Photo: (L to R) Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Dr. Joneigh S. Khaldun , chief medical executive and chief deputy director for health for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer sent a letter May 28 to President Trump requesting an extension of Title 32 authority in order to use Michigan National Guard forces to combat the spread of COVID-19 through July 31. Title 32 status, which provides for federal pay and benefits, is currently authorized by the president through June 24.
“The Michigan National Guard has been instrumental in flattening the COVID-19 curve in Michigan by performing testing throughout the state, distributing personal protective equipment, food and medical supplies, providing warehousing support, disinfecting public spaces and assisting the Department of Health and Human Services with testing,” Whitmersaid. “I’m requesting an extension to continue utilizing the Michigan National Guard so we can safely reopen our economy while putting the health and well-being of all Michiganders first.”
In addition to requiring Title 32 authority to fully utilize the Michigan National Guard, Whitmer is making her request in order to ensure Guard members receive federal retirement and education benefits made available under the GI Bill. If Title 32 authority expires on June 24, some Guard members will not be eligible to receive these benefits.
“The Michigan National Guard is a crucial part of our emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and will remain vital to our ongoing recovery,” Whitmer said. “I want to ensure the brave men and women serving in the National Guard receive the benefits they’re entitled to and have earned.”