The Mississippi Military Department is part of the Mississippi executive branch, and as such is a state agency. The Adjutant General of Mississippi (TAG) serves as the executive director and is only subordinate to the Commander-in-Chief, the Governor of Mississippi, in matters relating to the department and the state militia forces. As such, TAG is a political appointee and serves at the will and pleasure of the Governor, and his term of office expires with that of the Governor.
The Mississippi Code of 1972, Title 33, Chapter 3, titled "Military Affairs", details the duties and responsibilities of the Adjutant General of Mississippi, as well as the Assistant Adjutant Generals, Army and Air.
The Adjutant General of Mississippi, via the Mississippi Military Department, is expressly authorized to "issue such orders, rules and regulations as may be necessary in order that the organization, training and discipline of the components of the militia of this state will at all times conform to the applicable requirements of the United States government relating thereto. Orders, rules and regulations issued hereunder shall have full force and effect as part of the military code of this state".
The state militia forces formally breakdown into three broad classes: The Mississippi National Guard (MSNG), the Mississippi State Guard (MSG), and the unorganized militia.
The MSNG and the MSG are considered organized militia, and the MSNG is the most recognizable military force within our state borders.
The Mississippi National Guard, consisting of the Army and Air National Guard, is primarily a federally-funded and equipped militia force that serves a dual-mission: service to the state in times of emergency as declared by the Governor; service to the nation in times of national crisis or war, typically as declared by Presidential executive order (Hurricane Katrina, Korea), Congressional Declaration of War (World War II), or Congressional Authorization of the Use of Military Force (Vietnam, Afghanistan). The Army and Air National Guard are both components of the United States Military Reserve system.
The Mississippi State Guard is most closely aligned with the traditional concept of 'state militia': members are volunteers, self-equipped (armed only under special circumstances, as defined in law), can only operate within the borders of the state, and are unpaid unless activated to assist or backfill the MSNG.
Historical and in-depth information about the Office of the Adjutant General, the MSNG, MSG and the unorganized militia in Mississippi can be found by visiting the History section.