To recruit and train members of a civilian military force under his control, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration has hired a company that specializes in combat training and lists as one of its instructors a former U.S. Navy SEAL accused of war crimes.
Previously unreported records reviewed by the Times/Herald show the state has agreed to pay Stronghold SOF Solutions up to $1.2 million to recruit, vet and train volunteer members of the Florida State Guard, the World War II-era force that DeSantis revived last year to respond to emergencies.
The Florida company trains police and military members on tactical shooting, explosives and urban combat and is owned by a former Army Green Beret who supports the Republican governor’s presidential campaign. The governor’s office, the State Guard and the Florida Department of Military Affairs, which oversees the agreement, didn’t respond to questions about the training services.