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Archives - State Agencies - Adjutant General and North Dakota National Guard

[NDCC 37-03-01]

Appointed by the Governor for a six-year term, the Adjutant General must have been a federally recognized commissioned Officer of the National Guard for a period of at least three years immediately preceding his appointment.  The Adjutant General serves as Chief of Staff and Commanding General of the State Army and Air National Guard.  The Governor is Commander-in-Chief of the military establishment except as portions may be in the service of the United States.

Established in 1891 (S. L. 1891, Ch. 86), the Adjutant General served a four-year term prior to 1945 (S. L. 1945, Ch. 233). The Adjutant General served as a member of the State Advisory Council on Civil Defense (1961-1971), and is currently a member of the State Communications Advisory Committee and the Administrative Committee on Veterans' Affairs.

Elements of the North Dakota National Guard and Air National Guard are reserve components of the United States Army and the United States Air Force and are subject to call into military service of the United States. The mission of the North Dakota National Guard is to protect life and property and to preserve peace, order, and public safety when ordered by the Governor. Elements of the North Dakota National Guard were mobilized in the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In 1862, the Dakota Territorial Militia was established (S. L. 1862, Ch. 60) in response to the diversion of federal troops to serve in the east and the threat of Indian hostilities in Dakota Territory. The Dakota Territorial Militia consisted of one division under command of a brigadier general. All able-bodied white males aged 18 to 45 were eligible for duty in the Dakota Territorial Militia. Reorganized in 1885, 1887, and 1889, the "Dakota National Guard" expanded to include by the time of statehood a battalion of artillery, a battalion of cavalry, two regiments of cavalry, an Adjutant General's department, an Inspector and Judge Advocate department, a supply department, an engineer and ordinance department, and a medical department.

A Military Advisory Board was created in 1895 (S .L. 1895, Ch. 80) to advise the Adjutant General on military matters and promulgate regulations for administration of the North Dakota National Guard. The Military Advisory Board consisted of the Inspector and Judge Advocate General and two commissioned officers. In 1905, the Adjutant General was required to maintain a bureau of pensions to assist veterans with filing for federal pensions (S. L. 1905, Ch. 12). This function was later assumed by the Veterans' Service Commissioner in 1927. A Board of Armory Supervisors was created in 1907 (S. L. 1907, Ch. 174) to control all National Guard armories. Renamed the Board of Armory Commissioners in 1909, the members included the Governor, Adjutant General, and commanding officer of the regiment. The Board of Armory Supervisors was repealed in 1971 and its functions transferred to the office of the Adjutant General.

The state of North Dakota formally acquired Fraine Barracks (named for General John Fraine), formerly the Bismarck Indian School and Camp Grafton (named for Gilbert Grafton) near Devils Lake as a grant from the federal government in 1945. The North Dakota National Guard holds an annual encampment and training exercises at Camp Grafton. The Adjutant General and the National Guard are currently headquartered at Fraine Barracks in Bismarck.

Formed in 1883 as Company A, First Regiment of the Dakota National Guard, the North Dakota National Guard is organized into three major commands, the Joint Headquarters, the Army Headquarters, and the Air Headquarters. 

Located in Bismarck, the Joint Headquarters is comprised of the  Adjutant General’s Office, the Deputy Adjutant General’s Office, and the Joint  Staff Offices which include the Chief of Staff, the Director of Personnel and Human Resources (J-1), the Director of Intelligence (J-2), the Director of Training and State Military Operations (J-3/7), the Director of Logistics (J-4), the Director of Strategic Planning (J-5),  the Director of Systems and Information Management (J-6) and the Director of Resources and Financial Management(J-8).  The Adjutant General’s Office also includes the special staff offices of the Vice Chief of Staff, Public Affairs, Judge Advocate General, Inspector General, Director of Facilities and Engineering, Environmental, Safety, Employer Support to the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), Family Support, Army Aviation and the Office of United States Property and Fiscal Office (USP&FO) which also includes the Audit and Internal Review Section.  The Joint Headquarters provides command, control, and supervision for major commands allocated to the State.  It receives, manages, and provides resources for training and equipping units for immediate expansion of war strength and provides support to civil authorities by activating units and providing resources during emergencies. 

The Army National Guard provides units and soldiers to provide a full range of military support to fulfill federal, state, and community needs.  The Army National Guard is headquartered at Bohn Armory in Bismarck.  It consists of three major commands.  The first is the 34th Division Engineer Brigade with the 141st Engineer Battalion located in Valley City, the 142nd Engineer Battalion located in Fargo, and the 164th Engineer Battalion located in Minot.  The second major unit is the 68th Troop Command with the 1st Battalion, 188th Air Defense Artillery located in Grand Forks, the 1st Battalion, 112th Aviation located in Bismarck, and the 136th Quartermaster Battalion located in Devils Lake.  The third major unit is the Regional Training Institute at Devils Lake, which is responsible for training Army Engineers. 

The North Dakota Air National Guard provides air sovereignty and air defense forces to the North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S.  Northern Command.  In addition, the 119th Fighter Wing provides airmen and equipment to execute missions for the Global War on Terrorism and to the Governor as needed.  The NDANG is based at Hector International Airport in Fargo, and at its permanent air defense alert detachment at Langley AFB, Va.  119th Fighter Wing includes four subordinate groups: 119th Operations Group,  119th Maintenance Group,  119th Mission Support Group, and 119th Medical Group.

