The Maryland Defense Force is a volunteer uniformed state military agency and one of the four components of the Maryland Military Department. Formally established by the Maryland legislature in 1917, the unit's heritage and traditions trace back to the 17th century.
MDDF is one of a number of State Defense Forces authorized by the U.S. Congress under Title 32 and the respective state legislatures.
While specific missions vary from state to state, the Maryland Defense Force has the primary mission of providing competent and supplemental professional, technical, and military support to the Maryland Army National Guard, the Maryland Air National Guard, and the Maryland Emergency Management Agency.
State Defense Forces operate under the command of the Governor, as state Commander-in-Chief, and fall under the operational control of the state Adjutant General. State Defense Forces receive no federal funds and are supported entirely by the state.