DID YOU KNOW? This fall, South Carolina voters will be asked to decide whether or not South Carolina should continue to be the only state in America that still elects it’s Adjutant General….a position that very few know much about. Earlier this year, the Spartanburg Herald Journal Herald Journal did a good job laying out some key considerations:
The second amendment on the ballot would change the way the state selects its adjutant general. This is the only state in the union that elects its adjutant general. That poses some problems. Promotion to military rank and command is usually accomplished through merit, service and experience rather than the popular vote. Under South Carolina’s current system, a sergeant can run for adjutant general, and if he wins, he is automatically promoted to the rank of general. That not only creates difficulty in the chain of command, it puts the state’s adjutant general at a disadvantage in dealing with commanders from other states and from federal forces. The adjutant general is not only in charge of the national and state guard, he is also responsible for South Carolina’s Emergency Management Division and the Emergency Preparedness Division. The governor is the commander in chief, and in a time of emergency, the state looks to the governor for leadership, quick decisions and efficient action to implement those decisions. The governor will be better prepared to do so if the person who handles these emergency departments is someone of his or her own choosing who reports to the governor’s office. In order to act quickly and properly in an emergency, the governor needs to be familiar with emergency plans and procedures. Making the adjutant general an appointed position will put emergency planning under the governor’s control and make the state’s chief executive better equipped for the next hurricane or disaster.