Fifty adjutants general signed a recent letter to President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris asking them to create a Space National Guard.
Established in 2019, the Space Force has no reserve component. The adjutants general say 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.
Congress is currently considering legislation to establish a Space 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 in the March 5 letter from the Adjutants General Association of the United States.
"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 estimates the actual price is about $250,000, the group wrote, a one-time expense for purchasing new signs, heraldry and uniform items.
This price is "dwarfed" by the approximately $644 million it would take recreating current Guard capabilities in the active-component Space Force, the adjutants general argued.
OMB has dropped the cost argument in recent months, but now says 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 leaders explained.
"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 added.
According to Maj. Gen. Daryl L. Bohac, the adjutant general of Nebraska and the AGAUS president, AGAUS rarely sends letters signed by most or all of its membership.
"Given busy schedules and frequent travel, it’s difficult to get the signatures of all 54 adjutants general in a short period of time," he said. "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 her visit to the Centennial State in March. She is the chair of the White House National Space Council. Bohac says AGAUS hasn’t heard back from the White House since Harris' trip to Colorado in March.
Establishing a Space Guard as the primary combat reserve within the U.S. Space Force is a NGAUS legislative priority. To ask your congressional delegation to support the Space National Guard Establishment Act (S. 503), the Senate legislation that would create a Space Guard, use the association's Write to Congress feature about the measure.
— By John Goheen