor Whitman directed that the New Jersey Naval Militia and the New Jersey State Guard be reactivated and organized into a single joint regiment to be designated as the New Jersey Naval Militia Joint Command (NJNMJC). However, unlike its predecessor, the NJNMJC was formed as a hybrid organization with the 1st Division being a true naval militia comprised of actively drilling naval and Marine Corps reservists, the 2nd Division performing as an operational Naval State Guard, and the 3rd Division providing support and auxiliary functions with multi-service state guard. The concept of operations differs from a traditional reserve or guard unit in that it is based on volunteerism. Essentially, each member is required to donate two days each month for training or actual missions in support of state and federal agencies. Additional mission requirements could result in being placed on state active duty with or without pay and allowances.

The primary purpose of this reconstituted unit was to provide the Governor with a military waterborne force, which would act as a force multiplier for essential state and federal missions. It was not intended to compete for missions, but rather to augment and provide
capabilities where none existed previously. Following activation, the NJNMJC participated in several major events (e.g. Hurricane Floyd, OPSAIL 2000) and was employed extensively in a variety of roles after 9/11.

On September 11, 2001 members of the 2nd Division, New Jersey Naval Militia, assigned to Patron 10, placed one vessel, PBU 23-1, (Patrol Boat Utility), a 23' aluminum convention displacement hull with enclosed cabin, equipped with radar, global positioning device, depth indicator, marine hailer, VHS radio, and powered by twin 1989 outboard motors, at the disposal of the United States Coast Guard and State Guard Units. The vessel was deployed for the purpose of security at and around the World Trade Center (WTC) Site. During the weeks following the disaster, a second vessel, PBU 23-2 was made available to assist. A third vessel, PBU 23-4, was placed in service in November 2001. The following is a list of missions that were accomplished from September 11, 2001 to July 30, 2002:

1. Waterborne security at the bases of the George Washington Bridge
2. Daylight vessel traffic control on the Hudson River, north of the George Washington Bridge
3. Standby vessel for search and rescue detail Coast Guard Station Sandy Hook, NJ
4. Transport of military personnel and equipment from NJ to North Cove (Ground Zero)
5. V.I.P. transportation and security detail for Liberty State Park tribute events during October 2001
6. 192 days of water-borne security assisting naval personnel at Naval Weapons Station Earle
7. 180 days of continuous daylight patrols assisting the NJ State Police at Salem Nuclear Generating Station, Salem, NJ
8. Assisted with security in Jamaica Bay, NY during the aftermath of the crash of Flight 194, Kennedy Airport

In addition, the following land-based missions were assigned and accomplished:
1. Personnel to man the military Joint Operations Center
2. Chaplain services at Ground Zero and the Staten Island Logistics Support Base
3. Development and presentation of an anthrax awareness program to all N.J. Army National Guard troops in the field
4. Physical security augmentation at Fort Dix and NAES Lakehurst
5. Logistical support at Ground Zero for the Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT)
6. Warehouse management for the Salvation Army

In 2002, there were numerous issues that surfaced regarding the structure and organization of the NJNMJC. There were a number of allegations of unfairness in the accession process. At that time, the NJNMJC had never implemented regulations as directed by Governor Whitman in her memorandum. Accession criteria were not codified as any official process subjecting DMAVA and the State to potential liability. More importantly, there is a lack of comprehensive security or background checks (with the exception of local municipal arrest records), a lack of criteria regarding grade/rank assignments, and no medical or fitness criteria. A significant number of NJNMJC personnel had been on state active duty since September 11, 2001, performing the previously cited operations. Almost $1.4 million and more than 8,100 mandays had been expended and additional workers compensation dollars were spent for those members who had incurred injuries.

Legal and organizational review found that the merging of the two statutorily district concepts (State Guard and Naval Militia), while not a violation of New Jersey (N.J.S.A. 38A) or federal statues (32 U.S.C.109) nevertheless, created confusion regarding the role of members and the potential ability to obtain federal recognition similar to the New York model. In addition, further legal review found that the activation of the NJNMJC members in a State active duty status ran contrary to guidance set forth in NGR 10-4 in that the resources of the National Guard were ready available prior to the activation of state defense forces such as the State Guard. Finally, for a 300+ member organization, almost one third were assigned to the headquarters staff in senior positions, thus requiring a comprehensive review of the organization.

As a result, in April 2002, The Adjutant General ordered that the NJNMJC stand down accessions until such time regulations could be implemented. Regulations had been drafted that comply with all federal and state statutes as well as the new threat environment. Those regulations are pending the results of this study. In the intervening period, the NJNMJC has been developing courses and participating in the following training:

1. First Aid (2002)
2. WMD/Counterterrorism (2002-2003)
3. Professional Development Course (2003)
4. USCG Boating Safety/Team Coordination Course (2004)
5. Chief Petty Officer Development Course
a. April – May 2004
b. Mandatory for all E-7 through E-9
6. Basic Military Training (BMT)
a. Suspended until recruiting resumed
b. Includes IET, Militia Enlisted Basic Indoctrination (MEBI), and Officer Basic Indoctrination (OBI)
7. Community Emergency Response Training (CERT - 2004)
8. Incident Command System (ICS – 2005)

In order to accomplish this review, The Adjutant General convened a NJNMJC Study Committee consisting of members of the NJ Army and Air National Guard, the NJNMJC, Homeland Security, and the Joint Operations Center (J5/7).