Washington—Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) today introduced the Space National Guard Establishment Act, a bipartisan bill to create a Space National Guard. Companion legislation is being introduced in the House by Rep. Jason Crow (D-Colo.).
Active duty space units were moved out of the Air Force and placed in the new Space Force upon its establishment in 2019, but no corresponding move was made to create a Space Force National Guard component.
Today, roughly 1,000 National Guard members perform the space mission from within the Air National Guard, which creates organizational problems because the remainder of the space enterprise falls under Space Force. This bill does not expand Space Force but merely 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. It would also 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.
“The National Guard’s space units serve under the Air Force, which no longer has responsibility for the space mission. They should serve under the Space Force with the rest of our space units and fix the organizational disconnect that is undermining their training, resourcing, and recruiting. Leaving the Guard’s space units under the Air Force is shortsighted and undermines our national security, and it must be remedied,” Senator Feinstein said. “A Space Force National Guard would save money because otherwise we will eventually have to replace the capabilities we have in the Guard today with new units created from scratch inside the Space Force. A Space National Guard should have been created when Space Force was created. This bill fixes that mistake.”
“Creating a Space National Guard would boost our military readiness and increase efficiency. It would also ensure that the Space Force retains needed talent. I look forward to working with my colleagues to pass this common-sense bill,” Senator Rubio said.
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 an amendment to establish a Space Force National Guard in the fiscal year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act. The amendment was included in the House version of the Fiscal Year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act, but it did not make it into the final bill.
In addition to Senators Feinstein and Rubio, the bill is cosponsored by Senators Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.) and Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.).