Press Releases

Hickenlooper, Bennet, Crow, Polis, Primavera, CO National Guard Leaders Stand with Council of Governors in Support of States’ Authority over National Guard Units

Apr 23, 2024

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet, U.S. Representative Jason Crow, Colorado Governor Jared Polis, Lieutenant Governor Dianne Primavera, and Major General Laura Clellan of the Colorado National Guard joined in support of the National Governors Association Council of Governors letter calling on the Department of Defense (DOD) to retract Legislative Proposal 480 (LP 480). 

The flawed LP480 policy would forcibly transfer Air National Guard units performing space missions and move them into the U.S. Space Force (USSF) as “part-timers”, bypassing longstanding federal law which requires governors’ consent before transferring National Guard units to another branch of the military. Colorado is home to over one-third of all space-related National Guard members. 

“Our National Guard service members respond to their state’s unique needs and help make our country safer,” said Hickenlooper. “It’s been the duty of governors for over a century to maintain that readiness, and any limit on this long-standing tradition would impair that ability.”

“By abandoning the traditions of the Federal and State National Guard partnership, USAF’s proposal threatens to undo over 120 years of precedent and the very authority Congress placed on governors,” said Bennet. “USAF’s evolution cannot come at the expense of the National Guard’s integrity and longstanding foundation. We must reject this flawed proposal.”

“In Colorado, we understand the critical role our Air National Guard plays in providing for homeland defense and securing US space leadership – from Buckley SFB to Space Command. At a time when the US should be going above and beyond to outcompete our adversaries in space, LP 480 compromises Colorado’s Guard members serving that critical mission and holds us back,” said Crow. “This should never be a question. I stand with my fellow Colorado leaders and Council of Governors in urging the Department of Defense to retract this fundamentally flawed proposal: LP 480 must be stopped.”  

“Colorado strongly opposes any involuntary removals of Air National Guard space units and personnel and any proposed reductions to the Colorado National Guard’s force. This proposal from the Air Force threatens the National Guard’s ability to support vital national security missions and domestic emergency operations. We are committed to working with Representative Crow, Colorado’s delegation, and my fellow Governors to ensure states can retain their rightful authority over their National Guard personnel and units,” said Polis.  

“The Colorado National Guard plays a critical role in ensuring our national security and responding to domestic emergencies. This proposal would remove authority from Governors, and could be detrimental to military readiness as well as members of the Guard, their families, and our communities,” said Primavera.

“The Air National Guard is vital to America’s success in space,” said Major General Laura Clellan. “Air National Guard space units make up over 30% of America’s total space capability and have been conducting space missions for nearly 30 years. In Colorado, our average space operator has 10 years of experience and over 60% work in aerospace and defense, cyber security, and STEM fields. Air National Guard units’ personnel work in industry and engage with the State Partnership Program, which offers unparalleled opportunities for relationships with industry and partner nations in military space operations. Cutting the Air National Guard out of space operations would cause a 7-10 year gap in American space capability and come with an unnecessary price tag of up to $1 billion.” 

Recent Press Releases