Based on my research, state defense forces (aka state military reserves, state militias, and state guards) are similar to the National Guard, but most of them are no longer trained for combat. They have more of an emergency management role responding to natural and man-made disasters. They are authorized by the Constitution and federal law. They became important during WWII because most of the National Guard forces were deployed. Currently, about 21 states and Puerto Rico have active state defense forces, and three states are attempting to reactivate theirs. Unlike the National Guard, state defense forces are only under the control of the state government. They can only be deployed outside of their states with the authorization of the commander-in-chief (governor) and with permission of the state government they're aiding. Even though members are not paid unless they are on active duty, some of the state defense forces have great benefits. Mississippi offers free and discount police officer, firefighter, and EMT training. California offers a grant that is more than $12,000 per year for a UC or private college, more than $5,000 for a CSU campus, and over $1,600 for a community college. Texas will offer $2,250 or $4,500 per semester (the higher amount is for high needs applicants) for non-profit schools headquartered in Texas, but limits the award to 30 state guard members. A member of the Texas legislature introduced a bill that would allow all Texas State Guard members to attend a public college or university for free, but it didn't go anywhere. According to the Texas Military Department, the Texas State Guard is faster at responding to emergencies than other government agencies and saves the state almost $5 million each year.