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SASC NDAA would Stop Aircraft Cuts, but No Separate Space Guard

Space Guard
Space Guard
Washington Report

The Senate Armed Services Committee has completed the markup of its fiscal 2022 defense policy bill.

The National Defense Authorization Act would change the name of the Air National Guard to the Air and Space National Guard, prohibit further equipping of Guard F-35s and stop the Air Force from reducing the Guard’s KC-135 and A-10 fleets.

It would also approve a 2.7% pay raise for service members and defense civilians, require parity in special and incentive pays for members of the reserve and active components, and authorize increased funding for helicopters, combat vehicles and Guard chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear response teams.

“The FY22 National Defense Authorization Act will help safeguard the nation, counter a range of evolving threats, and support our troops both on and off the battlefield,” said Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., the chair of the SASC. “This year’s markup provides our troops and Defense Department civilians with a well-deserved pay raise, as well as new tools and reforms to protect the health and well-being of our servicemen and women and their families.  It prioritizes programs and policies to strengthen our cyber defenses, improve readiness, and accelerate research and development of advanced technologies that will give our forces strategic advantages.”

Reed said the bill also makes critical investments in the readiness and well-being of our total force—including active duty, reserve, National Guard, civilians, and their families.

“It ensures we have the proper support, force structure, and systems in place to meet their most pressing needs,” he said.

But the bill also signals there is a push to stop the formation of a separate Space National Guard.

The proposed NDAA language, which would still need to be approved by the full Congress and signed by the president, would instead change the name of the Air Guard to reflect air and space missions.

NGAUS and Guard leaders, including Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, have been advocating for a Space Guard. The Guard has nearly 2,000 space personnel serving in seven states and Guam, comprising 60% of the military’s offensive electronic warfare capability and 11% of total space personnel.

The National Guard Bureau has estimated a Space Guard would add no new costs, noting that personnel administering Guard units at NGB and in the field could simply “transfer” to the Space Guard and continue in the same role at no additional costs.

Other provisions of the NDAA would authorize the Guard’s unfunded requirements list, which is focused on domestic capabilities, prevent the Air Force from cutting the C-130 fleet below 292 aircraft and requires defense leaders to brief Congress on the feasibility and advisability of enhanced cooperation between the National Guard and Taiwan.