The North Dakota Department of Emergency Services was established in 1973 (S. L. 1973, Ch. 281) as the division of Disaster Emergency Services. The agency coordinating civil defense and disaster preparedness activities in North Dakota has experienced several reorganizations over the years. From 1941 to 1973 this function of state government was administered by the North Dakota Defense Council, 1941-1951; the North Dakota Civil Defense Council, 1951-1961; the State Advisory Council on Civil Defense, 1961-1971; State Civil Defense Division, 1961-1973; and the division of Disaster Emergency Services, 1973. The State Civil Defense Division was placed under the supervision of the Adjutant General in 1965 (S. L. 1965, Ch. 259) who appointed  the director to carry out the responsibility of preparing state and local disaster plans, evaluating state and political subdivision emergency needs, operating as the state search and rescue coordinating agency, establishing disaster training and public information programs, and cooperating with the federal government and any public or private agency in employing resources.

In 1985, the Division of Disaster Emergency Services became the Division of Emergency Management (NDCC Section 37-17.1-06). Two federal laws, Pub. L. 93-288 and Pub. L. 920, as amended, and appropriated executive orders also governed the operations of the division.   Appointed by the Adjutant General of the North Dakota National Guard, the division director carried out the primary mission of the Division of Emergency Management, to save lives and property in the event of a disaster.  In its day-to-day operations, the division provided direction, guidance, administration, technical support, and training for state agencies and for local emergency management organizations.  The division assisted the Governor in fulfilling emergency management responsibilities as prescribed by law; ensuring that adequate technical assistance was available to local governments in all areas of emergency management mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery; and that state government had adequate emergency operational capability (plans, facilities, equipment, and manpower) to support local government; coordinated and managed response and recovery resources in state or federally declared disasters or emergencies; and provided assistance to the federal government in the fulfillment of federal emergency management priorities.  In a disaster or emergency situation, the Division of Emergency Management coordinated and was responsible for mobilizing manpower and equipment; conducted emergency operations; implemented and coordinated individual and family disaster assistance programs; and repaired essential facilities.

In 2003, the Division of Emergency Management and State Radio Communications were combined to establish an integrated State Operations Center, and in 2005 the State Legislature created the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services, with a Division of Homeland Security and the State Radio Communications.  The Department of Emergency Services is responsible to administer federal disaster recovery programs, and to provide training, awareness and coordinated preparedness, prevention and response activity for the Homeland Security programs.  Emergency Services supports and coordinates statewide emergency operations throughout North Dakota.  The Adjutant General serves as Director of the Department of Emergency Services, and is Chairman of the Department of Emergency Services Advisory Committee.

2015  Legislation related to the record of veterans and required the Adjutant General to collect information on North Dakotans who served in a theatre or area of armed conflict since the Viet Nam Conflict. The Adjutant General was given responsibility to make available the information (when advisable) to the public (S.L. 2015, Ch. 249).


1862             Creation of the Dakota Territorial Militia.
1863             Formation of Company A, First Regiment, Dakota National Guard.
1891             Creation of the office of the Adjutant General.
1895             Creation of Military Advisory Board.
1905-1927 The Adjutant General administered a bureau of pensions.
1907             Creation of the Board of Armory Supervisors.
1941-1951 North Dakota Defense Council.
1945             The state of North Dakota acquired Fraine Barracks and Camp Grafton.
1951-1961 North Dakota Civil Defense Council.
1961-1971 State Advisory Council on Civil Defense.
1961-1973 State Civil Defense Division
1965             Administration of civil defense programs were assumed by the Adjutant General.
1971             The Board of Armory Commissioners was repealed.
1973             Creation of the Disaster Emergency Services Division.
1985             Division of Disaster Emergency Services renamed Division of Emergency Management.
2003             Division of Emergency Management consolidated with State Radio Communications.
2005             North Dakota Department of Emergency Services created by the State Legislature. Divisions include Homeland Security and State Radio Communications.
2007             Adjutant General named Director of the Department of Emergency Services.


Guide to North Dakota State Archives, 1985, pp. 1-2.
North Dakota Blue Book, 2007-2009, pp. 302-303.
North Dakota Blue Book, 2009-2011, pp. 210, 308-310.
North Dakota Century Code Supplement, 37-17.1-07.1.
Public Law 99-288.
Public Law 920.


30511    Administrative Files.
30682    Daily Bulletins.
30683    Training Schedules.
30689    Commanding Officer’s Outgoing Letters.
30759    North Dakota National Guard, 1st Infantry Regiment, Company B Records.
30858    General Orders.
30860    Muster Rolls.
31029    Record of Notices of Failure to Report for Induction 1918
32348    North Dakota National Guard Records.

Disaster Emergency Services 
31015    Plans for Statewide Fallout Shelters.
30522    Administrative Files.
30707    Civil Defense Directors Conference Transcript of Proceedings.
31249    Community Shelter Plans
31710    Disaster Preparedness Films
31815    Disaster Planning Reference Material
31822    State Incident Reports
31873    Comprehensive Cooperative Agreement and Final Progress Report
31923    Disaster Recovery File
31988    Emergency Broadcast System Plan
31989    ND Disaster Emergency Operations Guide
32020    Adjutant General/ND National Guard. Department of Emergency Services, Grand Forks Flood
32028    SARA III
32228    Emergency Services, Department of. Public Information Office, Records 

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