Washington—Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) this week introduced the Space National Guard Establishment Act, a bill to create a Space National Guard. This is the Senate companion to legislation introduced in the House by Rep. Jason Crow (D-Colo.) last year.
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.
Today there are more than 1,000 National Guard members performing the space mission from within the Air National Guard, which creates organizational problems now that the rest of the space enterprise falls under Space Force. This bill does not expand the force, but corrects this misalignment.
A National Guard for the Space Force would ensure talented active-duty Space Force personnel who leave active duty are able to continue serving their country as well as their states, eliminate the need to route funding between the Air Force and Space Force and allow better implementation of the mobilization processes, inspection systems, policies and culture of the Space Force.
“Without a National Guard component for Space Force, we risk losing many talented individuals who want to keep serving their country and their states after they leave active duty, and that is simply unacceptable,” Senator Feinstein said. “Creating a Space Force National Guard would also save money and ensure a smoother process in the event we need to activate personnel. Not establishing a Space National Guard was a mistake when Space Force was created, and this bill will remedy that.”
“Creating a Space National Guard would boost our military readiness and increase efficiency,” Rubio said. “It would also ensure that the Space Force retains needed talent. I look forward to working with my colleagues to pass this commonsense bill.”
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.
Senator Feinstein in December 2021 led a bipartisan, bicameral letter to the Senate and House Armed Services Committees supporting the inclusion of a Space Force National Guard in the fiscal year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act, but it was not in the final bill.
In addition to Senators Feinstein and Rubio, the bill is cosponsored by Senators John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas).