A New York Republican is urging the Defense Department to relax restrictions on Guardsmen using Space-Available travel.
Rep. Lee Zeldin, who served in Iraq with the 82nd Airborne Division and has been in the Army Reserve since 2007, penned a letter to acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan urging DoD to open more Space-A travel to more Guardsmen and Reservists.
Zeldin noted currently serving Guardsmen and Reservists and their family members may only use empty seats on military aircraft with the 50 states, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Active-component personnel and their families are eligible for all flights. There is little to no cost.
He said the benefit is a great option for service members and their families traveling with a tight budget.
“Our Reservists and National Guardsmen stand ready to serve and protect our nation during our country’s most vulnerable times,” he wrote. “Whether it be a natural disaster or a period of war, these men and women are there when we need them the most.”
The congressman said the change would come at little cost to the Defense Department, but would provide a huge benefit.
A provision in the fiscal 2013 National Defense Authorization Act provided the Guard and Reserve with full Space-A eligibility, subject to a final study and approval by the Defense Department.
The Pentagon, which fought the proposal on Capitol Hill, opted for the status quo.
More information about Space-A travel is available at the AMC FAQ webpage.