Legislation would move space-related Air and Army National Guard members under Space Force
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet this week joined their colleagues in introducing the Space National Guard Establishment Act. The bipartisan bill would create a Space National Guard, incorporating current Air National Guard and Army National Guard members performing space-related duties within the Space Force command structure.
“Colorado leads the country in guardsmen conducting space missions,” said Hickenlooper. “Creating a Space National Guard will maximize readiness and efficiency, while protecting the mission of these hard-working service members.”
“It is critical we ensure our military has the ability to secure U.S. leadership and stability in space,” said Bennet. “Colorado is proud to have more National Guard members serving space missions than any other state. Establishing the Space National Guard would improve mission readiness and help the Space Force retain and activate highly-skilled talent.”
Today there are more than 1,000 National Guard members performing the space mission from within the Air National Guard. Organizational problems arise now that the rest of the space enterprise falls under the Space Force. This bill does not seek to expand the force, but instead correct the misalignment. A dedicated National Guard for the Space Force would help retain talented active-duty Space Force personnel upon their transition to civilian careers, ensuring they are able to continue serving their country as well as their states. In addition, this bill would eliminate the need to route funding between the Air Force and Space Force, and allow for better implementation of the mobilization processes, inspection systems, and policies and culture of the Space Force. This bill would also increase parity between military branches so the Space Force can become and remain a competitive force.
Active-duty space units in 2019 were moved out of the Air Force and placed in the new Space Force upon its establishment, but no corresponding move was made to create a Space Force National Guard component.
The Department of the Air Force, Space Force and the National Guard Bureau have already developed a plan to establish a Space National Guard within existing budgeting and personnel constraints, but that plan has yet to be implemented.
This bill is the Senate companion to legislation introduced in the House by U.S. Representatives Jason Crow and Doug Lamborn last year. In addition to Hickenlooper and Bennet, the bill is led by U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Marco Rubio, and is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski, Marsha Blackburn, Joe Manchin, Rob Portman, Rick Scott, Alex Padilla, Mike Braun, and John Cornyn.