The office of the adjutant general has existed since the territorial period. The adjutant general is the executive officer of the Department of Military Affairs, which consists of the military forces of the state, civilians employed for administration and maintenance, and state-owned military installations. The military forces include the Army National Guard, the Air National Guard, and, when organized, the Minnesota State Guard. There was formerly also a Naval Militia. The department operates under Minnesota Statutes Chapters 190-195. The Guards website provides an extensive historical timeline of the Minnesota National Guard.
The Minnesota National Guard is under state jurisdiction and can be used by the governor to assist the state during disasters and other state emergencies. The federal mission of the Guard is to provide a reserve component of the active U.S. Army and Air Force that may be called into federal service by the president in time of war or national emergency.