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Space Guard Bill Reintroduced in the Senate

02-06-24 WR Space Guard Bill WEBSITE
02-06-24 WR Space Guard Bill WEBSITE
Washington Report

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and a bipartisan group of 11 colleagues have reintroduced the Space National Guard Establishment Act of 2024 in the Senate, according to a Jan. 31 press release from his office.

Rubio and the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., introduced the bill in 2022 and again last year.

Feinstein’s passing in 2023 necessitated a reintroduction of the legislation this year.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom named Laphonza Butler, another Democrat, to serve out Feinstein’s remaining term as a senator for the Golden State. Butler is now among the bill’s co-sponsors.

Other co-sponsors included Sens. Kyrsten Sinema, I-Ariz.; Alex Padilla, D-Calif.; Michael Bennet, D-Colo.; John Hickenlooper, D-Colo.; Rick Scott, R-Fla.; Mike Crapo, R-Idaho; James Risch, R-Idaho; J.D. Vance, R-Ohio; Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.; and Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn.

"Creating a Space National Guard would boost military readiness and efficiency," Rubio said in his office's press release. "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."

"In the face of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and China’s saber-rattling worldwide, U.S. leadership in space is more critical than ever," Bennet said in a separate Jan. 31 press release, referencing Russian President Vladimir Putin. "By establishing the Space National Guard, we can help ensure our military is ready for the challenges of the 21st century."

The new bill is available here.

NGAUS strongly supports the establishment of a Space National Guard, as does the Adjutants General Association of the United States.

Approximately 1,000 space professionals in 14 Air Guard units across seven states would comprise the new component.

These personnel provide 30% of the space operations squadrons and 60% of the electromagnetic warfare capabilities available to U.S. combatant commanders around the world.

The fiscal 2024 National Defense Authorization Act directed a study to determine the next steps for these units, including potentially establishing a Space Guard.

The price tag to establish this new component under the Space Force would be about $250,000, according to the National Guard Bureau.

The price would cover the full cost to change name tapes on uniforms, some signage and unit flags.

"The units already exist, they’re already performing the mission today," Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson, the NGB chief, told a congressional hearing in 2021. "We don’t need any additional MILCON or infrastructure.

"We’re basically just taking the folks doing the mission today and instead of Air Force it’ll say Space Force on their name tag," added Hokanson, a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

— By John Goheen