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State Guard Leaders Take Appeal for a Space National Guard to the President

Press Release

WASHINGTON (May 1, 2023) — Senior National Guard leaders from across the country are appealing to their federal commander in chief to create a Space National Guard.  

Fifty adjutants general signed a letter to President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris asking them to create a Guard component under the U.S. Space Force similar to the Army and Air National Guard, which are the primary combat reserve of their services.  

The Space Force, which was established in 2019, has no reserve component. The roughly 1,000 space professionals in 16 Air National Guard units across eight states and territories could easily fill this void, providing valuable expertise and surge capacity, the adjutants general say.

Congress is currently considering the establishment of a Space National Guard, but the effort has been hindered by vocal opposition from the White House Office of Management and Budget.
“OMB’s opposition to a Space National Guard is based upon a demonstrated misunderstanding of the facts,” the adjutants general wrote.

“Citing a 2020 Congressional Budget Office Report that ignored Air Force data and incorrectly presumed every state and territory would have Space National Guard units, OMB’s projected cost of creating the SNG was vastly inflated,” the Guard generals said.

The National Guard Bureau puts the actual price at about $250,000, they wrote, which is the one-time expense to purchase new signs, heraldry and uniform items.
This expenditure is “dwarfed” by the estimated $644 million it would take to recreate current Guard capabilities in the active-component Space Force, the adjutants general said.  

OMB has dropped the cost argument in recent months, now saying the nation doesn’t need a Space Guard because space is “solely a federal mission.”

This “misunderstands the operational nature of the National Guard,” the Guard generals wrote.

“Just as Army and Air Guard members fly fighter jets and attack helicopters, drive tanks, and neutralize the enemy with artillery, cannon, and rocket fire to support their federal warfighting missions, Space National Guard members would support USSF missions — just as they do today,” they explained.

AGAUS rarely sends letters signed by most or all of its members, said Maj. Gen. Daryl Bohac of Nebraska, the AGAUS president.

“Given busy schedules with frequent travel, it’s difficult to get the signatures of all 54 adjutants general in a short period of time,” he said. “So we save this approach for only the most critical issues.

“Most of the adjutants general don’t have space units under them and likely never will,” Bohac added. “But they know how important the establishment of the Space National Guard is to our nation’s defense.”

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis personally handed the letter to Harris during a visit to the Centennial State in March. The vice president is the chair of the White House National Space Council, according to Bohac.     

Guard space units are in Alaska, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, New York, Ohio and Guam.

AGAUS hasn’t heard back from the White House, Bohac said.

About AGAUS: The association includes the adjutants general of the 50 states, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and the commanding general of the District of Columbia National Guard. AGAUS has an office at the National Guard Memorial, the NGAUS headquarters in Washington, D.C. More information about the group can be found at www.agaus.org. More information about National Guard space units is available at www.ngaus.org/legislation/priorities/space-national-guard.